So many of us love waking up to see Natalie Morales reporting in the morning as the West Coast anchor of TODAY and now sharing all of the celebrity news on Access Hollywood. She manages to fill our lives with major news all while raising two boys and running multiple marathons. That’s something to aspire to! Morales shares with us who inspires her, how she teaches her kids about the world events she covers, and her favorite part about being a mom.
How did you get to where you are today?
Lots of perseverance and having a real vision of what I wanted. Besides my “stick-to-itvness” I would say I was never afraid to take risks and would try things a different way sometimes to get to where I am. For example I went into finance out of college because I needed the income and also thought I could use the knowledge… but I knew that would not be my “forever” job. I took what I gained from that experience 2 years later and it helped me launch my job search in journalism. My first TV job was also in marketing, not on air, but I again used that experience to educate myself on the cable landscape and also worked on getting my foot in the door. So when I finally got my chance on air, I had 4 years of real world experience that in my opinion, was better than graduate school and gave me real perspective that would serve me well as a reporter.
What would someone be surprised to learn about you?
I’m pretty much an open book in my life. But I guess some might be surprised to know I love to cook and when I’m not working or running around, you will often find me in my kitchen inventing new recipes.
You’ve covered some major historic events? What have you learned from that and how do you translate that for your children?
Sometime the hardest part of my job is trying to explain to my children the importance of the events that I have covered that have meant missing out on events in their lives. The struggle of every working parent, I suppose, but there was a time I was traveling more often it seemed then I was home. Fortunately my kids get it and they don’t know any different as ever since they were born I had to travel for work. I think discussing the importance of the stories though is a great way to educate them. For example when I traveled to Cuba a few years ago, I explained to them all about the history and tense relations between the US and Cuba. Or when I covered the rescue of the Chilean Miners, they saw my coverage and were proud because everyone at their school was talking about the story. I went to Honduras a few years ago to cover a story about the plight of lobster divers there and when I came back again it was a chance to educate them and also make them aware of how lucky they are to live in such a great country where life is a little less difficult.
Who was the most inspiring person you ever interviewed?
These are always my favorite stories! I have interviewed so many inspirational people. One of my favorites would be Augie Nieto, who is a fitness pioneer. He founded LifeFitness- one of the first fitness equipment companies. He was a 26-time marathoner and in the best shape of his life when he was suddenly diagnosed with ALS. To many that would be a death sentence, but to Augie it was a calling and he went on to found Augie’s Quest which has raised more than $40 million to date in the advancement of ALS research and they are on the forefront of possible treatments that could help extend or better quality of life.
What advice would you give to another mom early on in her journey in motherhood?
4 words.. “it’s just a phase.” With my oldest, in his first few years he favored my husband so much and it devastated me. I sometimes even thought he loved the nanny more than me. It didn’t help that I was traveling and trying to “prove” myself at work that I had such terrible mom guilt. But in the end he outgrew it and thank goodness seems to love us both equally. I also think it’s important for him to see a strong example of men and women as equals.. when I’m not able to be there I’m so lucky to have a partner who is and vice versa.
What is your favorite part about being a mom?
Seeing the world through their eyes again and relishing in their achievements big and small.
What is one of your superhero mom moments?
When I juggle all my tasks and jobs and everyone is happy and I succeed at all things!
What was your biggest mom fail?
Almost daily when I juggle all my tasks and jobs and nothing seems to go right and all seem unhappy! In other words, every day there are successes and failures…
Any tips on balancing working and motherhood?
See above … also learn to celebrate the successes and appreciate all that you can learn from those failures. But balance is something that can be elusive. Most importantly just try to find a little happiness or joy every day.
How do you find time to be an avid runner on top of career and family?
Running is my calm and my zen! I need at least 30 minutes to an hour for myself a few times a week and I know that can seem like a luxury, but that time is so important to my physical and emotional well being. So I just prioritize my day and find those moments when I can take that break.
What 5 things can you never leave home without?
My phone, a credit card or some cash, a light snack and a sweater or coverup.