I've tried to explain till I'm blue in the face -- "I like what I do." "Mommy is proud of her work." "It's important to have a career." "I work because we need money to buy food." But no matter how many times I've tried to make her understand the satisfaction of success or the fulfillment of accomplishing something you care about -- Christiana can't see beyond one simple fact ... other moms are home baking cookies and chaperoning field trips when I'm off writing, conducting interviews or traveling on the occasional business trip.
Now mind you, I gave up a great job in network news because I didn't want to spend so much time away from home. There's no doubt my kids have always been my first priority. These days, in fact, I spend more time at home than I do at the office ... but it doesn't seem to matter. No matter how much wonderful, quality time I spend with Christiana, the bottom line remains the same ... Plain and simple, she HATES the fact that I work.
And then came Miley.
After wrestling for so many years with horrific working mother's guilt and trying desperately to find a balance between nurturing my kids as well as my career, imagine my elation earlier this week when I learned I would be interviewing Miley Cyrus. As a producer for "EXTRA," I've interviewed dozens of huge stars ... but this interview was different, this was Miley ... this was my daughter's idol and my very own golden opportunity. Finally, a chance to bring Christiana along on a shoot and show her what I do for a living. It was a win-win situation -- she'd get an autograph and I'd get some serious mommy points.
The morning of the interview, Christiana sprang out of bed at 6 AM -- dressed and ready to join me for a day at the office -- now this is a kid who I normally have to literally drag out of bed kicking and screaming every day. Not this time. This time she knew better, this time meeting Miley was at stake.
When the time for our interview backstage at "The Rachael Ray Show" came, Christiana looked up at me, her eyes wide with anticipation, anxiety, and yes, even a little fear. "You mean it's just going to be us and Miley Cyrus in the room?" She asked. "Yup" I replied. "You mean we don't have to wait in line or anything?" "Nope." I replied. "Mommy, this is the best day of my life!" She squealed. Just seeing the excitement in her little round face made it mine as well.
As Miley walked into the room for our interview she looked down at Christiana who was pretty much bursting out of her cowboy boots by this point. "Hey there." Miley said, smiling at her. I have never seen my daughter's eyes so wide with awe and excitement ... Santa's got nothing on Hannah Montana..
Frighteningly professional for her age, our interview lasted about 10 minutes. Miley answered all of our questions with grace and poise which some Oscar-winning actresses could learn from. Without missing a beat, Miley then turned and looked at Christiana who was standing stone still and wide eyed in the corner. "You want to take a picture?" Miley asked. All Christiana could do was nod and shove a Hannah Montana guitar at Miley to sign. Miley signed, posed for pictures, hugged and indulged my little girl more warmly than I've seen some parents hug their own children.
It was a fleeting moment in Miley's life -- but I could immediately see the indelible impact those precious few moments had on my little girl. In those ten minutes I may have given Christiana a lesson in producing but Miley taught us both a master class in graciousness.
"Wow, Mommy. She was so nice. You have such a cool job." Christiana gushed.
"Does that mean you won't give me a hassle next time I have to go to work?" I crossed my fingers behind my back.
"Not really. I won't mind if you're interviewing the Jonas Brothers. But if you're just sitting and typing then I still don't want you to go to work."
Oh well, sometimes progress comes in baby steps.
There are a million ways to teach our kids a work ethic -- what we working mothers do and why we do it. I'm all for chores, allowance and even take your daughters to work day. But I have to tell you -- when dealing with working mom's guilt -- Disney stars are the ultimate antidote.
|Yvette Manessis Corporon is an Emmy award-winning writer and producer. She is also the co-author of "Peeing in Peace: Tales and Tips for Type A Moms." Yvette lives in New York with her husband and two children.|