The recent controversy over Donald Trump ordering a mother to get her crying baby out of one of his rallies got me thinking about when I was a young woman balancing graduate school and motherhood. I was often out in my community with my baby on my hip. And when I had the opportunity to go to a town hall meeting my congressman was hosting, I took my then 18-month-old son Alex along with me. After the town hall ended, I had some more questions to ask. With Alex in my arms, I went up and talked to then-Congressman Tom Carper about the issues our state of Delaware was facing. He suggested I apply for an internship in his office, and that led to a job as a constituent caseworker. This was the beginning of my lifelong career in public service. But if Alex had gotten fussy during that town hall meeting and the leader I had come to hear had shouted at us and kicked us out, my life might look very different today.
True leaders include mothers in conversations about policies that affect them and their families — and they don’t take it personally when those conversations are occasionally punctuated by a crying baby.
of all households with children under 18 include women who are either the primary or co-breadwinners — yet according to the White House, in 2014, the typical woman working full-time earned just 79% of what the typical man working full-time earned. Few mothers can afford to stay home with their young children, but staying in the workforce comes at a high cost, too: The average cost of child care in this country is over $18,000 per child per year, and it’s even higher for infant care. But how can Donald Trump even begin to understand these problems if he can’t tolerate the presence of a fussy baby for just one minute?
There is nothing controversial about mothers of young children continuing to participate fully in community life and in our democracy.