as told by Butterfly Co-Founder Bradi Nathan
|As mothers it is our job to protect our children from harm and from being exposed to inappropriate information. My son is eight and he is drawn to the timely magazines and newspapers that are scattered throughout my home. He reads headlines with photos reporting on murder, armed robbery and sex scandals. How can I shield him from the cruelty that exists so that he might go through his day with a sense of peace and happiness that all eight years should possess?
News stories are essential. Our children cannot “live in bubble” or “under a rock.” And, if they are not old enough to read, they are old enough to hear and understand what is being reported on TV. So, what do we do? Hide the papers and the remote controls? No. We carefully explain to our children that there are all types of people in this world and that everyday they must do their best to be one of the good ones.
No one can explain this theory better than Jane Skinner, mother of twin girls, Co-Anchor of Fox’s Happening Now and wife of NFL Commissioner, Rodger Goodell. Yes, it is Jane’s job to report on the injustices in the world but it is also her job to report on the superpowers of a mother who gave birth to eight babies, totaling 14 children in all! Jane’s loyal viewers respect her straight-forward approach, enjoy her humor and smarts and think she is beautiful inside and out. I can bet that her family feels just the same. In an exclusive interview with Butterfly Jane shares her story rather than someone else’s:
BN: My daughter wants to be a princess and a mommy when she grows up. What did you want to be?
JS: Neither! I have only brothers and was a big-time tomboy. No dolls, no dresses. For several years on Halloween, I was an NFL quarterback. My poor mother!
BN: When did you realize that you had a passion for reporting?
JS: Growing up, news was a part of our lives. My dad always had the news radio stations on and encouraged us to read the newspapers. We talked politics at the dinner table.
He's an information junkie, and now, for better or worse, so am I.
BN: How did your career evolve over the years?
JS: I started out in smaller markets and worked my way up. Duluth, Minnesota… Portland and Maine. On to St. Louis and Milwaukee. I came to New York after my wedding, because my husband's job was here. I was a nervous Midwesterner -- afraid the NYC media world would eat me alive, but it's been a great experience. I have had so many smart colleagues who work their tails off to put good stories on the air.
BN: Do you believe that women need to work harder than men to make it in business? Please elaborate.
JS: I can only speak to my business, where women have tons of opportunities. Just click around the TV set: you will see female broadcasters outnumbering the males on many channels. Women have proved themselves.
BN: What has been a career highlight of yours? Did you at that time think, “I have arrived?”
JS: The 2008 presidential election was one of the most exciting times.
It became clear that the all-news channels have a great deal of influence. It's true that "words matter" and we approached our coverage very carefully.
BN: Are there any on-air bloopers that you’d like to share?
JS: Ha ha! Obviously, you've Google-d me.
BN: I noticed on your Facebook page that viewers are requesting your cookie recipe. Care to share? What is the story behind that?
I think it's rare that people take the time to bring in home-made goodies these days. Martha Stewart would not be impressed with my treats, but the floor crew loves them.
BN: Where were you at in your career when you had your twins?
JS: I was in my third year at the Fox News Channel, living in New York City. I was on maternity leave, feeding my newborn daughters when I heard (my co-anchor) Jon Scott describe the second plane hitting the World Trade Center. The coverage by the networks and local stations was so important to our recovery as a city and as a country.
BN: How did you alter your work schedule once you became a mother?
JS: The news business can be tough when you have a family; strange hours and you must be available when a big story breaks. My bosses have been great about allowing us to enjoy our lives outside of work. I work an early shift and am able to pick up my daughters from school. That's a blessing everyday!
BN: How difficult is it to report on stories that, as a mother, are heart-wrenching to learn? (ie: JonBenet or Caylee)
JS: Very difficult. The hardest part is interviewing the family members, because you just want to take their pain away. On a positive note, quite often the media attention helps investigators gather tips and find those responsible for the crimes.
BN: What obstacle(s) do you face in juggling the demands of your show and the needs of your family?
JS: Like any working parent, I have a delicate balancing act. I have a few angels in my life who help to keep the trains running on time: my great husband, our loving babysitter and my Blackberry!
BN: Please share some advice with women who are trying to “do it all.”
JS: You will hear over and over again that you need to take care of yourself in the process of taking care of everyone else. It's true! For me, that means getting enough sleep. Find out what it is for you and make it happen.
BN: What type of role model do you try to be to your girls?
JS: I try to impress upon them the importance of being kind and generous. And that smart girls are to be admired!
BN: Do your twins know want to be when they grow up? Please tell.
JS: This fall they seemed to take a great interest in politics. One supported John McCain, while the other switched from Hillary Clinton to Barack Obama, because, as she said matter-of-factly: " I would like to be the first woman president."
So perhaps I'll be covering her campaign some day!
BN: If you could choose any path, professional or personal, for your kids to take, what would it be?
JS: I want them to choose their own paths and I hope they will be happy. I'm doing my best to make them loving, kind and confident before I have to set them free!
BN: Who has inspired you on your journey both personally and professionally?
JS: My parents provided me with the tools to handle most anything that comes my way -- and still find time to laugh. And my husband has a great influence on me. He knows who he is and what he believes in. He's a big believer in trusting your instincts.
BN: President Obama signed into law his first bill, The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. How do you believe this will affect today’s generation of mothers and their families?
JS: Hopefully it will provide victims of compensation discrimination more of an opportunity to object - and be paid fairly.
BN: Do you believe that Michelle Obama will make a difference in the lives of women striving to balance work/family?
JS: Yes. I expect she'll be a fabulous role model for all of us. It's exciting!
BN: What mark do you hope to leave on the world?
JS: I don't think that big. I aim for six hours of sleep a night!
BN: How do you think a site like Butterfly could help women today?
JS: At the end of the day, I just want to know that I'm not alone in this crazy journey. I love hearing from other mothers - and laughing with them.
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