Denton mom Jackie Hoermann-Elliott, Ph.D., is the interim director of first-year composition at Texas Woman’s University, where she teaches a range of writing classes. When Elliott’s not behind the lectern, you might find her pumping in her office while managing emails and research. She has two sons, Barrett, 2, and Beau, 3 months, and a 9-year-old stepdaughter, Elisabeth. Elliott’s husband, Buck, is a tennis coach and history teacher at Denton’s Ryan High School.
6:02AM “Dada! Watch Daniel Tigerrrrrrrrrrr, Daaadaaa!” wails Barrett from his crib. Buck has already left for his CrossFit class, so I quickly get ready in hopes of preventing my toddler from waking my 3-month-old. Am I fast enough? Never.
6:35AM Both boys are dressed. Beau is nursing. Barrett is usurping the majority of my chocolate overnight oats. He likes to pretend he’s a “puppy dog” and pants to be fed. I don’t encourage this weird behavior, but it makes me laugh every day.
7:10AM Buck returns from CrossFit to help with final school day preparations. I run out the door—literally—for a quick 20-minute jog. My research analyzes the working habits of writers who run or engage in other forms of exercise, so a short morning workout is a must.
7:35AM Time for a quick shower while indulging Barrett in our usual morning conversation. He definitely gets his chattiness from me.
7:59AM Buck helps load both boys into the car before kissing me goodbye. On the way, we phone my mom to catch up on how our family in St. Louis is doing.
8:15AM The hardest part of my day: the school drop-off. It’s Beau’s first day at day care, and I’m breathing my way past tears and back to reality. I remind myself that I want my sons to respect the ambitions of career-focused women. Sobbing averted.
8:23AM I plant myself in my office and open my paper planner. It’s satisfying to write down and cross off my list by hand.
8:46AM Time to check email. I reply to quick emails and mark down the ones that I need more time to process or research.
10AM Pause to pump for my littlest guy. I’m fortunate to have a private office where I can work while pumping. Pumping still makes me feel self-conscious, like my coworkers imagine me kicking back, eating bonbons or doing crossword puzzles. In reality, I am blitzing through research annotation work or sending—wait for it—more emails.
11AM My first official office hour starts. A few graduate students stop by to talk to me about their research plans. I go heat up my lunch in the grad student offices to get more face time with them. I have a hard time peeling myself away from my computer, so this forces me to take a healthy movement-slash-social break.
12:04PM The “Nursing Mom at Work” sign hangs on my door once again. I also have to teach in less than an hour, so I hurry to review my lesson plans.
1PM Class begins. I like to start and end my classes right on time whenever possible. I truly believe this communicates to my students that I respect their time and try to maximize what little contact we have each week.
2:23PM Back to my office to check in with our secretary, Charles, and let him know I’ll be out for the rest of the afternoon.
2:30PM My department chair and I meet with the coordinator for the gifted and talented program at Denton Independent School District to discuss the separation of dual credit and AP classes. It helps to have a spouse employed by DISD in these moments!
3:35PM A brisk walk back to my office to pump yet again and respond to more emails. Does staying on top of emails throughout the day increase or decrease the number of emails I’ll answer in the evening?
4:15PM I power walk to my car so I can reunite with my babies—best part of my day! Having a somewhat flexible schedule means I could leave earlier, but I rarely do. I try to come close to an eight-hour workday every day so I feel less guilty about disconnecting from work on nights and weekends.
4:46PM Hugs, snuggles and kisses ensue as I scoop up Barrett and Beau. In the car, Barrett and I review his day out loud during our drive home. He tells me about his favorite teachers and snacks and if any of his friends didn’t share well. He also lets me know that “Beau need baby milk” every time little brother starts fussing.
5:20PM Buck arrives home shortly after we do. He hugs us all before taking Beau so I can heat up leftovers from Sunday’s supper. Have I mentioned that we’ve been die-hard meal preppers since 2016? It makes life with littles so much easier.
6:24PM I’m on the couch reading Curious George Builds an Igloo for the 200th time when Beau starts crying to be fed. Buck distracts Barrett by asking him if he wants to wrestle or “just give hugs,” as my little boy sometimes requests.
7:02PM I sing and rock Barrett before putting him down. He’s always been big, but he’s over half my height now and getting heavier every day. I grab my nightly piece of salted dark chocolate before helping with bathtime for Beau.
7:27PM With both boys sleeping, my husband and I triage the living room and kitchen before we ease into our few child-free hours. I do not function well when the house feels messy.
7:45PM I work through email and research for about an hour before disconnecting. Buck and I cuddle on the couch and talk about our days, the grocery list and our hopes for the week ahead, and compromise about what to watch on Netflix.
10:43PM I’m almost ready for bed when Beau cries out for milk and affection. Sneaking in one more moment with my baby boy trumps working mother fatigue every time.
What she’s reading Beneath My Feet: Writers on Walking
Favorite indulgence Lily’s Sweets dark chocolate bar with sea salt
Yearly destination St. Louis, Missouri, where I was born and raised
Where she goes for retail therapy HomeGoods
Favorite date night spot Spiral Diner
Guaranteed to make her laugh My sister
Guaranteed to make her cry “The Mother” by Brandi Carlile
Go-to recipe Turkey pumpkin chili
Words she lives by Dreams don’t work unless you do.
Blog she follows Vintage Revivals
Biggest pet peeve Misogyny
She wishes she had more time to Hang out with friends
Ongoing project My house! We just moved in in 2018, so I’m still tinkering with the design.
She’s really good at Procrasticleaning
She’s really bad at Remembering small details
Looking forward to Workin’ Moms season four
Favorite gift to give friends Homemade pecan butter
Inspired by My sons’ smiles
Photo courtesy of Jeremy Larje Photography.