My first official reporter job…at AM 1230 WJBC in 1999.

My first journalism job as a reporter at AM-1230 WJBC

I’ve always loved the news. Everything about it. The newspaper in the morning with a cup of coffee, national tv anchors and their hair, hourly radio updates from ABC News. I thought I would eventually end up as one of them.

There was even a time in my life (when I worked in news radio) that I set the clock in my car to hit :00 (the top of the hour in the biz) as soon as I heard the ABC News sounder signaling the hourly news update. I know, it’s pretty extreme.

Oh how my life has changed since becoming a stay at home mom. Last night, it hit me as I sat in my comfy maternity mumu on my couch, ready for a riveting Saturday night. I struck a deal with my husband, Greg, to give Emily a bath, read her required 4-5 books, and put her to bed…so I could watch the White House Correspondents dinner on C-SPAN.

I always thought that someday I would be one of the reporters attending this event. To take a break from the busy White House Press Corp and wear a designer gown and hob-nob with Senators, Celebrities, and The President. Instead, I live in the DC Metro area…just 20 minutes away from the festivities, but I’m not involved. I’m not a journalist like I thought I’d be…I’m a stay at home mom.

As I sipped my Peach Iced Tea (latest pregnancy craving) and settled in to watch the red carpet arrivals. I saw Martha Stewart, Colin Powell, Pamela Anderson, and Perez Hilton. What a combination! I began to picture myself in the crowd. What would I wear? Who would I sit by? What would the topic of conversation be at my table? The Global Food Crisis? The never-ending Democratic Presidential Primary? I doubted there would be any conversation about potty training or toddler sleeping struggles. It sounded like heaven.

After the red carpet arrivals finished, the opening festivities began complete with the Marine Corps band playing “Hail To The Chief”…and Emily came downstairs in her pj’s escaping from Daddy to march to the music…she LOVES the drums. That was the highlight of the evening for me.

Next…the seating of the President and First Lady and opening announcements…and I started to yawn. As the organizer of the event started speaking about scholarship announcements for journalism students she scolded the celebrity packed audience to stop talking and be quiet. They were paying no attention to her. I found it funny…than annoying at her insistence that everyone be quiet…than I just found it boring.

It was no different than a typical office party dinner where the conversation at the table is much more interesting than the mundane announcements made from the head table. Even when the head table included The President, the evening’s entertainment, Craig Ferguson, and the nation’s top journalists. It had just begun…and I was completely uninterested and already bored. The hotel ballroom seemed common and plain. The kind of ballroom where dry chicken with a side of veggies is served for the main course.

A glimpse of what my life could have been, turned wasn’t that great.  I realized I wasn’t missing anything! In fact, if I had continued on the path in my life that I started in college studying broadcast journalism, I would have missed everything that has given me joy and inspiration in my life. My husband, my daughter, and my unborn child to come.

If I had focused solely on my career I probably would be working in local news exagerating about the shocking horrors of the day. I can’t even stand to watch local news now, I laugh at their BREAKING NEWS graphics used for everyday traffic jams and weather gimmicks. (Houston friends: remember Channel 2’s Radar the weather dog and the dog walking forecast…UGH!) Oh and the over the top names they come up with for their doppler radar equipment. My favorite: Fox Rad Storm Seeker…with Super Sweep mode. HA HA!

Thankfully, my life took an amazing turn that I hadn’t expected. I got married at 22, at 30 had my first child, and quit my radio job when they removed their family friendly flexible work hours. THANK YOU! Now instead of working too many late hours and too many early hours away from home…I work too many late hours and early hours in my home. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

I don’t miss any part of my child’s development.  I get to play tea party, put diapers on Elmo, enjoy the wonderment of a cardinal with my 2 year old while on a walk, and sing made up songs in the car on the way to the grocery store.  I teach her how to count to 10 and sing the alphabet.  I’m the only one that can make her “all better” when she bumps her head and gets an “owie”….just with my kiss. I get to encourage her and teach her how to grow up to be a loving and respectful young woman. No one else. Me. Because I’m the mom…and I take it more seriously than a career in journalism. 

It was all summed up on Monday when I was pushing Emily on the swing and she stated; “Daddy buh-bye at work….Mommy stay home with Emmie.” Thank you God, for changing our plans.  Forgive me for ever protesting and thinking that my plans were better. 

Maybe someday later Mommy will get invited to the White House Correspondents dinner, talk over the announcements, be bored, and eat dry chicken.  For now, Mommy will stay home with Emmie and learn about deep love, commitment, stability, and experience the ultimate joy that comes from laughter with your children.