Kasie Hunt, NBC News’ Capitol Hill correspondent and host of the MSNBC show “Kasie DC,” is thrilled to welcome her first child into the world this month. Yet with all the excitement comes some big unknowns about what it will be like returning to the workplace after her four-month maternity leave. Hunt spoke candidly about her concerns becoming a working mother with Know Your Value’s Mika Brzezinski.
“I’m terrified, but excited, too,” Hunt said, adding it “feels a little bit like jumping off a ledge into a big unknown, and it’s hard not to really worry that the sacrifices that obviously come with having a baby won’t get in the way or potentially be hard to balance with the demands of the job that we’re doing here.”
Working as a correspondent in Washington D.C. is extremely competitive, Hunt said, adding very few of the women who came before her have balanced motherhood and being on TV.
“There have been so many amazing women who have blazed the trail who have had to work through barriers that are so much higher and wider than the barriers that I’ve faced, but at the same time, one of the expectations was that if you wanted to have a chance to break through any of those barriers, the only thing that there was space for was your job,” she said.
Although many men juggle jobs in TV with raising children, it’s less common among women, particularly in Washington where politics is “all-consuming,” she said.
While Hunt admitted that she’s crossing her fingers and hoping that all goes well upon her return to work, Brzezinski encouraged her to voice her concerns. “The bottom line is that it sounds to me that you want to do your job, you want to continue on your track, you want to continue to cover Capitol Hill, you want to continue to cover elections and you want to continue to host ‘Kasie DC,’” Brzezinski said. “So you ought to make it very clear that you intend to do all that and that it has to work with a child,” she added.
Brzezinski admitted that when she had her second daughter years ago, times were much different. There weren’t many options, and she rushed back to work as the overnight anchor for CBS News. “I didn’t listen to my body, I listened to my mind and my worries about finances and the job,” she said. “It really ended up hurting me in a big way and hurting my child because our relationship wasn’t allowed to evolve.”
Brzezinski has frequently advised women to not put off having children if it’s something they want to do — and to never think you need to sacrifice your family for your career.
Times are different now and many companies, like NBC, have a commitment to mothers, said Brzezinski.
“You’re good at what you do, you bring value to the table, so it’s up to you to communicate with your managers about what you need,” Brzezinski told Hunt. “At times it will seem impossible, but since there’s no one really in front of you who has done exactly this job with kids, you’ve got to blaze the trail — and it has to work. So you have to make it work and that’s going to be by using your voice.”