How To Balance Being A Working Mom
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Transcript for How To Balance Being A Working Mom:
Kristina: Welcome Impactful Parents to the Inspire and Learn series, where real parents come on and tell their stories of inspiration and learning because a wise man learns from his mistakes, but a wiser man learns from other people’s mistakes. Today we’re going to learn from our guest speaker, Natalie Tysdal. Natalie is an award-winning TV news anchor who has left her early morning show to start her own podcast. Now she’s focusing on family and health. She’s also a mom of three kids. Today we are going to talk about How To Balance Being A Working Mom. Welcome!
Natalie: Thank you so much. I love what you’re doing. Anything we can do to support parents!
Kristina: Today, I want to find out more about your story. You recently quit your anchor job to pivot into something completely different. That is very brave, and yet you didn’t seem afraid at all! Why did you decide to leave the TV?
Natalie: Well, I wouldn’t say that I wasn’t afraid because I certainly was afraid to leave what I had done for so long and that I was very comfortable with. I think many people will relate that starting a second career was certainly a scary thing, and it took me a while to decide to do that.
Kristina: It’s a huge life shift. What prompted you to do that?
Natalie: Well, I have been in the television industry for about 30 years. I was a photojournalist. I love video work. And then after that, I went on to be a producer and then a reporter, and then an anchor. I jumped around the country doing that for many years. The business served me very well, and I loved it very, very much. I’m still a journalist. Eventually, I chose to work a Morning Show because that allowed me to be home in the afternoon. I felt like I had two full-time jobs. I would get up at 230 in the morning to do a morning show. The show started at 430am. That finished at 9am. I had a live presence Monday through Friday. I’d be home by noon, so I could still go to school parties and help with the PTO at my daughter’s school and do all of those “mom” things, but by four or five o’clock in the afternoon, I called myself zombie mom. I had been awake for so long I was running on fumes. I made the sacrifice to be with the kids, but I realized later that I really wasn’t present mentally. It took me a long time to finally admit that I wasn’t doing my family any favors by not being fully present in the afternoon when I was tired. I just made the decision that I didn’t want to do it anymore.
Kristina: I like how you view it as an opportunity. I know it’s super scary to pivot. I did the same thing. I left 20 years of teaching, which I absolutely loved, to take care of my kids. I had emerging teenagers that I saw needed me way more than anybody else. I completely get it. I understand where you’re coming from. That decision is tough, and it’s definitely super scary.
Is there anything that you did to prepare yourself for such a huge transition?
Natalie: A lot of people didn’t understand why I wanted to leave a stable job. I love journalism. I felt like it was my calling for a really long time, but that can change. I was ready for something new.
When I am evaluating my happiness, I ask myself 3 things. Number 1: Are you proud of what you’re doing? Number 2: Are you happy? Do you wake up each day and do what makes you happy? And Number 3: Are you challenged? I think by asking myself those three questions, I get a lot of clarity.
I found that I woke up tired, so it was hard to be happy when I’m not taking care of myself physically and mentally. I found myself challenged, but my challenge wasn’t the job. I had done it for so long that I knew how to do news. I knew how to ask questions. I knew how to do research. I was challenged by the schedule, the time with my children, and feeling like a present spouse. And I wasn’t necessarily proud of what I was doing anymore. I needed to take a step back. I want to do things my own way.
Kristina: How did your family feel about your big choice to quit and pivot?
Natalie: I wanted them to feel a part of the decision. I wanted to role model making big decisions for my kids. I wanted them to see that it wasn’t a knee-jerk reaction, but it was very well thought out. We prayed over it, and we discussed it. In the end, my family was ultimately happy that I was happy.
Kristina: I love that your kids were part of that choice. So many times, parents make the mistake of making a choice for everybody else. Children will choose better if they have a say in what’s happening and hear the decision-making process.
What lessons have you learned about parenting and working?
Natalie: Oh man! How long do we have in this podcast? There are so many things. You know, I think first and foremost: Parenting is messy. Parenting has no balance. Some days are okay, and some days are not okay, but it’s never perfect. There’s never a perfect balance when trying to be a present parent and trying to work and have a career. I like to tell myself that messy is okay. It’s fine. It’s important to embrace the mess and chaos. It’s not perfect, and that’s okay.
Kristina: You’re giving yourself grace. That’s what I hear from you when you say that. It’s okay to have really hard days, and it’s okay to have great days, and nothing is going to be perfect. We do the best we can.
Natalie: I remember a pivotal point. I think it was after my second daughter was born. We’ve had sports practices all day, and I was the head of the PTO. I was getting up early, and I was exhausted. My daughter had an eye appointment that day, and I was so flustered. There was so much going on. I remember thinking, “I can’t do this today. I need to cancel the appointment.” I realized I can’t do it all. And, yeah, the doctors might not be very happy with me that I had to cancel, but I had to take a step back. I had to accept that I’m not perfect. I’m overwhelmed right now. It’s okay to take something off of my plate. Life will go on. I had to give up the expectation that I could do it all. I like to think of this analogy of having a plate and your plate being overloaded with food. You’ve got chips and the burger and the fruit and salad. It’s not healthy. I’ve got too much on my plate. I need to pick a few things off. Sometimes we have to remove things from that plate to feel balanced.
Kristina: I think this is wonderful parenting advice. So many times, as parents, we want to do it all. We set ourselves up to meet a high standard, but it’s stressful. It’s so stressful. You can’t do it all, and you need to give yourself grace. And to just take that epiphany and go, Well, I actually can cancel that. Why not cancel an appointment? I’m an adult. I can make that choice. It’s okay.
When I started my business and left teaching, I thought things would get easier. Teaching is difficult. It is exhausting. I was excited to make my own schedule while working for myself. But once I was in the business, I found that I had less time for myself and my family if I didn’t make myself stop working. There was always one more thing to do and something that needed to be worked on. I have to constantly remind myself to STOP. I have to make a conscious effort to put down the work. That’s why I started my own business- to have the freedom to stop. But exercising that freedom is more difficult than I expected. Are you feeling that same kind of thing?
Natalie: I am. I’m also the kind of person who loves adrenaline. I love the breaking news. I do well under pressure. I found that I only have 2 speeds of being. I have a fast speed, and I have a crash speed. I’m working really hard to have a middle speed. That’s the sweet spot. We have to train ourselves to find that middle speed and to stop. I find that compartmentalizing my parent role and working role helps me to that. I hate to generalize, but moms are not good at compartmentalizing or finding balance. When we’re working, we’re thinking about our kids, and when we’re with our kids, we’re thinking about working.
Kristina: Great advice. Let’s talk a little bit about self-care. I’m going to generalize here, but men are better about putting themselves as a priority when it comes to self-care. I’ll give you an example. Even if it’s a holiday and guests are coming in the afternoon because it’s Thanksgiving, I see many men who will wake up and make sure that they work out at the gym. I see many more moms saying, “I can’t go workout. I got guests coming.” This isn’t good. We need to prioritize ourselves and self-care. When our tank is low, we can’t serve our family.
How do you take care of yourself?
Natalie: Oh, I relate to all of that so much. It’s hard when your to-do list is so long to give yourself that time for yourself. It’s okay to go get a massage, to relax, or to eat a good meal. Moms are always putting everyone else first. But I learned that I could NOT be everything to everyone in the afternoon when I was only sleeping four or five hours a night. I wasn’t doing anybody any favors. Ask yourself, are you taking care of yourself? Are you taking care of your own needs? And are you taking care of your body and your health? I didn’t realize it, but I was teaching my daughters to work to the bone.
Kristina: Oh yes! Kids will watch what you do, and they will definitely imitate that. If you’re working yourself to the bone, you’ll have children that do the same.
So, you have 3 children. One in college, one in high school, and one in elementary school. Which stage of development is the most challenging for you?
Natalie: Oh my goodness, that’s not a fair question! They’re all challenging, and they’re all rewarding. I appreciate the elementary years right now more than I did before because this child is my last. I try and live in the moment with each of my kids at the stage that they’re in. There are challenges because I have one across the country, and one going to prom this weekend, and one who’s writing a book report, but I am trying to enjoy every moment. They grow up too fast!
Kristina: Yes. The days are long, and the years are short.
How do you stay inspired, Natalie?
Natalie: That’s such a great question. I think having good mentors and having good friends is important. I feel like we are what we fill our brains with. If all we are doing is filling it with negative, then that’s what we’re going to think about. So for me, staying inspired is finding things to fill my brain with that are inspirational. Your mindset is important. If there are things in your life that are making you sad or upset, then remove it, mute it, or whatever it takes to remove the negativity. So to stay inspired, I try to fill my life with joy.
Kristina: If people are hearing your story and resonating with you, how would they find your podcast?
Natalie: All of my information and podcast is on my website at www.natalietysdal.com. I talk about families and health, and mindset.
Kristina: Thank you, Natalie, for teaching us How To Balance Being A Working Mom!
If you have an inspiring story that you want to share on the Impactful Parent, please go to my website at https://theimpactfulparent.com. Go to the ‘work with me page and sign up because we want to learn from you too. And until next time, you got this, parents. We’re just here to help.
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