Sophie Grégoire-Trudeau Dishes on Motherhood

Filed under: Babies, Toddlers Preschoolers, Amazing Kids, Amazing Parents

Sophie Grégoire-Trudeau has a lot going on. When she's not relaying the latest entertainment scoop as etalk's Quebec correspondent, she's busy keeping up with her 2-year-old son, Xavier, and 10-month-old daughter, Ella-Grace. She's also the wife of the man most likely to be PM someday, dashing Liberal MP Justin Trudeau, eldest son of the late Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau. ParentDish spoke with Grégoire-Trudeau about not underestimating your children, post-breastfeeding blues and meditation class for the wee ones.

Q: What's the best piece of parenting advice that you have received?

A: To respect their individuality, not to try to mold them into who you are. I remember hearing that from people before I even got pregnant and I thought, it's probably true because it's something you go through as a child, the relationship you have with your parents. My children are completely different from each other. Xavier was a big nine-and-a-half pounder, he's a big teddy bear. Ella-Grace is so quick, she's like a gazelle. And the younger one is totally learning from the older one. It's amazing to see that happening.

Q: What advice would you give a new parent?

A: Not to underestimate your child. They are much wiser, much more compassionate and caring and understanding than you might think. That's not saying to treat them as grown-ups, but their purity of purpose is something we have to learn from. They are so present and conscious in what they do, they're not thinking of a thousand things when they are doing something, compared to how we are. I admire them so much for that.

Q: What is the most challenging part of parenting for you?

A: I find it difficult not having a husband present all the time, he's in politics, so that's not easy. I also find it difficult to be able to find some little time for myself, as I do when I do yoga. And I find it difficult not to feel guilty about taking time for myself, for say, not being with Ella-Grace at the playground each day, you know? But it's necessary to find some time for myself, and I think that mothers should have interaction with other adults as they grow with their children. It's important for the mother, but it's also important for the baby to see their mother with other adults, not to always be in the baby world.

Q: Are there any mistakes you made as a parent along the way?

A: Part of me would have loved to have slept with my babies for the first months. I went against my instincts because I am someone who does not work at all well on lack of sleep, so for me and for my children, I decided it would be better for me to get some more sleep. But part of me regrets it a little bit. And I breastfed both children until six months and sometimes I wish I was still breastfeeding them. It's not a big regret it's just like, (sigh). I felt such a release when I breastfed and I miss that release, that moment of complete connection. You can have it in different ways, but it's not the same.

Q: How did H1N1 affect your family?

A: For some vaccines I'm a little bit hesitant. With H1N1, there are two sides to this. First of all, it's a social responsibility and we have to establish social order and we need to be part of that. And secondly, I have a husband who is in politics and shakes 500 pairs of hands a day, so I couldn't take the risk. I do understand the people who don't want to vaccinate, but I think the majority should. Xavier got very sick before he got his vaccine and to be honest with you, I think he had it. When he got vaccinated he had no reaction, and Ella-Grace had a super-high fever, so I did find that a very stressful situation. When it comes to your kids' health, you lose it a little bit.

Q: Do you think the government is doing enough to support parents?

A: It's never enough when it comes to our children. I think they are doing well but there is room for much more. More help for parental leave, more help for parents who are raising kids alone. The thing with a society that prizes individuality, we grow up in little bubbles, instead of living in a big village.

Sometimes I talk about eduction issues with Justin and there's one thing that I keep coming back to. We don't have lots of moments in our lives to create silence inside us. I am a true believer that all children, starting at a young age, should be exposed to some kind of meditation art, it could be drawing, it could be yoga, I don't know how it could be implemented, but surely it can. We need to create more silence and introspection in our kids so they can grow up to be less stressed individuals who know themselves better. That's major.

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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.