U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi Says Parenting ‘Makes Going To Work Look Easy’

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) is a mainstay in the headlines, most recently due to the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump. Though Pelosi has a monumental amount of political pressure on her shoulders, she’s had plenty of training in preparation of tough situations. As the mom of five kids, the Speaker knows how to take charge.  

U.S. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi | Aurora Samperio/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Married college sweetheart

Married to Paul Pelosi since 1963, whom she met in college, the Speaker makes an effort to leave work behind when she gets home while Paul tends to stay out of his wife’s role in politics. “I’ve made a conscious effort to not be involved or give the appearance of being involved in her political career,” he told The Chronicle in 2004. “People should realize that she’s the one.”

A year after the couple tied the knot, they had their first child. By the end of 1970, they had four daughters and a son – Nancy Corinne, Christine, Jacqueline, Alexandra, and Paul, according to the Washington Post.

Dealing with the daily tasks involved in raising kids, Pelosi managed the day-to-day routine of carpools, laundry, and house cleaning in their home. Yet despite having her hands full with her own brood, her awareness of children living in poverty motivated her to enter the political arena to enforce change. “What took me from the kitchen to Congress was knowing that 1 in 5 children in America lives in poverty,” she said. “I just can’t stand that.”

The power of parenting

Pelosi emphatically credits her experience of parenting five children into adulthood as preparing her for her demanding career today. “I was really forged by my kids… I became so energized and efficient in the use of time and willing to delegate, to the children, responsibilities,” she told the Washington Post in February 2019. “It really shapes you. There’s no question.”

The Speaker aims to bring awareness to society as a whole on how being a parent equips you for almost any job. “That’s one of the hardest things,” she said of raising kids. “Makes going to work look easy, doesn’t it?”

Though her kids are grown now, Pelosi claims she currently gets less sleep than when she had five kids under 7 years old. “But then I didn’t have to get up and get dressed,” she admitted. “Just pull on my jeans, wash my long hair. I didn’t even notice it.”

The political figure encourages mothers to embrace their power as a parent and never to minimize the work and tenacity it takes to be a stay-at-home mom. “Know your own power,” she advised. “Don’t let anybody diminish for one moment the time you spend at home. . .  Because probably nothing is more energizing, purposeful, better to orient you to know how to use time, delegate authority.”

Training ground for today’s political climate

Other moms in politics recognize that parenting equips you with skills like no other training. “You learn a lot as a parent and a mother that is directly applicable to leadership,” Dee Dee Myers, former press secretary for Bill Clinton, told the Washington Post. “Five kids can be relentless. Having five toddlers or preteens or teenagers — all of which she had — really does prepare you for Donald Trump.”

Pat Schroeder, a former congresswoman from Colorado, has seen Pelosi utilize some parenting tactics in how she deals with the President today. “She’s nicely pointing out to him — graciously, with great poise — that no, he’s not in charge 24 hours a day, all by himself,” Schroeder said. “And that isn’t that different than what you do in motherhood.”

Pelosi is quick to spot unnecessary outbursts of anger when dealing with fellow politicians. “I’m the mother of five, grandmother of nine,” Pelosi said. “I know a temper tantrum when I see one.”

Yet parenting has sharpened Pelosi’s diplomacy skills, where she learned to be the peacemaker when disagreements would arise between her five kids. “If we were asking to go on a trip and she didn’t want us to go, she’d say, ‘Tell me why you want to go.’ And then she’d say why she didn’t want us to go,” her daughter Nancy Corinne Prowda shared. “Then she’d say, ‘I’ll let you make the decision.’ It was our choice. It wouldn’t be as much of an ‘I’m telling you not to go.’”

Myers also sees parenting multiple children as having a leg up on attaining consensus in a group, which is a bonus when it comes to politics. “Let’s say you’re trying to get five kids to watch one video,” Myers said. “If you have one who ends up angry or left out, that’s not helpful. . . You try get everybody to an agreement where everybody feels good.”

Having five kids within six years has certainly prepared Pelosi for the high-profile, demanding role she holds today.