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Published October 03, 2011, 11:30 PM

Media moms: Local news-chasers share parenting tips

FARGO - We’ve watched them go through pregnancy and have read about their parenting trials and tribulations. We’ve heard them talk about their families, and in many ways, we feel like we know these women who bring us news and information about our world.

By: Tracy Frank, INFORUM

FARGO – We’ve watched them go through pregnancy and have read about their parenting trials and tribulations.

We’ve heard them talk about their families, and in many ways, we feel like we know these women who bring us news and information about our world.

They are anchors, producers, writers and editors, but first and foremost, they are moms, and they share the same hopes, dreams and fears many of us have for our children.

From surgery scares to screaming babies at Target, these local media moms share their fears, embarrassing parenting moments and words of wisdom.

Robin Huebner, Valley News Live anchor/producer and mother to Alex, 10, and Andy, 12

Q: What was the best parenting advice you ever received?

A: People say you’ve got to let your kids make their own mistakes and live by the consequences of them. I think sometimes we want to try to protect our kids from everything and make it smooth sailing for them all the time, and I think you have to let them make their mistakes on their own because that’s the way they learn.

What words of parenting wisdom do you try to live by?

Everybody always says how quickly they grow up, and I think you have to try to enjoy each stage as it comes, because it does go so fast. Each stage just brings something to appreciate, as they start understanding the world more.

The other thing is just treating people the way you want to be treated. I don’t hesitate to point out to my kids when I’ve made a mistake. I’m not the perfect parent. No one is.

What is the funniest or most embarrassing thing to happen to you as a mom?

Andy was 5 or 6, and we were riding bikes, just the two of us, and I was kind of schooling him on how to make conversation with people because he had been running into people and just giving one-word answers.

We went by an acquaintance and he says, ‘Well, hello, I see you’re having another baby.’ She was not having another baby. I was just smiling because it was so sweet but also embarrassed because it was clearly not the right thing to say, but he was trying to make conversation.

What is the scariest thing that’s happened to you as a mom?

Any time your kid gets hurt, that has to be by far the scariest thing. There have been lots of instances.

My son has banged his head so many times and cut things so many times and burned fingers with a fire cracker. Everything that you could possibly do, I feel like he’s probably done. Driving age will be a different kind of fear.


Kerstin Kealy, WDAY Television News anchor/producer and mother to Madelyn, 8

Q: What was the best parenting advice you ever received?

A: To enjoy every moment and savor every moment because they go so fast and the kids grow up so fast. There is a small amount of time where they’re begging to be with you, and then they move on and it’s you begging to spend time with them.

What words of parenting wisdom do you try to live by?

Patience is a huge one.

Something may seem like a huge deal in the moment, but have perspective and laugh. Try to celebrate all the little things because they go so fast. I try to live by patience and kindness and perspective.

What is the funniest or most embarrassing thing to happen to you as a mom?

The thing I remember most is not necessarily one embarrassing moment, but a series of them.

Madelyn went through a stage where she would only wear dresses, but the dresses she would wear were those princess costume dresses. And it wasn’t just the dress, it was the dress and the crown and then she would always find my brightest red lipstick and smuggle it in the dress and then put it on in the car on the way to the store.

I would always have this full-out, Halloween, decked-out princess in the front of the cart singing the latest Disney tune and drawing more attention than we need to in Target or the grocery store and she just did not care.

What is the scariest thing that’s happened to you as a mom?

The worst feeling for me was when she had to be put under for surgery. Standing there and watching your drugged daughter be wheeled into the operating room and having no control. To watch and put all of your trust in these doctors and have no control and knowing that she needs to have this done, that was by far my scariest, worst moment as a parent.


Andrea Larson, Fox News anchor/producer and mother to son, Chase, 19 months

Q: What was the best parenting advice you ever received?

A: The wise women in my life, they remind me to take time for myself and my marriage. It’s hard. It’s difficult advice to follow because raising a child is an all-consuming endeavor, but I’m starting to take more time for myself and when I do that, it feels wonderful and I’m not as stressed.

What words of parenting wisdom do you try to live by?

I try to remember that perfection doesn’t exist and to stop worrying about every little parenting decision we make. I’ve read that as parents, we need to give ourselves credit for all of the good things that we do for our children and the article said if we make a mistake, ask our children for forgiveness and also forgive ourselves because we all do a better job than we think.

What is the funniest or most embarrassing thing to happen to you as a mom?

Our child care provider is the YWCA and one of the reasons we love them is because they encourage diversity in their programs. A couple weeks ago the teachers in the toddler room asked if they could include Chase in the anti-bias curriculum. In this case, that meant putting ponytails in their hair, and I said, ‘Of course,’ and then I immediately forgot about that conversation.

My husband picked up Chase the other day and Chase had a ponytail on the top of his head and John didn’t know what was going on because I forgot to tell him. He considered leaving the ponytail in, but he didn’t want to take his son to a motorcycle show that evening while he still had a ponytail.

What is the scariest thing that’s ever happened to you as a mom?

Luckily nothing too major has happened yet. But, I was practically in tears once when cutting his fingernails. Chase moved when I was cutting and I accidentally snipped off a bit of skin and that wound would not stop bleeding. There was blood everywhere – on him, on me, and I felt like such a terrible mother. It took me longer to get over it than Chase.


Jill St. John, executive producer on the Christopher Gabriel Program on WDAY AM 970, professional voice actor, and mother to Hannah, 15 and Adam, 13,

Q: What was the best parenting advice you ever received?

A: It goes by so fast. I received that gem on our wedding day some six years before we had children when an older cousin who had changed my diapers was in shock seeing me in my wedding gown. It was memorable and has been tucked in the back of my mind as an indispensable lesson.

What words of parenting wisdom do you try to live by?

Children learn what they live and live what they learn. That is a gem from my sweet mother who certainly lived an incredible example of faith and strength and positivity for me. Being a hypocrite isn’t very effective at all. Kids are smart. They look for wiggle room. We don’t give them any. Setting a good example day in and day out helps them develop and grow in so many ways.

What is the funniest or most embarrassing thing to happen to you as a mom?

Adam took a marker to a few basement walls of a sitter’s house that ranks right up there. I said, “You left him unattended long enough with all these pretty markers just sitting here?” Embarrassed and mortified, I still had his back.

What is the scariest thing that’s happened to you as a mom?

When my daughter was dehydrated and hospitalized at age 4 and they didn’t know if it was E. coli or not. Turned out it was a rota virus, but they first admitted her to monitor if her situation would deteriorate drastically. I’ll never forget hearing her munching on the cracker I had put in her hospital bed in the event she woke hungry. She said, ‘Hi Mama.’ I’ve never cried such tears of relief and joy.

When Adam was 8, he was hit hard in the head by a line drive foul ball at a RedHawks game. His nose began to bleed and a medic ran to examine him. A surgeon friend in the suite with us examined him and put me at ease but I didn’t feel fully calm until the end of the MRI. It missed damaging a major nerve on the side of his head by millimeters.


Mary Jo Hotzler, The Forum deputy editor, SheSays editor and mother to twins Graham and Grayson, 18 months

Q: What was the best parenting advice you ever received?

A: From the beginning I was told to make sure I make sleep an important part of my life and their lives. I tried to sleep when they slept and I think that helped me stay a little saner in the early days. Getting them in good sleep patterns is key, too.

What words of parenting wisdom do you try to live by?

I think that parents all have to do their own thing and you can’t worry too much about what everybody else is doing. You have to do what works for you. That’s something I’ve learned with having two babies, I can see in my own house that what works for one doesn’t work for another.

What is the funniest or most embarrassing thing to happen to you as a mom?

I usually have this rule where after 7 o’clock at night I keep the kids home because they get cranky, but they seemed to be in a good mood, so we decided to take them on a trip to Target because we had to get groceries.

The store was packed and we had to get so much stuff, so we had two carts, two babies and half-way through, they both just started to freak out. By the time we got to the check-out counter, they were both screaming at the top of their lungs, throwing themselves around. I have never had so many people staring at me in my life.

I’ve taken such safeguards their entire lives because I never wanted to be the person with the screaming kid and sure enough, there were two of them.

What is the scariest thing that’s happened to you as a mom?

That would be right when they were born because Grayson ended up in the NICU (neonatal intensive care unit), which is something we weren’t expecting. I don’t think anything ever prepares you for that kind of uncertainty. I think that’s the scariest thing as a parent is when you are not in control and you don’t know what the outcome is going to be.


Tracy Briggs, Forum Communications Company digital content development director and mother to Laura, 9, and Jordan, 7

Q: What was the best parenting advice you ever received?

A: The best parenting advice, ironically, came from my husband. With our first child, I was all about the books and I used to stress myself out so badly. The books say you’re supposed to feed them, make sure they’re awake, and put them in the crib to fall asleep themselves. Well, my daughter would always fall asleep while I was feeding her and I worried she would never be able to put herself to sleep. My husband, who was a new parent, too, said we need to take the advice from the books with a grain of salt and trust our instincts. After that, I relaxed a little bit and thought, “I can trust myself to figure this out.”

What words of parenting wisdom do you try to live by?

Enjoy the stage your kids are in when they’re in it. I had my kids at an older age so I watched my niece and nephew grow up and I realized how fast it all goes.

What is the funniest or most embarrassing thing to happen to you as a mom?

When Jordan was in the toddler room at preschool and she was playing in a play kitchen and the teacher came up and said, “Jordan, what are you doing?” Jordan said, without missing a beat, “Oh, I’m just sitting here having a beer.” I could feel my face get red. I didn’t want the teacher to think, “That’s what mom does, she sits around the kitchen having a beer.” because I don’t.

What is the scariest thing that’s happened to you as a mom?

When my oldest daughter was 3, our family was out shopping and my husband took our youngest out to the car. We were in the food court in West Acres and suddenly somebody stopped me and started talking to me. I let go of Laura’s hand for just a second because I was talking and I turned around and she was gone.

She was nowhere in sight in the food court. My heart was racing. I went outside and there she was. She’d let herself out of the doors and fortunately there were two teenage girls there who were keeping their eye on her. Ever since I had that little scare, my kids would probably say I hold on too tight. When you go through something like that, you realize how easily kids can wander off.


Readers can reach Forum reporter Tracy Frank at (701) 241-5526

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