Government Leaders Reflect New Partnership in Family Life

Filed under: In The News


Recently, when my husband and I arrived in Washington, D.C., for congressional freshman orientation week, several national newspapers noted the more casual and hands-on style of this new generation of leaders. One wrote, "Former MTV Star Rep.-elect, Sean Duffy, R-Wisconsin, checked into the hotel in jeans and carried a baby through the lobby."

Upon reading this and other story quotes regarding Sean's hotel arrival, a friend and supporter back home in our district emailed us wondering what other "normal" things the D.C. press would be reporting on?

Jeans aside, there's nothing unusual or special about a dad toting a baby. However, it's probably also true that not too long ago, we wouldn't have seen a young congressman-elect bouncing his 7-month-old on his lap during a semi-formal welcoming dinner inside of the Capitol, as my husband Sean did on our first night in Washington. Equally rare would have been the five male congressional spouses who cheerfully attended the week's spouse events, beaming with pride and jokingly referring to themselves as the "fabulous five." As I talked and got to know my husband's new colleagues and their wives and husbands, one thing was clear: We are not alone in our partnership approach to marriage, family and child care.

From Todd Palin's low-key helpfulness to President Barack Obama's admirable focus on his daughters and family time, we are, indeed, living in a new era. There is no doubt that the midterm election results have set the stage for some serious political battles ahead, but now that the holidays are here, and we're focusing on what we are thankful for, let's at least be grateful for the example of true partnership America's new leaders and public figures, both Republican, Democrat and Independents are giving our nation. We've come a long way.

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