Writing a New Chapter with Maggie Rodriguez
Maggie Rodriguez is someone you might have come to know over the years as the former co-host of CBS This Morning and other national network news programming. She has also been a monthly contributor to our magazine, sharing heartfelt local stories and family adventures in Tampa Bay. But most recently, she has forged a new, more flexible career path as the new co-host of Daytime on WFLA.
We decided it was time for you to get to know Maggie a little more, so instead of having her write about others, we’re turning the spotlight on her to learn about this new path in her life. It’s a story many of you might relate to.
TBP: First, congratulations on the new gig. We are so excited for you! The last time we profiled you, we talked about your decision to walk away from a high-profile career in network TV news. Here in Tampa, you’ve found a perfect position as the co-host of Daytime that not only allows you to spend quality time with the family, but also work in a career you have so much passion for.
MR: Yes, I like to say that I went from full-time journalist to full-time mom to the “sweet spot” somewhere in the middle. I get to do what I love and still be with my kids before and after school. In my 20-year career in news, I never had a schedule as family-friendly as this one.
TBP: Many moms (and dads) have made the decision to step back from their careers to care for their young children. What advice do you have for other parents out there who, like you, are looking for the next chapter in their careers after taking some time off?
I would tell them to start by doing something— anything, even if it’s just dipping a toe back in— because once you put yourself out there, things start to happen. I began by writing for this magazine. The executive producer of Daytime read my articles and invited me to be a guest on the show, which later led to the hosting opportunity. Plant a seed. It will grow in due time.
TBP: You could have gone anywhere but decided to plant your roots in Tampa Bay. YAY! What do you love about living here?
Our family has fallen madly in love with Tampa Bay. It’s got the benefits of a big city with the charm of a small town. We live in South Tampa, and we love that everyone knows everyone, and all the places we visit regularly— the Little League field, my kids’ schools, the shops and restaurants we like— are within a 5-mile radius of each other. It’s a wholesome, wonderful life.
TBP: Let’s talk about your new role as co-host of Daytime on WFLA! What do you love about this new role and your new work family? What does your family think?
MR: It’s so much fun! My co-host, Danny New, is whip-smart and funny— he’s literally a comedian— so I really enjoy our interactions. The entire team is incredibly talented, which is reflected in the product, I think. I love that we cover everything from cooking to celebrity interviews to Tampa Bay events and hot spots. I’m especially proud of my new segment, “Maggie & the Moms,” where we chat about all things parenting. We tackle parenting news and trends, but also just everyday things that moms talk about when we’re hanging out together. We spin a wheel to determine the topics we discuss, including mom hacks, mom rules, mother knows best and my personal favorite, “Am I a momster?” I’ve learned a lot from my fellow moms during these chats and realized that we all share the same struggles and doubts. We’re all just doing the best we can as moms. I love having your editor, Laura Byrne, as a regular on our panel.
TBP: How has your family reacted to your new role?
They’re happy for me. My daughter was really little when I was last on TV and my son was a newborn, so they’re basically watching me for the first time. Honestly, they don’t seem too impressed, though! We’ll play the show for them when they get home from school, they’ll watch for a second and then say something like, “Cool! What’s for dinner?”
Have you made any new really cool discoveries with the family in Tampa Bay? Any new favorite things to do?
We love taking weekend day trips to Anna Maria Island, Siesta Key and Boca Grande. When we stay in Tampa Bay, you’ll likely find us at Pass a Grille beach, biking along Bayshore Boulevard, exploring the [Tampa] Riverwalk or shopping or eating at Hyde Park Village.
Finally, since you have now been on both sides–as a working mom and stay at home mom–what have both experiences taught you about parenthood, marriage, and even self-care?
I’ve learned that having the biggest job at the highest level is not the true definition of success, especially when it distances you from the things that bring you true happiness. For me, success is what I have now: a good home life, a healthy marriage, children who feel like they are my priority and a job that affords me the flexibility to lead this kind of life. I’ve finally found that balance that had always eluded me. I’m very lucky, and I don’t take it for granted!