Jennifer Griffin Knows Being a Working Mom of 3 Can Mean 'Disappointing Them by Missing Events'
Her husband Greg Myre holds the same title at NPR, her two teenage daughters work on the school paper at their Washington, D.C., high school, and Griffin’s 9-year-old son Luke is her “World War II expert” who, thanks to mom, has had a one-on-one chat with Secretary of Defense James Mattis.
“They went over maps of Afghanistan, as to how the Afghan War was going, and Luke asked the Defense Secretary how many more troops he needed to win in Afghanistan,” Griffin, 49, tells PEOPLE. “Then at the end of this 25-minute sort of meeting of minds Mattis said, ‘Luke, do you have any more questions?’ And Luke asked him a very specific question about the M16 [rifle] … at that point Mattis looked at me and said, ‘Who is this kid?’ ”
Griffin has covered the Pentagon and veterans’ issues throughout her news career, and hearing those personal stories has influenced her deeply.
Luke also is pen pals with a D-Day veteran, and Griffin has worked to instill respect and support of the military in her kids — a value especially important this Memorial Day.
She and her family volunteer with many veterans’ organizations, from the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center to the Cause Organization. She’s also hosted the Medals of Honor Foundation and The Wounded Warrior Experience events.
Griffin’s eldest daughter Annalise, 17, will spend time in a summer program at Northwestern’s prestigious journalism school in the next few months, and 15-year-old Amelia continues to edit her high school paper.
“They were surrounded by journalists,” the Harvard grad says of how her kids were raised. “They were surrounded by discussions about current events and foreign affairs and tough issues from the beginning.”
“They grew up with a lot of independence having parents who had to drop things based on the news cycle,” she says. “They knew that we were often having to leave them. We’re often unfortunately at times disappointing them by missing events because news gets away.
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During the rare times when Griffin can get away from the news cycle — she’ll be working on Monday’s Memorial Day holiday — Griffin spends time with family and friends who she met while working around the world.
“One of the things we miss about being overseas is the community of journalists and how would spend a lot of time socializing together in the off hours,” says Griffin, who’s reported from Russia, Islamabad and Jerusalem, where she welcomed both daughters with Myre. “We kind of recreate that at our house in D.C. A lot of those journalists have come back home and are based here.”
Griffin looks back on starting as a freelancer in the Middle East and remembers a time before Twitter and even email. “But I feel like it’s not such a shock to my system,” she says of the industry’s ever-changing platforms.
Despite having a president who loves to tweet, she doesn’t blame Donald Trump for the evolving reliance on social media to deliver news.
“Whether President Trump was president or not, we live in the information age,” Griffin says. “It’s exhausting, but it was inevitable that we would get to this point. The question is, how do we get enough sleep and stay healthy?”
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Griffin, who survived stage III triple-negative breast cancer, does have a go-to outlet to relax: hot yoga.
“I try to go to yoga once a day,” the journalist reveals. “Either in the morning or evenings. I don’t always get there, but going to hot yoga the best sort of detox from a day of news.”