Mom Skips Daughter's Ceremony, But Her Reason Why Is The Real Story

Facebook/Kristen Hewitt

When Kristen Hewitt spoke publicly about an unusual parenting choice she recently made, she knew some people would disagree with her. But she wasn’t prepared for the backlash that she would receive. It just goes to show that everyone has strong opinions about parenthood, and what’s right for one family may not be right for another.

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An Accomplished Woman

ESPN

Kristen is a 41-year-old working mother. She’s a two-time Emmy-winning reporter, having covered the Miami Heat for Fox Sports for over a decade. On top of that, she is a blogger and an entrepreneur. Kristen’s career is extremely important to her. But when she became a mother, she had to make some changes.

A Balancing Act

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As a reporter for the Heat, Kristen’s job was to cover the team’s home and away games — which meant traveling around the country. But when she decided to have a family, she chose to work part-time and cover the home games only. Without the benefit of paid maternity leave, she was back on the basketball court three weeks after giving birth to her daughter Lila. Now, eight years later, she’s making it work.

Working Mother

Kristen Hewitt

Kristen’s daughters are now eight and five years old. She continues to cover the Heat’s home games and her blog has blossomed into a small media empire, with Kristen now consulting for other bloggers wanting to build their businesses. But as her children grow, so do her responsibilities as a mother. And though she has a supportive husband, sometimes the burden falls all on her.

Nearing Exhaustion

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Last December, Kristen was having a rough time. She had just gotten through Thanksgiving weekend, with all the work that it entailed. The next week, her husband went on a business trip, leaving her to take care of the children by herself. On top of that, she was having health issues. She was reaching a tipping point.

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A Hard Decision

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That day, Lila had an honor roll ceremony at school. But Kristen decided to tell her she wasn’t going to attend. Her daughter didn’t mind too much since her father and grandmother would be there instead. “She understood, gave me a hug, and thanked me for all I do for her,” Kristen wrote on a Facebook post. But it turned out it wasn’t Lila that she had to worry about.  

Felt The Need To Lie

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The next day, when she dropped her kids off at school, other moms asked Kristen why she didn’t attend the honor roll ceremony. She told them she had to work. But, not long after, Kristen became overcome by feelings of guilt and shame. It turns out she had lied — she didn’t have to work that morning. So she decided to reveal the reason she didn’t attend her daughter’s ceremony.

Coming Clean

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On her Facebook page, Kristen wrote: “So I did something that some may think is selfish recently, but I really needed it. I missed my daughter’s honor roll assembly so I could work out.” She explained how she’d been feeling overwhelmed with anxiety and exhaustion and knew she needed a moment to herself. Reactions to her confession were polarized.

Messages Of Support

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Some people praised Kristen for being so candid about her parenting struggles. “It’s a necessity in order to be the mom and wife your family deserves to have and the happy, healthy woman you deserve to be!” wrote one commenter. Another said, “I love the lesson you taught your daughter: that you love her, and that you care deeply, but that you’re not always going to be there, and that that’s OK.” But not everyone was so kind.

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Accusations Of Selfishness

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Other people called Kristen’s decision selfish. “You have lots of other days to workout, your daughter won’t have that many special award night, I never missed any of my kids' award nights, all I felt was proud, wouldn’t miss it for anything especially to work out,” said one person. But, as tough as those opinions were to read, Kristen doesn’t regret sharing her experience.

Standing Her Ground

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“I make no apologies for missing that assembly that day, nor do I regret posting it on social media. And I encourage more women to do the same. It doesn’t matter if you’re a single mom, a stay at home mom, or work 80 hours a week…And you don’t need an excuse for why you’re missing it,” wrote Kristen on her blog. She tried to emphasize the benefits of self-care.

Promoting Self-Care

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“Sure we have responsibilities, bills, kids, and other work and life priorities, but that doesn’t mean we have to lose ourselves in motherhood. If we aren’t enjoying and living our best life, how will our children learn to do the same?” Kristen said. “It’s not selfish - it’s called self-love.” And that’s something you really can’t argue with, especially coming from someone so accomplished.

How She Got Her Start

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Kristen studied Communication at the University of Central Florida, after which she worked as a producer and reporter covering several Floridian sports teams. When she covered the Orlando Magic, she met basketball superstar Shaquille O’Neal. In 2006, he asked her to chronicle his birthday party. That high-profile gig gave Kristen her big break.

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Branching Out And Reaching Success

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After her report on Shaq’s party, Kristen got an audition to cover the Miami Heat and soon became an on-air reporter. But landing that role wasn’t the end of her professional pursuits. She later started a blog, which received several awards including “Best Blog Miami” and “Voice of the Year 2017.” She also won two Emmys for her sports coverage. Her busy life has also taught her many things about parenting.

Parenting Advice

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“What kids need is for us to show up at home.” Kristen wrote. “To be there to teach them to love themselves. To encourage them to work hard and show them the discipline it takes to get good grades. To model kindness and gratitude, and value those traits more than the letter on their report card. And to not be everything for everyone else, but forget to first give to ourselves.”

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