It was over 20 years ago when the Suburban Mama and I first became friends in college. If someone told me back then that one day the two of us would be in Orange County raising a couple of boys each, I would have never believed it. Yet here we are, as happy as can be.
When we first met, I was at the beginning of a 17 year long career as a broadcast journalist in Manila. I juggled hosting TV shows, reporting and anchoring 2 newscasts around my junior and senior years in college. As a result, I didn’t have many friends because I was always running after a deadline or a call time. But when I did, they made a lasting impression on me, like she did. Right after college, I was pirated by another station where I became a full time reporter, news anchor and started a daily newspaper column. I was successful very early on in my career, soon tackling a women’s talk show and several award winning news and public affairs programs. I was extremely busy, my days were awfully long, and while I did feel accomplished – somewhere deep down inside, I was empty.
My friends, one by one, all settled down and were married with children. And there I was, married only to my career. Traveling the world and being on the first name basis with the movers and shakers of the country was exciting, but at the end of the day, I was always alone. I had also begun to lose touch with my friends.
One day I decided that I had enough. I tendered my resignation and started to pack my bags. I wanted to start my life all over again and discover what my true calling was. I knew that if I stayed in the Philippines, the temptation to go back to TV would be too much.
In a whirlwind romance, I married one of my closest friends and moved back to the US. We settled in Orange County where we are raising our two little boys, only 22 months apart in age. I worked the first few years we lived in California, but just before becoming pregnant with our second, we decided that it would be best for the kids if I were to stay at home and raise them myself.
I had already experienced a very full life with my television career. Little did I know then that being a full time mother would not only be 500x more demanding, it was also a million times more fulfilling.
I don’t think I have ever worked harder in my life. Sometimes I think that keeping up with the never ending questions of my 4 year old is harder than any talk show that I have ever hosted. Yes, with my old job once in awhile I’d get called in at 3am to cover a sinking ship or something. But nowadays, middle of the night wake up calls happen on a weekly basis.
But I have a life now. And I am no longer alone. In fact, I have never felt more important in my whole life. I feel like I making a difference, if only in the lives of my boys. Being a wife and a mother trumps any glamorous TV job I have ever had before.
And even better, one by one, I have started to get in touch with all those friends who became mothers before me. We speak the same language now. And it’s just amazing.
About the Author:
Cristina Peczon-Rodriguez was a newscaster, TV host, commercial model, and newspaper columnist in Manila. She now lives in Orange County,CA with her husband and two young sons.