Anna Kooiman: How live TV prepared me for the unpredictable joys (and frustrations) of motherhood

I am currently sitting in the Fox News Channel newsroom in New York City. It is 2 am and I am preparing for a news cut-in which will be broadcast live. These crazy hours we work in television are a little nutty to outsiders. But to us, it just comes with the territory. Flying back to NYC (from my new home in Sydney, Australia) to do this shift got me to thinking… This bizarre world we live in as TV personalities has prepared me so much for motherhood. My baby is now 11-months-old, so I am still learning a lot about how to be a mom. But there a few things I have down pat. And as odd as it may sound, I can thank LIVE TV for helping me!

Babies are unpredictable just like breaking news stories are unpredictable. Just when you get them dressed for the day, they have a massive diaper explosion or bring their milk back up all over their cute little top. You think they’re going to be super chill at a restaurant and all of a sudden they start wailing because they are teething and need you to help them get some relief. You buy them a fancy car seat, and they scream because they don’t like the position it puts them in, etc. etc. ETC!

(Photo credit: Katherine Kirchner)

(Photo credit: Katherine Kirchner)

When you’re reporting in the field, LIVE shots often don’t end up the way you want them to. A story you spent all day working on -- may never make it to air for one reason or another. Someone you were supposed to interview may not show up in time for your segment. Your lighting may end up being off because all of a sudden the sun goes behind the clouds.  A construction crew may decide to rev up their equipment just as the anchor tosses to you LIVE on location. Grrrrr. The audience can’t hear a word you’re saying, etc, etc, ETC!

CLICK HERE TO READ MORE FROM ANNA KOOIMAN: I FLY SOLO AROUND THE WORLD WITH MY BABY – THIS IS HOW I SURVIVE

Do you see the parallels? Ya just gotta roll with the punches. Do you want to know the biggest thing hosting LIVE morning TV for a decade taught me? How to function on little to no sleep. Sleep deprivation is just part of life as a morning host. Late nights. Early mornings. During commercial breaks the hosts and crew talk about sleep the way most people talk about a fancy steak dinner or a decadent piece of chocolate cake. “You’re not gonna believe how much sleep I got last night! It was AMAZING! Oooooh! Ahhhhh!”

Two years ago, I left my job hosting "Fox & Friends Weekend" to live a more relaxed life and start a family with my Aussie husband. Our little boy is getting close to a year old, and knock on wood, he’s sleeping through the night most nights. But it was a long road. This just started a few weeks ago!

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(Photo credit: Katherine Kirchner)

(Photo credit: Katherine Kirchner)

I have traveled back and forth from Sydney to New York City, four times in his short little life to do TV work at Fox News. He’s a great little traveler. That’s a long 24 plus hour travel time. Each time I have returned to the Land Down Under from the USA, I promised myself I would sleep train him as soon as the jet lag wore off. But could never do it! I am a sucker. If he was crying for milk or even if he simply just desired a cuddle from his mamma, I caved. Just couldn’t do the ‘controlled crying’ thing. Thank goodness I learned to fire on all cylinders with little shut-eye because these last 11 months have been full of interrupted sleep. I’m sure a lot of parents can relate.

(Fit Pregnancy Club, New York City. Photo credit: Katherine Kirchner)

(Fit Pregnancy Club, New York City. Photo credit: Katherine Kirchner)

Recently, my two world’s of television and motherhood have collided. I’ve launched an online fitness program and information resource to help women get their groove back physically and emotionally after having children. It’s called "Strong Sexy Mammas." I use my journalism background to interview women’s health experts about the unique issues women face after having kids. I also lead inspiring workouts from the beach where I live in Australia. Since experiencing the demands of motherhood, I have realized how hard it can be to find the time and energy to workout. I have found ways to make fitness fun and fit into our busy lifestyles. I created "Strong Sexy Mammas" because I want to share my passion for fitness with the world and help boost the mood of participants, despite the crazy hormone rollercoaster we go on as new moms. Before my career in New York City, I was a fitness instructor. Since moving to Australia I have gotten re-certified and started teaching classes again.

As I continue sitting here in the Fox News newsroom and get ready for my last cut-in of the morning, I can’t help but feel grateful.  I will keep putting my hand up for anchoring opportunities like this, even if I have to do the graveyard shift. When producers bring me back to freelance at the network, it means I get to keep showing my son more of the what life is like in the USA. Fox is such a friendly, familiar environment. I’m counting my blessings. This bizarre world of TV truly did prepare me for the struggles of motherhood. And the struggle is real, ya’ll!