Lisa Ling Has A Genius Trick For Making Work Travel Easier On Her Family

Instagram / Lisa Ling

Lisa Ling

Instagram / Lisa Ling

Maricar Santos via Working Mother
Maricar Santos via Working Mother
For most working moms, being away from your kids during the day is already difficult — now imagine being away from them for about ten full days a month. That's the reality for award-winning journalist Lisa Ling, host of CNN's documentary series "This Is Life," which begins airing its fourth season in October. As part of her job, the mom to daughters Jett, 4, and Ray, 1 regularly travels the country to bring her audience stories of extraordinary people — that we can enjoy from the comfort of our own homes. While that's no easy feat for someone with kids, Lisa does a simple yet important thing to make work travel easier on her family.
In a recent interview with, she shared that she takes the time to explain her job to her eldest daughter Jett, and it seems to make a bit of a difference. "Just be really communicative with your kids," she recommends. "If you explain to them why you need to do it, when you need to do it, and what your schedule is, they get it. [Jett] knows, and she’s watched my shows. It doesn’t make it a lot easier on her, but she totally gets it. And I think she’s proud of me when she sees me on the show."
But that's not the only thing she does. "My eldest daughter is a very sensitive girl, and the day before, when she knows I’m leaving on a trip, she gets very emotional. That absolutely kills me, but we have FaceTime, and I talk to her every day."

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Lisa says she also makes it a point to be selective about the assignments she takes and the number of days she can be away, although she reveals her work hours are more flexible than you'd think. "My schedule is pretty decent for motherhood because I travel. I’m on the road 10 days per month, but the rest of the month, I’m home. So while I do a lot of work at home, I can take my kid to school and pick her up and take my other kid with me to the gym. So it’s actually more flexible than people who don’t travel as much as I do," she says. Plus, she tries to be responsive to calls from her family, even when she's in the field.
And when it comes to preparing for a trip outside the county, Lisa pulls out all the stops. "If I’m going to another country, I take extra precaution to make sure my kids have everything they need and everybody has their schedules. I put out the hair ties and the lotions and everything."
She's learned to delegate tasks, too, particularly to her husband Paul, a certified radiation oncologist and current Chief Medical Officer for two biotech companies, to make her to-do list more manageable. "Not to sound cliché, but I think working moms should be striving to balance things as well as they can, and not feel like they need to do everything. I think it’s in women’s DNA to feel like they have to coordinate every aspect of their kids' schedules because it won’t get done otherwise, but I found that when I give my husband some responsibility and tell him what he needs to do, he does it. It will get done," she says. "Whereas we, as women, feel like we need to do it all. And this is sort of a new revelation for me. I’m just learning how to cede authority to members of the family for things like scheduling."
Since Paul also travels a lot for his career, when the two are home, the focus is all on family. "We don’t even go out anymore. It’s funny, because our friends know not to ever ask us to go out during the week when we’re home, because we just want to be with our kids. And we really don’t have much of a social life outside of our family. But we’re OK with that because we’re older parents, so we’ve kind of been there, done that. We don’t feel like we’re really missing out on anything. The time we have with our family when we are home is really precious, and we take it very seriously and value it."
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