Hannah Storm is a traveling mom who makes life on-camera work for her family. For television broadcaster Hannah Storm, who is back on the air after she was burned in a scary accident, life is an endurance sport.
Her national career took off in 1989, when CNN hired her to anchor “CNN Sports Tonight.” Storm spent three years at the network, where she met her husband, sportscaster Dan Hicks. Then she joined NBC Sports, where she hosted major sports broadcasts events including the Olympics, the NBA, Wimbledon, and Major League Baseball.
There is no grass growing under her feet. A mom of 3, Hannah Storm is a sports anchor on ESPN, special segments producer, founder of the Hannah Storm Foundation and for the past 5 years, co-host of the Rose Bowl Parade.
She had her first daughter when she was covering the NBA on NBC.”I was on the road when I found out I was pregnant,” she remembers. Storm was covering a game in Charlotte, North Carolina. “I’ll never forget it,” she says. “I was having what I thought was stomach cramps, and ended up going to the hospital the night before a big game. When the doctors said I was pregnant, I was completely surprised!” Covering the game the next day, Storm remembers sitting right on the court and thinking, “I hope nobody falls on me!”
Her sense of humor has gotten her through a number of trying travel situations, and Storm is levelheaded striking the balance between being an attentive mother and a television professional when she decides whether or not to bring her kids on the road.
I’ve been known to pack two pairs of cowboy boots. How many women in America can say that?
“I take it on a case-by-case basis,” she explains. “We look at the trip, the nature of the trip, and say, can we slice it and dice it a couple different ways?” Storm says she’ll consider whether or not family lives in or around the destination, and whether the trip would ultimately be a good experience for the kids. “You don’t want them traveling a long distance for only a short trip,” she says. “An adult can handle it, but for a kid – it totally throws ’em off.”
Storm was with CBS for five years as co-anchor of “The Early Show,” where she covered the war in Iraq and interviewed major newsmakers.
TravelingMom™ founder, Kim Orlando, turned the tables on the reporter and host to find out how she’s coped with motherhood and a demanding career.
TMOM: After you had your first daughter, did she go with you on the road?
HANNAH STORM: I took her with me; her first big trip was the NBA finals. I have a lot of pictures backstage, with Dr. J, Marv Albert, Bob Costas, and my little baby girl in her little pink bow. I have a lot of pictures of her on the set, as a baby, on the road.
TMOM: Did you find it distracting at all?
HANNAH STORM: The baby did not come to many of the games. [Covering] some of the games out West was a little wild – I’d do the pregame show, hang out with the baby, then go do the post-game show. I had a really good friend travel with me – she’s a nurse – and she helped me take care of my first-born. We went to Utah, Los Angeles, then for the WNBA championship, we went to Houston, so before she was a year old, the baby did quite a bit of traveling.
TMOM: Did you have to lobby to keep your job and take her with you?
HANNAH STORM: I just had to pay for it. My husband and I both travel quite a bit. For an NBA Finals situation, where you can be gone for two and a half weeks, I traveled with her. She was my little companion. She was about five months so she was sleeping pretty well at that point, which made a big difference for being able to work on the road.
TMOM: Did you have her in the same hotel room?
HANNAH STORM: We were all in the same room. The funny thing is you don’t know how long an NBA Finals is gonna take. And it’s not like you have washers and dryers wherever you go. I just remember packing this huge suitcase, filled with pink and white outfits-an enormous amount of clothing, which cracks me up thinking about it right now.
TMOM: Are you an over-packer?
HANNAH STORM: My friends can tell you that they’ve walked in on me packing, horrified, took half of it, and said you can’t take this half. I hate packing. If it were up to me, I’d wear the same top and jeans everywhere I went. But I’ve always had to pack for on-air and off-air. I always pack workout gear, in case I can sneak in a workout. And I always pack a bikini, ‘cause you never know. I’ve been known to pack two pairs of cowboy boots. How many women in America can say that?
TMOM: So you finally figure out how to make it work with one child, and then you have a second child…
HANNAH STORM: When you have two, the decision becomes a little tougher, because you’re really taking the big gang. And my first two are only a year and half apart, so I was taking the strollers, everybody was in diapers, and it became exponentially crazier. I took all three of my kids to the Olympics in Salt Lake. My youngest learned to walk in the long corridor of the hotel. You have to look at the event, how long it is, and how much time are you really going to be able to spend with them? Are you going to see them or are they there to make you feel less guilty?
Both girls started throwing up on the plane. I was by myself, and pregnant, and nobody would come near me…
TMOM: Do you have an on-the-road memory, good or bad, that really stands out?
HANNAH STORM: Once we were flying back from Orlando, before my youngest was born, so they must have been two and three. Both girls started throwing up on the plane. I was by myself, and pregnant, and nobody would come near me. I was really nauseous and willing myself not to get sick! I was praying, “God, get me off this plane alive.” When we got up after a two and a half hour ordeal, this guy behind me goes, “You are a wonderful mother.” And I started tearing up, because that really meant a lot to me. Then I went outside and promptly threw up!
TMOM: How about vacations?
I’m all about being snuggly and comfortable.
HANNAH STORM: I love Martha’s Vineyard because I can drive there. My life’s fantasy is to have my own plane. I’m not a materialistic person, but my serious fantasy is to fly privately more often because it’s so easy with kids. We went to Notre Dame to host a big capital campaign for them, because that’s my alma mater. They sent a plane and I brought the family. And it was like, I am now in a different world of travel. So the next time we flew, in coach seats, they pleaded, “Mommy, can we go on that small plane?” And I said “Oh, mommy wishes we were on that small plane too!”
TMOM: Is there anything special you do to stay connected to your kids when you’re not traveling with them?
HANNAH STORM: When I was at Super Bowl in Phoenix, my oldest daughter was emailing me the whole time. I was sending her emails about touchdowns, the game, and I thought that was so cool ‘cause a lot of times you’re in loud places like stadiums, or you can’t get a good signal on your cell phone. I love that they’re old enough to email and text. We also do Skype sometimes, that’s fun.
TMOM: What’s your must-pack item?
HANNAH STORM: My feet have to be warm. I always travel with fuzzy socks or thick workout socks. It’s funny, I don’t wear a lot on the rest of me, but my feet have to be warm. And I have to have moisturizer. I’m also a notorious water drinker, and I’m getting it confiscated constantly because I always forget to take it out of my bag before we go through security.
TMOM: What about for your kids? Must-pack items for the kids?
HANNAH STORM: We’re a big PJ family. They’ve always got way more PJs than they need, but I’m fixated on sleepwear, I don’t know why. I’m all about being snuggly and comfortable.
TMOM: Have you ever arrived somewhere and thought, I can’t believe I forgot….
HANNAH STORM: When I went to the Super Bowl, I couldn’t find my underwear! I usually pack that kind of stuff in a big, Ziploc bag, and for some reason it was in a black, nylon thing, zipped up. It was all the crucial things – bras, underwear – and I couldn’t find it in the bottom of my black suitcase.
TMOM: Do you have a favorite use for Ziploc bags?
HANNAH STORM: My new trick is the big, oversized Ziploc bags. Each kid gets their own Ziploc bag. So I do it too now. Dirty clothes, shampoo – its great for all sorts of stuff!
Liz Warren-Pederson is a writer living in Arizona. She seconds the need to have warm feet on the plane.