In Career, Discussions, Discussions, Life, Parenting, Women

Why do we women accept these “Helper”, “Caregiver” roles for ourselves without questioning it?

This news bit that cropped up in Canada lately about Sophie Gregoire-Trudeau needing help to ‘serve the people’ annoyed me when I heard it.

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1. WE AREN’T A SUPER RICH AND/OR POWERFUL COUNTRY

We are Canadians. I don’t know if anyone has noticed but Canada is not exactly a world leader anywhere. We’re the afterthought and only because we are north of the U.S. and their largest trading partner.

Not only that, we Canadians are teetering on the edge of economic collapse and our debt is soaring to $1.65 of debt for every $1 of DISPOSABLE INCOME.

I’d like to not spend money on superfluous things and see whether we can cut the fat in the government and FIRE PEOPLE (the Senate, anyone?) rather than hiring MORE overhead.

2. SHE HAS NO OBLIGATION TO DO EVERYTHING

Say no.

SAY NO.

You don’t need to go to all of these charities.

They should be helping YOU to go to them to lend your name, your cachet and your prestige to the event to champion the cause.

So if they aren’t paying you to go to them, they should AT LEAST be the ones offering you help in writing speeches, childcare, WHATEVER it takes to get you there.

Even with non-profits, we fall under the false assumption that we should be super altruistic and do it for the good of the charity, but let’s do a quick reality check here and realize that even the members of a charitable organization get paid a salary to run it.

They don’t do it for free if they can’t afford it.

They don’t live off rice and beans, wearing cardboard as clothing so that they can work for that charity, now do they? We don’t expect them to, so why are they expecting Sophie to head over there and help them for free?

Why not ask some random housewife with 3 children in your neighbouring area to help give a speech instead?

Oh.

Riiiiiiiiight.

It’s because she’s the wife of the Prime Minister.

So if that has any value, why don’t you help to do it?

I am 100% certain that Michelle Obama doesn’t say yes to everything.

She picks, chooses, and does what SHE wants to support and help like making sure children eat better food in schools, getting fit and fighting obesity, empowering women, and championing THOSE causes.

Priorities, Sophie. Choose what you stand for in life, and fight for it.

3. WHAT ABOUT OTHER WOMEN?

Plenty of mothers hold down full-time jobs, with zero help with 3+ children & then they come home and are expected to do it all at home too.

I am not putting them on a pedestal and advocating them as paragons of virtue, but a lot of mothers out there do it, for better or for worse, without any help from their partners.

(I am luckily not in that category, mine really helps a lot..)

Let’s not even mention the single mothers who have to do it alone.

Why doesn’t she put that into perspective that she is the role model for Canadian women, and accept that she already has one aide?

I think she already has one aide and TWO nannies to manage her 3 children, and no obligation to work a full-time job to bring in money which is more than what most women have?

That should be more than enough to make sure that she can attend these trips, dinners and events as the wife of the Prime Minister, and that I feel was a necessary expense and completely justified to give her help at home in the form of nannies.

But to demand a full working staff? You’re only married to the man for goodness sake.

4. SHE HAS NO OFFICIAL TITLE OR ROLE EXPECTED OF HER

As the wife of a Prime Minister, she is not the First Lady, like Michelle Obama (FLOTUS) which is an unofficially accepted official title given to the wife of POTUS.

There are no rules, duties, official obligations or anything associated with her position.

She has no need to create her own political or social profile as anyone more than the wife, and because she is trying to be this Yummy Political Mummy, it is why she is being asked to do things like interviews with fashion magazines and so on.

But really, by far and away, my greatest annoyance is directed to this fact:

WOMEN, PLEASE STOP ACCEPTING THE ROLE OF ‘HELPER OF THE SUCCESSFUL ONE

I see and hear this a lot.

“I am helping my husband”, or “I need to run the household so that my husband / partner can succeed”.

Great.

Wonderful.

Go for it.

… but I’d like to draw your attention to the fact that men feel absolutely ZERO OBLIGATION to pigeonhole themselves into the role of “Helper Of The Successful One”.

Look at Hillary and Bill Clinton. Bill Clinton, if Hillary wins and becomes Madame President, will likely become an informal advisor to his wife.

Not a helper.

An informal advisor.

Can we women please willingly stop putting ourselves  into second-class positions and pigeonholing ourselves into supporting second acts rather than being the leader or the actual star by trotting out the Helper argument?

If Sophie really wants to make a difference, become an unofficial advisor to your husband on women’s issues and family issues, and then make it clear you want to run for Prime Ministership after he’s done so that you can clean house.

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Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

Am my own Sugar Daddy. Am a millionaire at 36 after getting out of $60K of student debt in 18 months, a little over a decade earlier, using TheBudgetingTool.com. I have worked 50% of my career (taking 1-2 year breaks), and quadrupled my income within 2 years of graduating, going from $65K to $260K with an average lifetime savings rate of 50%. I have 11 side incomes that are on track in 2020 to make me $50K - $75K. I could retire today if I wanted, but love my work-life balance as a freelancing consultant in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math). I am all about balance - between time and money, and also enjoying my money. I also post daily on Instagram @saverspender.

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8 Comments

  1. raluca

    Re HRC: I actually find really normal about Bill being an advisor. I would totally make my husband my informal advisor. I mean, we could hardly call him the “FMOTUS” right?
    I sort of love this power couple dynamic. My husband is my sounding board, even if I do my own thing and make my own decisions. I mean, I’d rather discuss it with him over dinner and stress the pros and cons of a situation than over a cup of coffee with a girlfriend, mostly because he is my “best” friend. It’s nice to know that you can rely on somebody who, while is more or less impartial in a situation, is most certainly on your side.

    Re Sophie Trudea: Learn to say no is very smart advice. I feel like she’s a bit in her own world, where she would like to do more than be “the wife”, and raise her own profile a bit, but wants to do so on taxpayers money, which, I don’t know, sounds a bit greedy. By all means, do more and be more if you want to, but don’t ask anyone else to pay for it, or if you do, do use GoFundMe first :).

    $1.65 of debt for every $1 of DISPOSABLE INCOME.???? Ouch, Canada, maybe it’s you who really needs that crowdfunding campaign. Or start taxing all those Americans who will move north once Donald Trump gets elected.

    Reply
    1. sherry@savespendsplurge.com

      1. An advisor role made sense to me too. NO shame in asking for help, he WAS a former, very well liked President. I sound things off my partner as well. Not fashion stuff, but everything else.

      2. We don’t have the money. And she is clueless about how Canadians live apparently, because I am seeing a nice comparison to Marie Antoinette emerging.

      3. Yes, to DISPOSABLE income. Then you throw in rock bottom oil prices totally killing Calgary when it used to be a big boom town, the fact that we have zero personal finance literacy across Canada.. or at least only enough to fill a teacup collectively, and the housing bubble that is just getting scarier and scarier…

      These are all problems I’d like her to address with the work she is doing. I don’t want her saying she wants to do it all. I want her to pick a position on something she is PASSIONATE ABOUT like feeding children in a Third World Country (or how about in our country? Lots of people use food banks here. Why? Ask why. Explore.)…. and then really go for it, like Michelle Obama.

      I hate wishy-washy, “I want to do it all but I can’t” … well, yeah, I’d love to make tons of money by working 3 contracts at once, AND have time with Baby Bun, AND have a life, but you know, I can’t. I need help to reach that too.

      Reply
      1. raluca

        “I’d love to make tons of money by working 3 contracts at once, AND have time with Baby Bun, AND have a life, but you know, I can’t. I need help to reach that too.”

        :))))). #jesuissavespendsplurge

        Reply
  2. Taylor Lee @ Yuppie Millennial

    I’m really confused by Sophie Gregoire-Trudeau hate (not from you in particular but just what I’ve seen around the interwebs). At least, south of the border, my understanding is her reaching out for additional caregiving help was, in part, a means to bring into discourse the issue of mothers needing assistance + it not being affordable?

    As an American, I actually find it EXTREMELY weird and off-putting that HRC said she’d put Bill in an informal advisory role. I’m still going to vote for her, mind you, but it reads as, “Hey, men, you liked my husband so vote for me and get 8 more years of him!” which is super distasteful and regressive to me because HRC could stand on her own two feet as an effective politician without touting a former-president husband.

    Reply
    1. sherry@savespendsplurge.com

      1. I think Sophie rubs some of us the wrong way because she doesn’t seem like a strong female role model. To be honest, Michelle Obama would be my ideal. I’d love for her to run for Prime Minister here 😉

      Sophie just seems like a victim but maybe it’s just the way she comes off. She isn’t playing it right and her image is not strong, particularly with this recent whine she had about not having enough staff to support her.

      PM wives have never had more than one aide before and now she’s complaining? She should have phrased it differently like: I can only do so much and I have to choose, as much as I’d like to do it all it is not possible for one person; and leave it at that.

      Instead, it came off as: “I NEED MORE HELP! Help me! I’m drowning in charity balls, dinners and trying to be a Super Mom.”

      Not strong.

      2. No. I don’t believe her reaching out for caregiving help was it. She was asking for another AIDE, not another nanny. They already have two hired nannies to her three children, she was asking for POLITICAL staff to help her answer correspondence, write letters, organize her life, etc.

      And if she really wants to bring the topic of motherhood not being affordable, whining for more help to answer charity letters was NOT THE WAY TO GO. It rubbed even me the wrong way and I am #1 in saying mothers need more help.

      3. I don’t mind that HRC put him in an advisory role or said it, she has to do what it takes to win, and she would be the first female to hold office, so sometimes you need to suck it up.

      Reply
      1. Taylor Lee @ Yuppie Millennial

        Difference in the role of FLOTUS and PM’s wife I guess. If Michelle Obama (or any FLOTUS) asked for an additional aide, I don’t think it’d really be an issue or even mentioned since it’d probably already be in the WH budget.

        Last thought re: Clinton, part of the reason I didn’t like the Bill nod was that, in addition to the oh-hey-look-he’s-my-husband thing, HRC’s biggest weakness this election cycle is being “corrupt” and part of the “establishment” which is being much vilified in the USA atm. Pointing to her former president husband as a not-voted-for advisor kind of gives off a dynastic feel that doesn’t really help her image with sick-of-the-system independents. Bill’s also said some things over the course of her campaign that has really alienated people of color. While I’ll admit he was a popular president, I really feel like his presence forces her to answer to bad policy decisions made 20 years ago (+his affair) and he is actually a liability more than a helping hand for this cycle. tl;dr: In addition to being regressive, having Bill in the campaign/as an “unofficial advisor” is more a liability than an asset to HRC overall.

        Reply
        1. sherry@savespendsplurge.com

          But that’s exactly it.

          FLOTUS has an actual role and the money (questionably) to support the role.

          We have only historically had ONE aide to help the PM’s wife as part of the budget, she has no First Lady title, and we do not have the budget. We are Canada, it is not a country that spends money on image.

          Hmm. Good point. I suppose she is saying that it is a package deal Bill & HRC and she is not denying it for better or for worse.

          Reply

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