Most mothers of three young children find it difficult to get out of bed by dawn. Most mothers are not Erika Arias.
What does 5 a.m. look like for the average mom? The last blessed hour of quiet before the house awakes? A brief hiatus between the baby’s last feeding and firing up the breakfast grill for the older crew? Not so for Erika Arias, morning anchor for FOX CT. Each weekday Arias wakes to a 3:13 a.m. alarm (or perhaps 3:16, if she’s feeling self-indulgent). By 5 a.m. she has already been at the studio for an hour. She has applied her makeup, done her hair, dressed impeccably, slid her feet into the high heels that boost her height to a statuesque 5’ 8”, and is smiling alongside anchor Logan Byrnes at the news desk. And she remains on air, and for some segments on her feet, until 10 a.m.
She joined Fox CT two years ago as the news anchor at 10 and 11 p.m., coming from WFSB-Channel 3 where she was a weekend anchor and reporter. After her third child was born—she went into labor during a newscast and left before the end of the show to give birth—and after her 4-month maternity leave ended, FOX CT offered her the morning job.
Juggling parenthood with an evening television work schedule is challenging for a parent of young children, so she jumped at the chance to switch shifts. She is grateful to work for an employer that recognized the significance of the change and made it possible for her to be home in the afternoons and evenings with her family. “I felt really valued,” she says. “I love my job, but I live for my family. If I wasn’t on this schedule, I wouldn’t be able to play basketball with my son in the afternoon.” And she’d miss her favorite part of the day: after dinner, when she and her husband are cleaning up, music is playing, and they are all dancing around the kitchen.
The free time in the afternoon is wonderful, but going from night owl to early riser was a difficult adjustment for Arias. “I had to do a complete 180,” she says. “I used to climb into bed at 1 a.m. Now, I’m getting up at 3.”
To ensure that she gets up, she keeps her phone on her nightstand table. Her clothes are set out and her food for the morning is in the refrigerator. Her husband, Paul, makes her an egg sandwich at night before he goes to bed. “The hardest thing is getting out of bed,” she says. “Once I’m downstairs, I’m good.”
She met her husband when they were in high school, although she is quick to note that they were not high-school sweethearts. They were long-distance friends for a couple of years, and eventually began a long-distance romance. Both grew up in Claremont, a small college town with what Arias describes as a “New England feel,” despite its location in Southern California.So, how does she do it all, especially since she admits to sometimes feeling sleep-deprived?
Though she grew up on the West Coast, Arias was born in Massachusetts, and returned to her roots in attending Northeastern University in Boston, where she planned to study to become a physician’s assistant. After a single semester as a biology major, she changed her mind. “I was reminded that I don’t like chemistry, but I always loved English and reading and writing.” She switched her major to journalism with an emphasis on broadcasting.
Her husband-to-be was a TV photographer, and like many couples with careers in the same industry, each would take turns sacrificing their career for the other. When they married in 2002, Arias was working as a reporter for WPRI, a CBS affiliate. It was there that she covered the Station nightclub fire in Providence, R.I., for which she won an Emmy Award. The couple moved to Las Vegas to further her career and then to Los Angeles to further his. After her first child, a son named Laitham, was born, she took a year and a half off, but did some freelance work in L.A. covering “American Idol” for the affiliates. The time off gave her the chance to savor her son’s early years. “It was a nice period,” she says. “I knew I wouldn’t have that much time off again.”