Real Mom: Juggling Work and Family
Meet the Family
As a Fox News correspondent, Jennifer Griffin has reported from war-torn countries and worked for the release of journalists held hostage in Gaza. Comparatively, it's easy keeping the peace in the Washington, D.C., home she shares with her husband Greg Myre, their two daughters, Annalise, 7 Amelia, 6, and their new baby boy Luke. We talked to the globe-trotting mom about being a diplomat in her household and striving for that often-elusive thing called balance.
You recently had your third child. How are you adjusting?
"I had been thinking, 'Oh piece of cake, I've done this twice before, I have the system down.' But the third time around is just like the first time and the second time. It throws everything upside down. I think the key to getting through the initial weeks after giving birth is to have low expectations. If you have this image of strolling the baby to the coffee shop, you'll be disappointed. You're lucky if you have time to shower. But the baby is pure joy. He's all swaddled up in the bassinette right now."
How are your girls handling the addition?
"Actually, I've had to reassure Izzy, our cockapoo, more than my kids. She's like my fourth child right now. But sometimes the girls will come to me and say 'Izzy is feeling a little left out.' I'll say, 'Oh really?' and I'll hug them and tell them I love them. Izzy is a good foil for how they're feeling."
The Trick to Balancing Kids and a Career
In the Action
Speaking of foils, do you have any to reassure your girls, considering your workplace is sometimes a war zone?
"I've always tried not to hide what's happening in the news or what I'm doing. I think it's better for children to grow up understanding that life is not perfect. I try to answer my kids' questions in a simple, age-appropriate way that doesn't create fear. When we lived in Jerusalem, my oldest daughter knew there was a war, but she had no idea it was so close. She'd play Queen of Gaza, and I'd think 'If you only knew.'"
How do you balance family life and work, especially with all the travel involved?
"My husband and I share responsibilities, and we have a wonderful caregiver who also helps out. Children are very adaptable, so when I travel it's out of sight, out of mind. I don't call them constantly and disrupt their routine. I ask myself 'Am I calling for them or am I calling for me?'" When we talk, I keep it light and avoid sappy, sad conversation. One thing I always try to do is bring a little memento home for them. It allows them to understand that I wasn't away just for the sake of being away. They like to take the trinkets to show-and-tell. Then they're proud, as opposed to feeling threatened or angry that I was gone."
Do you have guilt as a working-outside-the-home mom?
"I think we all do. There are days I really have to race to make it to a school program. You get there and you see these eyes that are like lasers looking around to make sure you're there. I try to sense what the non-negotiable things are in their emotional lives. It's a juggling act."
Do you sneak in special girl-time with your daughters?
"This goes against all the parenting books, but if one of the girls needs extra cuddle time, I let her sleep in my bed. I think sometimes they just need to feel the security of me being there."
How about with your husband -- how do you find time for each other? Do you have anything like Date Night?
"No Date Night, but we tend to get invited to a lot of events. Those small group settings are a nice way to reconnect. When all you're doing is negotiating who takes who here and who should empty the dishwasher, that's when things go awry. So when we're in these social settings, even though it's not the two of us alone, it's a way to appreciate the other person's non-parental side. I might hear him tell a funny story that makes me think 'Oh that's why we've been together for 20 years.'"
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