Melissa is a former paramedic and one of our Ask The Mentor panelists. She lives in Western Canada with her police officer husband and their four children. They have a mix of biological and adopted children and live a flexible, family oriented life.
Her daily routine is a marathon. Since her husband’s work schedule is 12 hour days 4 on, 4 off, when he is working she is too: from when the kids get up to when the oldest one goes to bed. In between, she keeps everyone and everything running smoothly, including pumping extra milk for a friend with low supply. She spends her last bit of energy at night reading Crappy Pictures, and Hobo Mama’s Sunday surf links.
Melissa started her blog to keep long distance family and friends up to date on their family life, but it turned into a place for her to bare her soul. “I don’t have a big following, and don’t want one, because I don’t want to have to censor myself at all. But I sure love blogging, no matter how small my audience.” She is proud of allowing herself to be authentic and brutally honest on her blog because she believes if no one admits to what real life is like, then “nobody learns. And nobody gets hugged. And that’s just wrong.” Her favorite posts from her personal blog are below.
- World Mental Health Day, is a post Melissa loves, because it sheds light on anxiety and the taboos surrounding mental illness.
- Schooling Three Little Piggies, was written for the Carnival of Natural Parenting. It’s a slice of her daily life and symbolizes her life as a mom.
- Things I’ve Learned in 8 Years… is a post about many of the things she learned as a paramedic. She likes it because, “Lots of my fundamental beliefs are wrapped up in this one, and my ‘style’ or approach to life. It’s kind of gory, and a little bit irreverent, which are both good descriptors of myself.”
Melissa’s parents are the ones who introduced her to attachment parenting; their encouragement that she follow her instincts combined with her passion for ecology led her to be the parent she is. The biggest surprise to her about motherhood is how addictive her children are, and how much love she can feel at one time. “I’d rather watch my babies and smell their heads than do pretty much anything else, and I find them so engaging at ANY age that I have a hard time tearing my eyes off of them.” That love and the needs of her children have helped Melissa become less self-absorbed and much better at multitasking and efficiency. She also found that she was less able to give her full attention to her job and the outside world then she had imagined she would be.
The parenting journey has been filled with new experiences and changes for Melissa. To name a few: mastering breastfeeding with her first son, a successful VBAC, diagnosing and treating her lifelong anxiety disorder, and saving her adopted son from drowning only a few months after he joined their family. “If he had drowned before settling into our family I am not sure I could have survived. That moment is very symbolic for me. It didn’t change how rough our low point was, and it didn’t shorten it, but it showed me how very human it is to be both good and bad and in between, all at once in a single moment. It also showed me that a snapshot of someone’s life is not an accurate representation of them as a whole person. It also showed me that God has great mercy and compassion.” She hopes that sharing her story on her blog White Noise, at Mothers of Change where she works to bring about better maternity care, and here on NPN will support and encourage other parents who are struggling with their parenting journey.
Thank you for sharing your story, Melissa, especially the hard parts. I love your idea that the world is better when we can look at other parents with compassion instead of judgement.