husband | Jeff Smith
children | Claire-19, Cameron-16, Makendia-9 and Beau-4
What inspires Super Mom Jill Smith most is watching her children navigate the developmental stages of childhood.
“It’s exciting to watch our children grow into Godly, well rounded, compassionate people as they make their way over life’s hurdles,” Jill says. “In addition, my husband and I truly love watching our adopted children from Haiti as they see things for the first time. It makes us have so much appreciation for things that we have always taken for granted.”
Jill, a registered nurse, and her husband Jeff, co-owner of the local Servpro franchise, have two biological children, Claire (19) and Cameron (16). After nearly a four-year process, the Smiths adopted Makendia (9) and Beau (4), who are biological siblings from Haiti.
“On November 25, 2017 after three years and 10 months, Makendia and Beau came home,” Jill says. “Since the process of adoption was so grueling, emotional and long, Jeff and I have developed a patience that we never had when our first two children were young. Having older and younger kids at the same time has allowed us to have a better perspective as parents. We are much more relaxed and don’t ‘sweat the small stuff,’” Jill says.
The Smith family stays very active and are often on the go. All six Smiths love sports and spending time together at home, especially in their pool. As Jill explains, they are all very competitive and like to make games out of everything and anything.
Claire is a sophomore pre-law major at Carson Newman University and plays college tennis on scholarship. Cameron is a high school junior and plays baseball. He recently committed to play baseball at the University of South Alabama. Makendia plays soccer, takes tennis lessons and loves her church activities. Since coming home from Haiti, Beau has enjoyed tennis, soccer and playing at the playground.
“Since I work part time as a nurse for Baptist Health, every day is different,” Jill says. “Jeff’s business has irregular hours, so our schedule is constantly changing. While the kids do have a bedtime, we aren’t a strictly structured family. We are very flexible as to our daily routine—it’s a style that has always worked for us and we believe it keeps our kids flexible too.”
The biggest parenting challenge for Jill and Jeff is that their children are all so different, so Jill and Jeff agree that they parent each of them with a different approach.
“Figuring out what is the best course to take with each child can be hard. What works for one may not work for another,” Jill says.
“My advice to other moms is to slow down and make sure you are keeping a strong foundation at home first with your spouse and children. Stability at home is the essence of giving kids qualities like confidence, values and interpersonal skills.”
Jill has also found through her parenting journey that she’s a better mom when she has time for own hobbies and makes time to care of herself.
“Children need to learn that everyone in the family has their own interests and it is not always ‘about them.’ I believe this teaches children to take time to support family and friends even if it’s something they don’t really care about,” Jill says. “ Parenting is complicated and at times difficult, but a joy unlike anything else.”