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A Monday in the Life of Ariya Villegas

Ariya Villegas lives in Addison with her fiance and high school sweetheart, Gabe Maldonado, and their 9-month-old rainbow baby, Amora. Gabe is a corrections officer, and Ariya is a third-year law student at Southern Methodist University Dedman School of Law. She spends her days going to class, taking care of the family’s three dogs, imitating Elmo, and trying to attend school functions with a baby in tow.

7AM Amora wakes me up by pulling on my hair and smacking my face through the gaps in her bedside crib. So I pull her into bed with us to nurse, cuddle and ask about her dreams. Then I try to convince her to let me change her diaper and put some clothes on her without having to bust out some WWE wrestling moves. She usually wins.

7:30AM I get halfway decent, throw some toys out into the living room for baby to play with and take our three dogs on a quick morning walk.

8AM Grab lunches prepared the night before, put the dogs up, give goodbye kisses to Gabe then run out the door to fight traffic from Addison to Dallas so I can drop off Amora at day care.

8:30AM Arrive at the law school, where I have to fight for parking. Then I run to the library to check emails and print out case files and class notes.

10:30AM Sit through business enterprise law, where we learn about mergers and acquisitions of publicly and non-publicly traded organizations. I pretend to pay attention while I start my job search for the day and occasionally jump on Pinterest.

12PM After class lets out, I take a lunch break and call Gabe to see how his day at work went yesterday. We rarely get to see each other during the week since our schedules are opposite.

1PM Pump in the mother’s room in the basement of the law school while desperately trying to find a signal in the stuffy air so I can look at my email again.

2PM Pack up my pump and start my daily job search. I make the rounds all of the county job webpages (Travis, Williamson, Bastrop, Hays, Caldwell, Tarrant, Denton, Collin and Dallas). I look for anything that I could be qualified for including clerkships, attorney positions, probation officer positions and victim services positions. As usual, this leads to me scanning my LinkedIn for errors or additions.

3PM Attend advanced criminal law, where we talk about the collateral consequences of plea-bargaining and prosecutor discretion. Luckily I have a few friends in this class and we are able to jump on Facebook and chat across the room. This is probably my favorite class because it covers so many interesting topics.

4:30PM Most people stay to talk to our professor, the dean of the law school, but I quickly stuff my things into my backpack and rush to the parking garage where I fight to get out and drive back to the day care.

5PM I get to the day care and pick up Amora. I ask how her day was and get a small report about what she did today. Her teachers are always cheerful and doting on Amora (which reminds me that she probably needs a bath tonight). Then we are off to conquer 5 o’clock traffic from Dallas back to Addison.

6PM By the time we get home, Amora is ready to nurse and is babbling “Mamamama Moo” to let me know that she is ready for Moo Moo Milk. (The name comes from an item in Pokémon Go. I was seven months pregnant in the middle of summer when that stupid app came out, and my fiance dragged me through Addison Circle looking for a Pikachu and other creatures.) After Amora has her nursing snack, we take our dogs out for another walk and pick up the mail.

6:30PM Playtime! We chase the dogs around the apartment, play with all the kitchen utensils, play with Amora’s ever-growing collection of Elmo toys and sing our nightly concert of Adele tracks.

7:30PM I put Amora in her bouncy swing so she can work on her Farrah Fawcett legs while I get dinner ready. Tonight is Cajun pork loin with red potatoes and garlic green beans.

8PM After I eat dinner and let Amora roam, I capture her and get her into a bath. She loves playing in the water, so going in isn’t the hard part — it’s getting her out that she does not like. Once she is all dried and dressed, we do baby massage with lavender lotion and I ask her how her day went. My parents always did this for me growing up, so I make sure to ask her and narrate the interesting day that I hope she had. Today she rode wild unicorns and played with lots of flowers. Before bedtime, we sit on the bed with the dogs and practice gentle petting.

8:30PM I nurse Amora and give her, her nightly head scratches, then put her to bed.

9PM As soon as she settles in, I rush to the living room and break out my laptop and textbooks. For the next 2 ½ hours you will hear me typing like a mad woman, highlighting oceans of words and whispering legal theories into the night.

11:30PM Once my brain feels like it cannot comprehend the English language anymore, I call it quits and take a quick shower. This usually includes three small dogs following me into the restroom and patiently waiting for me to remember that they want to go out again. After I get dressed for bed, I take the dogs out one more time then slap together a mediocre lunch for tomorrow.

12AM As I finish cleaning up the kitchen, Gabe comes home from work. If I am coherent enough to make sentences, I ask him how his day was and if he has any plans for the rest of the week. Then I lie down and crash for the night, waiting to be woken up in four hours by a hungry baby.