Being a Public Servant vs. Being Mother: A Series


By Vasuki Thillainadarajah @YmmyMmmy

An Opinion Piece

Vasuki is a single mother of a five-year-old and also works full-time.


Week 2:       Lead, Follow or Get out of My Way: Being a public servant vs. being mother


A recent article on Urban Compass, offered an interesting perspective of a young woman speaking up to save her library.   Others who were present made sure through all available social media forums to share visibility to her account.  Complete strangers, who knew nothing of Anika, stood up to cheer her; painfully awkward yet courageous in her defence of her public library as more than “gravy”.  She made an impact on me that early morning, simply because she showed up.


Though I terribly wanted to be there, such things were not possible between juggling full-time work and my more important job of being a mom.  Having an afternoon free to go to the park with my little boy was a joy.  It was a monumental task to stick to his soccer schedules, and thankfully his father took over his karate classes.  My son didn’t realize that his best friend “mom “ – was taking some of his childhood away due to the daily chores and day-to-day mandatory “mom” tasks.  For a little while, I even hired a cleaner to clean the house, as a way to free up some time, an always costly decision for a single mother.


We all know mothers, even single mothers, can be successful in politics.   This public knowledge hasn’t changed much in the minds of people about “moms”.  A female MP breast-feeding while parliament was in session is considered newsworthy.  Attending meetings and debates with my infant son in a carrier, arms heavy with diaper bags, was definitely not an awe inspiring sight.

There were many “justified” reasons when I declined to be a candidate.  I was a single mother of a very small child; my son was just barely a year old.  I did not have a support system to allow me the time to attend the riding association meetings.  Slowly but steadily, I had to back out of a lot of my commitments or limit them severely.  My friend, who was a mother of two, in last year’s provincial election, struggled to keep the schedule of the campaign with a loving husband at home and surrounded by family and friends.



A lot of that changed with an addition to our family.  Not too long ago, and to my utter delight, I found myself no longer single.  Meeting Mr. Right has also brought up a lot of discussions and other priorities into my life.  One of which is the desire to be married, to have more children. Ironically, he’s one of my strongest voices urging me and motivating me on “re-joining the race”.


Things have definitely improved with a companion, and I definitely get more time with my little man.  There are visits to the parks, picnics, soccer games, karate practices and day trips. These are now part of my regular day.  I am no longer panicked to let my son play in the front yard because there’s no one to keep an eye on him.  And most importantly, daily dinners at the table where everyone talks and enjoys their time, sometimes followed by a game or two of Dominoes. Bed time stories and songs are a way for me to unwind now, rather than a chore to be done before that glass of wine.  My day ends with stimulating adult conversation rather than exhaustion.  The next day begins with the aroma of coffee in the air and very warm “good morning”s.


Having struggled for so long to find the comfort and benefit of a family structure, why would I now want to sacrifice my time with them, and ask the same of them, to pursue a life in politics? This chapter is not written. Adding value to the greater community may be coming.


I have no realistic view of life as a public servant, just glimpses.  The journey there in itself is an arduous task.  Will it be fulfilling one for me?  Most definitely!  Are the sacrifices worth the outcome?  Now that’s the question, isn’t it?


The views expressed here are those of the author only and do not reflect the opinion of

Next chapter:  Connecting with your voters

Did you miss Vasuki’s previous post in this series? Click here for Week 1.



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