Thursday, July 5, 2007

Married With Children

I don’t know if I am the only one of us interns Married with Children – but even without my husband being Al Bundy (Thank God!) – life is not easy as I pursue this radio career. It’s 15 years after I getting my B.A. and now at age 34, with a husband and 2 babies in tow – I am getting my Masters in Broadcast Journalism. As interns, we are all on the same path. But I wonder how many of you, especially the women in the group, have considered how challenging it will be to go full force in life as a journalist and a parent, if you choose to do so. I’m not eliminating the men from this conversation, but the truth of the matter is 1) career-driven men are more likely families than women and 2)the bottom line is no matter how 50/50 your marriage is, mom’s innately have more responsibilities than dads. It’s not a sexist thing – it’s just the way it goes. My husband is a there-all-the-time Dad and my kids love their Daddy to pieces -- but in the middle of the night if they have a nightmare, they instinctively call for mom. When they climb into our bed at 3am in the morning, they scrunch up on mommy’s side. When the ouchie hurts, they run to mom. It’s just our lot in life as moms – and I embrace it whole-heartedly. I was a stay-at-home mom for three years before I went back to school – and evening admitting that not only do I have to work – but that I want to work is a hard pill to swallow. Some kind of way, it’s perceived that you are saying my career is more important than my kids. I eventually got over that Mommy worry, but now after being here at NPR for a month and especially after hearing all the accolades and achievements for employees at the employee appreciation lunch, it feels so selfish to say “I want to do that too!” (like covering the Pope’s death, being stationed in N.O. for Katrina and touring with a presidential candidate). It’s like I am saying I wish I had that life over the life I have now. And while I obviously love my husband and kids to pieces, I do feel cheated out of a career I really want. I guess in Him anything is possible – but it’s hard to cover the nation’s top stories and take the kids to gym class and swim lessons at the same time. Something’s got to give. Just some food for thought for you “youngin’s” as you conquer your dreams in journalism. At some point, if you choose to have a family – you may come to this crossroads too. But I must say – my satisfaction comes when I think about someday watching my son at his first school play, or dropping him off for his first day of kindergarten, and as time goes on, playing midnight basketball with them on a Friday night. I have to believe no breaking news, no story, no award will ever live up to those moments. For now – I just go forward doing the best I can with all I got.
Kenya Young, NPR West


Anonymous said...

Kenya, that is really powerful and I think it's definitely beneficial for me, at least, to hear that straight from the source. It's something I have talked with my similarly ambitious girlfriends about and I think it's true, family and career are always going to both be huge and often weighty. Best of luck and I'm happy to read about your perspective and how you achieve perspective.

Anonymous said...

I hear ya "sistah."
You may be the only "intern" but not the only with "intern edition" where both parents are ambitious, equally supporting of each others ambitions and raising children too.
I've had more than a few long conversations with former npr interns who are now wanting to have families and trying to reconcile their career drive with personal satisfaction.


Alejandra Garcia said...

ahhh kenya. you and i must have a long talk! it's great to hear one person's version of how life & career combine. i've often thought that there are a million different ways at achieving a goal; i'm in the process of searching for my path...perhaps you can offer some words of wisdom!!