It is seven a.m. in Kingston-upon-Thames in the UK, and the mobile is humming and buzzing. No doubt, time to get up. Thalia
has already set the alarm to snooze twice, now it's time to "get into gear." Sons Luke and Finley need waking up, their breakfast needs to be prepared and their lunchboxes filled. While she gets dressed, the estate agent reads her first e-mails and makes a few calls.
"Sometimes, I feel like Cinderella who never gets to the ball," says the 33-year-old. Luke, her older son, goes to school on his own, but 8-year-old Finley still needs to be dropped off.
"Thank God they are both old enough and at school! Previously, my mother had to look after them – or even my grandparents, who are thankfully still very fit," says Thalia. Then she's off to her first house viewing.
At the same time, Roberta
has already been at work for quarter of an hour. The Italian gets up a little earlier in the morning "to have some time to myself." Her alarm goes off at 6.30. She wakes her son Paolo, who recently had his 4th birthday. It is important to her that he should not be short-changed – even if there isn't much time. She takes the time to prepare his breakfast and sits at the table with him. Her husband has been out with the dog for half an hour already and should be back any minute.
Then they have to step it up a notch: bathe, get dressed, pack Paolo’s backpack and her own paperwork, rush out of the house – and get to the stop just in time to catch the bus. Once they have arrived at the kindergarten, a mini crisis takes place nearly every morning: Paolo cries because Mummy needs to leave. Five minutes later he has found an exciting toy and his tears are forgotten.
Before things really get going in the office – meetings with the team, with colleagues, appointments with customers – the 46-year-old takes a moment to drink a coffee at the office bar. Then the day takes its course. "A hectic day,” she says. “It’s a good thing that the kindergarten is open till the evening."