As Editor-In-Chief of Cosmopolitan for 10 years, Bronwyn McCahon made the decision to put work (partially) aside and enjoy the gift of being a mother to three beautiful children; Harper, Grace & Theo Hall. This decision shocked the publishing and media industries as Bronwyn had been a friendly, familiar and inspiring pillar of strength and wisdom for all in the field.
Tell us a little about yourself and your career.
I grew up in Brisbane as the youngest of five kids. My dad worked in radio, so I guess a career in media was in my blood. I moved to Sydney when I was 21 after watching a TV show called ‘The Panel’ and seeing a woman named Mia Freedman on the show. Mia was the Editor of Cosmopolitan at the time and I knew instantly I wanted to work with her.
I packed my bags and drove to Sydney without a job and just sent my resume and many, many emails to various people at ACP Magazines until I finally got a reply. It wasn’t Mia, but it was an “in” to the building. A few months later Mia advertised for an assistant and we fell in love with each other. I worked at Cosmo under Mia for the next four years before she promoted me to Editor of DOLLY magazine. After reliving my teenage angst for two years as editor of Dolly, I returned to Cosmo as Editor-in-chief (Mia had already moved on, I didn’t steal her job) and stayed in that role for the next 10 years!
Earlier this year I decided to step down from my position and take some time out. It was a huge decision because I had a great job with a great team and loads of great perks, but I’d done it. I’d done it for a very long time and needed a change. My decision also coincided with my eldest daughter starting school and I wanted to be around a bit more for her. It’s been amazing having these past few months to spend time with the kids and think about what my career looks like in its next phase. It’s still evolving, but I’m working on a few different projects and it’s been a refreshing, scary and exciting task throwing myself in to new territory.
Whilst being an Editor for Cosmopolitan you also gave birth to three beautiful children. What has been the most challenging part of motherhood and how did you overcome any challenges?
Well there’s the most obvious challenge that is work/life balance and the ongoing battle to keep all the balls in the air. But to be honest, the most challenging part of motherhood for me so far has been the newborn phase with each of the kids.
Some people love the baby stage but I found it really hard. My babies had reflux and were non-sleepers so those first few months with each baby were a real struggle. I felt guilty wishing them to grow but at the same time I was desperate for that early stage to end. Now the kids are two, four and six and while it’s still super hectic, it’s definitely more manageable.
Motherhood is a constant challenge, just in different ways. When you’ve got really young kids the demands are very physical (getting them dressed, wiping bottoms, helping them eat) but I can already feel things slowly shifting from physical to emotional demands as they get older and have to navigate different issues at school.