Mi-Jung Lee has been a fixture in the B.C News scene for more than two decades. Born in Choon Chun, South Korea, she has called Vancouver her home since she was four-years old. Growing up, Mi-Jung was always passionate about reading and writing and this passion continued throughout university where she pursued a degree in English Literature. Her mother’s suggestion that she consider Journalism, changed Mi-Jung’s career path.
Along with an award-winning career as a reporter and anchor and currently CTV News’ senior investigative reporter and anchor, Mi-Jung has also successfully balanced a job in the spotlight and a family with her husband and two teenaged son’s. I had a chance to ask Mi-Jung, how she manages to find ‘the right balance.’
As a well-known television anchor and reporter, how does being in the spotlight affect you and your family?
I have to be on my best behavior in public. ? No embarrassing Larry David moments allowed for me. Our boys get a kick out of the fact I’m a reporter and anchor. They also love the small reporter roles I’ve had in movies shot in Vancouver like X-Men 2. People sometimes like to chat with me when we’re out, but my family is used to it.
How do you manage to find the right balance between career and family?
The balance shifts as your children grow, as your career changes. Each working parent has to find the right combination, knowing that it can change next week depending on what’s happening in your career. There are times when you need to focus more energy on your career. The goal is not to feel frazzled or stressed when the scale is tipping in one direction more than another. And don’t be afraid to accept help. When our kids were younger, we lived two doors down from my parents and they were great at being our part-time nannies.
Is balancing easier now that your boys are older?
It’s easier because they are much more independent and can walk to and from school by themselves. I highly recommend living in walking distance of your kids’ school, so you don’t have to worry about the drop off and pick up. Parenting gets more complicated because your kids’ emotional needs become more complicated as they get older.
What do you enjoy the most about your job?
There are so many pros to my job. I love meeting inspiring people from all walks of life. I like crafting a story and I like telling a story – whether it’s through a report or from reading a newscast. I like being first with a story that nobody else has and then watch as others try to follow.
What is the best thing about being a parent?
I love seeing their characters develop. I’m proud of them when I hear of how they’ve been kind to someone at school. And there is nothing more rewarding than seeing how much our boys love each other.
What is the most challenging thing about being a mom?
The kids. Planning and executing dinner is challenging when I come home around 6:30. I’m trying to make it a team effort, but I’m still the quarterback so I feel the pressure. I always feel I’ve been defeated if we have to order in. With teenagers, it’s a challenge to get them to do what you want. They often have a different idea of what’s best. Parental command and control is definitely more efficient. But as they get older, the challenge is to inspire them to be self-motivated.
What things do you like to do together as a family?
Bike riding, tennis, cross-country skiing, hiking.
If you ever get some “ME” time, what do you do?
I like to run. I like to read.
What is once piece of parenting advice you have learned over the years that you can share with readers?
Live close to your kids’ school. They walk more, they have their friends over to our house. Invariably they will forget something and guess who gets to make a quick run to the school on her way to work?
In this age of helicopter parents, I think it’s great to encourage some acts of independence at an early age, like getting your kids to go to the store and buy some groceries. It’s a win win. They learn some valuable skills and it helps with running the household. That’s more than one piece of advice!