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Challenge: Bringing Home Baby: What Do You Wish You’d Known?

Don't judge: Everyone is doing the best they can

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In the past two weeks, my work has taken me to - in this order - London, Rome, Orlando, Daytona Beach, Los Angeles and Denver. I'm finally home.. just in time for my daughter's track team dinner, another daughter's Cotillion and ANOTHER daughter's birthday. The list of what I missed while traveling is considerably longer.

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Home sweet home: Janet and family

The guilt is migraine-quality, as any mom knows, regardless of whether you're out of the country or a few blocks away. My 15-year-old, Grace, says her teachers in grade school knew with certainty when I was away by the quality of her ponytail. Styling hair is not her dad's strong suit!

While I don't make every soccer game and have been away during at least one birthday for each of my five children, I'm working on being present when I am with them... not staring in a Blackberry or an iPhone. It’s not easy because we’re all tethered to some extent, even more when you work in the immediacy of news.

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Reporting in Rome, then heading back home for family time

My 17-year-old has wisdom beyond her years, and we’ve discussed how society is infinitely more critical of working moms than dads. I know this from first-hand experience. For six years, I was a stay-at-home mom, a period of time I was continually pregnant or post-partum.

I’m embarrassed to admit I secretly passed judgment on a fellow kindergarten mom, an attorney with a demanding schedule. Didn’t she care enough to be at the end of the year performance? I can’t believe I questioned her devotion in that way. Now, the empty chair at the high school academic awards banquet is mine. I’m in no position to offer advice, as my family will attest, but as I try to get the balance right and watch other moms manage their own juggle, I keep this in mind: everyone is doing the best they can. Let’s respect and honor that.

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