Jenny Sanford — The Political Spouse Role Model for My Daughter

Mon, June 29, 2009

Moms & Politics

Personally, I couldn’t care less about the personal “antics” of so many politicians these days. It’s not really important to my life how people like South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford characterizes “adventure travel.”

What does bother me a lot, though, is the money shot we so often see of the wives of philandering politicians — standing by the side of their husbands, trying to show solidarity and the apparently elusive family values that so many of them talk about before they get caught doing something, well, not so family values-like.

Why do I care? Because sooner rather than later, my nine-year-old daughter is going to start watching more news and she’ll see these women who have decided that even though their husbands have done something terrible to them, and to their families, there is still an obligation to stick with them. Personal decisions aside, it just seems that visual is the rule rather than the exception, these days. And the message it sends to our kids is that it’s OK for husbands to wander and that wives will still stick around, regardless of how badly they’ve been betrayed.

That is, until Jenny Sanford.

You had to guess that there was something up with the story of South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford and his quick “decision” to change his trip from the Appalachian Trail to Buenos Aires! When the truth came out, as it always does, it was refreshing not to see his wife at his side, silently condoning what he’d done and the lies he had told.

That’s the example I want my daughter to see. Not that there isn’t a time and place for forgiveness, but I hate it when these Masters of the Universe get caught and we have to see their wives standing next to them, telling the world implicitly that what happened was OK.

Jenny Sanford is the example I want our children to learn from. She’s a strong woman in her own right, apparently gave her husband a chance to make things right when she learned about his affair and when he didn’t, there was no big scene — she just did what she knew she had to do for herself, her children and her own life.

Jenny Sanford was apparently instrumental in making Mark Sanford the political success he is today. According to the Washington Post, when asked about what the South Carolina governor was going to do now without her advice, she responded:

“His career is not a concern of mine. … He’s going to have to worry about that. I’m worried about my family and the character of my children.”

That’s a pretty refreshing response from a political spouse these days. It’s given me hope that in the future there will be space for the aggrieved spouse (’cause you know it’s going to happen again) to choose something other than the “standing by your man” photo op and sending a message that sometimes it’s better to do what’s right for your own life, regardless of the political consequences.

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12 Responses to “Jenny Sanford — The Political Spouse Role Model for My Daughter”

  1. HoneyBearKelly Says:

    I thought I heard somewhere that she's open to reconciling.
    But really, nobody can know what goes on inside a marriage.

    Mrs. Sanford is indeed a good example of how to behave in these types of situations.

  2. Mike Mansfield Says:

    I agree, PunditMom. I always wondered why those other spouses stood by them when it was the politician's shame, not theirs.

  3. Lindsey Says:

    I whole heartedly agree. Whether they rectify their marriage is none of our concern, he made a mistake and he had to own up to it…I appreciate that her first concern was her families privacy, I can't imagine their children googling their names in a few years and seeing her standing next to him. What sort of impression would that make on them? She made a very polite appropriate statement by not standing there…and it involved no additional drama.

  4. Prudence Says:

    Thanks for that post. She is truly an admirable woman.

  5. jodifur Says:

    That's was one of the first things I noticed as well, that she was not standing with him. And I thought, good for her.

    If only she could talk some sense into Elizabeth Edwards.

  6. ClumberKim Says:

    Those sons are lucky to have her as a mother.

  7. Jeni Says:

    Yep! I very much agree with your thinking patterns about Jenny Sandford. Now there is a lady who is truly a strong woman! Unafraid to show her tenets openly.
    I read too somewhere that she is also open to reconciling and I admire her for that as well. Forgiveness can be a really difficult road and many can not deal with that at all; some say they have forgiven but just through up a stone wall and live in a marriage that is actually a fare. At least she is being realistic and looking at the avenues that could be open and then, let the chips fall where they may.

  8. Sharon Says:

    Well said. Thank you for articulating what so many of us have been thinking.

  9. anniegirl1138 Says:

    Isn't she the one who sent the emails to the press? And didn't she know months ago?

    Yea for her, I guess, but why didn't she walk when she found out is what I wonder. There is no "making it right". How do you make infidelity right? It's over and done once "darkness grips" you in the literal sense.

  10. Deb Says:

    Couldn't agree with you more, PunditMom.

  11. Anali Says:

    I agree. I was so happy to NOT see her standing next to him.

  12. xve298 Says:

    Oh Geez get real folks. Having lovers is not new to the universe. Humans have been doing this for thousands of years, What is the problem is the media attention and that fact that these males are such wuss-bags. Worse hypocritical I would vote for a person who say who they are and kiss my ass if you don't like it! One whose words and actions were the same.

    "petite femme" in no ones interest except when elected duties are abandoned. The "wife" is not part of this nor are the children. We as a society was founded on poverty and lack is now affluent big change

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