Anchor Mom Cindy Hsu's Balancing Act | Working Mother

Anchor Mom Cindy Hsu's Balancing Act

This Emmy Award–winning newscaster and adoptive mom shares her 'round-the-clock life–on and off air.

Cindy Hsu

Cindy Hsu

Cindy Hsu is a calm and collected announcer and reporter of New York City news by day (and by night) and an adoptive single mom figuring the rest out both night and day.

Saturday morning
My work schedule for CBS 2 News is four days—Saturday, Sunday, Wednesday and Thursday. I anchor all the shows on the weekend. Rosie comes with me to work on Saturdays. We get up at 3 a.m. and leave a bit after 4. I bring something to warm up for breakfast there—Rosie wants microwave Swedish meatballs from Stouffer’s or quiche. It’s dinner food for breakfast. Rosie has become a part of everything I do, including work. I just thought from the beginning, with my wacky work schedule that can change every year, that we would just do what we need to do.

Weekday mornings
Rosie’s in third grade, and her school is nearby. I’m home three schooldays a week, and I can walk her to school even on workdays and make my 9 a.m. meetings. I don’t cook, but I do make a smoothie—mega fruit and veggie—every morning, and on schooldays I make Rosie eggs and toast. She’s very independent, packing her own lunch, dressing herself. Her fashion sense is unusual—a big headband that doesn’t match the skirt that doesn’t match the top. She ends up looking like Lady Gaga. We’re big into hand-me-downs. As long as it’s age appropriate, we do it.

Crazy days
On Saturdays, I start at 6 or 7 a.m., on the air with news updates every half hour until 9 a.m. Then I anchor the 9 to 10 a.m. show. Then Rosie and I go out for brunch. It’s a time for us to just be together and talk and focus on each other, because I’m pulling her all around so much. Then I have a 6 to 6:30 p.m. show and then another at 11 p.m. Sunday work is similar. Wednesdays and Thursdays I’m on the clock as a reporter, in the studio by 9 a.m. and taping one or two news stories during the day. I may have a babysitter come in once or twice a week on schooldays that I work.

Night moves
What happens is I rush home Saturday night at 11:30 and then I’m up by 3 a.m. for my Sunday schedule. Rosie spends Saturday and Sunday nights either at a friend’s for a sleepover or at Marcy’s. Marcy is my single-mom friend in our building who has 9-year-old twin daughters and her own business. She fills in at other times, too, as I do for her. She does this with such joy. On Sundays, I normally have a babysitter in from 1 to 4 p.m. because I have to sleep then, due to that quick turnaround from the night before. I don’t have one regular sitter. But it seems to work. Rosie has done this her whole life, so she’s just used to it and goes with it.

Evenings in and out
We have dinners together on school nights that I’m home. Did I mention I don’t cook? My apartment is so messy, I don’t have a dining room table to sit and eat at. So we sit at the coffee table and order in Indian food or Chinese. I’m a big clutter bug. One of my goals is to get that organized. I bought eight hours of professional organizing at a school auction to help me. And I watch Hoarders to make myself feel better. Some evenings I emcee or speak at nonprofit events, and Rosie goes with me. She may even come up to the podium and say a few words.

Off days
On my weekdays off, I can go to the school concert or the picnic, which is great. I’m also into spinning—the first exercise in my life that I really do. I spin three days a week, and I also do laundry and grocery shop; I buy fast-type foods to warm up. When I pick up Marcy’s twins, I need to feed them, too. So I make ramen—three minutes.

Dating … hmmm. I date very infrequently, and when I do we try to meet at odd times because my schedule is just so odd. It’s only been recently that I could get it together for dating at all. First, they need to adore Rosie and this unusual lifestyle we live. For vacations, Rosie and I usually take the train to Virginia, where my mom lives. And lately we’re into cruising. I love it because you can sit and relax and they have great kids’ programs. We go to the Caribbean—I don’t even know exactly where we’re going, but it doesn’t matter. I just like the idea of getting away from the craziness.

Update: Since this story went to press, Cindy’s work schedule has—happily—shifted. She now has weekend nights off and works three weekdays. Five days, but less crazy.

—As told to Barbara Turvett_