Former CNN anchor Campbell Brown revealed a difficult personal moment she had just prior to moderating a presidential primary debate during a frank discussion among four women journalists on Morning Joe Thursday.
“I’m moderating one of the presidential primary debates right after I’ve had a baby. I’m sitting in a dirty closet on the floor behind the auditorium where this debate is taking place between Obama, Hillary Clinton and I’m pumping breast milk…twenty minutes before I’m going on,” Brown said. “I’m trying to get my head in the game, think about the questions I wanted to ask, breast milk is flying everywhere–over my notes–and I–how do you ‘lean in’ at that moment? What is the equivalent of that for Wolf Blitzer or Joe Scarborough? It is a moment where you say, ‘I can’t do this.’”
It’s a moment that many a working mother can likely relate to. Earlier this month, a Yahoo News reporter described her own difficulty finding a place to pump at the White House. “When I imagined my journalism career, I never pictured myself standing shirtless in a unisex bathroom in the White House,” she wrote.
Brown’s comment was made amid a discussion on work-life balance for mothers on Morning Joe. Lisa Miller, author of this week’s New York magazine piece, “The Retro Wife,” Morning Joe co-host Mika Brzezinski, BBC’s Katty Kay and Joanna Coles, editor-in-chief of Cosmopolitan all joined in the discussion.
Women’s ability to balance work and home life has resurfaced in media as a hot subject and debates among friends in part with the publication of Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg’s new book and call to arms for women to “Lean In,” rather than away from responsibility at work. Campbell argued that it’s more complicated than that and women will invariably “lean in” at some moments during their career and “lean out” at other moments.
Watch the full segment here.