TV journalist Mika Brzezinski asks the question--and answers it for herself--in her new autobiography.
In 1998, network TV news veteran Mika Brzezinski, now cohost of MSNBC's Morning Joe, seemed to be the consummate "juggler," caring for her growing family while advancing her career. But that precarious juggling act came to a frightening halt when, exhausted from her job as late-night anchor for CBS News, she fell down the stairs in her suburban New York home with her 4-month old daughter, Carlie, in her arms. After two terrifying trips to the emergency room, doctors discovered that Carlie was not suffering from a spinal cord injury, as they'd feared, but from a broken thighbone--a serious, but repairable injury.
In All Things at Once, her refreshingly frank memoir, Brzezinski uses this story not to frighten women, but to suggest they pace themselves. In fact, far from urging readers to wait to have children, she believes that building a career and a family "all at once" gives women time to enjoy both to their fullest. When Brzezinski found herself jobless and bereft after being fired from CBS, she gave full-time motherhood a shot, but even her young daughters could see it was not for her. She came to understand that "balance" for her meant a family that provides support and a job that offers a challenge.
Back at work, Brzezinski chose assignments--even those that seemed to others to be steps backward--that offered time with her family and were suited to her personality and interests. She refused to let her job become a "bad boyfriend" who takes and takes without giving back. And she found her true voice, perhaps best illustrated when--to her own surprise and her co-hosts' shock--she refused, on the air, to open a news segment with a piece about Paris Hilton rather than the leading political story of the day.
All Things at Once is an engaging tale of the joys and frustrations inherent in following one's passion and convictions in a world that still seeks to pigeonhole women into one role or another. Without preaching, Brzezinski describes her winding path--humiliating missteps and all--toward a balanced life.
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