Yes, that picture is of me holding hands with the Dalai Lama. I was reporting on his visit to Tucson, Arizona and we shared a laugh. It was a moment I will always remember. But after more than a decade in television news, I traded in my microphone and breaking news for a better life for my family. It was one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever made.
I’ve always loved writing and it didn’t take long in college for me to fall into broadcasting and fall in love with my career. I started as an intern at a local television station while in college. I still remember the first day I job-shadowed a reporter. There was breaking news. An explosion had rattled downtown Kansas City. I jumped into my first of thousands of rides in a live truck and felt the rush of excitement and energy as we headed to a story unfolding by the minute. And from that day, there was no looking back.
I attended the University of Missouri School of Journalism to get my degree in broadcast journalism. I got my first anchoring and reporting job at the local NBC station, where I worked as a morning anchor. This was a life that I loved, doing a job I felt born to do. I went on to work in anchoring and reporting jobs in several other television markets before landing a job in my hometown of Kansas City. I loved my job and my colleagues. My husband and I were home and excited to start a family.
After several years of struggling with loss and infertility (more on that in a separate blog post), we finally had our miracle. I was exhausted but felt like I had it all. I had a beautiful family and a job I loved in a city I loved. I somehow juggled it all. Looking back now, I have no idea how I did it. And to all my mom friends still in the television business, I’m truly in awe. I worked Wednesday through Sunday from 2 a.m. to 10 a.m., though the news doesn’t end at 10 a.m. and my shifts rarely did. I was blessed to have family help with the boys from the time my husband went to work to when I arrived home around noon or later. I would soak up time with my babies and pray for a good nap. Of course two kids, 22 months apart, don’t always get the nap memo and rarely want to nap at the same time. I powered through with LOTS of coffee but more importantly, I loved my life. I felt I had the perfect balance of a job I loved and yet I didn’t have to miss out on life with my kids by being at work all day. I was basically a working mom and a stay-at-home mom.
Then, life caught up to me. Sleep deprivation caught up to me. I was still nursing and wanted to hold onto that as long as I could. I woke at 12:30 a.m. to nurse my youngest, get myself ready and drive 30 minutes to work to arrive by 2 a.m. Dry shampoo and coffee became my new best friends. I pumped on the way to work. In the dark. I did live reports and anchored the morning news, pumping in the news van on the way to breaking news. Thank heavens I worked with amazing people. I loved on my babies all day. By evening, I counted the minutes until my husband would get home so I could get some sleep. He works very long hours and often would not arrive home until after the kids were in bed. I would grab 3-4 hours of sleep and then do it all over again.
And then, I got a phone call about a job in Public Relations in the school district where my children would attend school. I was not job hunting but the call was intriguing. Normal hours. The same schedule that my children would have once in school. It was a career move I had not considered. I never saw myself leaving television news. I loved my career and felt it was who I am. But I knew this new opportunity would continue to allow me to write, tell stories and make a positive impact on our community. And while it was an extremely hard decision, I knew it was the right one. And with that, my adventures in mom life took me from television news to terrible twos.