What Trish Regan perceives as a mistake has become a teachable moment for fellow working moms.
The Fox Business Network anchor, 45, recently spoke to PEOPLE of her regrets about taking only six weeks of maternity leave after giving birth to twin girls Elizabeth and Alexandra, now 8. Even more shocking, Regan took only three weeks off of work after her second pregnancy with son Jamie, now 5.
“That was a mistake, in retrospect, it was a big mistake. I look back on it and for sure it was a mistake,” Regan recalls of her brief stints of maternity leave. “It’s a mistake that I really want to make sure other women don’t make.”
The mother of three, who was promoted to the primetime lineup in September, knows firsthand what it means to be “driven” in a workplace but she advises that time away from a newborn doesn’t always mean it’s time well spent.
“Make sure you take every bit of time because the reality is the job will always be here but that time with your child, you will never get back,” she says. “That’s important time for you as a mother. One of the things that is so important as a working parent is to remember: What are our priorities?”
Regan adds, “The time they spend with their family is really important. I may have not made some of the decisions that I made [and] I can’t go back and change it but I can try to make it better for people I work with now.”
But Regan understands the feelings new parents have when away from work with a new baby. Whether it’s being worried about losing opportunities or not getting first dibs on projects or simply not wanting to be away from their job for a period of time, the star wants women to think about respecting their own needs.
“There’s a sense of guilt you feel because you want to be able to live up to your responsibilities and don’t want to lose opportunities as a woman but I probably should’ve taken a step back,” she says. “Even if I brought the baby with me, it might’ve made a whole lot more sense.”
“What I try to reinforce with young women and men is you need to give people who work with you that space and that support. In many ways, as challenging as that was, the big takeaway for me was exactly that.”
More than ever, she has put her kids first. In September, Fox Business Network announced a new primetime business lineup anchored by Regan at 8 p.m.
The move prompted her and her husband of 17 years James Ben to rearrange their family time and be more strategic with their schedules that once was framed around her 2 p.m. start time.
“We thought, ‘What can we do to make sure our children have as normal [of a life] as we can, despite the fact that Mommy is working every night?’ For us, that’s family breakfast. We used to do family dinner every night at 6:00 at the table. Now we have family breakfast,” she shares.
Every household may be different and every working parent may have their own unique alternatives, but Regan emphasizes that new parents have the same right to put their needs first.
“You have to be a little bit selfish and you have to be willing to be a little bit selfish,” she says. “You can’t be too hard on yourself. You need to understand what’s important to you.”
Adds the mom of three, “You want to be in an environment that appreciates you and part of that is your family and your kids. If a company, manager or boss doesn’t understand or respect that, then you need to think long and hard [about] where you are.”
Trish Regan Primetime debuts on Oct. 15 at 8 p.m. EST on Fox Business Network.