Kelly Decker walked away from one of Fort Worth’s most prominent law firms a couple of years ago to start her own practice with husband Olyn Poole. Today their home, office and kids’ school are all within a mile of each other, making it easier to have it all—or, at least, as close to “all” as a busy mom of three can get.
2AM My body decides I have had enough sleep, and I am wide awake. I did go to bed at 8:30pm last night, before so maybe my body is right.
3:10AM Our 4-year-old, Quinn, crawls into our bed. She is sleep talking and cuddling with her daddy. I fall back asleep.
6:45AM Our middle child, 6-year-old Thomas, is yelling something about Quinn. Truly yelling. Quinn screams relentlessly (the ultimate communication red button), which lands her in timeout and throws our morning routine into a scramble. I think to myself, I just had to go for the girl, didn’t I? Olyn and I had three kids in four years. My body is a wasteland.
7:25AM The house is calm. The kids are finishing cereal, and no one is crying or yelling. (It feels like the way birds are quiet right before an earthquake…)
7:30AM We are on time for school. I walk the kids inside and search for my 7-year-old son Will’s second grade teachers. It’s a “closed campus” day and parents aren’t supposed to be in the building, but I have questions about his reading report. (He is dyslexic.) As parents, we are doing what we need to do. The teachers are doing their part. Now we wait.
8:15AM Makeupless, I start my day at work. (I can also sport mom clothes at the office because I am Boss Lady.) I skim emails and determine what’s on fire the most. Our practice, Decker Poole, is a child-friendly space. I’m board-certified in family law, and I designated an area for my kids and clients’ kids to play. Then they took over the entire office. There is one area my daughter calls her “office,” with a toy kitchen, Legos and books. There’s also a couch for their sick days and a TV with cartoons. It’s also a parent-friendly space. We appreciate that they got themselves to the office and will need help with the very next step. It starts with coffee but also involves a lot of handholding and support. (And we have champagne and whiskey ready when needed!)
9AM I am meeting with an old client who has a new issue. Her preteen child is experimenting with vaping and marijuana, getting in real trouble at school, and the father has gone dark. I wrestle with the right motion to file, when to file it and whether or not there is anything I can do that will help this kid. I’m also sad, because this can happen to anyone, and it takes only one moment to see myself in this mother’s position.
11:30AM Marketing lunch with a wealth management company. We share accolades about our children and lack of sleep. I order chicken fajitas, but chicken enchiladas come instead. My trainer will love this excuse.
2PM I get a text message that Thomas’ class is getting their Fitbit watches taken up. I attribute the group’s loss to Thomas alone, given that his most recent obsession is getting in 10,000 steps per day. I text the babysitter to take up his watch and restrict him from playing with the towheaded girl next door after school as his punishment.
3:30PM Today I was supposed to give reviews to the staff and make long-term plans for the firm. Seventeen interruptions later, I have not given reviews yet. I have also not figured out how to motivate some personalities. Money works for some, but what about the person that wants money and work-life balance? Ha! If that job exists, let me know! It is nice working with my husband. His office is right next door, so we can solve last-minute logistics problems (like who is going to pick up a sick kid) without pulling our hair out. And because we truly respect the way we each practice law, our disagreements are not offensive but rather enlightening. We ask for input only if we truly want to hear it.
5:10PM I’m on my way home, which means I have about seven minutes to make any phone calls. I make one work call and wrap it up as I am walking in the back door. My daughter is thrilled to see me, while my boys are slumped on the couch. A quick change into sweats, and I throw together spaghetti and broccoli. We all eat peanut butter toast after. Then begins the reading-homework-bathing routine.
7:45PM All kids are in their beds. I lie down for a minute, and my inner voice reminds me that I still have 6 miles to run. I’m training for a marathon (my first since becoming a mother), and my trainer wants the miles to become increasingly faster. I slowly put on my reflective gear and respond to my husband’s “people who run in the dark are strange” look with a look that says, “This bod comes with a price.” (More like the enchiladas came with a price.) I’m out the door. Unfortunately, I don’t have any new podcasts to distract me from the soul crush of running in the dark. I may learn after all this that my body may be older, but it’s also tougher.
9:30PM I’m back home. I text my trainer my time, sure that I am waking her up but not really caring—because someone else has to join me in the self-inflicted pain club. After this, off to bed.
She’s reading No Mercy, No Justice by Brooks Harrington
Yearly destination New Mexico
Restaurant she frequents with the family Mi Cocula
Guaranteed to make her cry Other people’s pain
Best purchase ever My Suburban
No. 1 item on her bucket list Marathon on my 40th birthday
Words she lives by Too inappropriate to write!
Top playlist Dave Matthews, Eddie Vedder, Miranda Lambert
Favorite podcast The Mysterious Mr. Epstein
Blog or Instagram she follows Anything about running or Sheridan French
On girls’ night out, we’ll find her Demanding all the attention and probably offending someone.
What she does when life gets stressful Plow through
Motherhood in five words I need six: selflessness, love, unconditional, muscle, sleep deprivation.
She wishes she had more time to Do nothing
A mom she admires Refugees
If she had to change careers, she’d be an Ice cream scooper
Habit she can’t quit Enchiladas
Hostess tip Don’t clean your house before.
Photo courtesy of Amber Schumake.