Monday, May 16, 2016

A Working Mother's Perspective: A Guest Post

Along with many others, I have been both dismayed and disgusted by the attacks directed at Sophie Gregoire for her wish to have extra staff to handle the many speaking invitations and letters she regularly receives. A woman who obviously cares about the public good, she is being cruelly pilloried for that virtue.

I have refrained from commenting simply because many others already have, and I really don't have anything new to add to the discussion. However, a friend of mine, Jennifer Iachelli, a working mother of young children, wrote the following on her Facebook page. With her permission, I am presenting it here.
I think when Ms. Gregoire-Trudeau asked for extra help, all of us working mothers, somewhere in our brains, whimpered "me too, please!" Some with resentment, others in steadfast support. It doesn't matter if you think the Prime Minister's wife is spoiled, or an overwhelmed working mom. The bigger questions are: Why is the role of the Prime Minister's wife systemically dismissed to the point where she has "no active duties" and it is therefore questionable whether she needs help? Why is the call for help on behalf of working mothers routinely dismissed?

To solve yet another one of these dilemmas of ingrained misogyny (God there are so many these days), let's get creative. Let's assume everyone is right. Families need more affordable daycare. Working mothers need help ploughing through the rough of this near path-less field of 21st century mothering. I mean really. If you saw the day a working mom puts in...I digress. Sophie Gregoire Trudeau needs some staff so she can be present in the moment with her children, and go to all of her charitable events, and be a good role model to all of us, and NOT be drunk by 5 pm everyday.

So what about this: Sophie says to Justin "Baby, (cause you know she does), the thing is, I am a leader too. And I need support. And the fact that all your buddies up on the hill don't even think respectfully of that request, well, it speaks to a larger issue for all us women. And quite frankly, I'm sick of it. So here is what you and your law-writing friends are gonna do. You're gonna write me a bill. Sophie's bill. I get three staff and a written acknowledgment of my role as PM wife, and you put that subsidized national daycare program in place, along with tax-credits for nanny fees. And I don't want to hear anymore shit."


  1. I suspect that at least some of the noise is rooted in envy, Lorne -- pure and simple.

    1. That, and the usual political mischief, Owen.

  2. The concept of a "first lady" is sexist and patriarchical. We should not import that outdated model from the United States. In Canada, the spouse of a prime minister or premier or MP or senator has no official role in Canada, and it should stay that way. When we elect a politician, we do not automatically elect or hire that person's spouse.

  3. The Liberals will not enact a subsidized national daycare program. They campaigned against it, using some twisted logic, arguing that because it would be a universal program, it would somehow benefit the rich more. So instead, the Liberals will help nobody, especially not the working (and want-to-be-working) poor. Are the Liberals going to use the same argument against universal healthcare next?