“I Don’t Know Where My Mornings Go!”
Esti Berkowitz, 43, New York City
Family: Husband Avi, 49; daughters Miara, 6, and Rachel, 4; son Chaim, 3.
Job: Freelance writer and blogger.
Why she feels frazzled. Esti works from home—easier said than done for someone with three young children. She writes online product reviews to bring in extra money and is working on a blog about, appropriately enough, becoming a mom after age 35. She’d love quiet time in the early morning to write while she’s still fresh. (At night, she usually collapses soon after the kids do.) But it seems that by the time Esti has made her to-do list, everyone is waking. During the school day, she often has work-related meetings or gets sidetracked by chores. By three, the kids—and the chaos—are back.
A typical morning. Esti wakes up around 5:30 a.m. She checks e-mail and shovels in a load of laundry, which she does every day. She can’t help noting what has to be done in the house. Is the drain clogged again? At 6:30, Avi, a computer network engineer, and Miara wake up. Esti helps Miara get dressed—which can be a battle: “It’s not unheard-of for me to promise ice cream after school if she’ll cooperate.” Avi brings Miara to her bus on his way to work at 7:20. But as soon as Esti returns to the computer, her younger kids are waking up. “I try to work while Chaim is in my lap, but he wants to type, too,” says Esti. She dresses and feeds Rachel and Chaim and takes them to school around 9 a.m.
The bottom line. No matter how organized Esti is—or how early she gets out of bed—her work time vanishes in the morning madness. She would love to have help in the afternoon, but paying for a sitter isn’t possible, and she and Avi have no family in the area to pinch-hit.