“As women in today’s society we are very highly educated and brought up being told that we can do absolutely anything and be anything.
Then some of us are slapped in the face with reality when it comes time to have children.
All of these logistics come in to play and other things that need to be considered, and society at this stage still doesn’t always quite allow for that balance.”
I had the pleasure of catching up for coffee with Channel Nine Adelaide’s leading lady Kate Collins and took the opportunity to pick her brains on what it takes to stay at the top after adding motherhood in to the mix.
With a clear dream in mind but things not quite going to plan early, Kate took an alternate but seemingly fast track to the top to become the glamorous face smiling back at us from Channel Nine’s news desk as we battle witching hour in our kitchens.
After missing out on getting in to Uni to study journalism, Kate spent a few years studying media, working for free, learning the ropes and eventually scoring post grad entry – a longer than planned process but an early demonstration of the strength and determination that would eventually land Kate her dream role.
After completing this degree Kate scored a role as Journo for a country TV station. Her talent was recognised immediately and her boss at the time sent a video of her to Channel 9 boss Tony Agars and within her first year of graduating she was sitting front and centre as news anchor for the first time. Something Kate had always dreamed of but never really thought would happen, and certainly not so quickly!
Kate admits that she didn’t think a whole lot about what would happen when she had a family at that point. She was so focused on her ambition and reaching her full potential at work that having children was something down the track that she’d think about when it came to it.
And then it did.
Kate fell pregnant with beautiful little Harvey and felt uneasy early on.
Journalism typically isn’t an easy career for the working mum, Kate says that many women chose to leave the profession once they has children as the long hours and being constantly on call don’t tend to fit in easily with children to consider.
“You’re no longer just a free agent ready to go anywhere and everywhere at the drop of a hat. There’s a child to consider.”
“If you are limited by the time that you can spend at work or the duties you can carry out, of course you’re not going to be the first person that they’ll put in line for a promotion because you’re not the one there putting in all the time and all the hours, doing all of the work. It seems really unfair, because you can’t have it all…. You can not have it all, it’s a myth. Because if you do try to do that then you’re going to suck at a lot of those areas in your life.”
“I’ve been reading heaps since having Harvey about balancing these roles and how men can be supported and step up a bit more in a child care role and I think there is still a really long way to go before women can really step up equally in their careers post children.”
“Even if they are supported and they still can progress in their careers post children, you’ll always have that pause put in there. It’s like putting the brakes on as soon as you have another child or announce you’re pregnant.”
“I think a lot of women think more about ‘am I actually going to be able to keep my job', rather than how far can I progress in my career.”
“In our society the men and women of course fall pregnant together, but then it’s the women who immediately starts considering her career and how that’s going to be impacted whereas it won’t even cross the guy’s mind.”
Kate said ‘initially when I found out I was pregnant, I felt terrified because I didn’t know what was going to happen and how work would embrace that. But we managed to work really cohesively, they were wonderful and very supportive. I realise that I’ve been very lucky, although I did need to go back to work on limited hours earlier than I would have liked.’
A strong desire to make it work, self belief, the support of her husband and importantly the confidence to speak to her employer to come up with a game plan that would work for all involved all came together to bring Kate back to our TV screens after five months at home getting to know Harvey.
Here’s what goes on before the cameras start rolling in a day in the life of Kate Collins
Precious morning Mum and Harvey time
I don’t get to see Harvey at night so my only time with him is in the mornings. We have our time before work to play and do the things we need to do before he goes to child-care or mums and then my husband does the pick up in the evenings. When he was really little and I was still breastfeeding I’d still have the opportunity to do the night feed and see him when I got home but it’s hard now. I get home from work after a hard day and I don’t see him. There’s a huge chunk of the day that he’s spending with other people and not me, and that can still be hard.
I do realise that I’m really fortunate that I’m still really fortunate to have that quality time in the morning with him.
Starting a workday with hair and makeup? Yes please!
Kate’s working day starts at 1130am -12 where it’s straight off to hair and makeup for an hour (oh if only I could have this included in my working day!)
Next it’s catching up on news, recording updates for TV and radio, doing voice recordings and promotions.
At 4pm Kate starts checking the bulletin, stories, updates and what the reporters have been working on during the days ready to head in to the studio to greet us on air at 6pm.
A day is done
After the bulletin, evening updates are recorded which sometimes can mean you are required to stay back late, sometimes up to 10:30pm if there’s a significant event happening. You need to be available for these things, you can’t just decide to knock off and go home if there’s breaking news to be reported.
After I get home from work it’s time for me to spend time with my husband at the end of the day… until we’re both exhausted and fall asleep on the couch!
It was such a pleasure to chat to Kate and hear her experiences of life after becoming a mum. Wishing her all the best with the arrival of number two!