You ready for another Real Fab Mom?!? YEAH. We’re all due.
MEET GINGER CHAN. She’s a pinch of this and pinch of that… all good things, of course. To say she’s spicy is an understatement. Southern California morning TV viewers know Ginger’s savvy and swift-talking traffic reports from KTLA-5’s Morning News and from LA’s On Air with Ryan Seacrest on KIIS-FM… I’ve sat on the anchor desk with her a few times and was always amazed how quickly her brain worked to spit out breaking information in a moment’s notice. (Now that’s talent.) But in real life, she’s just “Mommy” to an adorable toddler boy. So naturally, I reconnected and stalked her (er– I mean, emailed her and asked nicely) to find out how this fast and furious woman juggles her demanding morning TV job with mommyhood.
You work a crazy schedule, getting to work in the wee hours of the morning. Give us a quick sum-up of your day from time you wake up until you get back home. You know, I used to go to events and talk about how I had to wake up at 2AM and that got a lot of “whoas” and sympathy, to say the least. Now I get a bigger reaction when I tell people that I go to bed at 6:30PM! I get home anywhere between 10:30-11AM so I go the whole morning without seeing Ryder. At first, that was not as hard as you’d think! But now, I miss him so much that I’m glad I don’t get stuck in traffic going home to see him! We used the “crying out” method so I don’t get up in the middle of the night anymore. If Ryder does cry, I let him go for a little bit and usually, he goes back to sleep again within a few minutes. I know there are a lot of different schools of thoughts on this but I believe every parent must do best for his/her child.
How did becoming a mom change the way you approach work and do your job? (Or did it?) In some ways, I felt pressure to perform at a higher level than before I was a mom. I didn’t want any part of my job to seem like it was adversely affected by my new baby. I didn’t want to call in sick, I got to work early, I did stories, pitched ideas, stayed late, I went overboard because I wasn’t going to allow anyone to say I had slipped because I just had a baby! This was unnecessary pressure I put on myself and it was hard. I went 3 months straight before taking a day off and as it is, since I returned to work Feb of 2011, I haven’t called in sick. I don’t wear any of this as a badge of honor, but I know I am not alone.
Does Ryder realize that ‘mommy is on tv’ yet? How does he react (does he watch you every morning)? Ha ha, we joke that Ryder doesn’t get to watch TV unless it’s “breaking news” or USC football games. Ryder loves the camera, so when we turn on the camera to record him, all he wants to do is look at himself! So I think he’s oblivious to anyone else being on TV unless it’s him! However, when we watch my husband Mark [Kono, the guy IN KTLA's traffic helicopter!] report over breaking news stories, he perks up and looks around the house for daddy!
Your energy on TV is infectious, but being a mom is exhausting: How do you keep your spirit and energy ‘fabulous’ from the INSIDE when you just don’t feel like it? Now that I am no longer nursing, I have been able to enjoy the benefits of artificial energy, caffeine! So I down my fair share of coffee!
Working in TV (unfortunately) means that you’d better look damn good on the outside every day. What are your best tips for hiding the exhaustion and looking like everything is fab? Best makeup tip: QUALITY. Sometimes we want to save money and get makeup that’s cheap or not as good quality. Remember, this is your face so spend a little more to get the best quality stuff. Staying fit: before I got pregnant, I was training for a marathon. Six days a week I was running, hiking or doing Bikram yoga. I did a half marathon a few months ago and I hope to do a marathon soon. It’s important to, and you’ve heard this before, exercise and eat healthy! A piece of chocolate once in a while is OK too! Style: This one is funny for me because I hate wrinkles. But as moms, we are always carrying our children and of course, that wrinkles our clothes! I think the best thing to remember about style is to feel good about yourself. Don’t think you don’t have time to look good or to “dress up”.
Who’s the most ‘fabulous’ celebrity Ryder has met because of your job, and do you think he’ll care once he’s old enough to hear the story? Ryder “met” Snoop Dogg when he was still in the womb! The rapper came to KTLA and wanted to meet “us” and that was a lot of fun for me and I can’t wait to show him the pictures when he gets older. Also, Smokey Robinson came up to me in the parking lot saying he was looking for me and my baby (who was also still inside of me) so that was another treat!
Best piece of advice you got about balancing life as a working mom on TV? If you’re fortunate enough, take advantage of support around you. I have the benefit of living close to my parents and 2 sisters. I’m not afraid to take them up on their offers to watch Ryder, and I’m not afraid to ask them for help. I will also leave Ryder with my husband to run errands, shop, or go to the spa (once in while). I know some moms won’t go anywhere or trust anyone to watch their baby; that is a personal choice but in the end, letting go a little is beneficial to getting that necessary balance in life. I will say this…. Everyone has a different experience as a first time mom. For me, it was very, very tough at the beginning. Ryder had some stomach issues, he never slept, I never slept, there was a lot going on for me/us. My nurse, who had 5 kids, told me things would get better once I returned to work. I had that to look forward to, and she was right about it. I took 2 months and 1 day off for maternity leave. For some people, this is too short of time but for me, it was just right. I started getting attached to him and vice versa. I miss the little guy and one of the best parts of my day is when I return home from work and he stomps his feet in delight at my return. I have 3 sisters, so my mother had FOUR girls! She worked as a junior high school math teacher (across the street from KTLA in fact!) during the week and on the weekends, she worked with my father at our grocery stores. Mom was a great example of a woman who juggled both family and career. I don’t think I ever appreciated how hard she worked to provide for me and my sisters until I became a mom. As woman, we really can have it all and do it all, and why now, we deserve it!
GINGER, YOU CONTINUE TO INSPIRE ME. (And I’m not just saying that because you lent me your baby for a segment I did on the Morning News back in December!) By the way, any shot I can borrow your tot THIS Sunday for another segment on the Weekend Morning News? Think about it. Ha.
To keep up with Ginger – and give yourself the gift of avoiding getting caught in traffic – follow her on Twitter.