The mom of two and wife of "Today" national correspondent Craig Melvin will be hosting this year's Special Olympic World Winter Games in Austria, kicking off March 14, and she's taking both of her children with her. Yes, even her 4-month-old daughter, Sibby (short for Sybil). Her 3-year-old son, Delano, will also be on board.
The busy mom talks to Mom.me via email about how she's prepping for her journey, her advice to moms who are going back to work, and which game in history she would have broadcast if she could. (Hint: Having biracial kids makes that thought especially meaningful.)
Congrats on your new daughter, Sibby! How is motherhood treating you, especially now that you have two little ones?
Motherhood is awesome. Right now, I'm loving this age difference (2-1/2 years) between our kiddos because, honestly, there's something so satisfying and special about hearing my son call "Mommy" and knowing that at least for this period in time, I am one of his top people. While at the same time, my daughter warms my heart every time she smiles. She, like her brother, is a very old soul. Now, I'm not gonna lie, two has been very challenging and timing is everything. The "2 factor" has taught me to squeeze necessary things in where I can. For example, I now know exactly how many days I can go without washing my hair if I need to be presentable. (My plan was foiled last night when my daughter spit up in my hair right after [washing] it. As one of my friends said, "Nothing that a little dry shampoo won't take care of.")
You're traveling to Austria and taking your children with you. How are you preparing yourself for that?
Prayer. Some meditation. Just kidding—sort of. I'm really excited to take my kids with me. I'm thrilled to be a part of the Special Olympics World Games coverage, but I knew it would be too long for me to be away so I'm really looking forward to the adventure. As for preps, I'm focusing on worrying about the big stuff right now, making sure I don't forget anything big, like car seats, strollers, and I've chosen a guest room bed as my packing zone. We're going to be in a ski town, so this is the perfect excuse to use the adorable baby Uggs and grab a few extra stylish outfits. That's what I love about having a girl! And even though she's 4 months old, I think Sibby is going to love seeing Austria. I will be making her watch "The Sound of Music" beforehand—or maybe i'll just play her the music.
As a successful female sports broadcaster, what are some ways that you want to teach your kids about "girl power"?
I've thought a lot about this, and I'm really looking forward to being able to shape and mold both my kids' minds. It's interesting because my husband and I, being in the same business, we can see things from both sides sometimes, so it makes for good lessons. My son is very compassionate and empathetic. I'm going to make sure he respects everyone, man or woman. And by carrying myself as a working woman who travels and is a hard worker but who is also reachable, responsible and kind, [I will be] the example he sets as a standard moving forward.
For Sibby, I've already whispered several words of advice and wisdom to her when we have our quiet bonding times. I'm going to make sure she knows there is still room to grow, and she needs to follow her heart and speak up. If she identifies a situation where she feels she is mistreated, she will have the tools to crush it. The most important thing to me is that both of my kids only listen to their own expectations. There is so much, especially now, that clouds your confidence. I want them to be strong and steady in the way they view themselves, and I think communication is a huge part of that.
When did you first feel successful?
When I was a little girl. My mom and dad made me feel like I could do anything. Art was my favorite passion, and I remember their support and encouragement to do what I loved. That was everything, because I honestly felt like there was nothing I couldn't do. That is invaluable, and I should definitely thank them more often.
Has there been anything about your career that has surprised you or inspired you in a way you didn't expect?
I set out to be a writer or a news broadcaster. If you had told me I would be a sportscaster, I would've laughed at you. But looking back, there are so many reasons why it's the perfect fit.
What's your advice for moms who are returning to work after giving birth?
Be kind to yourself. Ditch the guilt when you leave the house, and if you need to cry, go somewhere where you can do so in private. I found, the first time I went back, it actually felt really good once I got there. It let me flex the mind muscles that made me feel fresher and better to return to my kids after my workday. But I also remember those days watching my son wave at me behind the glass window in our door, mouthing, "Bye, Mommy," when he was 2 years old and wanting to turn the car around or tearing up as I drove away. That never ends for me. But I've had to focus on how magical the moment is when he lights up when I come home.
What sacrifices have you made as a mom and a high-profile professional to keep everything in balance?
As a mom, there are several moments I would love to have with my kids every day. It rips my heart out when I have to leave them. There are times I wish I could be at the meetings, and I envy the moms who are with their kids each day. By the way, their job is 10 times harder than mine. As a professional, there are things I say "no" to now. There are things that just don't work or lengths I go to (like getting on the earliest flight possible and sacrificing sleep) to get home to them as soon as possible after a road trip.
If you could have broadcast any game in history, which one would it have been and why?
Easy. Washington's 1988 Super Bowl win when Doug Williams was quarterback. My dad was covering the game, and I remember the electricity in the city. Having two biracial kids, I also now appreciate the historical significance of that accomplishment more.
What are you looking forward to most as you host the Special Olympics?
The stories we get to tell about these athletes are by far some of the most inspiring of my career. That and I can't wait to get to Austria and explore a new country and, of course, have my kids with me when I get to meet the Von Trapps!