Parenting, in general, is adulting at its finest. Then you throw in parenting a pre-teen and a toddler, a decade of difference. As a parent, we are expected to be multitaskers, problem solvers, entertainment directors, etc., etc. So many days I feel like I am dealing with Jekyll and Hyde with my pre-teen and the Tasmanian Devil with my toddler. I’ve learned to compartmentalize a lot, especially during quarantine. I hope this story resonates with many of you and makes you laugh a little!
Last weekend, I found myself shopping at PacSun (yes, I didn’t realize these still existed and quite honestly was the first time I have ever been in one) with my pre-teen Savannah. This is a big life experience! She is going from wearing leggings every day to REAL JEANS!!!!!! Ahhhhhh, I was rejoicing, I thought she was going to wear these to her first job interview. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good pair of leggings but we need a little variety and a pair of pants that has a zipper?! Am I right?! After our shopping day, I get home to give my toddler Pierce a bath. She’s splish-splashing around with her Bubble Guppies bath toys, living her best life. I am talking to Savannah about 5th-grade math while my hand is in the tub playing with a Bubble Guppie. I hear Pierce giggle and turn to look, and, no shit, the kid pooped in the bath, like floating nut clusters covered in chocolate steeping in the hot bathwater. I froze for a second like WTH?! HAHA! These scenarios seem to be becoming quite regular (minus the poo in the tub), having a moment with my 11-year-old, and all of a sudden I feel like I am in a scene from Animal House. I have learned the best way to handle said situations is with a laugh and a shake of my head.
As I reflect back, five years ago I would never have had the patience and the grace parenting has granted me. Five years ago, I was Type A in regard to the cleanliness of our home and, not going to lie, but a little selfish with how I spent my paychecks! When Savannah and I came home from our shopping day, my husband asked me what I bought for myself. I laughed and was like “a pair of socks!”
These days, my paychecks go not only to bills but my kids, I am definitely last on the list, this is another way I recognize how much I have changed in five years. With my background in Human Resources, my patience has been pretty high. For some reason, my patience within the home before kids was pretty low — I can’t stand clutter, or if something is out of place, my mind races until said thing is put back. These days my kitchen table has been replaced as office space and the living room looks like Chuck E. Cheese collided with Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and you know what? I LOVE IT! I wouldn’t change it for anything. My friends and family see my living room and they are like “who are you”?! My answer: The best version of me I have ever been.
Kelli Smith, MBA, is a proud mother to four girls, wife to my best friend Kevin Smith, program director for local nonprofit cancer charity Life Is Good No Matter What, and lastly, she’s been a human resources professional for over 12 years.