A Real Housewife of Wisconsin
Rachel Campos-Duffy talks about motherhood at home and on the campaign trail.


Kathryn Jean Lopez

LOPEZ: You and I grew up with the “we girls can do anything” — and everything — mantra. Is part of your motivation with the book to step back and say “let’s be sane about this”? In some ways, is your life a little bit of a fleshing out of what “having it all” means in a responsible sense?

CAMPOS-DUFFY: Yes. I think our generation seeks balance between professional and family life. Thankfully, taking time off to be with your young kids no longer always means the end of your career. However, it will most likely involve redefining what success means.

LOPEZ: You talk about things like “self-validation.” Aren’t there bookshelves full of books on this alone? Why would you find it important to mention? And how do you go about it without being self-indulgent?

CAMPOS-DUFFY: Everyone needs to feel validated. Praise motivates and sustains us. For at-home moms, there is no salary, no raise, and no bonus — not even an “employee of the month” award next to the bathroom door. I think it’s okay to toot your own horn once in a while. For me, writing this book and using it as a platform to elevate motherhood has been empowering, and I hope it’s helped other moms too. If that’s self-indulgent, then so be it!

LOPEZ: You write, “I know that I am in the presence of a real girlfriend when I feel energized and uplifted after being with her. If I feel drained or anxious, I know that it is not a relationship I should expend energy on.” There’s something necessarily liberating about that, isn’t there? And there’s nothing mean or unchristian either, is there? It’s necessary and healthy detachment, isn’t it? And not just for moms?

CAMPOS-DUFFY: Yes, there’s a difference between an emotionally draining person and a person who is genuinely in need. A person in need is not necessarily a drain. In fact, when I serve others through volunteer work or some charitable gesture, I don’t feel drained. I feel great! Not so with an emotionally draining person. Let go of relationships that leave you feeling down, anxious, or even depressed. Stop beating your head against the wall wondering if it’s you. Let it go. You may actually be doing you both a favor by freeing up your lives to find other, more edifying friendships and experiences.