A Moms place is in the House

I'm sure my millions of loyal readers (okay, all 6 of you) have wondered what's happened to me, but between reading the new Harry Potter book and my now complete obsession with the video game Impossible Creatures (I've not been this addicted to a game since I was 16), my free time for blogging has been dramatically curtailed.  Time for me to get back on the horse…

The Post ran a really interesting piece this weekend about Congressmoms— female members of Congress who have young children back home in their district.  The most dramatic case was that of Cathy McMorris Rodgers.  She actually just had a baby while serving in Congress.  Unfortunately for her, her home district is all the way across the country in Washington. As if that's not tough enough, her little guy has Downs Syndrome.  Debbie Wasserman Schultz also does not exactly have it easy with a 3-year old and 8-year old twins.  That's got to be plenty hard enough without a job that takes you away from home most weeks.

What seems really unfair is that the Senatorial moms just have their families in the DC area, whereas members of the House clearly feel they need to keep their family back in their home district.  Even Columbus, Ohio's Deborah Pryce (my former rep) who has adopted a child as a single mom. 

Of course, what is particularly noteworthy about this is how many people stop to think about all the men in Congress who leave their kids back at home– we don't hear a thing about it.  Its just an expected part of life, but when a women leaves her young children behind, it just seems so much more dramatic (admittedly, even for an avowed feminist like me).  In truth, a major reason that women are in Congress at much lower numbers is that so many women put off running for political office until their children are older whereas this does not seem to hold back too many men.  This is one of the reasons I do not think we'll ever have near 50% women in Congress (though I suspect the institution would be better for it). 

About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State http://faculty.chass.ncsu.edu/shgreene

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