I'm a Part-Time Zookeeper in My Sparetime

Lauren Merritt

by Lauren Merritt

Lauren Merritt is a Pensacola native and is licensed in both Florida and Alabama. Lauren has her own law practice located in the offices of My Pink Lawyer® and is an affiliated independent counsel. Lauren is a newlywed with three bonus daughters and a newly adopted baby son. Lauren enjoys running, going to the gym, crafting with the girls, dining out, and relaxing at home with her new family.

Connect with me



It's a zoo in the Merritt household

I’d just sat down on Sunday to write a blog when I heard my stepdaughter, Ella, yelling from her bedroom.


Don’t worry. There was no emergency. And there was no glass. She was just playing Roblox on her phone with her friend—apparently a game the kids are playing these days.


Rivaling Ella’s volume was the country music blaring from the Alexa in the girls’ bathroom. Reagan was rocking out to “Lady Like” while she was taking a shower.

Also contributing to our Sunday symphony, Matt had a golf tournament on the TV a few decibels higher than usual.


Suddenly, “DAD! Do you have a Band-aid?”


Bailie and her friend came bounding through the back door. “My foot is bleeding! I stepped on something sharp.”


At this point, I decided the writing would have to wait. We retrieved a Band-aid for Bailie and helped her friend get packed up so she would be ready when her mom arrived.


I felt sand under my feet when I walked past the kitchen bar.

My eyes traveled up the barstool and quickly identified the source: two black Converse sneakers, fresh from the park, leaned on the seat.


I dropped Reagan’s shoes off in her room and picked up the vacuum on my way back to the playground sand.


As I was vacuuming, my eyes met with two dirty socks scattered on the kitchen counter amongst cell phones, charging cords, and open drinks.


Yes, you heard right. Dirty socks…on…the…kitchen…counter.


Would you believe me if I told you it was the second time that day? And the second violation was after I firmly explained it was not OK to leave dirty socks on the same counter where we eat!


I paused. I didn’t know whether to laugh, cry, or scream.


A minute later, I was laughing while I vacuumed. The chaos really was comical!


I asked Matt to snap a picture. At least the girls had just given me a new blog topic to write about.

Two years ago, it was just me and the dogs. The house was always clean because there was only one person living in it. I took a nap every Sunday, and I always had the tv on because I didn’t like the quiet.

Matt and I got married last April, and MY, how things have changed now that I have three stepdaughters! Twin 12-year-old sixth graders and one 8-year-old third grader can be a handful at times.


Every other weekend when we have the girls, the house turns into a zoo.


I’ve traded naps for hauling youngin’s around and 4+ loads of laundry on Sundays. The “quiet” has been replaced with laugher, sibling squabbles, and sometimes tears.


The stepmom role has been an adjustment. A big adjustment. I am Type A all the way, and the mess with everything everywhere all the time is just about enough to drive me mad!


But the mess really is a beautiful mess when I can take a moment to pause and reflect.


The crayon-colored picture pinned to our bulletin board that says, "Best Stepmom ever!" reminds me that all I’ve ever wanted to be since I was a little girl is a mom. Although that hasn’t happened just yet, being the best stepmom I can be to Matt’s three girls is one of God’s greatest gifts in my life.


I love those girls… even when they leave their dirty socks on the counter. (But trust me when I say we WILL be talking about that again! ha!)


Today was a good reminder for me to keep things in perspective. Life is too short to sweat the small stuff and lose sight of the forest for the trees.

I know firsthand from losing my own mom in an accident how precious our time with our loved ones is. And I am reminded daily at the office when I am working with families on probate cases that tomorrow is never promised.


I am grateful for the extra love, laugher, and blessings a house full of kiddos brings and I wouldn't trade it for the world.

I will gladly be the zookeeper for this Merritt Zoo! Dirty socks and all!

Lauren "Part-Time Zookeeper" Merritt


If you or someone you know would benefit from information about probate or guardian advocacy, please check out these free resources below:

Survivor Checklist: Six Steps to Take After a Loved Ones Dies in Florida:

Download your FREE Survivor Checklist here.

Guardian Advocacy Report: How to Support Your Special Needs Child Without Losing the Right to Make Medical, Educational, Financial, or Legal Decisions:

Download your FREE Guardian Advocacy Report here.


Or send me an email me at lauren@laurenmerrittlaw.com or call our office at (850) 741-2999 to schedule your consultation today.


Contact Us Now