It was a snowy Monday morning and I had just worked all weekend. My 4-year-old daughter rushed into my bedroom and asked, “Mommy, mommy… what are we going to do today?”
With a pouty look on my face, I told her that I’m heading in to work. She said, “can’t you just tell ‘em that your work is done?” I thought, smart girl… if only I could, but that’s not the way it works in a newsroom.
Just last week, I was involved in a discussion with high school students about how WRAL staffs and prepares for continuous coverage of severe weather. (You know, the kind of weather that has you working all weekend!) Someone mentioned that several of our employees had to stay in nearby hotels to guarantee our viewers the kind of weather coverage they expect from us.
The discussion prompted a question from one of the students. How do you achieve a work-life balance? At first I thought, is there such a thing in the news biz? Then the answer came to me. I have a husband who is a wonderful father and very actively involved in raising our children. I have an excellent babysitter with strong leadership qualities engaging the kids each day. As a mom, this support allows me to focus on my work and on the quality of the time I spend with our children.
Most moms who work out of the home will admit that they can’t be good employees if they don’t have a strong support system in place at home. My answer to that student … yes, the days are hard; the hours are long. There are moments when the work-life scales are not balanced. That’s when the support system kicks in at home.
Conflicts happen regularly when you work out of the home. It could be a snow day, a sick day, a school play, a meeting, a deadline or a project. The possibilities are endless. It’s not easy to resolve these issues, but for me it’s worthwhile when I consider the perspective moms and others bring to the workplace.
Diversity in the workplace isn’t just about gender, race and ethnicity. It’s about bringing together a community of people with a wide variety of backgrounds like parents and non parents, singles and married couples, homeowners and renters -- just to name a few. Diversity is critical especially in a newsroom when each day brings new editorial decisions.
So thank you to that student who reminded me of two important things: my value as a mom in the newsroom and that my very success depends on the people who support me at home.
But most of all, thank you to my little girl who so often gives me reasons to smile – even on snowy Monday mornings.
Aysu Basaran is the busy mom of three girls and assistant news director for WRAL-TV.