Sign The Guestbook
View The Guestbook
Archived Guestbook
Submit An Article
Staff List
Privacy Policy


Archived Weekly Features
The Big Picture
Rebecca "Becky" Coates Nee, a veteran TV news anchor/reporter, is a professional life/career coach. Check out her website at to take the coachability test, subscribe to her free "Beyond the Box" newsletter and to find out if you're an adrenaline junkie.

TV and the Mommy Track
By Rebecca Coates Nee
November 12th, 2001

Rebecca Coates Nee shares her struggle for parenthood and asks if you can
have kids and a career in TV too.

I’ve been on the mommy track for a few years now, but my train keeps
derailing. Like so many women in broadcasting, I put off having kids until
everything was just right – the market, the shift, not to mention the spouse.

But my definition of "just right" kept changing with my channels. I thought
less about how I wanted my life to look and more about my story for the day.
After all, who has time to create a family when you’re working early
mornings, late nights or covering hostage standoffs? I’d get around to the
family part of my life later.

Although quite a few women in broadcasting do manage to have successful
marriages and pregnancies, a lot of us buy into the notion that we have
"plenty of time." So we blindly chase our dreams without any clear idea of
how we want them to play out.

Well, here’s the real picture: The odds of a woman getting pregnant drop
significantly at 35 and dramatically at 40. How come no one tells you that as
they’re busy pointing to every child-bearing celebrity over 40?

Even for those women in TV who do settle on a mate before their biological
clock runs out, motherhood is still a complicated prospect. They have to
wonder what getting pregnant will do to their job security. While news
managers love a good pregnancy during ratings – some new moms find out
they’ve been given the Deborah Norville maternity leave when they come back
to find a perkier anchor in their chair.

I’ve spoken with and interviewed many moms and dads who felt forced to choose
between their parental duties and their jobs in news. No one ever said TV
stations were family friendly employers, but so many of us leap into the
business without fully understanding what the sacrifices might be. Try taking
an afternoon off for a soccer game or going to that preschool play when
you’re on a daily deadline.

One former managing editor realized it was time to leave TV after she
attempted to simultaneously nurse her infant and put together an hour-long
special on the arrest of a serial killer. Another anchor left the business
when she decided both her job and toddlers were being shortchanged.

I’d never suggest having children, getting married or changing careers before
you feel ready, but will you recognize "ready" when you are? What plan do you
have for your entire life? What are the 10 things that you want most? How are
you going to combine your career goals with your personal goals? Start with
the end in mind and then figure out what you have to do to get there. Don’t
let unrealistic expectations of yourself and others get in your way – no
matter how old you are now.

For me, at age 41, I am finally awaiting my first and only child. She’s
already been born — in China. Now my husband and I just have to go and get
her. After more than a year of document filing, fingerprinting and
notarizing, I’m pregnant — on paper — but my due date keeps changing.

Adoption is indeed an option for those of us who worked away our fertility.
Numerous single, professional women are also going that route. But if you
don’t want it to be your only choice, start looking at the Big Picture of
your entire life — now.

If you’ve had a successful career in TV news and children too, please e-mail
me at and tell me how you’ve done it! I’ll be happy to
share your strategies in a future column.