It's no secret that parents are the best multitaskers, hands down. But nothing can drive the point home any harder than watching this Wisconsin candidate for governor breastfeed her daughter in a campaign ad. Kelda Roys is a former Wisconsin state representative who appears with her family in a new campaign ad for her bid to become the state's next governor.
Roys is not just a mom randomly taking a shot at the state house, though that would be worth cheering for, too. Before entering political life, she founded and served as CEO for a real estate tech company called OpenHomes. She served as a representative for Madison in the state assembly for four years after winning over six other candidates in 2008. In 2012, she launched a Congressional campaign, but lost to Mark Pocan, another Madison Democrat.
Running for governor as a Democrat is not going to be easy in Wisconsin, a famously red state. According to The Journal Sentinel, a recent poll showed that 92 percent of Wisconsin residents didn't know enough about her to form an opinion. That's probably going to change after this campaign ad. It's just that good.
The 38-year-old has two daughters and two stepdaughters with her husband Dan Reed, according to The Capital Times, a Madison-based news outlet. Her one daughter is 4-months-old and while filming a commercial in which she talks about her work on banning BPA in the state of Wisconsin (the first state to do so), the camera catches her baby start to fuss while Reed holds her.
He does the classic partner move when baby and mom are still nursing — Reed hands the infant over. You see her husband apologize for interrupting his wife and Roys quietly says, "it's OK" as she takes her infant and lifts up her sweater to feed her baby.
Then she keeps on telling the story about how she went door to door and connected with another local mom about how big government and corporations "decide what's best" for people instead of common sense legislators like her who worked to regulate the kind of chemicals in products used by families everywhere.
Feeding her baby and talking politics is not revolutionary — moms are doing it everywhere right this very minute, while figuring out their 10-year-old's math homework. But we rarely get to see it on national television and normalized. It's pretty awesome, whether you live in Wisconsin or not.
The breastfeeding thing wasn't part of the script of the ad, as Roys told HuffPost:
Anybody who’s ever had a baby can tell you that they are unpredictable. I just did what I have been trained by her to do, which is to immediately grab her and feed her, and I just sort of didn’t think about it.
She added in the same HuffPost interview, "When they sent back the video and it was in there, I just said, ’What the heck, this is real life.’ I think, in 2018, people are hungry for candidates who are authentic and speak the truth. I don’t want to have to hide a really important part of myself in order to win an election.”
Roys elaborated in an interview with The Capital Times that being a mom doesn't define her candidacy, but it is part of her. Obviously. She said, "I’m a normal person. I’m a mom, I’m a businesswoman, I’m an advocate." Roys added:
Like most working parents around the state, I juggle a lot of things and responsibilities, and I wear a lot of hats. When we were shooting the video, my family was obviously there, and when the baby needs to eat I just feed her.
A record amount of women are running for all kinds of offices in 2018, according to TIME, and Roys is just one of them. Which means people are going to have to get very used to watching working, even breastfeeding, moms in legislative roles. It's about time.
Check out Romper's new video series, Bearing The Motherload, where disagreeing parents from different sides of an issue sit down with a mediator and talk about how to support (and not judge) each other’s parenting perspectives. New episodes air Mondays on Facebook.