Gretchen Carlson has been open with both her children about the sexual harassment she allegedly faced while working alongside now-ousted Fox News CEO Roger Ailes — but she probably never imagined her experiences would come up at her daughter’s school.
Carlson revealed in a Q&A with Good Housekeeping‘s Jane Francisco on Tuesday that her daughter recently started eighth grade. “Unfortunately, or fortunately depending how you look at it, Mommy’s been in current events recently,” she said. “So, on the first day of school, that was a topic in her class.”
Carlson admitted, “My first reaction was, Oh my gosh, I need to protect my child. … But then she looked at me and she said, ‘Mommy, when I went up to the front of the classroom to talk about it,’ she said, ‘I felt so proud.’ ”
She continued, “Wow, that just changed everything for me because in the end that’s all that matters. It doesn’t matter what anyone else says about me …. If I did one little thing to empower my child to feel more proud, then it was worth it.”
One way Carlson empowers her children is staying in the workforce to show that parents, especially mothers, can and should continue to strive in all areas of their lives. And even though the balancing act can be a challenge, it’s also incredibly rewarding.
“I have always said that I’m a better mom because I’m a working mom,” she said. “I feel more fulfilled in my life.”
She continued, “I always say that when I’m at home, I’m giving 100 percent to my kids. When I’m at work, I’m giving 100 percent to work — but you can’t do both of those things at the same time. So the last six months I’ve found myself just being more available to [my kids].”
And Carlson, 50, is especially focused on her professional drive having a positive impact on her son’s outlook.
“I’ve often said that I felt it was important to be a working mom — more so for my son a lot of days than my daughter,” she said. “I want him to respect women in the workforce when he eventually gets there the same way he in which he respects me now. It’s crucial that we continue to raise our boys in that way.”
Carlson says her six-month break from network television has given her great perspective about what’s important in life.
“When my daughter will say to me, ‘Mom, I just really need to tell you about something that happened at school,’ instead of me looking at two devices, and being, ‘Oh gosh, I only have 15 minutes for this,’ I’m like, ‘You know, let’s go up to your bedroom and close the door and just chill out on your bed, and Mommy’s here for you,’ ” she shared.
“Having said that,” she added, “I want to go back to work. I’ve worked my whole life, so I still plan to be a working mom.“