Before calling it a night, Karen Borta goes through a routine: She picks out clothes for the following day, then she prepares tomorrow’s meals and sets the coffee maker for 2 a.m. Finally, Borta slathers on a generous amount of lavender essential oils in hopes of falling asleep at an hour suited more for a toddler than an adult. But that’s what happens when you’re a TV anchor whose workday starts at 3 a.m.
The 50-year-old mom of three has been waking up well before the crack of dawn since the start of this year, transitioning from her 20-year career as a nighttime anchor. These days, you can catch Borta on CBS 11 News This Morning. Grateful for the early shift, she can now be there for all her children’s games and everything else she missed while she was part of the evening newscast. She and her husband of 21 years, Jim, live in Arlington with their son, Jake (who turns 18 at the end of October), and two daughters, Katie (15) and Kylie (13).
How does your new schedule compare to you old one?
The other day, my youngest daughter said, “You know, Mom, it used to be that I would see Daddy all the time, and I’d almost never see you. Now it’s the other way around.” I get to spend so much time with my kids now, and my husband can actually go to the gym or whatever else he needs to do, because I’m around to take them to games and practices.
Did you always live in North Texas?
I was born and raised here, but I had to move for my career. I went to the University of Texas at Arlington. I didn’t really move until after my first job — to Waco for a couple of years, then Sacramento, Calif., for two years, then Tampa, Fla., for a few years. I’ve been back here for 20.
Are you here to stay?
God willing. This is where our home is and where we’ve chosen to be.
What was the last thing you did before I called you?
I just did an interview with Julie Chen and Aisha Tyler from The Talk via satellite interview five minutes ago.
What’s one thing you do right before you go on the air?
I put my fancy shoes on. It’s 3 a.m. when I get in the building, and I usually love to wear my flats so I can move around quickly. But right before I go on the air, I grab my nice dress shoes and slip those on, grab my coffee and head out to the set!
Most memorable interview you’ve done to date:
I got to do a one-on-one interview with President Obama at the White House. It was pretty amazing.
What time does your workday officially end?
11:30 a.m. I walk through the door at 3 a.m. and we’re on the air from 4:30 until 7. Then we do a show at 11 o’clock, and right after that, we’re done.
What is the last thing you do before you go to sleep?
I try to read a little bit so I can relax.
What are you currently reading?
For the Love: Fighting for Grace in a World of Impossible Standards by Jen Hatmaker
Snooze button: Help or hindrance?
Help. Because sometimes you don’t hear it the first time. Sometimes I’ve got regular alarm, a backup alarm and a backup for my backup, depending on how tired I know I am.
Three things in your purse besides your cell phone and wallet:
Band-Aids, ChapStick and Advil
What’s one thing you can’t live without?
The last thing you misplaced:
My reading glasses
Proudest mom moment:
Wow, I have so many. … Most recently, when my son was given an award, he got up and thanked my husband and me for helping him get to where he is today. It was really wonderful the way he phrased it, and it just made me feel like we’re doing something right.
Least-proud mom moment:
Again, I’ve got so many! My sister and I used to joke whenever we’d do something really horrible, we’d call each other up and say, “Well, I’m Mother of the Year again …”
This [moment] is kind of sad: My youngest daughter was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at the end of May. My husband and I had our suspicions that something was wrong, but we weren’t quite sure. We were in New Orleans for Memorial Day weekend when we got a call saying that Kylie had fallen asleep in school, and we had our 18-year-old take our daughter to urgent care.
They tested her and said that her blood sugar was kind of high, but they never used the word “diabetes,” and we asked if we needed to come back. They said “no” and that they were giving her an IV to keep her hydrated. They called back an hour later and said, “We need to send her via ambulance to Children’s Hospital ICU.”
We were out of town, and my husband was frantically calling the airlines to catch the first flight back. The one time I didn’t overreact as a parent is the one time it actually ends up being really serious.
One of the coolest things about being a mom:
When your teenager texts you and says, “I love you, Mom,” that’s pretty awesome. I save those. It’s kind of neat to see it in writing.
What’s the one rule your children are never allowed to break?
No texting while driving
Dinner: Cooked by you or someone else?
My husband’s a really good cook. As for me, I’m more of a Crock-Pot cook. My husband likes to say that I make really good reservations.
Your day isn’t complete without:
One of my kids calling me to complain about something! [laughs]
Three things moms should not feel guilty about:
1. Taking time for yourself. Unless you’re refreshed and replenished, you won’t be able to give to your family like you need to.
2. Mistakes that we sometimes make. Chalk it up to a learning experience and move on.
3. Do not feel guilty about having to do takeout food!
Most treasured gift you’ve received:
Best surprise you ever received:
For our 10th wedding anniversary, my husband surprised me by arranging a vow-renewal ceremony. He had sent out invitations to our close family and friends, and our children were there. It was completely out of the blue, and he had done it on his own. It was absolutely one of the most treasured moments of my life.
Published October 2015