by Chasidy Rae Sisk
A year and a half ago, I felt like my life was pretty much under control. I had my car, truck and motorcycle paid off and had a great mortgage interest rate thanks to my 2021 refinance. I finally had my dream job as the managing editor of some great magazines (if I do say so myself), and overall, my life ran smoothly. I understood what each day would look like and how to juggle a ton of responsibilities.
Then I took a pregnancy test. I realized immediately that my life was going to change. I’ve been around a lot of kids (I’ve been blessed with an amazing bonus kid and 14 godkids), but I knew it would be different when I had my own child, one that I was 100 percent responsible for, one that I couldn’t send home after getting them all hopped up on sugar…however, I didn’t really understand how different it would be!
I spent my pregnancy “training” for motherhood. I downloaded apps and read about the different fetal stages, and I studied several books on pregnancy and newborns. I watched videos, joined parents’ groups on social media and even attended classes online and in person as I prepared myself to be the best mother I could be. When I went into labor, every plan I had went out the window because my daughter had her own ideas about how she was going to make her appearance on this earth. And that was my first indication that things may not go exactly how I expected them to go.
Within days, I found myself reading ahead in my parenthood books because Camyrah was already trying to hold her head up and doing other things babies aren’t supposed to do right away. And as she approaches her six month “birthday,” that trend continues; I’m constantly looking things up, learning something new and training for a new stage of her development and my motherhood. That’s the one thing I absolutely did NOT prepare myself for (how could I?!) – how fast she advances! Everytime I think I’ve got the hang of this parenting thing, she levels up, leaving me lightyears behind as I try to figure out what she needs from me now.
A couple months ago, as I scrolled through Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn, I saw post after post by industry friends who attended SEMA 2023 while I sat on my couch with an infant, and it got me thinking about how keeping up with all these changes and advances my daughter is constantly going through has given me a whole new appreciation for collision repairers and the need to continuously invest in training and education to stay abreast of technological changes that impact how vehicles need to be repaired. My pockets hurt from buying new size clothes and toys to keep Cami engaged as she learns and grows…but that’s NOTHING compared to the thousands upon thousands that shops invest in new tools and equipment each year!
And just like every collision repair facility and each employee is different with varying needs, so are babies. One size doesn’t fit all; what works for one does not work for everyone else. So, there’s a lot of trial and error as we give new gadgets a spin or experiment with new methods of doing things. I suspect it’s going to remain that way for the foreseeable future – for me as a new mom and for you as collision repair experts. And it’s exhausting and stressful, and at times, I’m wondering what the hell I got myself into! But every time I look at my girl’s sweet little face, I know it’s worth it, so I’ll keep researching every milestone and ordering recommended toys to help her talk, walk and learn faster (even as I cling to this stage and dread how quickly she’s growing up).
Hopefully, you feel similarly knowing that your investments allow you to offer safe, reliable repairs to your customers and their families, so that means that you’re going to continue investing in the training, tools and equipment you need to keep up all the good (hard) work, no matter how painful it can be at times. Make sure you’ve got your calendars marked for the NORTHEAST® Automotive Services Show, taking place March 15-17 at the Meadowlands Exposition Center in Secaucus, NJ (more info at aaspnjnortheast.com) and the Southeast Collision Conference, scheduled May 16-18 at the Greensboro Coliseum Complex in Greensboro, NC (additional details on page 12).
Want more? Check out the February 2024 issue of Hammer & Dolly!