Tracy Moore: Host of CityLine on Sleep Deprivation and Kicking Parenting Books to the Curb
According to Tracy Moore, a strong work ethic runs in her family. Quite obviously, it's something she inherited. As if the challenges of parenting a newborn weren't enough, Tracy Moore took on the high-profile job as host of daily chat show CityLine only six months after giving birth to her first child. Sidney is almost two years old now, and it seems Tracy hasn't slowed down a bit. In addition to exploring topics like fashion, home decor, food and relationships on Citytv's flagship lifestyle program, the energetic broadcaster is also dedicated to charity work. She works with Girls On The Run, an organization that gets girls to focus on activity and sports rather than beauty, and will walk in Toronto's Heart Truth Fashion Show on March 31st, supporting heart health for women. Tracy opened up to ParentDish Canada about the the baby blues, kicking those parenting books to the curb and the joys of "tickles".
Q: What wisdom have you learned as a parent that you would pass on to others?
A: The first thing I always tell my friends who are pregnant is don't read the parenting books. Those killed me. During your first pregnancy you're boning up on everything, and I read them and after I had Sidney I just felt worse about myself as a parent. I felt sort of disillusioned as it wasn't the experience I thought it was going to be. And part of that was reading the parenting books that said, if you get him on a feeding schedule from day one, he'll be sleeping through the night in no time at all. And he's never going to flip over his crib as long as you keep putting him down on his back. The reality was nothing like the books said. So I always tell my girlfriends who are pregnant, don't read the books, ignore the books.
Q: What was the most challenging thing for you when you first had Sidney?A: Without a doubt the sleep deprivation. It was so much worse than I had expected. I lost my memory, I was tripping into things, I lost my appetite. I think the sleep deprivation was a really big cause of the baby blues that I went through. It's devastating, and it's really difficult not to feel insane when you have a lack of sleep. I understand why it's used as a torture tactic, it really plays with your brain chemistry. I was constantly weepy, I was not in a good place. Quite frankly, I'm not looking forward to that when the next child comes along. My midwives were telling me at the time, this is a short term thing, the rest of your life is not going to be like this. It's just hard to see it when you're in it.
Q: What helped you through your baby blues?
A: In a weird way, I have to say that getting back into the workforce was my equilibrium. I started auditioning for CityLine when he was three months old, which was only a couple of shows a month. And then when I got the job, I went back full-time when he was six months old. And I didn't find working was such a bad thing, I found that when I was home alone with him and my husband had gone back to work and I was responsible for trying to get things done around the house and taking care of him, that's when things were tough for me. I think part of the reason I wasn't coping well was because he wasn't playing by my rules. He's a baby, he's not supposed to! The work ethic is really strong in my family and I guess I really thrive on being in a routine or sort of structure, I was used to the rules of the workplace. I felt really lonely, I had to call on friends and family to be there with me. You tend to think you're the only one in the world, and women have been having babies since the beginning of time. And I'm not one to suffer in silence so everybody had to hear about my pain. I can't even believe the difference a year makes, and then two years! The level of independence they gain in that time, it's really incredible.
Q: What's your favourite activity with your son?
A: It's tickles. On the bed or on the living room rug, it's my absolute favourite. I'm going to be very sad when he gets too old to be tickled by his mom. We can literally play tickles for half an hour, an hour, just rolling around.
Q: What's your least favourite activity?
A: Right now, it's mealtime. Dinner's not very pleasant right now, because he's not eating anything. If he does eat, it's usually got to be a food that's yellow. Pasta, cheese, bananas. He'll pick every last little vegetable out. Every once in a while I'll be able to get a protein into him but it's a lot of carb-y foods I don't necessarily feel comfortable feeding him, but he's gotta eat. He doesn't want to be in his high chair, he wants to play with his food after taking two bites. So, it's not a very relaxing meal time.
Q: How do you balance work and parenting?
A: I always say I don't know if anything is really balanced in my life. There is always something that suffers, sometimes that's my family life and sometimes that's stuff I have to do for work. But the thing that absolutely holds everything together is my husband. First of all, we split our parental leave, which enabled me to go back to work. And he's truly a co-parent in the real sense of the word. He cooks most of the meals, which is a huge weight off my shoulders, we probably clean equally in the house. We're half and half, so that's what makes it work.
Q: You said you hope to have more children - Is there anything you'd do differently the next time around?
A: I'm going to try to be less humourless. It was probably the depression speaking -- it's hard to laugh when you're depressed -- but I'm hoping I can go through this experience again with a bit of a lighter heart. Just knowing that he's not going to die of SIDS, there isn't danger lurking around every corner and I will get sleep again. When it's your first, you don't know everything, and I'm going to stop beating myself up for that with the next baby.