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A Day in the Life of Ashley Hesseltine

Ashley Hesseltine lives in the Lower Greenville area with Johnn, her husband of five years. She works as an investment account manager, and Johnn is a software developer. They have an 11-month-old son, Liam.

5AM Liam wakes up crying. He has the habit of waking early in the morning for no particular reason. I try to ignore it and let him cry it out. Usually he falls back asleep. Sometimes it’s earlier, sometimes later, but it’s the only time of the night that he cries.

5:15AM Liam is still crying and I’m exhausted, having gone to bed late the night before. I get Liam and put him in bed with us, knowing he’ll fall asleep in about two seconds. I know it’s a terrible habit to start, but I’m of the mindset that you do what you have to do to keep some sanity in the house.
Plus, I love snuggling with my little man.

6:15AM My alarm goes off but miraculously doesn’t wake up Liam. I decide to forgo washing my hair and reset alarm, giving us an extra 15 minutes of precious sleep.

6:30AM Liam wakes up and I feed him, change him and get him dressed for the day. We then head down to breakfast: eggs and oatmeal for me, eggs and Cheerios for Liam. He really loves eggs in the morning. Usually he ends up feeding his Cheerios to the dog behind my back.

7:45AM We’re on time this morning, about to walk out the door, and then Liam poops. I smell it as I’m gathering my gym bag, my breast pump, my purse and his diaper bag – all on one shoulder.

7:50AM Liam is changed, and we’re off to day care.

8AM I drop him off and, of course, he cries. He’s started crying in the mornings when I leave, though not every day. Sometimes it’s a cry, sometimes it’s a tight hug; either way it’s hard to leave him, but I know he’s in good hands and he will stop a few minutes after I’m gone.

8:15AM I arrive at the office, grab a tea (never been a coffee drinker), answer emails and get to work. I’m an investment account manager for a commercial real estate company, and a large part of my job is talking to our investors, so I’m on the phone quite a bit. I try to be as cheerful and accommodating as I can, but I’ve learned when you’re in charge of other people’s money and it’s a bad market, people tend to take their frustrations out on you. That’s OK, though; you can’t take it personally. I just try to be as understanding as I can.

10AM Time for a pumping break. I’m in the process of weaning, so I only pump twice a day now, but I relish those two 10-minute breaks. I’m able to close and lock my office door and enjoy some peace and quiet, if only for a little while.

12PM I make a sandwich and eat at my desk. A protein bar, some fruit and a handful of almonds help me make it through the day, but I’m not one to resist a bagel in the break room every now and then!

1PM I walk to the gym across the street. This is the only time I have to work out during the day, and it’s my favorite “me” time. I do a mixture of yoga, weights and cardio. Today is cardio day. Sometimes I run outside, but it’s too hot for that today, so I’m inside on the treadmill. Thirty minutes of cardio, quick shower and hair in a bun and it’s back to the office.

3PM Time for my second pumping break, and I manage a quick email to my husband asking how his day is going. We try to stay in touch during the day, even if it’s just a quick “I love you” to keep communication going. Naturally, it’s been hard with a baby, and a daily reminder that my husband and I have a relationship outside of our child is an important part of maintaining a healthy bond.

3:15PM After I’m finished pumping, I immediately head to the kitchen for a diet soda. It’s my one for the day, and it’s heaven every afternoon for a quick pick-me-up.

5PM I’m finally able to wrap up at the office and head back to day care. Picking up Liam is my favorite part of the day, because his smile is gigantic when I walk in the room and he’s always so happy to see me. Whatever was bothering me from the day immediately melts away when I see this little boy light up.

5:45PM We’re back at home, and it’s playtime until dinner. He’s started pulling himself up and can walk with assistance, so it’s go-go-go until I put him in his high chair.

6:15PM I start dinner and give Liam some Goldfish crackers while I cook to distract him from the fact that he’s not walking, his new favorite activity.

6:30PM My husband is home and dinner is ready. Liam eats what we do. Tonight, it’s fish, sweet potatoes and black beans. I’ve really had to start thinking about dinner. Is this nutritious? Does Liam like this? Am I a horrible parent for serving mac ’n’ cheese tonight? I’ve learned that sometimes you just have to give them mac ’n’ cheese and keep your sanity. Tonight I think we did well.

7PM It’s bath time, where we can now get all those beans off his face. He loves bath time, and we usually are wet ourselves after all the splashing. Now that he can pull himself up, he tries to do that at bath time, and it’s a constant struggle keeping his bottom in the tub!

7:15PM After bath, it’s book, bottle and bed. My husband will sometimes read him a bedtime story depending on how tired he is, and I’ll follow up with bottle and bed by 7:30pm.

7:35PM Glass of wine and quiet time with my husband. We use this time to reconnect, watch a show we’ve recorded, catch up on our day or just read a book for pleasure.

10PM I’m usually in bed by 9:30pm or 10pm. Tonight, it’s lights out at 10, ready to do it all over again tomorrow.

Diaries are penned by moms (and dads) in the Dallas area. The authors volunteer to share a day of their choosing and are not paid or endorsed by DallasChild. Send your diary to editorial@dfwchild.com. All submissions are subject to editing and may be cut for space.