I woke up at 5 a.m. today. Before 6 a.m. I had breast-fed my 3-month-old baby, changed two very poopy diapers, eaten breakfast, and started a load of laundry. By 9, I had been at my desk for an hour, sent several emails, edited a story, read the morning news, and pumped three ounces of breast milk. I've been back at work fewer than 10 days, and I'm already very aware of the precarious dance mothers do to balance their careers and their family lives. It's exhausting. But it's also exhilarating. I marvel at just how much I'm able to get done. It's a fact that working mothers are among the most efficient employees, especially when we have supportive workplaces. And I'm surrounded by plenty of women who exemplify this. We won't be told there's something we can't do just because we have kids at home.
And yet, there are always naysayers who put doubts into our heads. It's probably not surprising that one of these loud voices is a member of President-elect Donald Trump's inner circle. Kellyanne Conway, Trump's campaign manager, is a working mother. No doubt she's spent much of the last year away from her kids as she helped Trump get elected. And now, she could likely have her choice of jobs in his new administration. Except she doesn't believe that's a place for moms.
“My children are 12, 12, 8, and 7, which is bad idea, bad idea, bad idea, bad idea for mom going inside [the White House],” Conway told the audience at Politico’s Women Rule event, New York reports. “They have to come first, and those are very fraught ages.”
It's totally fine if Conway wants to make her children her top priority right now. Every working parent has to make the right decisions for their own family, and plenty of men and women have stepped away from high-powered positions in D.C. because of family concerns. But it seems as if Conway doesn't think that any mother should be working in the White House. When talking with potential male cabinet appointees, she asks them to consider how they would feel if their spouse took the role:
"I do politely mention to them that the question isn't, 'Would you take the job?' but 'Would you want your wife to?' And you really see their entire visage change. It's like oh, no, they wouldn't want their wife to take that job."
Conway assured the audience that the Trump administration would welcome all women. She even went so far as to say that it's a great time to be a woman in America. It's hard not to roll your eyes when you hear such statements, just thinking back on the all the misogynistic bullshit Trump has spewed during the campaign alone. The president-elect has never changed a diaper; he thinks breast-pumping is disgusting. He's completely out of touch with the realities facing working mothers — namely that pumping, and diapers, and early mornings are just parts of our day, not insurmountable challenges that should take us out of the work force. So maybe it makes sense that Conway doesn't want a job in the White House and is discouraging other working moms from taking on the challenge. She's already well aware that it won't be a family-friendly environment.