Fox News' Rachel Campos-Duffy on Raising 8 Children in Today's 'Aggressive Political Environment'
Rachel Campos-Duffy may be a married mother of eight and a regular Fox News Channel contributor, but the TV personality is quick to admit that she “can’t do everything.”
“In terms of doing it all, I don’t do it all,” she tells PEOPLE.
“I think the advantage of having eight kids is that, first of all, it was harder for me when I had my first child. I think the first child is absolutely the hardest,” shares Campos-Duffy, 47, whose oldest and youngest share a 17-year age gap. “And a lot of times, first-time moms look at me and they’re like, ‘Oh my God.’ And I always remind them that my first child was the hardest, because it’s such a change.”
“You lose your freedom, you don’t know what you’re doing, you have so many more questions about how it works,” she continues. “And what happens when you have a lot more kids is you gain more confidence, you figure out what’s necessary, what’s not, and you learn to manage your time better as a mom with kids who are over the age of 10.”
Over the course of their nearly 20-year marriage, Campos-Duffy and her politician husband Sean Duffy — both appeared on MTV’s Real World and wed in 1999 — have welcomed eight children together: Evita, 19, Jack, 17, Lucia-Belén, 14, John-Paul, 12, Paloma, 10, Maria-Victoria, 8, Margarita, 4, and Patrick, 2.
So how does she prioritize her work commitments while running the family’s lively household? Campos-Duffy says she’s quick to “do a lot of delegating” — and that their “family works like a company — we all contribute.”
“There are a lot of blessings from being a big family, but there’s also a lot more work. My kids understand that we are a team and we have to work together, so I don’t do it all by myself. I have an incredibly wonderful woman who helps with the babysitting when I travel; my husband is an amazing partner,” she says of Duffy, 47.
As they approaches their milestone 20-year wedding anniversary, which they’ll celebrate in 2019, Campos-Duffy credits an outside influence to the couple’s happy marriage: their shared faith, which has been “a very grounding force.”
“It has always brought us back and centered us, and it gives us sort of like a guidebook as to how to live and how to raise kids. I always say that my motto when it comes to children is: My job is not to get you into Harvard, it’s to get you to heaven. And by the way, that’s my goal for my marriage as well. I want to go to heaven and I want Sean to be with me,” says Campos-Duffy, who is a devout Catholic. “You kind of distill everything down to what is really the most basic thing: that we all can live lives that are good and holy and get us to heaven. And so if we can do that, a lot of other stuff that we stress about, it gets put into perspective.”
When young women ask about the secret to her successful relationship, Campos-Duffy says she advises them to choose a supportive life partner like Duffy.
“I always give the opposite advice of all the feminists: I say you must get your education or decide what you want to do in that regard, but then get your love life in order. Because if you have that support system, I’ve always felt like that has been the key to my success — having a great partner,” says Campos-Duffy.
In addition to relying on their faith, the couple openly discusses controversial topics and engage their children in the conversations.
“When I grew up, my family talked about all the things that they say you’re not supposed to talk about at the dinner table,” she says. “We all talked about religion and politics. And so in my family, we’re kind of the same. Our kids are obviously in a hyper-political environment — their dad is a congressman, their mom’s a Fox News personality.”
While she admits that her “kids don’t agree with every position that me and my husband take,” she views it as a positive sign and encourages them “to ask questions.”
“I think that in this country, if we’re going to learn political tolerance, it has to start in your families,” she says.
On Tuesday, Fox News launched its subscription-based digital streaming service Fox Nation, featuring daily short and long-form programs with content from some of the network’s biggest stars, including Sean Hannity, Tucker Carlson, Laura Ingraham and Brit Hume.
Among the new programs is Moms, a monthly program hosted by Campos-Duffy that will shine the light on what motherhood and family life looks like for women across the country.
“I want to talk to all kinds of different groups of women who are mothers and get their perspective on current events and family life and home life. I think that there are so many incredibly intelligent women out there and I want to make sure that we’re really highlighting them and focusing on getting to understand that. The only other show that I know that does this is The Real Housewives,” she says with a laugh, “which is quite the opposite. In a way, it is a little window.”
She explains of the program, “I think by having conversations instead of feeling so alienated from each other, hopefully we can see our common humanity and our common desire to do what’s right by our families and our kids.”
On an upcoming episode of the talk show, Campos-Duffy will sit down with spouses of politicians to discuss the current political environment and navigating those conversations with one’s children.
“We’re going to talk about the midterms, but also just what it’s like to be a political spouse and a mom and what kinds of concerns we have in this really hyper-political — but also kind of aggressive political — environment that we’re in right now. And also, how do we explain that to kids?” she shares.
Reflecting on the 2018 midterms, Campos-Duffy was admittedly saddened by the negativity that circulated amongst families during the election cycle.
“I keep hearing from families who are unfriending each other on Facebook over politics, or are not speaking to one another, and I think it’s really sad because obviously family is more important than politics,” she says.
To help bridge the divide, Campos-Duffy believes that there needs to be a reorganizing of priorities, with politics moving down the list.
“I think there’s a real hunger for people to find civility in politics again,” says the Fox Nation host. “The most important thing is God and family, and if we can put those things first, politics actually takes on the proper role that it should have in society. It shouldn’t be the no. 1 thing we judge people by or decide who our friends are going to be based on.”