FOX Business anchor and fitness enthusiast Liz Claman is one busy mama! She recently completed the New York City Triathlon after months of grueling early-morning training sessions. The mother of two kids under 10 opened up to Celebrity Baby Scoop about how her children motivate her to reach her goals, how she carves out time for herself and how she manages her busy schedule.
CBS: Tell us about participating in the upcoming NYC Triathlon. Are you nervous? Have you ever participated in a triathlon before?*
LC: “I am flipping out about the Triathlon. Why? Because I did this last year for the first time and literally 3 minutes into the 1-mile swim I thought to myself, ‘Okaaaay, I don’t need to do THIS again.’ And yet, one year later, here I am. Classic Liz. I try to overcome anxiety or fears by facing them head on. I’ve always felt it’s important to challenge yourself, whether it’s with physical activity or professional mountains you have to force yourself to climb. So once again, here I am ready to jump into the Hudson River, which isn’t exactly known for it’s ‘pure crystal mountain goodness.'”
* We checked in with Liz’s Twitter since the Triathlon on Sunday (July 18). Here’s what she wrote right after the race:
3:27:50. My time was w/in 19 seconds of my last year’s time.”
And another Tweet after the Triathlon:
“Gang, I’m back & I did it-Tough weather conditions HOT but I didn’t try 2 push it. Got kicked a few times in the river but the bike/run good!”
CBS: You are the anchor on FOX Business. How many days per week do you work? What are your hours?
LC: “While I’m physically in the Fox Business studios in midtown Manhattan from about 9am to 6pm daily, and on the air live for 3 hours from 2-5pm ET, my mind is working 24/7, always looking for the business angle of everything around me. Aside from landing the big-name interviews, I’m always wondering which CEOs can best tell me how the economy is doing. What small businesses are fighting it out to survive? I’ll be at a chain restaurant on a Saturday with the kids and I’ll ask the server, ‘How’s business? Is it coming back?’ If I get an interesting answer like, ‘It’s weird, in the last 3 months, suddenly people are pouring in,’ then I’ll email my producer to say, ‘Book the head of this chain.’
About 4 months ago, my 8 year old came home from school begging me to go to the ’99cents Only’ store to buy these stretchy bracelets called Silly Bandz. She said kids were going wild over them. I thought, ‘Hmmm. The next Beanie Baby craze?’ We looked into it and sure enough, the company tells me that suddenly they’re selling millions of them. I booked *both* the 99cents Only CEO *and* the CEO of the company that’s importing Silly Bandz. I’m sure it’s a little annoying to those around me but I’m always digging for a business story. I keep a pad of paper and a pen on my bedside table because ideas come to me in the middle of the night so, depending on the day, I might work in the middle of the night too.”
CBS: How do you manage this busy work schedule with your family life?
LC: “I pray to the god of the Google calendar! Everything goes on there, we print it every Sunday night and look at it every day. From after-school activities to business dinners to hair appointments, it all goes on the calendar. I learned about it one day when I saw one pasted to my friends Heather and James’ refrigerator. They both work and have 3 kids all going in different directions. Theirs was all color-coded and looked like a page out of the Pentagon’s daybook. Militaristic but impressive. I was hooked. Do things still slip through the cracks? Sure, but that’s life. Just don’t miss the orthodontist appointments.”
CBS: And when do you find time to train for a triathlon?
LC: “When I sat down to figure out how I was going to train for it the first time, I looked at that calendar and the only time available was at 5am. I know. Crazy, right? But you make time. You take the proverbial hammer and chisel and you carve out a space. At first, especially in the dead of winter, it was really hard. But then I got into this rhythm and I found that if I got going earlier, I accomplished so much more.”
CBS: What’s your best advice to busy moms who say they don’t have enough time to exercise?
LC: “Make time. What could be more important than having a strong and healthy heart for your children? I will only belong to health clubs that have great baby-sitting programs. That way I bring the kids with me. Or I work out while they’re asleep. If you’re going to be awake and vibrant and excited about their lives then you have to do the same for yourself. It’s not easy but worth the fight.”
CBS: Tell us about your two kids. What are their names and ages? What are they into?
LC: “Gabrielle is 8 and Julian is 6. They’re my world. Gabby loves reading, she plays the violin, and is very crafty…loves weaving thread bracelets. She made three of them last summer for me and a year later they’re still on my wrist. Haven’t fallen off. If you look closely you can see them on air. She’s obsessed with the show Glee. At first we were concerned that some of the issues on the show might not exactly be age-appropriate, but when she marched in one day and asked if I would download Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody so she could learn to sing it, we realized she was learning to love singing because of the show. We’re a musically-oriented family so we went with it.
Julian has turned me into a hockey mom. We got him started last winter when he was 5. He was sitting around the house too much. Not exactly the hearty type of kid who’ll end up starring in The Deadliest Catch. The day he ‘hurt’ himself while basically walking down the hall we said, ‘That’s it. You need to toughen up.’ We put him in Mite hockey and he loves it now. He also plays T-ball but never really warmed up to soccer. I’m not forcing anything but I am nudging my kids to at least try things.”
CBS: How has motherhood changed you?
LC: “My whole reason for doing what I do has shifted. It used to be a more self-centered approach: I want to make it to the network, I want to be a great journalist, I want to help grow a network because it would make me feel so accomplished. Now my kids are the main driver for me when it comes to reaching my professional goals.
I still want to achieve all those things, even more so, but now it’s so that my kids will be proud of me, so they can see I’m out there contributing. I must be doing something right because they beg me to take them to Fox Business. They love to see what I do every day. They hang out in the greenroom and love to watch the producers. For some reason they particularly like the Imus crew (should I be worried about that?).
Plus, motherhood has turned me into McGyver. I can fashion a Band-aid out of Kleenex and Scotch tape if one isn’t on hand.
Oh and I’ve also become a Cirque du Soleil contortionist. I can reach to the backseat behind me with my right arm, take the packaging off a juice box straw, jam it into the box’s hole and tuck a napkin in my son’s shirt all while maneuvering through traffic on the Westside highway. I know, not safe, but every mother knows what I’m talking about. You just get it done.
I’m still a horrible cook though. Seriously. Can’t boil an egg. But dang, can I slice-and-bake Pillsbury cookie dough with the best of them.”
CBS: Are you working on any other projects or with any charities?
LC: “Even with the demands of family, my father always taught us to broaden our scope with culture and charity work. I’m a member of the advisory board of the American Theatre Wing and was just made the newest member of the Tony Award voting committee. My mom is a Shakespearian theatre actress trained at London’s Royal Academy of Dramatic Art so we grew up getting yelled at in iambic pentameter. I knew all the lyrics to Hair and Jesus Christ Superstar by the time I was 10 so my service on the American Theatre Wing is a perfect fit.
I also help raise money for the Muscular Dystrophy Association through charity events and my husband and I do the annual Multiple Sclerosis 60 mile bike ride through New York City.
I’m an honorary chair of a small but amazing organization called Miracle Corners of the World which helps set up things like dental clinics and computer training centers in poverty-stricken areas of Africa.
One thing I haven’t done but dream of doing is to visit troops or help in some way at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. I would never presume to think that they’d want me but if asked to help in any way, shape or form, you’d see my vapor trail to D.C. to show my gratitude to those who fight to protect our freedom. My kids live in an amazing country thanks in great part to them. That’s worth everything to me.”