Our “I Am a San Antonio Mom” series spotlights local moms and how they approach motherhood. We’re turning the tables on KSAT-12’s Courtney Friedman, asking her a few questions about how she makes motherhood work as a busy journalist.
The San Diego, California, native found her way to Texas for college, earning her broadcasting degree at the University of Texas at Austin. She began her news career in Tyler, where she met her husband, Clint, before moving to San Antonio to join the KSAT-12 team.
“San Antonio has a similar feel to San Diego. The people are warm, they love where they live, love a good party, have great food, and they honor and celebrate Hispanic culture. I’ve been in San Antonio at KSAT for nine years, and I don’t plan on leaving any time soon! We absolutely love it here, which is why after we got married, we decided to start a family here,” explains Courtney. “We had our daughter in July 2021 (pandemic baby), and she is our world now. She is spunky, smart, sweet, and fearless—a little too fearless if you see her on a playground!”
We asked her what has surprised her most about motherhood, and what she shared is at the heart of Alamo City Moms: connection. “I think it’s mainly how much of a small world motherhood is. There’s suddenly an immediate connection with any mom you meet, even if you’re not having a full conversation with them. There’s this ‘We’re all in it together’ mentality that feels pretty amazing. Whether it’s someone jumping in when you run out of wipes in public, when your toddler melts down on a plane, or having someone give you a look that says, ‘I’ve been there’—it’s just so comforting!”
Read on to go behind the scenes with Courtney.
What do you enjoy doing as a family in San Antonio?
We love being outside. We have always loved live music and exploring new places to eat. These days we’re usually out at a park so the little one can play. We like to hike, and our daughter is already obsessed with water and swimming. We’re in the pool a LOT. We love the Pearl Farmers Market but we have to be prepared with a bathing suit so she can run through the splash pad. (We basically have to avoid the area when it’s cold because that’s all she wants to do there!) Dad is already getting her into golf, and with her immediate love for music, we’re about to start some music classes.
How do you manage work and home life? What’s the biggest challenge?
Managing work and home life in the news has a lot to do with boundaries. “No” was rarely a word in my vocabulary, especially when it came to work. I’ve always been the first to raise my hand to do the tough story, hurricane coverage, report at mass shooting scenes, or do a story that takes me out of town for a few days. I love what I do, but when I became a mom, I realized I needed to better compartmentalize my life and priorities. That meant saying no to some stories that would have been too much for me to handle emotionally when I was still early in my postpartum recovery. That also means taking my vacation days and putting them to good use. I lean on other people instead of trying to do everything myself. I let family members keep my daughter for sleepovers, which she adores. We can do date nights and I get some uninterrupted rest.
I try not to look at my phone so much on my days off. I can always be reached, but I’m taking days to actually unplug and be present with my daughter. Kids notice how much we’re on the phone, and it’s really important for her to feel like she’s my priority. To me, the biggest challenge is “trying to do everything” and “trying to do everything right.” We’re all following the blogs, watching the parenting videos, reading the books… and that’s because we want to do a good job. I definitely won’t stop doing my research, but I now tend to stop myself from obsessing about perfect parenting. I try to remind myself about the basics: Kids need food, shelter, love, and attention. Almost everything else just becomes background details.
How has becoming a mom changed how you approach the news?
Delivering and reporting the news as a mom is not easy. I found that out when I returned to work from maternity leave, but it’s been even harder lately. Watching all these school shootings and awful stories deeply affects every parent no matter what profession. That’s why a lot of people are limiting the amount of news they consume, for their mental health. The issue for us is, we can’t do that, especially because Sutherland Springs and Uvalde were both in our own backyard. So, we need to find other outlets. I am so lucky to have other moms at KSAT who can relate to my emotional struggles. We talk and vent in healthy ways to people who get what we’re going through. I am also a big proponent of therapy. I am very open about the benefits I’ve had from seeing a counselor, and right now I’m currently working with her on this issue—doing my job to the best of my ability without letting the emotional aspect take a toll on me.
What do you wish someone had told you before you became a mom?
I had a great support group of family and friends who were already moms, giving me a pretty realistic view of what I was in for. But I guess generally it was, no matter what people said or how many books I read, I didn’t know until I experienced it. I also had to find out that once you nail a developmental stage and think you’ve got it down, a new stage pops up, and again, you have no idea what you’re doing. I’ll be “figuring it out” my whole life! Getting specific, I was also not prepared for the majority of the first six months to a year being all about feeding. The schedule, the options, the effort—it was SO consuming. I was lucky to be able to breastfeed for nine months but doing that while working on the go in the news business was NOT easy. We have a pumping room at work, but I’m not at the station all the time, so sometimes it involved photographers hanging out outside the car while I figured out how to pump from the passenger’s seat! It amazes me how moms just figure it out. It also helps to have awesome coworkers who help in any way they can.
What are your favorites or “musts”? And what helps keep you sane?
If my husband and I finish work early enough, our family goes for outings, walks, and to the park down the street. It’s a special family time that we try to make happen daily if possible. The news is obviously an unpredictable business, and I can be called out to breaking news scenes at different times. That’s why we’re super mindful to plan family time into our day whenever possible.
If we had all the money and time in the world, we would be constantly traveling all over the globe. We have made some incredible trips already and we have a long bucket list of places we’d love to see. As for everyday things… I mean, anyone who knows us knows we love food. We love cooking but we also will take any opportunity to go out and eat the incredible food in San Antonio. Sushi, tacos, and Neapolitan pizza may be my favorites but trust me, we’re not picky and we’ll try anything. As for what keeps me sane, it’s definitely meditation, yoga, and being out in nature. Life is so busy that I have to force myself to make those things part of my day, but when I make it consistent, it really works.
What do you hope your daughter learns from how you make it work?
I sometimes feel bad for working so much, but I give myself credit for setting aside a lot of time to spend with my daughter. It’s a conscious effort and I hope she sees that growing up. I want her to be proud that her mama loves what she does and finds real purpose in her work. I want her to see that even though it’s hard work, it’s possible to have a job and also prioritize family. I do not (and never will) pretend to have it all figured out. I feel flustered a lot of the time, BUT I plan to keep going because I want her to see that making an effort for things you care about is worth it.
For more behind the scenes with Courtney, follow her on Instagram. To read more about other San Antonio moms, check out these stories on chef Elise Russ and Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch’s Tiffany Soechting. And if you have a San Antonio mom you’d like to know more about, let us know!