My award for the most absurd article of the week is the one in the Washington Post defending Carolyn Kennedy’s weak resume by insisting she is like the rest of ordinary women who cut back on their work to raise children:

the way I see it, if you strip away the glamour, the name and the money, then Caroline is . . . me.

Well, you know glamour, a famous name and a load of money makes a teeney weenie bit of a difference between those of us who cut back our work load to raise kids or care for loved ones.

You don’t have to figure out how to balance the budget, for one.

Nannies mean no dirty diapers and no guilt about all those pampers.

Being rich means that you can send your children to private schools to get a good education, and where you don’t have to worry about their being shot on the way home.

With servants you don’t have to settle arguments with the kids over who does the dishes.

And, of course, glamour and a famous name means that when you decide to go back to work full time, you don’t have to start back at the bottom and work your way up, but can get a high profile job based on your DNA and the fact you live in the same neighborhood as the opinionmakers.

I prefer to view Kennedy as a bellwether, a case study in how things could be if only the workplace were more accepting of an unconventional CV, one that may brim with great experience and skills and talent but is also peppered with gaps and one-off projects and volunteering.

Unconventional CV? You mean as opposed to a woman who knows how to work in the family in the fishing business, or who runs a minor state with a multimillion dollar budget?

The article then goes on to stress the problem with a rigid workplace that forces women into working in the home.I agree. Most women, if given a choice, would work outside the home part time, so that they had time and energy not just to do the housework, but to become a true “homemaker”.

But the snobbish author calls working in the home “leaving the workplace”, as if full time motherhood is not working.

Most “full time”mothers whom I know not only care for the kids, but often care for other relatives, have gardens to supplement their food budget, sew their own clothing, and make money in various ways, from AVON to handicrafts. Some even combine it with “homeschooling”, so their kids can get a superior education without the huge tuitions of private schools.

As a doctor, I too “worked” part time while raising kids (and later, a granddaughter so her mom could go back to school). But for a doctor, “part time” work is 40 hours a week, not 60 hours a week that included being out at night caring for emergencies.

This cut my income. But life is a compromise. Welcome to reality!

My question is if Carolyn has ever had to confront reality. The problem with Carolyn is not that she worked only part time, but that her work doesn’t qualify her to start back into the workplace at the top.

Putting your name on a couple of books doesn’t give you insight on reality, and working with other rich people funding charities to help their pet poor people  (as opposed to enabling poor people to be rich, nor who ask poor people what they need) doesn’t give you insight into economics, sociology, or the complex problems of poverty.

And leaving your kids with nannies, servants, and private schools doesn’t mean you understand the “problems of ordinary women”who balance jobs with work.

So if Carolyn wants to enter politics, I say let her run for city councilwoman.

Nothing like getting your hands dirty solving real problems of real people with real people to qualify you for higher office.


Nancy Reyes is a retired physician living in the rural Philippines.

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