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Lara Spencer, the host of PBS’ Antiques Roadshow and a former Good Morning America correspondent on ABC, has a new job and a new baby. The New York anchor for the syndicated TV newsmagazine The Insider gave birth to daughter Katharine Paige on Oct. 4, 2004. Here, this mother of two talks about what it takes to be a hands-on mom and have a busy career at the same time.
>>What was it like being on camera while pregnant?
I felt beautiful, and the audience seemed to enjoy watching me grow. I got a lot of e-mails saying I was glowing. That was helpful, because on those days when you feel so bloated, it helps to think that somebody out there thinks you look half decent.
>>How much time did you take off from work after the birth of your daughter?
I ended up taking only six weeks because The Insider is a brand-new show and they really needed me. But they have been incredibly generous letting me come in late and go home early, so I feel that I’m able to give Kate everything she needs. But more so, I have to be there for my son, David—he’s 3 now, and as he gets older, he really needs me to be around.
>>How do you handle having two kids and a high-powered career?
I start work at 10 a.m., so I feed my kids breakfast and drive my son to school. For the most part, I’m home by 5:30, so I’m there for dinner, playtime and bedtime. I’m lucky that my husband [CNNfn anchor David Haffenreffer] is home every day by 3 p.m., so our kids are without a parent for only about four hours a day.
Emotionally, I definitely am experiencing that guilt that all working moms go through: You feel like you should be at work when you’re home and at home when you’re at work. But I’m doing the best I can, and I know that my kids are happy. And, thankfully, my husband is a terrific dad who picks up the slack.
>>Any advice to other working moms?
It’s the quality of time that you spend with your kids, not the quantity. When you’re with them, give them 100 percent. I work a full day, but when I get home, the cellphone is off, and I’m on my hands and knees with a puzzle, playing with my kids. And I’m with them until they’re asleep.
>>Did you feel any pressure to lose weight since you’re on television?
Having to get back on camera six weeks after giving birth certainly kept me away from the cookie jar. But I have never been thin and never will be. I like who I am, and so far it hasn’t failed me in my career or my life.
>>What did you do to get back in shape after Kate’s birth?
I had a C-section, so as soon as I felt comfortable, I got on the treadmill and began walking briskly, and now I run and am going to start working out with a personal trainer. I also watch what I eat. For me, it’s not as much about losing the pounds as it is about toning—I feel soft all over. But I’m sort of afraid … it’s going to be like boot camp for my butt.