It’s a typical weekday at the Merrifield household in Colleyville.
In the living room, Gabrielle, 7, shows off her toy wiener dog, Kensington, 7, runs around the room, Cambrie, 5, sits on a recliner reading a “Frozen” book, William, 4, runs and wrestles with his sister and baby Manning, 1, keeps his father’s arms occupied.
Mom Jessica Merrifield sits in the quiet of the storm. She cleans up her children when she gets the chance and thinks about what to make for dinner.
She’s used to this kind of uproar from the children and her ears have adjusted to the decibel level so while she gets the family ready for a photograph and lets their energy burn she wears a smile the whole time.
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It’s that smile, that positive energy that won her recognition as Texas’s Younger Mother of the Year.
“Where a lot of people with a lot of kids are burdened like heavy,” her husband Will said. “I really don't know how she does it.”
She tells the kids the sooner they can get through the photo the sooner they get to watch “Frozen.”
Everyone gets into position.
The Texas chapter of American Mothers Inc. gave her the annual title and her recommendation puts her up for a possible spot of national recognition.
Jessica’s friend, Jennifer Larson, recommended that she apply for the recognition.
“She has always got a smile on her face and truly enjoys being a mom to these young kids,” Larson said. “Regardless of how crazy, regardless of how tiring, she always does an excellent job of finding the joy in the daily minutia of motherhood.”
Jessica Merrifield says her energy is sustained by gratitude. Growing up in Kentucky she said she didn’t have many things, and that childhood has allowed her to be thankful for what she has.
“It’s really easy to lose your patience with children,” she said. “But for me, where I keep patience is thinking of how blessed I am that I have the children that I have.
“It’s empowering,” she said.
While husband Will runs his roofing company, Jessica spends her time with the children. Jessica said, as a mother, it’s always easy to feel you’re not good enough but her children remind her she’s doing a great job.
“Being able to see and hear about all they do,” she said. “Is really how we can see our efforts are working.”
Jessica remembers a day she got a call from Gabby and Kensington’s principal. At recess, the girls noticed there was trash on the playground so they got a group together to clean up.
Another time when she was taking the girls to school a boy was crying in the hall and without thinking Gabby went up to the young boy, who she didn’t know, and hugged him.
These moments make up one of Jessica’s favorite parts of being a mother.
“Knowing that we’re helping another human being just grow and reach their greatest potential that they are meant to be,” she said.
For her, the other half of joy from motherhood is knowing that through the struggles she’s able to grow.
“Because we have all these struggles we can be pushed to reach the highest of highs.”
The kids are happy that their mom received the recognition and know she’s one of the best at what she does. In fact, they could go on and on about why.
William loves that she lets them play.
For Gabrielle it’s because “she gives us doughnuts.”
Cambrie’s reason is “she always lays down with me at night.”
And after thinking about it for awhile Kensington was ready to share her reason, “because she cares about me.”