Purpose//

From Late Shifts to Outer Space Trips, Here’s How These Three Women Juggle Motherhood and Busy Careers

They inspire us.

Photo credit: Lauren Harnett/ NASA 

Imagine saying goodnight to your astronaut mom as she takes off for a business trip…to outer space. It’s an odd scenario, but for some children, it’s a common one.

Motherhood is no easy task, and each family has its own “normal” — especially in today’s ever-changing world of odd shifts, rotating work schedules, and lengthy business trips abroad. But some moms, whether they have weekends at home or not, are dedicated to making it work. Here, we give praise to three women with nonstandard work schedules who still manage to find time to be a mom.

1. The Journalist

Photo credit: Erin Burnett/ OutFront Instagram

When CNN’s Erin Burnett is not on live television, you might find the OutFront host prepping for her show and juggling two children (with another on the way!).

“Balancing motherhood and any job means always having lots of balls in the air. What I’ve learned is that sometimes one or more of them drop –and that’s ok,” Burnett told Thrive Global.

Like all of life’s journeys, motherhood comes with its ups and downs. Lack of sleep and personal time are two of the greatest challenges that she has faced since becoming a mom. (Don’t forget, Burnett is also deeply ingrained in a 24-7 news cycle.)

But the blessings of motherhood are rich.

“There is no other feeling for me as incredible as watching and celebrating their accomplishments,” Burnett said. “Whether it’s hearing them read their first words, seeing their pride in an artwork or watching them do the monkey bars for the first time.”

While she surely welcomes a few extra hours of sleep, Burnett knows it comes with the territory of being a new mom. And if she doesn’t check every box off the list each day, that’s OK.

It’s important for her children to see why she loves her job and how she contributes to the news operation, Burnett explains, adding that, “My great hope is that they’ll find a job that fulfills them, excites them and completes them when they are adults.”

2. The Astronaut

Photo credit: Lauren Harnett/ NASA

NASA astronaut Anne McClain is gearing up for a trip to the International Space Station (ISS) in November. She’s also raising a young son.

“The hardest part about training for space is the 4 yr old I have to leave behind every time I walk out the door,” McClain recently tweeted. “I try to remember he will grow up and know what it looks like, behind the scenes, to pursue a dream. He is my ‘why.’”

She’s not alone.

McClain’s tweet was a response to two-time Olympic gold medalist and Women’s World Cup Champion Abby Wambach, who was seeking solace on Twitter after missing her child’s soccer game due to work.

During trainings and trips to space, much of McClain’s parenting comes at a distance. Preparing for separation has become essential to their routine. According to Today.com, McClain gave her son a calendar to mark off the days she’s away on assignment. And when they are together, Mcclain is focused on creating new memories. Last year, she brought him to an official portrait session by NASA, where he smiled proudly with a space helmet on his lap.

For this mother-son duo, these special moments aren’t likely taken for granted.

3. The Hospital Nurse

Photo credit: Becky Bannister

Even on the busiest days in the Labor and Delivery Unit at a hospital in Mesa, Arizona, the first thing Becky Bannister does when she gets home is rock her 9 month-old daughter to sleep.

“She needs to know that I missed her, and that even though I spent the day with other babies, she will always be my favorite baby to rock,” Bannister told Thrive Global.

The new mom recently got back much-needed family time by giving up some shifts at the hospital. But when her scrubs are on, hectic 12-hour days are in order. Bannister works holidays, too.

“Babies love to be born on holidays,” she said with enthusiasm.

No doubt, juggling the responsibilities of work and motherhood can be difficult and emotional, Bannister said, especially on days in which expecting mothers suffer a miscarriage.

“Those are the nights I let her splash in the tub a little longer, and I hold her a little closer and rock her as long as she (or I) really need,” Bannister said. 

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