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Close-Up

Erika Arias

When the job offer came from WFSB, the decision to move east was made easier by Arias’ connection to Connecticut. He father grew up in the Elmwood section of West Hartford, and as a child, Arias and her three younger siblings spent summers in Connecticut. One of her earliest memories is going into the whale at the Children’s Museum. She also has fond memories of summer visits to Misquamicut State Beach, where her grandparents rented a cottage. Her parents, who are divorced, still live in the area, as do her two brothers and various aunts and uncles.

Arias, who lives in West Hartford, is now a member of the Children’s Museum and tries to make it there with her family every couple of months. Laitham is now 7, and her daughters Annika and Julia Ryann are 4 years and 16 months old, respectively. “They are incredible little people,” she says. “Laitham is sensitive and protective. He wants to be a baseball player for the Red Sox. If that doesn’t work out, he’ll play for any team except the Yankees. Anni is a bundle of energy with a little bit of drama. She wants to be a rock star and a librarian. Julia is my angel, perfect in every way.”

So, how does she do it all, especially since she admits to sometimes feeling sleep-deprived? “A power nap for me is huge,” she says. A 30- to 40-minute snooze is all she needs to feel refreshed. Of course, she needs about 10 minutes of that time to actually fall asleep. Her husband can fall asleep immediately, but that, she says, “is a gift I do not possess.”

She also credits her husband with being very supportive. The two take turns cooking, and he is no stranger to diaper-changing. They also have a sitter who works from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. On mornings when Paul has to leave early or is away on business, her father or mother will fill in.

As for how she has maintained her trim figure, she credits her genes (her mother is Chinese and her father is Swedish) and healthy eating. “We cook a lot at home,” and red meat is not on the menu. The family eats “lots of veggies, chicken, fish and tofu.” She is proud that her kids are healthy eaters who will eat tofu and salad, though she admits their favorite dish is pizza, and that salad must be topped with Ken’s raspberry dressing in order to be truly enjoyable.

Arias loves pizza too, and has been known to indulge in a piece of cheesecake, but she makes exercising a priority. The day of this interview, she had plans to meet Rachel Lutzker, a member of the Fox 61 morning show team, at New York Sports Club for a session with a trainer. (“Yes, we are friends off the air.”) Recently, her trainer had her working with kettlebells, which left her sore for days. “It’s a really good workout, painful but great. After I work out, I like to feel it.”

May is Sweeps Month for TV people, and as such there are extra demands placed on cast and crew. But on Sunday, May 13, Mother’s Day will take center stage. On that day, Arias expects that her kids will serve her breakfast in bed just as she and her siblings did for their mom years ago. She looks forward to a tray laden with French toast and a heaping bowl of strawberries, and to receiving the crafts projects the kids will have made for her in school. And she looks forward to spending the day with her family.

“I strive to be a super mom,” she says. Her own mother, like her father, worked for IBM, and although her workday ended at 5 p.m. rather than Arias’ noon quitting time, she didn’t feel deprived. “I remember that I didn’t feel like I missed out on anything,” she says. “When my kids look back, I hope that they think, ‘How did they do it all?’”

Joan Walden is a freelance writer based in West Hartford.

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