What husbands really think about their wives in the White House

We asked real husbands and dads for their honest answers to Kellyanne Conway’s question of the day.

The White House, north side, Washington D.C. Photo by George Rex

Kellyanne Conway, President-elect Donald Trump’s campaign manager and a married mother of four children, all under 12, made waves today with a comment about the idea of mothers working in the White House. When talking to male colleagues who are familiar with the rigors of working in the White House, Conway says she has asked them “Would you want the mother of your children to [work in the White House?]” And she says that these men told her that they wouldn’t want that for their wives: “You really see their entire visage change. It’s like, oh, no, they wouldn’t want their wife to take that job.”

It’s no wonder this comment has been flying around the Internet with various interpretations. Whether you are irked by her words or understand the parenting sentiment behind them, it’s an interesting question that speaks to differences in family values and priorities, but also in the way we view our relationships. So we decided to ask the question for real. Would you want the mother of your children working in the White House? Here’s what several husbands had to say:

“Here’s my take: if she’s passionate about a position in the White House, who am I to stop her? And if it would mean I could do what I want to do in a freelance capacity—sure!”

-David, 44, married 15 years

“Not at this point because we (not me, actually, but she—very important distinction!) have made a commitment, choice, and sacrifice to having her home for our children. But once the kids are older? Of course!”

-John, 39, married 12 years

“Not really. But for the same reason I wouldn’t want my kids to do it. The grueling work schedule would eek out so much of the rest of life—family or otherwise. It sounds soul-sucking! But of course, this is easy to say since my wife’s dream isn’t to work for the White House. If it were her dream, of course, I’d support it.”

-Greg, 42, married 22 years

“If it was my wife’s passion to work in the White House and if it made economic sense, yes, I would support it.”

-John, 51, married 23 years

“If my wife wanted to work in the White House, she would have my full support. My marriage is based on love and mutual respect, not stereotypes and unilateral expectations. We do what’s best for the family, not any one member. If that mean’s my wife working a hard, stressful job because, ultimately, she’ll be happier and more emotionally healthy and available to her family because of it, then that’s what I want. Family is about quality, not quantity.”

-Alex, 31, married 8 years

“It’s a difficult question. Opportunities for White House gigs don’t come around that often, at least not in our house. And a job at the White House would mean that we’d be able to afford that trip to Disneyworld. But I believe that old cliche: Parenthood is the most important job any of us will ever have. The time we spend with our children is so important, and once that time is gone, you can never, ever get it back. We wouldn’t reject the opportunity outright, but it’d require some serious thought. As a dad, I’d need to be willing and able to take up a lot of the day-to-day parenting duties, and we’d have to figure out ways to carve out enough family time so that the kids won’t feel like they’re being raised by a single father. So many variables go into a question like this. But if the final choice came down to a great career opportunity and the ability to raise a healthy, happy family? We’d go with the family every time.

-Paul, 47, married 26 years

How about your husband? Would he want you working in the White House? Would you want him to?

Caryn Rivadeneira
Caryn Rivadeneira

Caryn Rivadeneira is the author of five books and is a columnist for Her.meneutics and ThinkChristian. She lives outside Chicago with her husband, three kids, and one red-nose pit bull. Visit her at carynrivadeneira.com.

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