Samantha Harris On Managing Motherhood, Career

12/12/2009 at 08:00 PM ET
Vince Bucci/Getty

After welcoming her daughter in 2007, Samantha Harris learned all too quickly that it often takes a village to raise a child.

The juggling of her career — including her co-hosting responsibilities on Dancing With the Stars, a correspondent for The Insider, and co-hosting Entertainment Tonight Weekend — began only three weeks after delivering her daughter Josselyn Sydney when Samantha returned to the DWtS set.

With baby girl at home with the nanny, the new mama arrived to work with her pump in hand!

“I was breastfeeding so I was pumping again and again throughout the production day and right before I went on stage because we didn’t want to have any mishaps in a gown — on live television!” she tells Working Mother.

Logging long hours on the job has come with a price; Samantha admits days go by where she only sees Josselyn in the afternoon and then at bedtime. “But then there are many days when I’m home by 2 p.m. and I have the rest of the day to spend with her,” she explains.

That said, both Samantha and her husband Michael Hess — with whom she shares a “wonderful partnership” — make it a priority for one of them to greet Josselyn each morning and tuck her in come nighttime.

“We actually had this ongoing competition for who gets to put her to bed or who gets to see her first in the morning.”

When her DWts duties calls, Samantha has been known to bring Josselyn along for the fun! Raised by her rock concert promoter father and her dancer mother, the 36-year-old is thrilled that her own daughter, left in awe by the performances, is showing interest in the arts. “[She] just gravitates to the dancers and wants to watch,” she says.

“She’ll come to the rehearsals and the moment when the dancing is done, she exclaims, ‘More! More dancing! More dancing!'”

Equally catching the 2-year-old’s attention? Television, something that has only recently been introduced to the toddler! “We waited until now…so of course Elmo and Dora are just some sort of mesmerizing concept to her,” laughs the proud mama.

However T.V time comes with a tradeoff. While Josselyn has yet to enter into the infamous terrible twos phase, Samantha predicts it won’t be long! “There’s a little bit of something every day — which is usually after she’s already watched twenty minutes of Elmo,” she shares.

Click below to read about the one thing Samantha lets slide as a mom.

Noting that her busy schedule and her dedication to her daughter has left her having to sacrifice “my own personal time,” Samantha admits her days at the gym are nearly nonexistent. Fortunately, the busy mama manages to squeeze in the occasional workout while on the job, opting to spend her downtime exercising rather than facing the hour commute to her house to spend only twenty minutes with Josselyn. “That clears my head and I feel much more productive,” she says.

Although the family of three have managed to settle into a smooth routine, Samantha cannot escape a mother’s guilt when it comes to dinnertime. Often relying on take-out or a meal service after growing up with a mother who cooked each night, Samantha can’t help but wish for the same for Josselyn.

“The only thing I feel guilty about is not cooking for my family,” she confesses. “I work so much that, to come home and have to make my daughter be occupied so that I could cook, is not something that I want.”

To that end, Samantha is still navigating the ropes of motherhood!

“I have by no means figured out the universal solution. At least so far I hope what I’ve been doing has been working!”

Source: Working Mother

— Anya

FILED UNDER: News , Parenting

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Showing 22 comments

I♥CBB on

The woes of a working mother. I wish her and her husband all the best in raising their little girl. I wish we could see an updated picture of Josselyn.

martina on

I cannot imagine leaving a 3 week old with a nanny. I am not judging Samantha, I am just saying that personally I couldn’t do it.

Nina on

Oh wow that must be so hard, I feel so blessed to get to spend my days with my son (not judging working moms, but only getting to see my baby at bedtime would be so hard for me!)
I really liked Samantha on DWTS, she seemed so sweet, but then I saw her a few times on The Insider, and I don’t know what it is… her opinions and personality on the show just don’t sit well with me! I can’t enjoy her anymore…

Sam and Freya's mum on

Ditto Martina, I couldn’t either! You never get that time back, more important than a career, but each to their own I guess…

fuzibuni on

well, i hope that little girl has a good nanny who loves her and spends lots of one on one time with her.

Jessicad on

Hollywood isn’t the place to take a break, you kind of have to strike while you can, I would think anyway! She shouldn’t feel guilty about the take out, get as much time with your little one as possible! I love the name Josselyn, pretty.

Chris on

She sure is busy!

Jamia on

As a DWTS fan, I wouldn’t have been heartbroken if she took- I don’t know- a year or two off to be with her daughter. Not a huge fan of her as a host but she seems like a caring mother.

True on

It sounds like her career is more important than her daughter:(

Shannon on

Why is it that every time there’s a celeb interview that brings up the juggling of work and motherhood, someone has to come on here and say something to make working moms feel guilty about thier choices. I would KILL to be staying at home with my kids, but since my ex husband left me to move 2 states away, I don’t have any choice but to work. I know I’ll never get this time back, and I hate that I’m missing so much, but that’s life. Just because some of us work does NOT mean that I feel my career is more important than motherhood. I’d say motherhood is definitely my first priority, since I’m doing something I HATE every day to take care of my kids. I would really appreciate it if the stay at home moms who comment on here would, just ONCE, realize that not everything is a choice and that the things they say can actually be very, very hurtful to people who are doing thier absolute best. You are NOT a better mother than me just b/c you’re lucky enough to be able to stay at home. Count your blessings, and pray every day that your situation never changes in an unexpected way so that you would be forced to do what I do.

Jess from Ohio on

I completely agree with you Shannon! Working moms should not be dissed and it shouldn’t be assumed that they “love their children less”. Sometimes it just isn’t plausible for a parent to stay at home with their kids and they shouldn’t have to feel guilt for that. Working moms are (in most cases) just doing the very best they can.

Jessicad on

I agree Shannon, a few of those comments are very rude and hurtful. Women should not be judged for wanting to pursue their career and have kids at the same time. We all make different choices and do what makes us happy.

meghan on

There’s nothing wrong with working mothers. There’s so many women in this day in age who have to work. There are mothers who don’t necessarily have to work, but do so because they feel good to do so and it enhances their parenting, and that’s great too. The problem with Samantha Harris is that there is ABSOLUTELY no reason for her to be working THREE jobs! One, fine. Two, maybe. Three, her priorities are off. Her husband has a well paying job. Any one of her jobs would be more than enough financially. She went back to DWTS so quickly because Drew Lachey was doing a better job then her and she thought her job was in jeopardy. Some entertainers have such fragile egos they can’t stand to be out of the spotlight too long, they fear they will be forgotten. That’s a much different circumstance then a woman who gets walked out on by some louse who can’t be bothered to send support.

Kate on

I have to work to support my family and my kids are daycare. How is daycare different then a nanny. Yes I don’t get the time back but I support my family and pay bills. Its quality not quantity, working mother dissers. If I had the money I would pay for a nanny rather then daycare. I must be honest here. I am a woman who needs to work during the day. If I work then I am a better mother then one that doesn’t work. I love my kids but I can’t be around them 24/7 I need mom time. There are different strokes for different folks. That why its great to live in a world where women have so many options.

michelle on

I don’t think Samantha Harris should have to sacrifice her career aspirations just because it means she requires help at home. We like to pick on entertainers for their career choices, but what if she was not in the public eye. What if her career aspirations were to be an off-shore driller. (odd, I know). What if that was her passion, but it required her to be away from home for two weeks at a time. Would you still say that she obviously doesn’t love her child enough since she is gone so much? If that is her career passion and what makes her happy, why is it any different for an actor, off-shore driller or substitute teacher?

Lollie on

Way to go, Shannon! You sound like a great mom – your kids are lucky.

Shannon on

Thanks, Lollie!

I♥CBB on

Meghan-How can you say there is absolutely no reason for her to work 3 jobs? How do you know her husband makes good money? Her priorities are not off just because she is choosing to work. I think that is an extremely judgemental statement for you to say. You have no idea what her finances are like. She could be working to guarantee Josselyn a better future and a great college education. We should be more understanding and less quickly to judge. So what if she wanted to go back to work because she felt her job was in jeopardy. Some people do not put their lives on hold just because they have children. She most likely enjoys her job and feels she can do it all and you know what? SHE CAN!

gigi on

I honestly am not bashing Samantha Harris but I agree, I doubt she HAD to rush back to work 3 weeks after having her baby- she probably CHOSE to. It was more likely a decision she made b/c she didn’t want to possibly lose her job. As one poster pointed out- hollywood forgets quickly. I am a huge DWTS fan and Drew Lachey was far better than her on the show so I understand completely why she wanted to go back so quickly. DWTS could have survived a season w/o her…it’s only 10 weeks.

Jeanne on

The balance of a woman’s life & work (full time, part time or not at all) always changes once she has a child – a new baby changes the balance of time management. There is nothing wrong with a little re-balancing once you have the baby. You’ll figure out quickly what doesn’t work anymore for your life! With some flexibility, a good sense of humor and little trial and error, you’ll figure out what works best regarding work, sitters, cleaning, commute times, living/apts/homes, time off, exercise, etc…if something doesn’t work, change it! And because everyone is different, different life balances are going to work for different people. What works for some Mom’s, doesn’t for others. What important to some Mom’s, isn’t to others. If you and your baby are happy with the time you do spend time together, then that’s a great measure of success.

Elle on

The debate over staying at home vs. working outside of the home is a very sensitive one. There is no right answer and it does not make one a good or bad parent if they choose to stay home or not.

I agree that Samantha should’ve taken more time after the birth of her daughter. 3 weeks just seems crazy! I’m sure she could afford to take more time off! Although maybe she was pressured by ABC to return. I live in Canada and we have 1 year maternity leave, with 55% of our regular salary paid by the government. I’m aware of several European countries where it is even longer. It blows me away that the US does not have a federally mandated mat. leave. I feel very lucky to be able to spend this year with my daughter!

Angela Slade on

She could always not do DWTS. And just do that other show. Many people have
asked the producers for several season to replace her or only have Tom.