Home / Media / Article




September 20 2019

Rachel Campos Duffy explains why you can have it all; just not all at once

featuring Beverly Hallberg

On this episode of “She Thinks,” Rachel Campos Duffy joins us to talk about the inspiration behind her new book: “Paloma Wants to be Lady Freedom.” She also updates us on pregnancy, the next chapter for her husband Congressman Sean Duffy, and how she’s managed to be a reality TV star, stay-at-home-mom to 9, Fox News contributor and Fox Nation host, and now author—hint: it’s helpful to realize that even if we can’t do everything all at once, we have the freedom in this great country to make different choices as we go through life to make sure we “have it all” by the end.

Beverly H:
And welcome to She Thinks, a podcast where you're allowed to think for yourself. I'm your host Beverly Hallberg. And today we have a very fun episode. Joining us as someone who I actually watched on TV in high school, and someone who many of us watch today, Rachel Campos-Duffy is joining us.

Beverly H:
She is the former cast member on MTV's reality TV series, The Real World: San Francisco. She is a current Fox News contributor and Fox Nation host. She's a recent author of the children's book, Paloma Wants To Be Lady Freedom. We're going to be talking a lot about that today. She is the wife to Congressman Sean Duffy, and mom to nine children, one of whom is about to be born. Baby's on the way. So Rachel, thank you so much for joining us.

Rachel C D:
Thanks for having me on, Beverly. It's really a great privilege to be on your show. Thank you.

Beverly H:
So I first want to ask you how you're feeling. I know that you're close to your due date. How is the baby? How are you? Give us some information on that.

Rachel C D:
Doing well. This is baby number nine, she's due on Halloween. But we'll probably take her out a little early. I'm going to get induced a few weeks early and have her. We're really excited about it. Everyone in the family is just thrilled. She will have a few medical issues, we know she has a couple of holes in her heart. So a few months after birth she'll need some surgery, and we're told she may have some developmental delays as well.

Rachel C D:
But we won't really know until she's born. So we're just kind of waiting to see what God will bring us. But it's been good. I'm in DC right now, and traveling with her inside of my belly, she must be a gymnast because I've been feeling a lot of somersaults going around in my tummy as I'm traveling. So she's definitely alive and kicking, and hopefully doing well.

Beverly H:
Well my sister had a baby boy with four heart defects, and he had open heart surgery three months after he was born. And he is a healthy nine year old boy today, and playing sports, and loves to run and jump. It's really amazing what doctors and medicine can do these days. So we'll, of course, be praying for your baby girl.

Beverly H:
But I want to talk about one of your other daughters, who was an inspiration to this children's book that you've written, you're now an author. And the book is called Paloma Wants To Be Lady Freedom. Tell us a little bit about, first of all, why did you decide to write a children's book, and how did this inspiration come about?

Rachel C D:
Well, I've always loved children's literature. I actually was a TA in grad school for a children's literature class. I've always loved it. In my home, I have a whole section of children's books. And I like them not just because they're enjoyable to read, and there's that bonding with your kid when you're reading a book to them. But also children's books are very formative. I mean, the reader is young, and impressionable, and absorbing so much. And the ideas that are contained in this cute little story are actually very profound. And they're ideas that you don't see often in children's literature these days.

Rachel C D:
The story was inspired, as you mentioned, by my daughter Paloma. When she was four years old, she had her first trip to Washington, DC, like most of my children, to see the US Capital shortly after her dad was elected to Congress. And it was during that trip that she just became mesmerized by our beautiful Capital Dome, and particularly with the statue that sits on top of that dome. And her name is Lady Freedom. It's this giant, bronze, gorgeous statue. If you've never seen it, you can Google it.

Rachel C D:
There's a lot of significance behind it. And I didn't know anything about it. To be honest, I didn't notice it until she kept pointing it out. And when I learned everything I could about Lady Freedom, and tried to feed her curiosity about it, she decided she wanted to be Lady Freedom. And she had amazing questions, she was only four at the time. She wanted to know if she was Lady Freedom. Could she come down sometimes? Would the sword be too heavy? Could her siblings come visit her up there? So she really took it, because of her young age, in a very real sense.

Rachel C D:
But it made me think so much about how many of us, the people, the women who worked for the Independent Women's Forum, or supported people like myself who really are trying to get into the public sphere to try and discuss ideas about freedom, we're all Lady Freedoms. We all want to really protect what's so wonderful about this country. But so many of those things, I think, are under attack and being challenged. And so I thought it was an opportunity to talk about, for once, what unites us as Americans, which are values. But sort of centered on this little cute little story about this little girl who falls in love with the statute on a trip to DC.

Rachel C D:
The other part of the story is inspired and this one is, I sort of added in, is inspired by my mom. And my mother is an immigrant. She became a citizen when I was around the same age as that little girl in the story. And so in the story, the little girl comes to Washington DC because her father wants to celebrate becoming a citizen. And so there's a citizenship angle to this.

Rachel C D:
And I think that was also an important message, because we talk so much about immigration, and I think oftentimes there's a conflation between illegal and legal immigration. As the daughter of a legal immigrant, I think sometimes the stories of citizenship are being lost. And in many ways, the beautiful process of citizenship is being devalued. And so that's something that's sort of tucked in there as well, and offers parents a chance to talk about how you can become an American.

Beverly H:
And for those who are listening, and maybe they don't have children, or they don't go out there and see what the most recent children's books are like, as a mom, and you were saying you wanted an uplifting, positive book about this country, about citizenship even. I love the story about your daughter, and how she had this desire to be Lady Freedom. What type of books do we see out there? So you're providing a contrast, but what are parents finding?

Rachel C D:
So if you go into Barnes and Noble for example, you will see shrines in the children's section, to a lot of very overtly political books. So you'll see Kamala Harris even had the children's book out. The Clinton's mom and daughter both have children's books out. But there's another trend in children's literature, and that is a very hyper focus on diversity.

Rachel C D:
I'm a minority myself, I have no problem with diversity. I think diversity is fine. But diversity is really about what makes us different. And I wanted to write a book about what we all have in common. And I really believe that what we have in common, which is our love of freedom, our love of country, the pursuit of the American dream, this idea of what it means to be an American and why we're so blessed to be, to be born here, or to have the ability to become an American.

Rachel C D:
All of these ideas actually unite us. And we're not talking enough about that. We're not telling our kids stories about why America is so wonderful.

Rachel C D:
The other trend in children's literature is there's a lot of woke, progressive literature that really focuses on what's not right about America. And so, as adults, we're hearing all the time, a lot of complaints about how does divisive politics is in our country, how polemic everything is. And yet we're the adults who aren't providing the basis for what unites us.

Rachel C D:
And I mean, it's not just in children's literature. I think if you, if you have children in school as I do ... I grew up with the idea of the melting pot. Now that's very antiquated. It's the salad bowl, you know. And so I do think that the message that we're all one, and that ideas and values unite us, rather ... I mean, I think that's being lost. And so I wanted to contribute something towards that end in children's literature.

Beverly H:
And what has it been like for your daughter, for you to write this book inspired by her? Has she been thrilled to see it, does she feel like this is her book too?

Rachel C D:
She does, she thinks it's wonderful. And I tried to include the other children. So one of the little ... One of her siblings in the book has the name of another sibling, a daughter of mine named Margarita. What was really wonderful about the book is that I got to work with my kids, I used them as a focus group.

Rachel C D:
One daughter in particular, she's 15, she's sort of in that in-between phase where she's still very childlike, and yet has a really sharp mind because she's a teenager now. And is very good at marketing, which we discovered through this process. But she really helped me to make decisions, and there's suggestions that she made that I think were so invaluable to the book. So it was a great process, even as a mother-daughter with my children, and and in particular with that daughter. I want to do another book with her. I thought it was great.

Beverly H:
So another bug may be on its way, and I do want to let people know, people can of course buy this online, they can buy it at bookstores. So do go out there and get Paloma Wants To Be Lady Freedom. It's a great book to read to your children, about what age range?

Rachel C D:
It's the number one, Beverly...

Beverly H:
Is it number one?

Rachel C D:
Well, it's number one book about America on Amazon.

Beverly H:
Congrats on that. And what age range is best for ... So if you're thinking about children and what ages this book is best for, what is that age range?

Rachel C D:
Well, I have a three year old that loves the book. So I would say between three to 12 years old. Because like I said, in the back there's a glossary of terms. And so you can kind of take from it what you want. I mean, the younger child might just focus on the statue and the Capital. And the illustrations are gorgeous. They're done by Richard Johnson, he's a British artist. He's a colorist above all, and I really wanted this book to pop.

Rachel C D:
So it's beautifully done for the younger reader. But the concept in it can be as engaging and as deep as the child wants to go with the parent. Because there, like I said, there are ideas about ... There's a lot of history in there. You know, she sees Rosa Parks, the statute of Rosa Parks when she's in the Capital, because she ends up getting lost inside the Capital. And she sees the statue of Rosa Parks in Statuary Hall.

Rachel C D:
So there's so much to dig into about our history in there, as well as these ideas about what it means to be an American, and the process of citizenship, and why that's so important. Because when Paloma goes to the Capital, she really can't ... She doesn't see, well, what's the big deal about becoming an American? Which is frankly what I thought.

Rachel C D:
I mean, it was such a no big deal, when my mom became a citizen. I bet my mom would have liked to have had a book like this, so I could start to understand the decision, this really profound decision to give up her former citizenship and become an American. I think it ... And it, by the way, makes great gifts for anyone you know who has an immigrant in their family. I've had a lot of immigrant families come to me and say, thank you for making this book.

Beverly H:
Well, my niece turns three on October 30th, so I'm planning on getting her this book as one of her gifts, I know she's going to love it. She loves to read, loves for her mom to read to her. So she's going to love it. And I think also, something that's really neat about this book is, you talk about your daughter, Paloma, and what she wants to be when she grows up.

Beverly H:
And I'm assuming she looks at you and all that you've accomplished, and even as we listen to you speak I think to myself, "How do you have time to do everything that you're doing?" But so often, people think that women who love America, or want to start businesses and are still conservative, or believe in the free market, that we have to be these very liberal women in order to celebrate women. That's obviously not been your path.

Beverly H:
So what would you just say about your own ideology and the things that you care about and passionate about, and it doesn't fit the mold that feminists often want it to fit?

Rachel C D:
Right. One of the things I love, personally, about being a conservative is that there is a mold, I feel like on the left, for women. And I remember Sheryl Sandberg once did a ... And by the way, I very much admire what she does. But she did a commencement address, where she told girls to put their foot on the gas pedal and never let it go. And that's one way of doing adulthood, motherhood, professional career.

Rachel C D:
I feel like what I love about living in this era as a woman, as a mother, and as a conservative is that we can kind of write our own script. We can have our own definition of happiness and productivity and passion pursuits. And I believe that, for me, I just feel like I was an at home mom for 14 years, but always sort of writing and dabbling in things.

Rachel C D:
And then I decided for financial reasons, and other reasons, that I wanted to get more involved professionally. And I started becoming an advocate for Hispanic economic empowerment with an organization called Believer Initiative, and that led me to Fox. So I just feel like there's so many opportunities for women, at-home motherhood, not the way it used to be thanks to technology and cultural changes.

Rachel C D:
I also think as women, we don't often appreciate how much men have changed, and made our lives easier as well. So it's not just the technology is, I think men are better, and are much more supportive, and much more involved, which allows women to pursue other things. That just, we're living in this really great era where we can do lots of things. And again, I mean, I just think about the process of writing this children's book. So much of it was dependent on my ability to, you know, technology. My ability to communicate with my editor, and my illustrator. And just, we're so blessed. It's such an amazing time.

Rachel C D:
And I think women should be encouraged. If they want to be home, I think it's wonderful. I did it, I loved it. And now I've been blessed with this job at Fox, where I can kind of, sort of be home part of the time.

Beverly H:
And one thing that I think is amazing, like you were saying, you were able to have different chapters in your life. So spending time, 14 years, being stayed-at-home mom, and that didn't mean you could never have a career, or have work, because you didn't continue it. And I think that's such an amazing part of where we are, like you said, with technology, is that it doesn't mean if you don't start the major career when you're 23 and you decide to be a stay at home mom, that doesn't mean that your life is over in the working industry. So I just think it-

Rachel C D:
That's so true, and I just ... Go ahead, I'm sorry. No, go ahead.

Beverly H:
No, you go ahead, please.

Rachel C D:
I was just going to say, that analogy that Sheryl Sandberg gave, of putting your foot on the gas pedal and never letting go, is so not how I see it. I see it more like we're a train, we're on this train, and we can jump on. And guess what, we can jump off, and we can jump back on. And maybe that wasn't possible in the 1970s, or 80's when women first started entering into the workforce in a much more, at a higher level. But it certainly is the case now.

Rachel C D:
I mean, when I decide ... When I have a baby, I'm a little bit off off the grid for a few months. And that's okay in terms of, I can be home, I can still stay connected with the news cycle, with my employers because of satellite. I can go into a five minute hit down the road in my little rural town, which, by the way, when I first started doing TV, I couldn't do that.

Rachel C D:
So things are changing rapidly. And we can jump on, and we can jump off. And I don't think that we have to think of things in that one-track way. It's exactly the way you said, that if you don't start at 23, or if you have a baby at 30, then it's over. It's just not like that anymore. That's so 1970s, and young women today need to hear that message. Because you don't have to make the choice between motherhood and having a professional life, or even just pursuing your passion.

Rachel C D:
I think that the world is sort of conspiring, in a really wonderful way, to allow us to do things, do lots of things. Now, will I ever have Barbara Walters' career? No. Because I ... But I don't want Barbara Walters' career. I think what she does is wonderful, I never wanted to do something at that level, because obviously I wanted to have a family, and I wanted to have kids. And so there are sacrifices and choices to be made, but they're not as stark and as limiting as they used to be.

Beverly H:
Yeah. And I know so many women who work at Independent Women's Forum, they work from home, they have families and they do this juggling. And of course it gets tricky, it's hard sometimes to juggle it all.

Rachel C D:
Yep.

Beverly H:
But do work, and are able to work from home. And I know, personally for me, as someone who has a small business but work from home, I save so much time not having to commute. Being able to just, when I get up, start. So there's so much of a time saver, not having that traditional workplace where you go there from nine to five. And not that there's anything wrong with that of course. But I just think technology, especially for women, have opened up so many opportunities.

Rachel C D:
It's so true. And the other thing that I see happening at Fox ... And by the way, Fox News, I just, I can't even tell you how amazing they have been to me as a mom. And in fact, see my decision to be a mom as an asset to them. And so I think there was a time when people said, "We want a mom, but we don't want your mom problems." One of the wonderful things that happened, I think, over the last 10 years is so many women have risen in the ranks of the company. And as that's happened, they've just made the company so much more family friendly, mom friendly. And so, I just have never felt ... I've had, this is now my third baby that I've had while at Fox, and I have felt nothing but a hundred percent support from the company.

Rachel C D:
The other thing, the trend that's happening as well, and I don't know if you've noticed this Beverly, but I'm seeing more and more stories about it, and frankly it's really close to my heart. Because it has a lot to do with what my husband, the decision my husband is making this week to step down, is that men are starting to really get engaged in the idea of work-life balance, and some of the sacrifices and changes that they can make to their own career. Because they see themselves not just as partners to their wives, that they actually really want to be engaged with their kids and the family.

Rachel C D:
And so I saw, just, first of all, I saw Paul Ryan step down to he wanted to be more with his kids, and sort of said, "Okay, I've missed enough, I'm ready to be more engaged as a parent, and make up for some of that time."

Rachel C D:
But there've been several articles that have come out recently, CEOs, men who are running companies saying, "Listen." There was that one in Chicago, a guy who owned a tech company who said, put a post on Facebook to his employees, "Listen, if you need to do something for your family, I don't have to hear the details. I know that you have a family. Let me know you can't make it that day, I know that we'll have this relationship where you'll make up whatever work you can't do that day."

Rachel C D:
But this idea of people in positions of power in companies and businesses, recognizing that their employees have lives, have families, and developing this work-life structure that gives people the freedom to know that their families are really the most important thing in their lives. And I've just seen more men stepping up, and making these kinds of decisions and choices. Including my own husband, who basically said, "Okay, we've got nine."

Rachel C D:
I mean, it wasn't just because the baby had a heart problem, but he's like, "Okay, this baby might have some other challenges. We have nine kids. We've done as much as we could for eight-and-a-half-years here, but this isn't working for our family anymore. And we've got to find another way to make money that includes that balance." And I have no regrets about his job, or the service he's given the country. But also recognizing that we all have to make choices. Not just women, but the men too.

Beverly H:
And one of the things I think is so fascinating about these choices that people make, and the ability to have more of a balance, and technology allowing us to do so, is that it's never through government mandates. It's through companies realizing they want their employees to be happy, and if the family is healthy, their employee is usually doing a much better job. And this is something that individuals and companies work out with each other. We don't need government always explaining how it needs to be done.

Beverly H:
So I always think that's a really interesting part, and appreciate you sharing about Fox News and how they've been with you. And I just want to end with a final question about your husband. So as you've been saying, he has decided to step down as Congressman, so he's finishing out this week, and is going to be working ... Or, we don't know yet what he's going to be doing. I think there'll be an announcement soon. Maybe he's going to take some time off. But I'm so curious, what did your children say when he told them?

Rachel C D:
So, it was very interesting. Some of them were really ... I have some that love parades, love the whole campaign side of stuff, and were really disappointed. But then I had others, I think, who are just really happy that dad's going to be up more hockey games. so I think that it varies, because every kid is so different. But I don't know what Sean's going to do yet.

Rachel C D:
But part of the reason we knew we were getting to that point where he was going to resign sometime, we have been thinking a lot about it over the last year. And when we found out that the baby was going to need surgery and all this kind of stuff, we just said, "Well we might as well do it where we can have more time with the baby at that moment." So, when the baby's born.

Rachel C D:
And then we'll see what he's going to do after. I'm sure ... Both of us are very opinionated, very much care about public policy and the direction of our country. And we do both believe very deeply that we're in a critical juncture where the direction of the country in terms of socialism and capitalism is really at stake. So I'm certain that whatever he decides, he's still going to be in the fight. We're both still going to be in the fight, because I think there's just so much at stake right now in our country.

Beverly H:
Well, you've had many chapters in your life. This is a new chapter in his, and what I think is great is you guys get excited about the next chapter. And speaking of chapters, people should go out there and get this book. It is called Paloma Wants To Be Lady Freedom. Thank you so much for joining us, Rachel. I look forward to giving it to my niece.

Rachel C D:
Thank you so much. Thanks for having me on. You're a great show. Thank you.

Beverly H:
And thank you all for joining us. Do go out there and pick up Rachel's new book, Paloma Wants To Be Lady Freedom. And remember to check out independent women's forum at iwf.org for all important policy issues.

Beverly H:
I also wanted to let you know of a new great podcast you should subscribe to, in addition to She Thinks of course. It's called Problematic Women, and it's hosted by Kelsey Buller and Lauren Evans, where they both sort through the news to bring stories and interviews that are a particular interest to conservative-leaning or problematic women. That is, women whose views and opinions are often excluded or mocked by those on the so called feminist left. Every Thursday, hear them talk about everything from pop culture to policy and politics, by searching for Problematic Women wherever you get your podcasts.

Beverly H:
Last, if you enjoyed this episode of She Thinks, do you leave us a rating or a review on iTunes, it does help. Also, we'd love it if you shared the news about She Thinks, let your friends know where they can find more episodes. From all of us here at Independent Women's Forum, thanks for listening.


Go Back



Independent Women's Forum is an educational 501(c)(3) dedicated to developing and advancing policies that aren’t just well intended, but actually enhance people’s freedom, choices, and opportunities. IWF is the sister organization of the Independent Women’s Voice.​
Follow us