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A Day in the Life of Ilsen Alcocer

Ilsen Alcocer lives in Garland with her husband and their three children: Felipe, 10; Alessa, 8; and Cesar, 3. Felipe was diagnosed with ADHD two years ago, and Alessa has been in speech and occupational therapy for the past two years with no diagnosis. Ilsen’s husband works for Sewell Buick GMC, and Ilsen works part-time as a billing clerk.

6:30AM “Mom, I want to watch TV,” my little one says. So I turn on cartoons while trying to get ready for work.

6:45AM Knocking things down and picking them back up because I'm rushing to get out the door. If I leave my house a minute later, I'm late to work. As I'm leaving, my husband is wrestling my 3-year-old to get him dressed, reminding Felipe to make sure he has his homework in his backpack and telling Alessa to brush her hair. He also reminds them to brush their teeth and not to leave a mess in the kitchen. He makes lunch for the little ones that need it, and off they go.

7:15AM My 30-minute drive to work, full of my favorite music and talk radio that I can enjoy all to myself.

11AM It’s lunchtime. I grab some food and enjoy my free time all to myself.

1:45PM On Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, I leave work and drive 20 minutes – rushing to pick up Cesar at his day school.

2:15PM Cesar is already in my car, and we are on our way to the grocery store to pick up everything I forgot to buy when I went on the weekend. Let’s face it, doing groceries with three kids is pretty much just getting in the cart whatever you remember. You don't even stand a chance; it's three against one! On Tuesdays and Thursdays I leave work at 2:40pm and rush to get my school-age kids. Then I drive down the road to pick up Cesar from a sitter.

3:20PM We all make it home. As I remind everyone to please put their stuff where it belongs, I walk into the kitchen. Since my older ones pretty much feed themselves in the morning, I get to come home to everything they left out on the table and put it all back. As I do that, Felipe starts on his homework, and I help Alessa with hers. The only time Felipe needs help is for projects. Why must there be projects? Science-fair projects with my ADHD son are never dull. Alessa’s homework is never too much work. But because she has a hard time reading and understanding what she reads, she really needs an extra hand.

4:30PM As I'm finishing up homework with Alessa and managing to keep Cesar somewhat busy (picture this: Alessa and I trying to read a story while he’s jumping from sofa to sofa), I start to figure out what we’ll have for dinner. If meal preparation time is longer than an hour … well, sorry, you're not eating that at my house. After homework, the kids go outside to play with friends and jump on our trampoline.

5PM While I cook, I throw in a load of laundry, because it seems like we use more clothes than toilet paper around here. We usually have about 10 loads a week – no kidding. If you don't believe me, just ask my water and electricity bill.

5:30PM I send off the older kids to shower. I put two of them in at the same time to save time. I don’t know if I really do save time; I don’t have time to do the math.

6:45PM My husband gets home, and we all eat dinner. We talk about the kids’ days at school. Who was mean and what they had for lunch usually are great topics. After we all have full bellies, my husband hunts for the 3-year-old who did not want to shower earlier and chases the children that left a mess all over the house. Lucky him, right?

7:30PM I pick up the kitchen and send the kids to watch some TV. My kids are not too into shows and TV, but at the end of the day it usually keeps them quiet.

8PM Send the kids to bed. Of course, after they’re in bed, our job still isn’t finished. Remember my 10 loads of laundry? Well, one or two of them are ready to be folded and put away. This is my least favorite chore. Who am I kidding? I really don't like any chores. As my husband and I try to pick whichever basket has fewer clothes, we begin to fold and put away.

9PM We have time to watch a show and shower. We talk about bills and who has a trip and doctors’ appointments coming up. My favorite is the dentist. Yeah, taking all three kids (one of whom is horrified of needles) is a job we tackle together.

10PM Bedtime. Ah, comfy PJs and my soft blanket … till tomorrow when it all starts again.

Published July 2013