June 3, 2013

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I hate flying.  Loathe may be a better word.  I am a control freak.  I have accepted this about myself and when I’m in the air with nothing underneath, and someone else is steering the vessel, I start to sweat bullets.  Put me in a car and I’m cool as a cucumber.  If danger is heading my way, I at least have a fighting chance– I can veer!  Or if my husband is driving, I can grab the steering wheel and veer (very rational, I am).  Believe me, I know all the statistics about how flying is the safest way to travel, yada, yada, yada, but I’m not a fan of the unknown.  If I can see the ground below through the window, I feel slightly relieved.  I can at least see what is coming.  And that is why Friday is such a big deal for me.  I jumped off a cliff and into a thick cloud of fog.  Without a parachute.  And I have no idea what is at the bottom.  I quit my job.

For the entirety of my professional life post college, I have been a news reporter and anchor.  I have spent many years chasing stories around the country and have covered everything from tornadoes to high profile cases to wildfires.  I have a great passion for sharing stories in a meaningful way.  It is a great privilege when someone is wiling to open up and allow me into their sometimes brightest, but often times darkest life moments.  That is something I do not take lightly.  In those moments I pray that the right words will come to me; that I will do the story subject justice, and that the family of that subject will cherish my story as a way to honor their loved one and have a few minutes of peace at a terrible time.  I know that I am not a reporter who can separate myself from a story, so I don’t even try.  I regularly cry during interviews and while other journalists may scoff at this notion, I believe this is a gift.  I become so personally invested in each report, it is as though their home destroyed by fire or loved one killed in an accident is mine as well.  How would I want the public to see them?  That is how I try to proceed.

Now, why would I leave a profession I am so passionate about?   To find that answer has taken months of pondering, brutal self examination, prayer, moments of personal doubt, and is all centered around a precious little person who entered my life last year: my sweet baby girl, Ruby.

I always felt it would be worth it to leave her every afternoon to work as long as I felt I was making a difference, moving toward my ultimate goal, and being fulfilled.  But a funny thing happened the first time I held my first born in my arms–my entire world became about her.  My every decision is first weighed by how it will affect her and as I found myself covering more shootings and bomb threats and council meetings than ever before, the sacrifice became too great.  She comes first.  Always.  And so, I knew I had to jump.

This is not to say I am putting the professional part of my life on the shelf to collect dust.  I am so grateful this little blog is serving as a way for me to continue to share stories I believe are important, and also explore other areas I am passionate about in ways I’ve never been able to before.  I am excited to devote more time to withHEART and can’t wait to see where it takes me.  I have some big plans.  I will occasionally report on a freelance basis and that will help me get my news fix, but the little lady who has my heart is now taking center stage.  Someday I may return to television if the timing and opportunity are right, but I know this time with my baby and my husband will pass far more quickly than I would like and I want to be present for as much of it as possible.

I have great admiration for each and every woman who has been faced with this very difficult decision– those who have decided to leave their careers to stay home, and those who have decided to stay, whether by choice or financial necessity.  Both are equally difficult choices and as women, I believe both deserve respect and support.

I am not a brave person, but it was time to be brave.  And a brave new world awaits me.  Wonderful things happen when you follow your heart.  As we say in TV… STAY TUNED…

Jen Signature photo JenSignature_zpse63747c4.jpg

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  1. Wow- congratulations on your decision. It must have been an incredibly tough call, but your family will thank you for making it. Time is one thing that can’t be revisited, and so many memories can be made in even the most mundane of moments.

  2. Emily DeBry says:

    Beautiful inspiring post! Thank you for sharing your thoughts and brave choice to stay home and take care of your sweet baby!

  3. A very difficult decision indeed. But I’m so happy you’ve made the right one for you. And I really can’t wait to read what’s next. You remind me of a mix if two bloggers I follow… Jenni Hogan and Amy from Somebody’s Parents. Both have made career switches recently after children from the busy news business. I think we should form a posse.

  4. Jessica says:

    I congratulated you on twitter, but I also want to share my personal connection to you. My cousin married a beautiful girl named Michelle Langston, your friend. She was always so proud to claim you as a friend. Every time I see you on the news, I think of her. I know she’s so excited for your new adventure because her children were her whole world. Staying home is the most fulfilling and challenging job in the world. I hope you love it. 🙂

  5. Melissa says:

    Hi Jenn! I don’t know if you remember me, but I went through BYU’s broadcasting program when you did and had a few classes with you. I found your blog somehow and enjoy reading it. As a stay-at-home mom and journalist at heart myself, I remember what it was like to make that decision and sometimes I still have to make it again and again. But I am so thankful I get to stay home with my three chickadees and I feel blessed to be their mom and the enriching life it gives me. And I’m right with you, whatever choice a woman decides is best for her and her family deserves respect and support. Best of luck to you with your new adventure!

  6. Chelsea says:

    It’s such a crazy hard decision to make as a mother and kudos for following your heart and making a leap! It’s so important to do what is best for your family and your situation and having the strength to do it is fantastic! Can’t wait to hear about your new path and adventures which will surely follow!

  7. Mercedes White says:

    I so admire your courage and chutzpah Jen. Good luck with your new adventure. I’m rooting for you!

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