So I read an article recently titled “It’s Almost Impossible to Be a Mom in Television News”, and it sparked many thoughts and a few conversations. Too many thoughts in my head can be a dangerous thing, so I decided to let them out here 😉
First off, the article was thoughtfully and candidly written by a woman named Julianna Goldman, a former CBS News correspondent and 15-year television news veteran. She documented her struggle—along with the struggles of more than a dozen of her contemporaries—who have been exposed to similar circumstances in terms of work-life balance.
I know, the title is TV news–and there is nothing newsy about me–but I felt TV sports was pretty interchangeable in this case. After I read the article, I sent out the tweet below, about my own experience as a working mom. (Don’t ask about the Santa hat in my profile pic…it’s a long story 😉
The next day, I got an email from a woman in Missouri who saw the tweet and wanted to know what it was about the Rangers organization that made this mom-reporter juggling act not only manageable but massively rewarding. She is preparing to leave a job she has excelled at for a number of years because she feels the same struggles Julianna Goldman felt before she left her job at CBS (Goldman ended up leaving CBS, in case you didn’t read her article).
Now back to the woman in Missouri. I didn’t know how to answer her question. I told her I couldn’t really type it, but I’d be happy to talk to her over the phone. I gave her my number. She didn’t call. And I felt like an asshole. Here she was reaching out to me for a little woman on woman support, and I fell short.
Quick aside—when I was just starting out in this crazy business, I reached out to a number of women who I respected and admired, seeking guidance, direction, tips…basically anything that would help me get to where they were. Some were more than gracious, others not so much. I made a promise to myself then that if I was ever in a position where if anyone thought highly enough of me to ask my advice, the least I could do was offer it up.
Ok, now really, let’s get back on track. After I got the email and told the lady in Missouri to call me and she didn’t and I felt like an asshole (stay with me), I ran into a woman I respect tremendously on a morning jaunt to Starbucks. She commented on my tweet and the article that prompted it. She’s had a successful career in the banking industry. She’s helped raise two sons. And she is one of only two of her friends who is still working 40 years later. My point is—that exchange wanted me to identify even more what it is that has kept me in the game for the last 20 years, and in particular, what has kept me coming back to my current job with the Rangers.
This will be my sixth season working exclusively for the team. I’ve covered the Rangers closely since 2008, when I worked for Fox Sports Southwest. But baseball is the only job this working mom—and her family (sorry about the third person)—have ever known. There have been times I’ve thought about walking away, thinking it was too much of a burden for my family to bear. Too many nights away. Too many sporting events and bedtime stories missed. But I keep coming back. And not because I have to, but because I want to. I don’t feel guilt when I go to work. I feel gratitude. I’m thankful for a ridiculous job that I have equal parts worked my ass off for and lucked myself into.
Don’t get me wrong, the guilt was there early on in this whole motherhood thing, but I can honestly say it’s pretty minimal at this point. I mean, Henry is 7 and Hattie is 5…they can pretty much survive on their own. Kidding again. But, the reason the guilt is virtually gone is two-fold. My family (this includes my support system) values me. And the Rangers value my family. Not just my family, but just family. Does that even make sense? Please say yes.
I made mention in that tweet about the Rangers helping my transition to working mom was a seamless one, but what I didn’t mention was how they’ve followed up on it. How they’ve gone out of their way to make sure my schedule is structured in a way that allows me to be as present as much as possible in my kids’ lives during the chaos of a Major League Baseball season. How they allow me to take an unscheduled personal day when I haven’t put my kids to bed in three weeks. How they encourage me to bring my kids to Spring Training, and let them post up on their iPads in the lobby while I do interviews (don’t judge).
I realize every business, every organization, every job is different. I’m not saying these things should only apply to working moms. And don’t even try to come at me with the “what about working dads” argument. I was raised by a man, so I know that dynamic first hand. It’s different for moms. It just is. Deal with it. What I’m saying is, if an employer values you, they should also value what makes you valuable.
I’m dumb enough to think the Rangers kind of dig how much I care about our team and our players and our fan base…so why would they expect me to feel any differently about my family? They don’t. I mean, I haven’t asked them, but I’m assuming 😉
So many women feel “torn” in the role they’re in. They feel they should be home more if they’re working. They want to be more than just “mom” if they stay home. Bottom line, shit ain’t easy on either side. Make sure you’re valued wherever you are.