Everyone knows the saying “it takes a village to raise a child” and Justin Trudeau and his wife, Sophie Gregoire-Trideau, happen to have three. Whereas most would agree that a working parent should ask for help when they feel overwhelmed or are in over their head, some Canadians are getting a little nasty with the internet memes of Sophie Gregoire-Trideau’s request for more administrative help to perform her duties as the Prime Minister’s wife.
Very few things make me more annoyed than when someone goes after a politician’s unelected spouse.
Although the spouse of the Prime Minister of Canada has no official role, she is unofficially expected to be a stay-at-home mom (read: travelling politician’s wife and mother), to work on projects with her husband’s office, and to serve as spokeswoman for numerous charities.
Ms. Gregoire-Trideau’s request for administrative staff is reasonable.
But I am a silver-lining sort of girl so let’s take this opportunity to talk about a very important issue: women’s unpaid work and the extent it is valued by society.
Women still perform a majority of the unpaid work in the home and that isn’t valued.
How does this apply to the role of the Prime Minister’s spouse? In Canada, the Prime Minister’s spouse does not have an official role, or an official title.
But for the sake of women’s unpaid work, something here has to change.
Officially or not, or like it or not, Ms. Trudeau DOES represent Canada on the national stage.
Soccer moms are a sought–after cohort in political elections. Yet little is being done to get them invested in the political party process outside of election season. Whether it be because of long standing institutions or once-upon-a-time biological necessity that shaped these institutions, the female experience is often much different than that of the men.
Political conventions are no exception.
I have been involved in politics my entire adult life. I have attended many political conventions prior to marrying a politician and becoming a mother. However, two weekends ago was the first political convention that I attended as the mom of an active toddler.
There are so many themes in Political Wife Life that non political spouses can identify with!
The 1950’s style family where one parent goes to the office and comes home at 5 p.m. while one parent stays home and runs the house is no longer the norm.
Solo parenting (where the parents are still in a relationship, but one person tends to do a majority of the parenting because the other parent works extremely long hours or is away for an extended period of time) is becoming more common. This has always been a reality for military families and political families.
In her book “Instant Mom,” actress Nia Vardalos (most well known for creating and starring in “My Big Fat Greek Wedding”) talks about coming to terms with the media attention her newly adopted daughter was garnering. Her solution? FACE PAINT! Every time they went in public they painted her daughter, Ilaria’s, face like a cat to provide her some anonymity in her newly famous life.
AG and I had a chance to try out a cute disguise at our most recent event. Thanks to an attendee for sending it in!
“Politicians and diapers must be changed often, and for the same reason.”
Help end child poverty with your political t-shirts. Seriously.
Yes, cloth diapers.
We all have our passions. Michelle Obama’s may be healthy living. Mine is cloth diapers.
I was unsure on how to incorporate my passion for cloth diapers into my blog about being a political wife. But as luck would have it, the very first feedback note I received via the blog was a request for a post about being about cloth diapering.
Haute Couture for Political Babies.
This week is also “Diaper Need Awareness Week.” Did you know 1 in 3 families worry about being able to afford diapers?
M and I are at our best when we are together. We love having our daughter with us as much as possible and (as of now) she prefers to be with us too. Because of our commitment to doing as much together as a family, and the fact that AG is still young, she attends public events and is often photographed.
Before AG was born we discussed and decided that we would allow pictures of her both on social media and in traditional media.
For me, her public presence felt like an “all or nothing” decision and we didn’t want her to have a blanket over her head (a la baby North West) every time we went to a community event. Although we are careful of what pictures we share via social media, AG and I often join M at events and on the campaign trail. Our family events and adventures are shared on our social media accounts.
However, I am not an elected member of any government and (surprise!) neither is my child. So I expect a certain amount of privacy.
I was appalled that M’s office received a question about what school “our children” attended.