As a mother with a baby girl who enjoys reading time, finding a book we both love is important to our mommy-daughter bonding. With so many obligations as a working mom, I know what it’s like to wish those moments would last forever. That your child would stay as innocent as they are in those instances when they’re clinging onto your every word. While physically impossible, desire is a reminder to cherish every second.
Best-selling author Linsey Davis’s new book, Stay This Way Forever , captures the blissful moments with share with our children through adorable, diverse illustrations by Lucy Flemings. This is Davis’s third children’s book, proving the Emmy Award-winning ABC News correspondent also wrote the book on having it all by her own standards.
We chatted with Davis ahead of the release of her charming children’s story and the mom of one opened up about having it all, rising the ranks as a Black woman anchor, and the importance of faith in her family.
You’ve found major success as a new anchor and children’s book author while balancing motherhood, what does “having it all” mean to you?
LINSEY DAVIS: I have heard before that you can have it all, just not all at the same time. In some ways, I suppose I agree with that sentiment because I think there is a natural instinct to feel that it’s extremely difficult to give your ALL to each aspect of your life. There are constant concerns about if you are doing it all well. But I think where I have landed on this is that doing your best counts for a lot. I do what I can and let God do the rest.
I would also say that because my son is the inspiration for my children’s books, both the process and the final product are able to bring us together. I find fulfillment both at home and in my career, and the books have been a nice way to blend both. It can all be quite a juggling act at times, but most of the moms I know don’t just wear multiple hats, they also wear capes.
Did you find it harder to rise the ranks as a Black woman anchor?
DAVIS: From the beginning of my career, I have just put my head down and tried to do good work. Sometimes it was recognized and sometimes it was not. I have sacrificed and worked hard for years. I moved to various cities and stations across the country. In many cases, I felt encouraged by bosses to expect more, to apply for openings that I didn’t think they would consider me for. I can’t say that I felt particularly restricted or confined because of my race or gender in my career. I would say that I knew what was possible from having what I’ll describe as “mentors in my head” – Black women who were already doing what I wanted to do and had blazed their own paths forward in TV news. They did then and continue now to inspire me.
We’ve seen many Black female anchors begin to wear their natural hair on television, how has the landscape changed for you since you first began your career?
DAVIS: I know some women still feel that there is external pressure to not wear their natural hair, but speaking in generalities, I think over time there has been an evolution as far as what is embraced or accepted. I have been in the industry for more than two decades now, and I have seen people gradually start to feel they could “free the curls” so to speak, and I think many women have felt encouraged to lean into their own personal style. I have never felt that pressure to conform. I have worn my hair both straight and curly over the years, and I never felt I was being judged for it one way or another.
You’ve been very vocal about your struggle with postpartum, what do other Black women need to know about postpartum anxiety (and anxiety in general), especially during the pandemic?
DAVIS: The main point I’d like to make is that you are not alone. That’s why I have spoken out about it. I think there can be stigma around it and fear around it, and there is nothing to be ashamed of. It happens and in most cases, it does get better. I know it was incredibly helpful to me during that time to talk to another mother who had recently had that same experience and feelings that I had. I was hanging on to every word about how she made it out of that agonizing time, and it helped me to know that it would get better. I think that’s the overall message for women (or men for that matter) suffering from anxiety induced by any circumstance. I know for me that clinging to faith and being inspired by others who had already pulled through made all the difference.
You once revealed your struggle with postpartum helped strengthen your faith, why is it important to you to incorporate religion into your children’s books?
DAVIS: I grew up in the church. Faith was a part of the cornerstone of my childhood, and it continues to be a major part of who I am. I do feel there is a necessary separation of church and state when it comes to journalism, but as a mom and author of children’s books, I feel I am able to reveal that side of me a bit. One way I try to pour into my son is by writing messages that I hope will instill certain values and basic beliefs in him.
My first book, “The World is Awake,” is a celebration of everyday blessings. My second book, “One Big Heart,” is a celebration of being more alike than different—embracing diversity, and my third book, “Stay This Way Forever,” is about celebrating childhood and the uniqueness, innocence and joy of this time. Essentially, I could break it all down like this: The first book is about how God loves him. The second book is encouraging him to love other kids of all different looks and beliefs and backgrounds and the third book is for him to know he is loved by me. It is essentially a love letter from parents to children. The common theme is love, and for me, a lot of that is born out of my own faith.
The illustrations in your books are so vivid and diverse, how do you work with the illustrator to craft the perfect images?
DAVIS: This was very important to me. Initially I had some concerns that the characters just were colored different shades. In the initial drafts the hair textures and facial features were not representative of the wide variety of real-life black and brown children, and so at one point, I sent in pictures of my husband and son to make sure the illustrator had some understanding of what I was trying to convey. I would send notes about their hair and lips and noses to really make sure we did it with some accuracy. That process has become much easier. I am still working with the same illustrator, and she does a great job of really capturing diversity with beautiful pictures and images that really do capture the essence of the variation in all of humanity.
Order “Stay This Way Forever” here.