Today is International Women’s Day, and I am happy to report that there is no shortage of women around us who are taking the world by storm and breaking barriers — while doing so with the utmost courage and grace.
Meet Kelda Roys, an amazing woman who is running for Governor of Wisconsin. Roys is the owner of a small business she started herself, a former state representative, and a mom of four. And if that wasn’t enough to impress the heck out of you, you’ve got to watch her first campaign video, which was released this week.
In the video, Roys discusses her fantastic track record on standing up for issues that matter to moms like you and me, like the removal of BPA in bottles and sippy cups, which she helped legally ban in Wisconsin. Throughout the video, Roys is seen mingling and interacting with her family: her husband, and two of her daughters (Arcadia, 4, and Avalon, 4 ½ months).
But there is one moment in particular that has got a lot of people talking — and for all the right reasons. Just as Roys is discussing the dangers of BPA and the work she did to get it banned in her state, her cute baby, Avalon, gets fussy and needs to breastfeed. Not missing a beat, Roys puts her daughter to her breast, and then continues talking.
Yup, right there, on camera, like a boss.
What’s amazing about the moment isn’t that it happened. So many of us are expertly balancing parenting and breastfeeding with working. But to see a public figure who is running for major office doing so — totally nonchalantly, I might add — is absolutely refreshing and inspiring.
Roys’ move is a major win in the campaign to #normalizebreastfeeding, and this fact has not been lost on the thousands of mothers who are sharing the video, shouting its praises, and contacting Roys herself with fist pumps and thank yous.
“I just feel so great that women from all around are sending me messages and emails and saying things like, ‘Thank you so much, I watched this while pumping at work,’” Roys tells Babble. “They’re responding because it’s real. It’s authentic.”
Yes, it most certainly is. Breastfeeding, pumping, and caring for our children is just par for the course for so many of us, even while we are at work. Roys shares that the moment caught on camera with her baby was unplanned, and that she often finds herself multi-tasking this way. (Like a total badass, I would add).
Roys tells Babble that she’s always kept busy with issues and causes that she cares about deeply. Besides health and safety issues like BPA in plastics, Roys is passionate about many issues that affect women and families, including healthcare, public schools, the environment, and the economy. Her aim is to bring these issues back to the minds and hearts of real people and families, where they matter most.
“BPA is just one example of how I’ve stood up to big businesses,” Roys tells Babble.
In addition to her two younger daughters, Roys is a proud stepmom to her two older daughters (Erin, 17 and Emily, 14). She was in the Wisconsin state assembly for two years before her younger daughters were born, and started her own real estate company five years ago while pregnant with 4-year-old Arcadia.
In fact, she laughs when she tells Babble that she closed investment rounds for the company on the day she gave birth to Arcadia. Roys really knows how to get things done, for sure!
“What sets me apart from the rest of the field is not that I have a baby, but I have a track record of getting things done, of accomplishing progressive policies for people of this state,” Roys said in an interview with HuffPost.
Roys told HuffPost that although she’s gotten a lot of praise for the beloved breastfeeding moment in her video, she’s also had to endure some hate. But that hasn’t deterred her; not it in the least.
“The story of 2018 isn’t about internet trolls. The story of 2018 is about women rising up,” says Roys.
Can we give this incredible woman a standing ovation? Women truly are the voices of the future — and it’s inspiring to see so many of them running for government offices this year.
Roys tells Babble that she knew she wanted to support women and other progressives running for office in her state this year, but she wasn’t sure how, at first. Soon enough, she was told by more than one person that she should really be the one running for office. And the rest is history.
Roys truly is a champion for families everywhere — and a role model for all of us moms who are kicking butt and taking names each and every day.