Tuesday, February 7, 2023

Rep. Jimmy Gomez Set to Normalize Dads While Casting House Vote With his Baby

While waiting on the House vote on Tuesday, Rep. Jimmy Gomez, having already served three terms, says the “chaos” of Washington politics is nothing new.

“I have my wife, mom, siblings, their spouses, my baby, my niece and my two nephews (with me),” Gomez tells TODAY.com. “I think their heads are spinning.”

Armed with enough diapers, wipes, bottles, and his trusty baby-wearing sling that allows Hodge to smile at Gomez’s colleagues, Gomez felt confident about keeping Hodge happy.

Unfortunately, things for Hodge did not go as planned. “He had a diaper blowout,” Gomez says, laughing. “I had to go and change him. Luckily there’s a men’s bathroom right across the hall from my office.”

Gomez’s office is in the Cannon House Office building on Capitol Hill, and all restrooms have baby-changing stations installed in them, so Gomez was well prepared. “He was probably the first baby to be changed on it,” he adds. “But that took another 30 minutes.”

Gomez joked they were “burning time” while awaiting the Republicans’ vote for the House. Gomez claims, “For me, it was a special day as a father and as an American.”

Despite the uncompromising mealtimes and diaper blowouts, Gomez says it was vital that his son be present as the congressman cast his vote for House minority leader for Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, D.-N.Y. — the first Black man to secure the position.

“On behalf of my son, Hodge, and all the working families who need an expanded Child Tax Credit, I cast my vote for Hakeem Jeffries,” Gomez said, followed by applause from his Democratic colleagues.

Gomez’s parents and siblings are from Mexico, and in one generation, his family has seen a child of immigrants serve as a member of Congress. It was also crucial to Gomez to not only show representation for working families but working fathers, as well.

According to the Pew Research Center, more than half of two working-parent households report that moms take on more of the childcare responsibilities. The pandemic exacerbated the inequitable division of labor — in an October 2020 survey by Pew, 74% of working moms said they did more childrearing than their spouse or partner.

Gomez says it was important for him to dispel the myth that parenting is “women’s work,” especially as a member of the Latino community where the “machismo” culture is still prevalent.

“I think our culture is changing and evolving,” he explains. “I’ve seen it with my own eyes and also within my own family. I mean, babywearing is cool now!”

NBC News