By Jennifer Nime Palumbo
Being a mother has been the greatest joy and reward in my life, but it wasn’t a path I was always certain I would take.
When I was growing up, I had friends who dreamed of their wedding days from the dress to the groom.
I was not one of those girls.
I grew up wanting to be a journalist who would cover the world around me and meet interesting people.
I paid my dues by working at ABC News in London, England, then at WYMT-TV in Hazard.
I came to Lexington in 1995 where I worked my way up the ladder to become a news anchor.
Then in 2000 something happened that would change my life forever. I fell in love with Joe Palumbo.
We married in 2003 and had our first child, Anna.
Suddenly the job I thought I loved so much was getting in the way of the family I loved even more.
I was at a crossroads. I had worked so hard to build my career, but at what price?
I was exhausted physically and emotionally — I felt like a failure at home and at work.
Unable to get my bosses to let me cut back my hours, I made the difficult choice to quit and stay home with Anna.
I knew it was a risky decision professionally. What if I never worked in TV again?
One month after quitting, I became pregnant with our son, John. I felt it was a sign that I hadn’t been able to get pregnant because of all the stress of my job.
There were times when I missed the excitement of covering the big news stories.
But I knew I had made the right decision for our family. Little did I know I would end up back in a TV newsroom under much different circumstances.
In 2007, WDKY-TV General Manager Michael Brickey approached me about a morning show from 7-8 a.m.
After conferring with my husband, we decided the only way I would return to the work was part-time.
The next thing I knew I was back on TV and getting up at 4:30 a.m. That worked for me because I had the rest of my day to spend with my family.
I was still exhausted, but I felt like I had found the right balance.
I now am the co-anchor of the FOX 56 Ten O’Clock News with my friend Marvin Bartlett.
I leave the house every night knowing I won’t get to put my children to bed, one of my favorite parts of the day.
Then I think of all the parents who miss much more because of jobs they don’t enjoy.
I know I am blessed because I have a husband who supports my choice to work and is an incredible father.
I am grateful to have a supportive boss who allowed me to do a job I love in a way that works best for my family.
This has been an amazing learning experience for me. I have learned to let go of the “mommy guilt” that tells me I am not doing enough to be the best mom and wife I can be.
When I am with my family I focus on being present — that means putting away my Blackberry.
I know I am not perfect and never will be. Once I stopped focusing on my flaws and embraced my strengths, my life became more enjoyable.
As a society we pass unfair judgments on moms who work and those who choose not to work.
We are all mothers making difficult choices every day that we believe are best for our families.
On this Mother’s Day, let’s celebrate what unites us and what makes us unique.
Happy Mother’s Day!