Cheryl Hickey On How Motherhood Surprised Her
When Cheryl Hickey first became a mother in 2009, her strategy was simple: Survive.
After she gave birth to Jaxson, now 3, she planned to take only three months off from her job as host of Entertainment Tonight Canada, airing weeknights on Global TV at 7:30 p.m.
“What a fool I was!” she said. “I didn’t have any idea that I would be so unbelievably attached to this little person.”
Her first maternity leave stretched into six months.
“Even then, it was heart-wrenching to come back. It was really difficult. As much as I love my career — I’ve lived and breathed it my whole life — it was a really amazing thing that being a mother was just everything. It still is.”
Hickey and her producer-director husband, Kevin Foley, welcomed their second child, Nyla, in April. Hickey is on maternity leave again and will resume hosting duties on ET Canada at the end of September.
Motherhood has surprised and changed Hickey, 37, in ways she didn’t expect. She used to go skydiving, but doesn’t do that anymore. She admits she’s bad at going out and doing fun things because she hates leaving her kids behind.
If a new mother asked her for advice, she would tell them to go with their gut on most things and that it’s OK to make mistakes.
“Putting this false thing into women’s heads that you can have it all and you have to have it all and you’re less of a woman if you can’t handle it, that’s so unfair,” she said.
Some things have been easier with her second child. Jaxson was colicky and woke up throughout the night, but Nyla sleeps soundly.
Other things have been harder the second time around. Hickey jokes that her dresses are getting smaller. She usually wakes up at 5 a.m. to work out with her personal trainer.
She doesn’t expect that leaving her kids to go back to work will be any easier this time.
“This September will be a real balancing act of work and the kids,” she said. “It’s a newborn plus a toddler plus this fantastic career that I’m blessed to have.”
Shaw Media, which owns Global, has helped by allowing Hickey to move to part-time hours.
That means a busy workday starting at 8 a.m. It will be a whirlwind of voice recording, interviews, meetings, hair and makeup sessions and filming the entire nightly show.
“As far as the viewer’s concerned, I’ll be there full-time. It’s just compacting my mornings,” Hickey explained.
Before she leaves in the morning, she will pump milk for her daughter. She will arrive back home by 12:30 p.m. for Nyla’s next feeding and in time to pick up Jaxson from junior kindergarten.
It’s a schedule that’s possible with a lot of help. Her husband co-ordinates his schedule with hers as much as he can. He runs a busy production company called Project 10. Hickey’s and Foley’s parents aren’t far away.
And they have help from a nanny, Anita, who is also a close friend. “She’s the kindest, sweetest, nicest lady, and she’s really become a part of our family,” Hickey said.
It will be a busy routine, but that’s the way Hickey likes it. Her brain is trained to think of new ideas for projects all the time. She often wakes up in the middle of the night, jots down an idea and goes back to sleep.
“Life is short, and I certainly know that, with things that have happened with friends and family,” Hickey said. “I want to make the most of it.
“The most important thing is being there for my kids and my husband.”