For 10+ years, I knew exactly where to find comfort, the bandaid for my hurts. The solution was always in my craft.
Being a News Anchor was my dream come true. I was good at it. No matter what was happening in my life, a deep breath and countdown to showtime helped me escape. It’s like I exhaled all my worries, all my insecurities, all my fears… and inhaled whoever I chose to be. My face was on billboards, buildings, trains (the train promotion was a little weird) and I was important because the television said so.
When I got pregnant with my first son, I imagined myself to be the same glamazon, with a new accessory propped on my hip. To my surprise, when he was born, motherhood slapped me in the face and then laughed. Never in a gazillion years would I have pictured the heart changes ahead.
All of a sudden, the magic in his eyes made the studio lights dim a bit. The hours away started to chip away at my heart.
What am I thinking, I love my career!
I could never walk away…
Mom’s everywhere deal with this guilt…
It’s part of life.
I can’t give up this salary…
We couldn’t survive.
Thoughts of leaving my anchor post doubled and tripled, then consumed my every day, my every moment.
And then my epiphany.
Every mother has a life that is right for them, and it doesn’t need to be the same as the next. I loath the rants that claim one style of motherhood is “better”, ugh. The battle between stay-at-home & working moms is so awful – we’re on the same team, stop it already! Is it crazy to accept that both options are best?
In that critical crossroads after my son was born, I realized that my “right” meant walking away. Walking away from my comfort; walking away from the love that had been so loyal to me throughout the years. Walking away from a comfy paycheck, in exchange for moments I couldn’t afford to miss. Trading my “Working Mom” title (that seems so strong and proactive) for “Mostly-Stay-at-Home Mom” (that seems to have more sedentary implications). And by the way, I say “mostly” because I’m freelancing one day/week on a lifestyle show, which thankfully helps supplement our income, and even though my daily 6 hours as a “host” decreased to a weekly 8 minutes as a “contributor”, my new gig still allows me to flex my talking muscles a bit.
Remind me to write about how crazy it’s been to go from anchoring my own show, to playing a tiny background role. I’ve learned so much about myself (and my ego I didn’t know I had)!
Growing pains are good. Growing pains are good…
As with any breakup, leaving a long-time love has its hard days. But, I made the right choice. Motherhood on my terms, in my season, didn’t include an anchor desk. It didn’t include 40 hours -plus travel time- away from home. And I accepted my calling.
Missing my career isn’t a bad thing. (Why do we feel like we need to constantly defend our choices anyway? Who are we trying to impress?) It’s okay to sacrifice something amazing for something right, and then stumble to find your balance in the aftermath.
And as I’m catching a glimpse of my bare face, wearing who knows what, dreaming up creative ways for my son to experience the joy in everyday, I feel at peace.
Without the “News Anchor” title that I snuggled behind so comfortably, there are days I now struggle to find validation. There are days where confidence is hard to come by. But I’m learning to find my self-worth independent of anyone else. I am “important” because I choose to be. I make that call.
I’m a good mom. And to any mother who works her butt off, inside or outside the home: you’re a good mom too. We may drop the ball, but in between the occasional drop, we’re master jugglers. We make the most of our tiny windows of time, even if it’s spent building a 20-story block tower and reveling in the victory of knocking it down (while in the back of your mind, begging the laundry to do itself). Maybe your tiny window is spent at the office, watching a video from the nanny of your mini-me’s dance party. Maybe it’s watching them sleep, because that’s all the quality time you get today (because you’ve been busy sacrificing your comfort for theirs).
We do what needs to be done, and nobody get’s to question that, unless you let them.
Embrace your choice, Mom. You’re doing the right thing.