We couldn’t be more thrilled to introduce and thank our latest Haute Guest, former lead anchor at WHDH Channel 7 News, Caterina Bandini Schwinn. In the newsroom, her integrity and work ethic were the qualities that made her a fantastic journalist. We do not have any doubt that as good of a journalist as she is, she’s an even more amazing mother. Thank you Caterina!
By the time this is read, Mother’s Day will have come and gone, the hand-made cards and drawings lovingly tucked away to be pulled out later when I need my “remember how sweet they used to be” fix (probably when facing those dreaded teenage years). I love Mother’s Day, not for the spa treatments and breakfast in bed, well, yes, I do love those! But because it is my yearly reminder that I ultimately made the right decision to pull the plug on what was a thriving career in Broadcast Journalism to be a stay at home mom.
Believe me, there are still days, eight years after retiring, when I doubt that decision. Usually it comes when a big news story breaks, or more often when I find myself completely immersed in my children’s academic success and the inner tiger mom in me rears its ugly head. It was not a proud moment when I read my daughter’s school-made Mother’s Day card and under the caption “My mom is really happy when I..”, she wrote “do good on things like math and piano. She is happy when I do chess”. Yes, those are moments when I feel I might have been better off keeping my intensity focused on Massachusetts politics or everything Red Sox. But while my intensity and ambition might sometimes be a bit much for our two typically developing children (don’t get me wrong, they are very happy children who do get to spend plenty of time playing things like animal and ninja school), I know it serves our daughter, Olivia, well.
Olivia was diagnosed with autism right before turning two, and since then, the years have been filled with countless hours of therapy, doctor’s appointments, social skills classes, biomedical treatments, mom support groups, autism conferences and earning my degree in all things Autism from the University of Google. I know she has made some progress because of it, and here is what I can tell you about this disorder: the skyrocketing rates are not due solely to better diagnosis, nothing is off the table as a cause (until someone can show me a proper study comparing vaccinated and unvaccinated babies), if you’ve met one child with autism, you’ve met one child with autism, and these kids are smarter than heck. I can also tell you that children with autism are capable of deep love, and Olivia has brought such immeasurable joy into our lives, along with her siblings. She loves music, Elsa, water, numbers, her brother, sister and parents, kissing me and, thankfully, Olivia loves other children, although she has no idea what to do with them.
Of course there are plenty of frustrating days too, like when the poop ends up in the bedroom instead of the toilet, or she cries at school and can’t tell us what’s wrong or what hurts. Helping Olivia reach her full potential and her siblings to become happy, decent human beings (of course while learning Chinese!) has become my post-career focus, and I will gladly recite “One Fish Two Fish” for the millionth time for her, even if it is way less glamorous than my previous life of hobnobbing and globe-trotting.
Raising these three beautiful children is by far the hardest and yet most rewarding challenge of my life, and one I wouldn’t trade for all the plum journalism jobs in the world. Of course, check in with me tomorrow when Mother’s Day is just a memory and my angels are fighting over their toys or who has to practice music first while Olivia has jumped fully clothed (or sometimes naked) into the pool again…. 🙂
Caterina Bandini Schwinn