Stars: They’re Just Like Us! (Trudeau Edition)
They get shamed for acknowledging they might sometimes need a little help trying to balance the demands of being a public figure and a mother to three young children!
While Justin Trudeau — Canada’s panda-cuddling, restorer-of-peace PM — has remained fairly untouchable in the media, his wife, Sophie Grégoire-Trudeau, hasn’t fared quite as well.
Almost as soon as her husband took office, Grégoire-Trudeau was criticized for having the audacity to request the services of two nannies, rather than the one she was initially provided. Why couldn’t she stay home and take care of her own kids? men everywhere wondered. Was something wrong with her legs?
It gets better (worse?): in the last week, Grégoire-Trudeau has stepped in it once again, by intimating in an interview that the demands placed on her by the public may require that she hire more than one assistant.
In an interview with French-language newspaper Le Soleil, Sophie Grégoire-Trudeau made a critical error for a woman in power: She asked for help.
She said she was overwhelmed by the sheer volume of requests for public appearances and involvement in projects and charities, and having one assistant was not sufficient to deal with the demands on her time. “I have three children at home and a husband who is prime minister,” she told the newspaper. “I need help. I need a team to help me serve people.”
Le shock! Le horreur! Critics pounced, calling her “out of touch” and “a princess,” and the hashtag #prayforsophie emerged on Twitter, where all broad-minded folks congregate, to lambast the First Lady for her lamentations.
Yes, certainly, Grégoire-Trudeau’s life — by which I mean solely her financial circumstances — is “easier” than most, and her struggles pale in comparison to those of a single working mother raising three children without the support of staff or government resources.
Which is, of course, exactly why she should use her platform to talk about how difficult it actually is: how difficult to be a working mother in a day and age when we still criticize women for having the audacity to ask for help; to build the emotional and mental capacity necessary to be a present and supportive parent and partner; and to harness what energy is left to contribute positively to society — in Grégoire-Trudeau’s case, to use her impressive resources in the service of causes important to her and to all Canadians.
By speaking openly about the challenges she faces as a working mother of three, she spurs a necessary conversation about the enormous strain on working families, lets other women know it’s okay to speak up when they need help and could even inspire demand for better resources and infrastructure. Just because she has financial resources doesn’t mean she’s immune to the intense stress a job or family circumstances can bring.
Turns out it’s not all fancy dress dinners with Michelle: not even being married to the most popular man in Canada will save you from regressive, patriarchal bullshit.
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