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Ann Romney aside: stay at home moms and the "mommy wars"

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Tom Gannam/Reuters

(Read caption) Ann Romney recently took to Twitter to defend her role as a stay at home mom; one new volley in the so-called "mommy wars." Here she leaves her husband, presidential hopeful Mitt Romney, on the stage at a recent campaign event for the National Rifle Association.

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Prompted by the “mommy wars” political dustup last week (Democratic strategist Hilary Rosen set off a tempest when she said that stay-at-home mom Ann Romney – wife of presidential hopeful Mitt Romney – had never worked a day in her life) the Pew Research Center sent out a roundup of some of its recent studies related to women, work and motherhood.

The studies are fascinating. And taken together, they seem to show what the Ms. Rosen versus Ms. Romney debate also seemed to suggest: As a society, and as individuals, we’re quite conflicted about the best role for mom.

Nearly three quarters of American adults say “the trend toward more women in the workforce has been a change for the better,” according to the Center. And 62 percent believe that a marriage where both partners have jobs and share the housework is more satisfying than the old separate spheres model of the husband working outside the house and the wife taking care of the home.

(These facts are from two recent Pew reports – “The Generation Gap and the 2012 Election”  from Nov. 2011 and “The Decline of Marriage and Rise of New Families” from Nov. 2010.)

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