The news anchor talks work, kids and her ideal date
By: Shannon Day
At the 23rd hour, while the rest of us are zonked on the couch at home or fast asleep in our comfy beds, Carolyn Mackenzie is not only at work but the spotlight shines bright as she delivers the 11 o’clock news.
Carolyn is the weeknight anchor for News Hour Final on Global. She’s also a mom to Kate, 5, Matt, 2, and is married to Chris, a Toronto firefighter. Her schedule is hectic but Carolyn has agreed to come over with her husband and kids, to talk about her balancing act as she juggles work, marriage and motherhood.
Carolyn and I sneak away, into the kitchen, leaving the kids and the guys to their own devices. We pour some coffee and begin (quickly before they find us…)
So Carolyn, tell us about a typical work day for you.
When Chris is working, my day begins at 7am. If he’s home, I try to sleep a bit longer. It’s then off to preschool for the little guy (3 mornings a week), morning chores and homework with Kate. We then go and pick-up Matt, make lunch and then we drop Kate off at school for the afternoon. Once Matt goes down for his nap, I make myself a coffee, put my feet up and exhale. (Carolyn laughs). Then I pick up my iphone and check my emails. If the news day is relatively calm, I’ll put my phone down, right beside me, it’s never far and never off. I’ll then take that time to do whatever I want to do! At 3:15 I pick-up my daughter from school, drop her off at home and make my way into the studio where I head straight into make-up. I then record whatever pre-tapes are needed such as promos or interviews. At around 6pm, I’ll chat with the show’s producer and assignment editor to discuss what stories we should pursue that night. From there I’ll either head out to do a story myself or get elements for the show. If I don’t leave the station then I’ll help write parts of the newscast. The producer and I work closely together discussing a number of aspects for the show. At around 10:15, I head back down to make-up to freshen up. At 10:50 we shoot a live promo and then of course at 11 o’clock it’s time for the news!
That certainly is a full day! What are your secrets for being so fresh faced and focused at 11:00 at night?
Well, it’s show time for me. That’s my time to be “on”. Even though exhaustion may come and go throughout the day and evening, at 11, I tell myself alright “let’s do this”. Also if it’s a busy news night and I’m out working on a story, that keeps me pretty alert and focused. However I often think how strange it is that in the final hour of my shift, when the day is almost over, that’s when I need to be the most alert and at my best!
That must be a challenge! What are the most fulfilling aspects of your job?
It sounds so cliché, but when our stories actually do help, inspire and challenge people to think, feel and act.
What are the most difficult stories to do?
The ones which involve children. These days I can barely get through a story without becoming emotional….it kind of comes with the territory.
Motherhood does do that to us… How do you explain your work to your kids?
I tell them, I talk to people and tell them stories. Granted it’s on TV, but that’s my job in a nutshell. I talk to people when I’m out of the studio working on a story, and then I talk to people when I’m in the studio presenting the news. I hope that’s how the viewer sees it as well, that I’m just talking to them in their living rooms each night.
I like that. What is your idea of the perfect day?
First and foremost, I’d be with my family. Secondly, we’d be doing something active outside followed by a great dinner together. And then the kids would have lots of fun in the bath!
Do you have any special mom and daughter things that you and Kate like to do?
A tradition of ours is to go out for breakfast on the weekends. I love just being with my daughter, it gives me a chance to focus on her.
Sounds like a nice tradition. What do you and Matt enjoy doing together?
Our special time is first thing in the morning, when we can do some quality snuggling. We’re also in a mom and tot gymnastics program which gives us a nice opportunity have fun together, just the two of us.
Is your husband, Chris, romantic?
He is actually more romantic than me. He’ll buy flowers and cards. But he also knows the little things go a long with way me. So if he wants to put me in a really good mood, he’ll clean or do some laundry because let’s face it, that’s what makes a lot of us women the most happy, when we have fewer chores to do come the weekend!
Absolutely! What is your and Chris’ ideal date?
We don’t get the chance to go out together very often because I work 5 nights a week and Chris works at least two weekends out of the month, but, our ideal date night definitely involves a nice dinner out. We both love good food. We also really enjoy live theatre, so catching a show would be at the top of our list. We’ve also made it a habit to get away (just the two of us) every 6 months for two or three nights, thanks to my mom. God bless mothers!! These little getaways help us reconnect and remind us why we got together in the first place!
Are you happy with your work/family life balance?
Hmmmm. That’s a good question, but there’s no simple answer because that work/family life balance is ever-changing and evolving. Right now, we have balance. But with both of us working full time and the kids schooling and programs changing each year, what works for us today, may not work for us tomorrow. I kind of treat our family like a business. I do quarterly assessments and discuss with my husband what’s meshing well and what isn’t. From there we make the necessary changes. Balance is key and attainable but, without a doubt, challenging to achieve.
Quarterly assessments? I like that. Great idea.
I have one final question, it’s of top priority. What is your cocktail of choice?
I love a vodka martini (slightly dirty) made with a decent vodka, dry vermouth and a splash of olive juice. I also enjoy a glass of Baco or Pinot Noir.
You’re making me thirsty! Thanks so much for taking the time to have a coffee with me, Carolyn. It’s been great talking with you.
* You can find Carolyn on Twitter and watch her on Global’s New Hour Final- weeknights at 11 o’clock.
Carolyn is now on The Morning Show. Weekdays at 6:00 ’til 9:00 EST.
Did you hear that Carolyn Mackenzie has a story in our book?
Well, she does! And it is hilarious.
Get your copy of Martinis and Motherhood: Tales of Wonder, Woe & WTF?! today.