Rita Braver of CBS: ‘Women Need to Lean the Way They Want to Lean’

[ 0 ] July 2, 2013 |

If it’s Sunday morning on CBS, you likely will see Rita Braver on the screen. But the “CBS News Sunday Morning” correspondent anchor admits that her TV career and busy work schedule would not be too compatible with motherhood.

With Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg advising women to “lean in” in their careers, and others like former State Department adviser Anne-Marie Slaughter saying women cannot truly have high-powered careers and still have the work-life balance that makes them happy, much debate has been had of late of women and work-life balance.

Watch genConnect talk with Rita Braver as she she talks about the difference between working moms of her generation and today’s young moms, and advice she has for working mothers at the 2013 Aspen Ideas Festival:

WATCH: Andrea Mitchell of NBC News Asks CNBC’s Maria Bartiromo – Can Women Have It All? 

In her current position, Braver travels 150 days a year for ‘Sunday Morning,’ sometimes working straight through weekends. She often may fly somewhere in the morning and if it’s not an overnight trip she gets home at midnight. “I knew in my heart, the kind of mother I was, that was not for me” when she had young kids at home, she said.

So while she was raising her young daughter, her hours and travel schedule working as a producer and law correspondent for CBS News were much more conducive to motherhood. She took on the more demanding job as the CBS News White House correspondent after her daughter was older.

“With a young child, I think you have to make a decision to put your family first,” Braver said. “That was always it for me.”

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Braver’s daughter, now a mother herself, has chosen to freelance and be a work-from-home mom instead of work full time – now an increasingly popular choice among today’s young moms who are able to have work-from-home jobs. That’s something that working women of her generation in her industry – Leslie Stahl and Connie Chung, for example – never thought about. If high-level jobs were offered to them, they jumped at the opportunity.

With the current work-life balance debate, Braver noted a recent Washington Post article by journalist and author Elsa Walsh, entitled, Why Women Should Embrace a ‘Good Enough’ Life, who essentially said “women need to lean any way they want to lean.”

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‘CBS News Sunday Morning’ correspondent Rita Braver

“You do what’s right for you and your family and don’t feel the pressure to work in a certain way, just because somebody else tells you you have to work that way,” Braver said.

It’s the working mothers who have no choices or flexibility in terms of their schedules, whether they are single mothers or need a second income in their family, who need even more help and support.  So for these women, having a support system there is crucial – whether it be a supportive partner, family help or reliable childcare.

“There’s so many women who are struggling to do it by themselves, and more who are doing it purely for economic reasons,” Braver said. She worries that those women “are missing out on the enjoyment of their children.”

“They’re working so hard, that their lives, it’s just like putting one foot in front of another. I wish there were more ways that those women in our society could get support.”

WATCH: Women Need to Decide for Themselves What Balance Is, Says Susan Isenberg of Edelman

Braver recalls having “back-up” with a small group of other mothers, where they would take turns picking up each other’s children from school on days they were not working. By coordinating this kind of activity, Braver said, “I feel like women working together might also be able to have more flexibility in their lives.”

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Category: Aspen Ideas Festival 2013

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About Rita Braver: Rita Braver is a senior correspondent for "CBS News Sunday Morning" where she reports on everything from arts and culture to politics and foreign policy. Her assignments include a wide variety of topics, from following [...]
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