The Morning Rush
5:00am—Alarm sounds. Hit the snooze button.
5:30am—Out of bed. Hit the shower.
6:15am—Kiss the kids goodbye. Hit the road.
7:30am—Arrive at client site. Hit the laptop to prepare for a full day of meetings.
So begins a typical day in the life of Title Nine customer Zaida Aronovsky, information systems consultant, wife, and mother of three girls. It’s a day that rarely ends before midnight.
Why such long hours? In addition to working full time and running a household, Zaida makes time to pursue her other passion—sports. She began her athletic career on the sidelines in junior high—not warming the bench, but willing teams to victory as a cheerleader. She went on to become a member of the Platt High School cheerleading squad that launched an eight-year winning streak at city competitions throughout central Connecticut. What’s more, Zaida was not just any cheerleader. She was the brave soul at the top of the pyramid. At 5 feet 2 inches tall and 110 pounds, it’s a feat that 44-year-old Zaida could likely pull off even today.
It seems Zaida’s cheerleading days were good training for her current career as a project manager. What do cheerleading and project management have in common? Strategy, teamwork and execution. “I get a kick out of planning, bringing together a group of people, making something happen, making it successful, having people communicate. You have a mission and implement it successfully—that’s what I’m all about, whether it’s professionally or athletically.”
These days, fitting in a workout often means cutting corners, and for Zaida that usually entails skipping meals. “Working through lunch is the norm. I have a Balance bar and fruit or 100-calorie cookies for something sweet.”
With a hectic schedule like hers, you might peg Zaida for a java junky, but you’d be wrong. “I gave up caffeine when I became pregnant with my first child,” Zaida says, “and I never went back.”
Kickin’ It After Work
After 6:00pm or so, you’ll find Zaida either kickin’ it at home with her kids or kickin’ it on the soccer field with her teammates. Most nights she heads home, helps make dinner, and enjoys some rowdy play time with her daughters—Katrina, Sofia, and Jessica, ages eight, six, and four. At around 8:00pm, she begins the process of putting the girls to bed. It’s an event that often takes an hour. Somewhere around 9:00pm, she sneaks in a 30 to 45-minute workout on her Total Gym, using both the weights and the bike. Then she snags some quiet time with her husband Nate before settling in to work on soccer league business and answer emails for a couple hours.
One special night a week, Zaida plays soccer, a sport she picked up 15 years ago when she attended a co-ed drop-in clinic run by former All-American Dave Fromer. Her soccer career quickly evolved into a quest to create the perfect soccer league for women—one that would be both competitive and accommodating to women of all skill levels.
What began as a team of eight friends posting flyers has grown into two leagues—the Marin Women’s Soccer League and the more competitive Golden Gate Women’s Soccer League for players over 35. Together, the leagues have enabled hundreds of women to build sports into their lives in a fun and accessible way. They have developed Zaida’s game, as well.
“When I began at thirty-something they started me up front, but I didn’t have a lot of skills,” Zaida says. “I learned. I learned quickly. I realized eventually that I liked playing defense.” Now Zaida is versatile—she plays fullback on the wing, stopper, and sweeper.
A big reason why Zaida plays is to be a good role model for her girls. “I think it’s important for them to see that I’m active.” Nate often brings the girls to watch Zaida’s weekend games and they love hanging out on the sidelines. “It’s just the best feeling when you are coming off the field after the game and you have this kid running to you screaming, ‘Mom!,’ and they give you a really big hug.”
Getting Some Girl Time
Soccer nights are special for more reasons than one. After the game, usually around 8:00pm, the team heads out for a beer and a bite. It’s some cherished big girl time that Zaida describes as a highlight of her week. The women Zaida has met through soccer are more than just teammates; they are among her closest friends.
By the time Zaida gets home at 9:30pm or so, the girls are already in bed. Needless to say, Zaida skips the Total Gym on soccer nights. Otherwise, her nighttime ritual is largely the same as any other evening—some alone time with Nate, attending to soccer league business, and answering work emails.
Sometime around midnight, it’s finally lights out. In a handful of hours, Zaida will be up and at it all over again. You go girl!
Interesting thought Amy – good questions. I can only respond really to my own personal reaction to such questions and not for any one else. So with that said, it seems I would not have questioned the number of hours of sleep if Zaida were the working man…but I would think Zaida was a work-a-holic of sorts and being a Counselor I know all to well that something…in the form of relationships most likely…falls off the plate or gets less nourishment than it truly needs. May sound strong…but I believe I would make that observation whether male or female. Finding that balance is tough…and perhaps this taps into values here and I certainly am exposing mine…relationship with those in my ‘inner circle’ are far more important to me than my career, exercise, ‘being’ outdoorsy, or sports…but perhaps that is just my values speaking. Of course, I say this with full admission I struggle in this balance and choice of what is more important in life daily. So, my observation is of myself as it is of anyone else : ) !
It is awesome that Zaida can fit so much into her day, and in general I’m sure this series is simply about encouraging fitness…. However, I have a real problem with our society which seems to think the busier you are, the better. It seems we applaud people who are super busy and juggling motherhood, working, exercise, fun, and wow, it’s even better if they are falling into bed exhausted beyond belief at midnight. Trust me, I’m doing it, and it’s too much. I just think our values are really in the wrong place. I agree with what Adrienne wrote….
I hear you, Jessica. And I appreciate your inclination to question our societal values regarding work/home balance. It’s an important issue that is all too easy to overlook.
In that same spirit of reflection, here’s an interesting point to ponder. Zaida’s husband stays home and takes care of their kids while Zaida works to support their family. If Zaida were a working man with a stay-at-home wife, would we be questioning the hours she keeps or the example she’s setting for her children? Might we be holding women to a higher standard here?
Just some food for thought.
As always, thanks for sharing.
You GO! I want to applaud her husband for being there for her too, without him she would never be able to keep that schedule. For those of us single moms, her life is an impossibility. I am sure the other model area of her life is a healthy relationship with her spouse.