Female politicians often get asked about how they maneuver between the demands of motherhood and their job. So when I got the opportunity to interview Justin Trudeau, the prime minister of Canada, I decided to ask him a question high-powered women get all the time: How do you balance work and family?
Trudeau's answer was simple yet powerful. He discussed how his own father, when he was prime minister, brought him and his brothers on trips, and how he uses that as a model. "Being able to bring [my kids] with me on trips when I can is really important. My dad did that with us," Trudeau, who has two sons and a daughter, said. "He'd bring us with him, one of us with him when he would go on overseas trips, and we got to see the world and engage and mostly got to spend good quality time with our dad."
But Trudeau doesn't just make his children a priority in his personal life — he also incorporates them into his work life, an unconventional choice for a head of state. Fatherhood is not only important for his family; according to him, it also drives his responsibilities as prime minister. "I'm in politics not in spite of the fact that I have kids, but because of the fact that I have kids, and they keep me really grounded in, 'Well, am I doing things that are meaningful, or am I just sort of playing the game?'" he said.
Although Trudeau says he's not allowed to completely turn off his BlackBerry, he makes sure that when he's home, he's really there. "I take time to work and I take time to play with them," he said. "Similar with [my wife] Sophie, where I have time where I'm working and time where I'm just the goofy husband."
Perhaps it's time we add "goofy husband and father" as an important part of the mandate for every male head of state.
Wouldn't that be revolutionary.