There has been chatter from some conservative voices on social media lately that, as Megyn noted, seems to suggest families are best served by men and women in ‘traditional’ roles. Megyn admitted that the commentary has been “getting under my skin.”
On Thursday’s show, she was joined by former ESPN sportscaster Sage Steele, who is herself a working mother. Both Megyn and Steele have three children. Steele shared that she has two girls and a boy who are in their late teens and early twenties, while Megyn has two sons and a daughter in their pre-teens. Both have been the primary wage earners in their families (though Steele is now divorced). And while neither necessarily identify themselves as feminists, they have both embraced, in Megyn’s words, “abandoning the rules” of more traditional gender roles.
With some of that cultural commentary in mind, Megyn and Steele discussed what it means to balance a career with parenting in today’s world and why women would benefit from being more supportive of each other.
The Shame Game
Steele admitted that she has “struggled” since her oldest daughter was born in 2002 with how to balance being present for her children while maintaining her professional career. “Family is everything, and I wanted to be there for everything,” she said. “I was sad at times that I wasn’t able to fulfill some of those traditional roles I really wanted to do while going off to be a professional and fulfill my dream.”
As the primary breadwinner, that wasn’t an option for her. But she worked hard to prove “that we can do both.” She did, however, face backlash from other mothers in her community. “In one of the neighborhoods we lived in… I was one of like three working moms,” she recalled. Another mother at school accidentally sent an email chastising her parenting. “[It said something like] if those working moms… really cared about their kids, they would be there for the Christmas play,” she said. “And I remember being devastated because I was already judging myself enough.”
Megyn agreed that the judgment has to stop. “There are millions of us who have chosen a hybrid model and it’s working – we’re managing to be good moms and yet pursue careers without judging the people who choose to be stay at home moms or who choose not to be moms at all,” she said. “The extremes online try to shame both sides and it’s bullsh-t.”
‘Both Can Exist’
Instead, Steele and Megyn agreed that women should feel empowered to make the decision that is best for them and their family. “If you want to be a stay-at-home mom, that’s awesome. You should lean into it, you should love it,” Megyn shared. “The same is also true for the women who decide to prioritize their careers and crush it.”
Steele said it’s all about knowing what is important to you and has looked to Megyn as a role model. “You’ve made it very clear your priorities,” she said. “But why do we have to choose one? Why does it have to be one or the other? I plan to continue my career… and I also hope to once again find true love and be very supportive of a man… I just think both can exist.”
When it comes to ‘traditional’ roles, Steele said there are things she thinks are “important to uphold” and show children. In speaking about Megyn’s kids, she said “they’re seeing this strong, badass woman who’s fulfilling her dream while then coming home and not just taking care of them but being loving to her husband as well.” That, in her view, is a gift. “To show them both is a blessing,” Steele said. “And I know that I’m raising really strong girls and a really strong son too.”
Ultimately, Megyn hoped the conversation gives women comfort. “I think it’s important to remind young women today that there are millions of us who have chosen a hybrid,” she concluded. “And you can make it work.”
You can check out Megyn’s full interview with Steele by tuning in to episode 610 on YouTube, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you like to listen. And don’t forget that you can catch The Megyn Kelly Show live on SiriusXM’s Triumph (channel 111) weekdays from 12pm to 2pm ET.