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A Thursday in the Life of Nika Arastoupour

This Frisco mom balances two kids and three businesses

Nika Arastoupour is a Realtor at Rogers Healy and
Associates and a co-owner of The Helm ABA. She is also the founder of Heart of Autism, which has raised more than $200,000 to help local families touched by autism. She and her husband, Amir, live in Frisco with their sons, 7-year-old Mazy, who is on the autism spectrum, and
6-year-old Bijan.

5:40AM I beat my alarm by a few minutes, so I browse
social media to help me wake up.

6AM Hit the elliptical for 30 minutes and play a mix of Persian pop, hip-hop and Top 40 on Pandora. This is definitely my favorite part of the day—it sets the mood for everything else.

6:33AM Jump in the shower before the kids wake.

6:45AM The boys and I share some wake-up tickles, then it’s to the bathroom to brush teeth, wash faces and get dressed for school. Mazy finally knows how to dress himself, so it’s a competition for the boys to see who can get ready the fastest.

7AM Amir preps breakfast so I can finish getting ready. Cartoons keep the boys subdued long enough to finish
breakfast. We have a schedule of whose day it is to have the remote—it’s a constant battle for control over the television.

7:26AM We load up the car and are off to school drop-off. Mazy asks about his schedule and confirms the same daily routine.

7:29AM Carpool drop-off is always a little hectic. Mazy can get very upset if the car door is opened by the student
helpers who come out at 7:30, so we arrive a couple of minutes early.

7:35AM I make my way over to work in Lewisville. I call my mom and my BFF Anishta to talk about our lives while
applying makeup at every red light.

8:20AM Pull up at The Helm ABA offices. I dive into work on market research, insurance verification calls and taking the overflow of intake calls. We provide in-home applied behavior analysis to over 28 areas in North Texas, as well as in-center services, so there is always plenty to do. Today, I’m working on the lease contract for our new Allen center.

12PM I work through lunchtime at my desk. It’s Jimmy John’s to the rescue.

2PM I arrive for carpool at the boys’ school with just enough time to check emails and catch up on calls.

2:55PM My boys rush out of school and jump into the car. They talk over each other telling me about their day. We pull up to the house, where Mazy’s ABA therapist awaits him. Mazy has lots of questions about his session, as always.

3:10PM The boys drop their backpacks and grab a snack. Mazy starts therapy while Bijan does homework.

3:45PM Bijan and Amir head out for martial arts class, Mazy is upstairs and I catch up on more emails. Quiet time is rare in this house so I make the most of it.

4:30PM Time to start prepping dinner: rice and beef kabobs. Our family is Persian, and the kids love their Persian food!

5:30PM I tidy up around the house before Bijan and Amir get home. They arrive shortly after, and we get ready
for dinner.

6PM Mazy is done with his therapy. Dinnertime—it is Mazy’s turn to say grace, and of course Bijan jumps in to
add to it.

6:20PM We ask the boys about their day. I begin to tear up because I’m so thankful for my boys and how far Mazy
has come. I recall our early days when I didn’t know what today would look like or if Mazy would have a voice. We
always count our blessings.

6:30PM The boys clean their plates and rush to the television. It’s a repeat of this morning, and they fight over the remote. I remind them that it’s Bijan’s turn.

6:45PM Amir and I finish dinner. I really dislike washing dishes so my amazing husband does that chore for me.

7PM Bathtime. Tonight, I run an Epsom salt and lavender bath for the boys.

7:20PM The kids choose their bedtime books. Mazy loves Elephant & Piggie books by Mo Willems while Bijan goes for a superhero book that he got from his school library.

7:45PM Lights out! Bijan is out in five minutes. We hear Mazy stirring before he finally falls asleep an hour later. We have come a long way, and I am so thankful that he is able to put himself to sleep.

8PM Amir and I chat about our day over some hot tea.

9PM I get the kids’ school bags cleaned out and sign their folders, and then I lay out their clothes for the morning.

9:15PM Back to work, now on real estate. I catch up on emails and schedule a few lease showings for Friday
afternoon. A client is getting ready to list their house for sale, so I run comparable analyses of nearby properties.

11PM I catch up on work for my nonprofit, Heart of Autism, and work on agenda topics for our upcoming board meeting.

11:30PM I review my to-do list and add urgent things in my calendar for tomorrow morning. To be honest, everything seems urgent on most days.

12:40AM Finally in bed. I read through Facebook posts from parents about their kiddos who are on the spectrum. I shed some light where I can and offer some words of encouragement.

1:15AM One last glance at the clock before I finally fall asleep.