#POWERMOM: Robbyn McFadden


Ever since we launched our game-changing Power Play Foundation, we’ve been introducing you to #Powerplayers—beauty and lifestyle experts who also never fail to eclipse expectations. In honor of Mother’s Day, we’ve decided to make this week all about #PowerMoms—women who aren’t just killin’ out in the world, but also on the home front with their little ones.

Meet Robbyn McFadden, Associate Producer at CBS News Sunday Morning and mom to Calla Lilly, 2½.


Mother’s Day plans?

Robbyn: This year, Mother’s Day falls on May 13th, which is also my wedding anniversary. So I will be celebrating motherhood and marriage. I will make a vanilla cake with chocolate icing, which is how I like to celebrate our anniversary.  My husband will probably help our daughter make a homemade card for Mother’s Day. In the evening, we will visit my mother for a large family dinner with siblings and cousins.  The men will do the cooking (which is a welcome change from the normal family dinners) and we will sing, laugh, and tell stories that we’ve told many times before. It’s a tradition I hope continues forever.


The best Mother’s Day “gift” you could receive?

Robbyn: A handwritten letter from my daughter.


Wisdom from your mother you would like to pass on to your children?

Robbyn: My mother is a lifelong teacher, both literally and figuratively.  I could write a book and still not have sufficiently answered this question. But perhaps the greatest thing that she’s taught me—and that I hope to teach my daughter—is what it means to be a good human: to serve, to be kind, to forgive, and to love unconditionally.

As an African American woman, my mother has endured some unimaginable obstacles; but through her example, she’s taught me how to navigate the challenges of life and to stand on the right side of history. I sometimes joke that she is a miracle worker because I’ve seen her turn can’t into can, no into yes, and impossible into possible.  If I am even a fraction of the mother that she is, that will be wonderful.


Robbyn McFadden, Associate Producer at CBS News Sunday Morning, with her daughter, Calla Lilly.

The last time Calla Lily made you laugh?

Robbyn: Calla Lily makes me laugh constantly and it’s such a pleasure to watch her explore, learn, and grow. The other day, she grabbed her toy microphone, sang Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, and then dropped the mic like an all-star! I still don’t know where she learned the “mic drop”!


The last time Calla Lily made you cringe?

Robbyn: She currently has a cold and last night she sneezed directly into my mouth. I think she did it on purpose because her aim was impeccable!


When you have an afternoon alone with Calla Lily, what do you do?

Robbyn: We go for long walks at the beach near where we live in Connecticut. She loves to play in the sand, look for seashells, and dip her toes in the water. Afterwards, we always stop at Stew Leonard’s for the best vanilla ice cream—with sprinkles, of course.


If we snooped in your handbag, we’d know you were a mom because. . .

Robbyn: I have diaper rash cream and wipes. Oh, and the obligatory crumpled up snot tissue that I never remember to throw out


The last book you read with Calla Lily was?

Robbyn: The Going to Bed Book by Sandra Boynton.


How would Calla Lily describe what you “do”?

Robbyn: My daughter has no concept of what it means to produce stories for CBS News Sunday Morning, but when she comes to my office, she likes to look at all of the images of suns on the carpets and walls.  She says “Sun! Sun!” as she wonders the hallways.  (If you couldn’t guess, suns are a fixture at our broadcast.)


What do teach Calla Lily about what it means to be beautiful?

Robbyn: She is only two, so we haven’t had meaningful conversations about the meaning of beauty, inside or out. However, I make sure to tell her often that she is beautiful—whether she’s wearing a dress or pajamas, whether her hair is combed or not, whether she has sticky jelly on the sides of her mouth or not, whether she is happy or sad. I want her to know that her beauty is not something that can be taken away.  Her beauty cannot be dictated or distorted by others. Her beauty is not contingent upon a checklist. Beauty is a feeling and she has the power to determine its meaning.


What is one thing you do as a parent that you swore you’d never do? 

Robbyn: Before I became a mom, I had all of these ideas about what I would and would not allow for my child—no TV and no sugar were at the top of my list.  But increasingly, I find myself negotiating with my daughter, especially in public settings: If you do this, I’ll let you watch one video on the tablet. If you don’t do that, I’ll give you a frozen treat. I do keep the negotiating to a minimum, but occasionally it’s a good weapon for neutralizing toddler tantrums.


Who (or what) is your “foundation"?

Robbyn: My mother. I know it’s not a novel answer, but it is the truest answer I can give. In the simplest terms, my mother is the reason I am and the reason I do.


What does being a “power mom” mean to you? 

Robbyn: It means doing everything in my power to become the best version of myself and to help my daughter become the best version of herself.


Want more? Follow Robbyn on Instagram @CBSSundayMorning. 

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