As a work-at-home mom who barely finds the time to squeeze in cardio or blog my latest musings on motherhood, I often ask myself: Can I really have it all? While there are days when it seems possible — the laundry pile never ends and the freelance assignments pile up on my desk –I find myself wondering if I’m pursuing an impossible dream… if maybe I should just wait until my girls are both a little bit older to have a go at my goals.
But then there are women out there who seem to have discovered a way to have it all — success stories like Keri Adams, who give women like myself a glimmer of hope.
While you may know Adams from CTV Morning Live, which she co-hosts with Brent Shearer, she has enjoyed a love of news and storytelling for 18 years, covering breaking news and elections for all levels of government.
Her career began back in 1994 as a morning show writer in her hometown of Edmonton, before taking on the challenging role of photojournalist in Red Deer, AB. She covered Central Alberta with nothing but a news camera, a Chevy Chevette and a brick cell phone. Two years later, she went back to Edmonton as a night reporter and eventually weekend news anchor.
Adams headed west to Vancouver om 2001 where she worked as a reporter and Weekend Morning News Anchor with Global Television (CHAN-TV) before being snapped up by CTV British Columbia. Just four years later, she received the Jack Webster Award for ‘Best News Reporting’ for her work on the fatal North Vancouver Mudslide, and was nominated in 2004 for ‘Best Feature Reporting.’
In this edition of ‘Coffee With,’ Adams talks candidly about her hectic, yet exciting schedule that centers around her two little women.
Tell us a bit about yourself and your family.
I’m an expert juggler, and by that I mean I always feel like I have a billion balls in the air. Life has always been pretty busy for me, not just because I’m a working parent, but because of the nature of my work in broadcasting. My two daughters are the most important people in my life. Abby is 7 and Holly is 5, and I think I learn more from them everyday that they learn from me. They both have a unique and simplistic perspective on life that somehow we lose sight of when we grow up.
What does a typical weekday look like in the Adams’ household?
Since I joined the team on CTV Morning Live, I have more time with my kids which is awesome! I get up at 3 a.m., shower and head to the CTV station. Make up at 4 a.m., get changed into my ‘on air clothes’, do some quick writing for the show, then before I catch my breath, I’m on the air at 5: 30 a.m. Three and a half hours later, I take a break, then we gather for a production meeting to talk about the guests we’re having on for the show the following day.
Normally, I would try to go to the gym after the show, but because of the teachers strike I don’t have a ton of freedom. I meet up with my kids and we end up running errands. Later, once I get the kids to bed, I usually take an hour to get organized for the next morning, go over my interview notes, and check my email for any late breaking stories that will develop on the morning show. Then around 9 p.m. it’s lights out. Unless there’s something good in my PVR that can’t wait. Then it’s closer to 10 p.m. Rinse, and Repeat.
How do you spend downtime with your daughters?
Downtime? What is this thing you speak of? I guess if we have downtime, it’s on the weekend. I love organizing playdates for the kids so they’re entertained on a rainy afternoon. The best kind of playdate are the ones with my girlfriends who have kids so we can visit over a coffee (or a glass of wine! Don’t judge ) while the kids play. Now that fall is here, the kids have activities like piano, swimming and soccer to keep us all busy.
What do your daughters think of seeing their mom on TV?
They don’t see me on TV much. I don’t think they sit around watching news when I’m not with them. When I do show them a clip of me on camera, they think I look ‘pretty’. They’re not used to seeing me dressed up and wearing so much makeup. They get the glasses and sweatpants version of me most of the time.
How do you juggle your thriving career, philanthropic involvements and family?
It’s tough. I don’t have family in Vancouver to help with childcare when I’m in a bind. Fortunately, I have the best nanny in the whole world, and my kids’ dad and I work together to make sure we have all the bases covered. It’s stressful to schedule everyone, and sometimes things slip through the cracks. I can’t give advice. I don’t know if I’m successful most of the time.
Have you always wanted to be a journalist?
Since high school, I knew I wanted to write and tell stories, but I didn’t know what kind of career to persue that would allow me to do that. I think it clicked one day when I was watching the local news in Edmonton with my parents. We always had news on the TV at our house, and so I guess their constant desire to be informed influenced me inadvertently. Say that three times fast 😉
What was your very first job? How about your first job in your current industry?
My first job was writing for a local Edmonton morning show! But I wanted to report the news, so shortly after I was able to land my first reporting job in Red Deer. I was a photojournalist (that’s what we called VJ’s back then), and I shot my own video to go with my news stories. I was a one-man band! Hard, hard work. But “character-building” is how l like to describe it when interns ask me about getting into the industry.
Can you take us back to that very first day you were on camera? Do you remember what was going through your mind?
So long ago! But I recall it was a story I covered on the Rolling Stones being in town, and everyone was trying to find Mick and the boys. I spent the day running around trying to catch a glimpse of them at their hotel, and at the stadium where they were to perform for their Voodoo Lounge tour. I did a live report from the Stadium where their huge stage set up was taking place. I was nervous! But I survived, and lived to tell the tale.
If one of your daughters –or any young woman for that matter — told you today that they wanted to follow in your footsteps, what advice would you give them?
Oh wow. That’s easy. Work hard in school, get practical experience, and take chances to get the most out of your career. And most importantly, don’t spend too much time worrying about what people will think of you. When you work in news, the facts will help you tell the story, but it’s your experience in life that will shape it. Vague, I know.
Who would you say is the most interesting person you’ve interviewed so far as a journalist?
Off the top of my head, I will say Canadian Astronaut Chris Hadfield. I chatted with him on CTV Morning Live a few months ago, and I could have spend a day with him and hung on his every word. He’s seen the world in a way few of us will ever have a chance to. And his desire to share his experiences has made him a national hero. He’s ambitious too, so I have a feeling we’ll be seeing more of him in the public eye in the future.
Like most of us moms, I’m sure you have off days where you are feeling tired, exhausted and cranky. When this happens, how do you stay focused and appear happy when the camera is on you?
It’s funny, when the newscast begins, it’s like a switch is flipped. My job is to deliver something that people are counting on me to give them. So at that moment anything I’m struggling with personally seems to slip away. It also helps that I work with an outstanding team of professionals ( who happen to be wonderful people) to change my mood if I need a boost.