The only thing "typical" about my days is that they're typically different from one to the next. Yesterday I got up at 6 a.m., walked the dog, and woke my children. Then I fed three kids, wiped three faces, and cleaned three messes. Once the nanny was there, we divided and conquered to get the kids dressed.
Then I hopped on the bus to take my sons, Niki, 10, and Kyle, 6, to school and read Kyle a story at school. After spending time with my 3-year-old daughter Mikaela, I went to work around 10 a.m.
In the evening, I read to the kids and played with them before putting them to bed. My husband, Karl, was away, so I called friends and refinished a lamp. Then I did laundry and watched part of The West Wing before going online to research a speech I was giving at the Georgia governor's mansion. Once the speech was done, I went to bed, at 2 a.m.
Karl and I usually share childcare duties pretty well, but the bulk falls to me. He doesn't set up playdates, and he's probably unaware that kids constantly need new shoes! But when Kyle broke his ankle, Karl took him to every single doctor's appointment.
When I travel, my rule is that if I'm east of the Mississippi, I come home that night, even if it's 3 a.m.I figure if a little voice calls for Mommy in the middle of the night, that's who he should get.
I joined the March of Dimes Mothers March [which raises money to help prevent birth defects] because there's not a day that goes by that I don't thank God for my healthy kids. As a journalist, some of the stories that I've been most touched by are those about sick babies. Those stories you don't forget.
The debacle at Today forced me to figure out who I am. I realized that by focusing on other aspects of my life, I could be less upset by career defeats.
Part of knowing yourself is recognizing your talent. That's the message behind my new kids' book I Can Fly! Test yourself to see where you succeed, and that'll steer you to what you should be doing. It was written for my son Kyle. He has found his gift -- he's an incredible artist.
I want my kids to be comfortable in their own skin. When I see them engaged in an endeavor all by themselves -- and enjoying it -- I know I've made strides as a parent.
Copyright © 2001. Reprinted with permission from the March 2001 issue of Child Magazine.