Raina Seitel has lots of good news to share. The award-winning journalist (and mom to Hunter, 5) is set to appear on the new Style Network show, City Girl Diaries. We spoke exclusively with Raina about being a mom in NYC, women being supportive in the workplace and why she thought she might have actually been auditioning for The Bachelorette.
Raina, were you always a news junkie?
I always loved news. Growing up, we had one TV in the house. My family always wanted to watch The Simpsons and I wanted to watch CNN.
Well, you can’t beat Homer and Bart.[laughs] True. My passion for the news landed me an internship at CNN, and then I went to ABC and Good Morning America. I got pregnant and realized I couldn’t be in an edit room at 5:00 AM when I had to breastfeed. I wanted to keep working but also wanted to spend item with my son. I took a job share, which was great, but I realized there was a voice missing in the market place. I wanted to open the curtain and talk about the joys and the heartaches of parenting. Me and two other journalists partnered with NBC and had a show called Moms In the City & A Dad Named David. We interviewed celeb moms and it was a lot of fun.
I find that it’s hard for moms to show imperfections.
When my son was young, everyone said it would be a breeze, and it wasn’t. There are real issues and there’s no handbook to tell you how to deal with it. On top of that, you have these others moms saying, “My child is perfect and I’m a perfect mother.” That wasn’t my experience at all; I have always been brutally honest and I believe that authenticity should drive us.
Now, your new show, City Girl Diaries on the Style Network is premiering Sunday, July 21st. What was the experience like of being in front of the camera in a whole new way?
It was totally different. In my day job, I control everything, from what I ask and what I say. For the show, I was put in situations and exposing the challenges of living, working and dating here in NYC. The producers said to me, “This is going to feel very vulnerable,” and it did. When the show airs, I know I’m going to be watching with one eye open and one eye closed! [laughs] I’m going to tell my parents that it’s on a different channel and at a different time!
On the show, you’re the only single mom. Do viewers get to see who you’re dating?[laughs] Yes. I think to myself now, “Did I think I was auditioning for The Bachelorette?” because it certainly seemed like it! But it was honestly so much fun. You try your best; I would get dressed up—and then trip and fall down on the show. In the end, we are all searching for happiness and trying to have a balanced life. One of the interesting parts of the whole experience is that the producer of the show was a former intern of mine. It just goes to show that women have to support other women, or else life simply does not work in your favor.
Agreed. There’s room for us all. Now, let’s talk about being a mom in NYC.
I’m lucky because my son’s dad is really present, and he’s a good dad, too. Divorce is not an easy decision to make. I wanted more kids, and still do, but you have to make a choice. I’m really happy in my own skin, in this house. When it’s just me, my dog and my son, it’s a happy place. I work and I mother. And that can be very, very hard. You don’t have someone to say, “Hey,
I’m running late and bath time is at 7:00.” That’s very real. But on the other hand, I’m blessed to have an amazing connection with my son, and I wonder if it would be different if it weren’t just the two of us in this house. But parenting in NYC can be overwhelming and competitive, but I don’t get into that. I show up with the dog, glasses and a baseball cap for drop off in the
So parenting in itself is tough. Add to that being a NYC mom, and on top of that being a single mom. It takes time to cultivate any potential relationship, but then you also have to factor in your child and his feelings. At the end of the day, I’m a package deal. Period, end of story. The truth is, I’m really proud of that.
That is an extremely positive attitude.
As you grow up, you have these ideals of how life is supposed to be. And when you’re faced with something that flips your reality, it’s much easier to appreciate the goodness of just being and connecting. I’m thankful for all that life has brought me. It hasn’t been easy and I’d be lying if it were. I feel that this life has a plan and we have to embrace that. This challenging time has allowed me to appreciate life and my relationship with my son. My kid is my everything; he’s the reason why I’m here.
Another guy who is super important to you is that cute furry guy who has been with us during the entire shoot, your dog, Theo.
Theo is my first-born. He’s the veteran many in my life. He’s been through everything with me. He loves me all the time, and honestly, he’s the most loyal man in the world. I adore him.
Raina, how do you balance it all?
We all have to make choices. I’m fortunate that my parents are very involved and it’s a whole bunch of love in my son’s life. My dad and my son are as thick as thieves. To have a support system is key. You also have to prioritize and being organized about the choices you make—and not feel guilty about it. Like you can’t take a work assignment because it conflicts with a bake sale at school. Or going out on a date on Thursday night when you’re going to spend time with your child. It’s all about making the choices that truly matter.