Shara's Story

Each weekday morning a quiet beeping starts to ring in my ear, a quick glance at the blinding glow of my iPhone lets me know it’s 2:30 a.m. What happens after that is sometimes a blur. Somehow I find myself showered, tip-toeing out of the house so I don’t wake my husband and two sleeping children, then driving 22 minutes to work where I put on a full face of makeup, do my hair, then squeeze into a pair of spanx (which is not easy that early in the morning). By 4:00 a.m. I’m ready for whatever is about to come my way.

Being a news anchor for KSL-TV in Salt Lake City, Utah is my dream job. I love being dressed up in front of the lights and camera, telling the stories of my community to thousands of people every morning. But this job is only a piece of me. Yes I am a news anchor, but I am also a mother, a wife, a daughter, and a sister. I’m a person of faith, someone who loves to cook, a chauffeur who gets told to stop singing by my children, and once upon a time a collegiate athlete (ah, the glory days). My point is, I am a lot of things, not all of them are pretty but that’s good. That’s real life.

I work in an industry where we’re judged on almost everything from looks to the number of people who follow us on social media - so the pressure to perform is always there. But I knew that going into this business, and I made a choice early in my career to be exactly who I am and someone other working mothers could relate to.

Just the other day an intern approached me between shows and asked me what is the hardest part of my job, I think she expected me to say something about the pace of my day or the hard news that I often cover. But in that moment I said something that surprised even me. I told her that the hardest part of my job is making sure my family gets the best version of me.

I grew up with a strong working mother who taught me the value of independence. We had 8 kids in our family and not a lot of extra money so she had to find a way to make some. For 19-years my mother owned a successful wedding company and put all of us to work. I LOVED working with my family and I don’t regret a single moment of spending my weekend nights in junior high and high school decorating and catering weddings. I will treasure those moments.
Seeing the financial and creative independence that wedding company gave my mother is why I too wanted to be a working mom. But like her, I had to find a balance that worked for me.
Over the course of my career I have found that there are many things that have helped me follow in the same success that my mother helped model for me. Although there are several truths to success that I could share with you, I have four truths that have help me find success. These truths vary in everything from supporting others, to never changing who you are, but they are what I have found to help me be a success in both my career and at home.
Go get it.
Speak up ladies! Each of us have something to contribute, each of us have a voice. But if we sit back and wait for something to come to us – it’s not coming. Success requires action. That idea you’ve been mulling over – act on it. That change you’ve been wanting to make – make it. And that raise you know you deserve – ask for it, and be ready to tell your boss why you’ve earned it. The number one piece of advice I tell young female reporters coming into our industry is not to wait for someone to give them an opportunity. The interns who turn into good reporters are the ones who act like they’re already being paid to be one.
Support each other.
I’m talking about supporting other working moms. Ladies, we need to stick together. Do not waste time being jealous or cutting down other women, it’s time we simply don’t have. And we’re better than that. There is enough space in this world for each of us to have our own voice and find success, whether that is within our own families or in our careers. I work in a news market with a lot of women, I want their support so why would I not give them mine? Cheer them on, celebrate their accomplishments – be the person you would want supporting you.
It’s okay to SAY NO.
This is a big one, so listen up. I am the type of person who wants to do it all. Years ago I was working full time as a reporter, I was coaching high school volleyball, I had a church calling, and I was a new mother. On top of all that I was building my personal brand; attending fundraisers, galas, and emceeing events all over the state. My plate was overflowing! I was afraid to say no because I didn’t want to miss an opportunity. But then I realized I was neglecting the most important thing in the world – my family. So, I started saying no. Ladies, let me tell you it is so gratifying to say NO! I started saying no to working extra shifts, I picked a handful of events to attend and said no the rest. I even said no to a church calling I knew I couldn’t fulfill and asked for something else. Did I feel guilty for a split second…sure, but I don’t regret it. By learning to say no I found balance. By saying no, I was saying yes to my family.
Be real.
Life isn’t always pretty, and don’t pretend it is. For me, what you see is what you get. Sometimes I look great…like “working mom of the year” great! But to try and live up to that every day would be exhausting and a total lie. I approach social media like a journal or scrap book. I use it as a way to document my life, my career, and my family. I don’t post a photo to get “likes” or “comments” but instead as a way to remember the good, the bad, and sometimes the ugly. And then if people want to be a part of that journey – great! If not, that’s okay too. My advice from one working mom to another - just remember that we’re already spending time away from our kids while we work so don’t let social media be another reason why we’re away.
Being a working mom is hard. The struggle is real. But I find if I can hold on to these four truths then things tend to work out for me - and I hope they work out for you as well. Here’s one working mom cheering on the rest of you out there!
-Shara

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