Alison Starling of WJLA/ABC-7 News and her husband, Peter Alexander, co-anchor of Weekend TODAY, share what their parenting timeline looks like in NoVA.
Alison Starling, evening anchor for WJLA/ABC 7 News, and her husband, Peter Alexander, Weekend TODAY co-anchor and White House correspondent for NBC News, may be familiar faces on your television, but they’re also NoVA-based parents of two young daughters (Ava, 6, and Emma, 4) with hectic work and family schedules. Here, Starling, who celebrates her 16th anniversary with ABC 7 this month, shares how they’re managing their family-of-four’s hectic days and nights.
Peter wakes up to be at the White House by 6 a.m. to report live for the TODAY show, MSNBC and Nightly News with Lester Holt. A lot of mornings, there’s one or two kids in our bed who have made their way there during the night, so he’s pretty good about trying not to wake us up.
My alarm goes off and I get the girls ready for school. We have three or four simple breakfasts that are go-to, like oatmeal or frozen waffles, things that they can eat pretty quickly.
We head out the door to meet the school bus.
Our nanny arrives and is with us until Peter gets home from work at about 7 p.m. Depending on the day, I’ll try to sneak in a power nap or a workout to get a little boost of energy.
We pick up Emma from preschool. Then we eat lunch together before I go into work.
I head into work and start prepping for the evening’s newscasts. Our nanny picks up Ava from the school bus and stays with them until Peter gets home.
The nanny feeds the girls dinner.
Peter arrives home. Thankfully, our nanny is flexible with her schedule. If Peter is traveling, she stays late or even spends the night, since I work until about midnight.
On most nights, I come home in between the 6 o’clock newscast and the 11 to eat dinner with Peter and the girls. Emma and Ava have usually already eaten, but they’ll sit with us and have a little bit more. We usually do carryout or a meal prep service.
My bosses know that during work, work is my priority, but if I can fit in little moments of time with my family, I do it. That’s usually the only time we’re all together every night. Sometimes it can be hectic because we have to do baths and get clothes out for the next day and pack lunches, but it’s still the time I look most forward to every day because I know we’re going to all have a little time together.
We put the girls to bed and then I head back to work. Peter and I try to put the kids down together, even if it’s just half an hour of brushing teeth and reading stories. I leave and then he can either go straight to bed because he gets up so early, or he has to do some more preparation for the next morning’s TODAY show.
On the air for the 11 p.m. newscast.
I get home and go to bed. I’m usually so tired at that point that I just wash off all my makeup and crawl into bed—ready to do it all again the next day.
“I think we both feel really grateful to have jobs that we’ve always wanted. We both always wanted to be in journalism and both always wanted a family. We feel lucky to have all those things at once. The hardest part is finding family time where we’re all together and not rushing.”