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Lisa Belkin Headshot

Are Mothers The 'Best' Thing About America?

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Last night Ann Romney told the Republican Convention, and the entire nation, how wonderful her husband is. But before she got to that, she spent the first half of her speech telling us how wonderful mothers are.

"It's the moms of this nation," she said, "who really hold this country together."

Women do more than men, she continued, and mothers do way more than everyone else. We work harder to gain respect when we are at work, we spend more time with children when we are at home, we care for our elderly parents and, among other things, we know the shortest route to the emergency room.

To sum us up, she told us "You are the best of America... There would not be an America without you."

I am a mother, and so I imagine she was talking to me. I don't disagree with anything she says -- women do juggle more at home and tap dance more at work, and are far more likely to be sandwiched between their own parents and children -- but I also squirmed as she said it.

"I want to talk to you about that love so deep only a mother can fathom it," she gushed, "the love we have for our children and our children's children." Oh yes, I know that love. I have been forever changed by it. But not only do I think a father can "fathom it" too, I also wonder whether it isn't a little diminishing and dismissive to see me mostly in terms of my children.

On the one hand then, I agree that parenting is a fundamental, life-changing experience. On the other, no one else should make the mistake of using that to define me -- as if by knowing I have children means you know everything, or even anything, else.

How about you, Mothers of Parentry? Does Ann Romney's lens make you feel appreciated and grateful, or just a little bit pandered to and patronized?

(And, as Jim Highley asks Fathers of Parentry, what do YOU think?)