This week I'd like to introduce you to Melissa– a mama to two littles, wife to Travis, and who works in the church in addition to having a lovely blog. Like Melissa, there are so many of you, myself included, who have similar struggles because motherhood is hard. I was speaking to someone the other day who is not on social media who has been going through a tough time and asked "how come I feel like this? What's wrong with me?" It was at that exact moment where it hit me, we ALL struggle. Nothings wrong with her. Nothings wrong with me. Its HARD. really hard at times. The only difference is, those of us who share and learn through our IG community, feel less alone. Thankfully now, through social media, mothers have an outlet. A platform to express and receive encouragement from other mothers who are experiencing the same exact thing. This series is the very definition of it. I hope with this interview, as with all of them, you find some perspective and it reassures you that you are not alone!
Tell us about yourself: Where do you live, age, marital status, number of kids and business.
My husband and I along with our two kids (Ella, 4 & Brooks 1.5) live in Sacramento, California. I am 27 years old and somehow approaching the big 3-0 (I really never thought the day would come!). My husband and I both work at our church (my husband’s dad is the lead Pastor) – I “work” two days a week in the office and “work” the remainder five days at home… catch my drift ;)
Describe a day in the life of you.
A day in the life of me typically revolves around my kids. If I’m not in the office, we are usually exploring somewhere outside. My kids are not the stay-at-home type. They’d rather be running in the fields, rolling in the dirt, or causing some sort of trouble and I’ve come to realize that even on the days I’d rather be lazy and bum around the house all day long, both kids and mama end up happy in the end when we decide to do just that- get outside and enjoy some fresh air.
Do you have help? A nanny or housekeeper? Family?
I have to say- my husband is not your typical dad. I know it varies from family to family as every household sets their own standards and does what works for them- but this guy is basically like having a second mom in our home. I’m definitely blessed in this area and I know it! Both sets of grand-parents live in town so our kids frequently visit their homes J We try not to abuse this luxury but definitely make sure mom & dad get our date nights- it’s a must for us to keep us both sane! & no nanny/housekeeper… although I do like the sound of that.
How do you manage to have “me” time?
This is something I’m still trying to nail down. I’ve started to realize that if I don’t get my “me” time- things slowly go down hill… mom’s stressed which causes the kids to be stressed which causes unnecessary chaos in our home. I also tend to be high-stress and anxiety prone (stinks!) so I really do try to make sure this is a priority for me. My “me” time typically happens when the kiddos go down for bed and involves anything to do with relaxation, because if we’re going to be real here, by the end of the day I’m often times pushed to my limits in many areas. So whether it’s taking a bath, reading, listening to Worship music and spending time with Lord…. All of these things help relax and bring out the best in me.
How do you manage to make time to stay in shape? Do you workout? Diet?
Funny you should ask ;)… For the longest time, I didn’t HAVE to work out (mostly genetic). It was one of those things I did here and there to help release stress, give me energy, etc. However, I didn’t feel it was something I had to do in order to stay in shape. But recently things have started to change. I don’t know if it’s the fact that I’m approaching 30 or the fact that I’ve been addicted to eating bags of Oreo’s (thanks to my husband for the addiction) for the past six months. Either way, a regular workout routine is something I’m just now starting to incorporate into my schedule. Do I diet? Not really J But, I do love to eat healthy. My motto has always been – You can eat bad if you eat healthy too.
Do you get ready every day? Makeup, hair and curated outfits? If so, how do you do it with children?
I do not get “ready” everyday. Honestly… it’s just too much work. I’m totally fine brushing my teeth, hair, throwing on some tinted moisturizer and heading out the door some days. It’s just the way this season of life is for me as a mama of little ones and I’m totally okay with it! When I do get ready (the whole deal), I’m usually rushing as fast as I can and praying my kids aren’t doing anything they’re not suppose to be doing or making a mess (mainly my 1 ½ year old J)- I love that boy to the core but he.does.not.stop.ever!! I also take showers at night to lessen my “getting ready” time in the mornings – something I definitely recommend to all of you mamas! (if you can)
Has your style changed after motherhood?
Not really, no. If anything I definitely am sporting the “yoga pants” look more J But I love it! It’s the mom look, right?! I have a few pairs of lululemons (moms- if you don’t have a pair, you need to purchase some! I know they may be a bit more $$$ but I promise you they are worth every penny as they make everyone look good!) and find myself wearing these most days.
What’s your guilty pleasure?
Oreos…. And ice cream! I have to have dessert every single night- even if it’s just one or two bites of something- that sweet craving just has to be fulfilled, at least a little!
If you breastfeed, how do you schedule your day around feedings and outings?
I’m going to put it out there (even though I know it might offend some) and tell you all that I did not breastfeed my babies. I lasted about a month with both of them. There were a number of reasons that it didn’t work out for me, the biggest being that I just did not produce milk. I struggled with this and went back and forth for so long. I know this can be such a hot topic in today’s world with many women being so gung-ho about it. I am ALL for breastfeeding and wish with everything within me that it had worked out. I felt the need to share my story here to let other women know, who it didn’t work out for too, that it’s okay. It’s okay that you decided to do something different even though some would disagree. We ultimately know what’s best for our situation.
How many hours of sleep to you get a night on average?
This number varies drastically J Anywhere between 6-9. I am definitely one of those people who needs their full 8-9 hours of sleep. When I don’t get it- you don’t want to be around me ;) It’s something I’m trying to figure out with how busy/hectic my current schedule is. I’m really just trying to figure out how to get life done in a 24 hour period J
What is a priority for you, and what gets sacrificed? For example, everyone looks great but the house is a disaster, or the house is clean but work deadlines get pushed back.
Haha- this is a funny question to me because I have this talk with my friends all of the time. So for me… my house is what gets sacrificed. To be honest, there are times I’m often disgusted with how messy/gross my house is and I SO wish that I could keep up on it- but I just don’t have the time, or maybe it’s that I still don’t know how to prioritize right J Whatever the case, my house is definitely a mess most days. No one has it all together, and that’s what I love about this question - that you are basically stating something is being sacrificed in every situation- What is it? You know those people who look like they have it all together? They don’t. It’s a good reminder that no one is perfect and when we allow ourselves to open up and be vulnerable with this, it allows others to feel free and be okay with how they are living too (I am constantly reminding myself of this).
Do you cook meals every day for your family? If so, how do you plan them?
Most days I do, yes. I really enjoy cooking. I see it as an outlet and sometimes an excuse to catch a break from watching the kids to focus on something else J I typically sit down every Sunday afternoon and meal plan/prep and then go grocery shopping. It’s the only way I know how to guarantee that we’ll have homemade meals made for the week.
p.s. I use Pinterest for a TON of recipes- it’s definitely hit & miss but I have definitely found some good ones!
Have you ever felt like you are loosing yourself to motherhood and or life? If so, how did you bounce back?
I could probably write a book on this question alone. I have been there many, many times. As I said previously, because I struggle with anxiety (and depression at times), I’ve found myself in dark places along the way- Particularly during the newborn phase. Man, that was a rough go for me both times around! With Ella (my first), it was like a train hit me. As every new mother knows, there is no way to prepare your self to become a mom (for the first time)…. You just kinda do it! I remember being so tired physically, mentally, emotionally- I found myself crying and not knowing why. I ended up going on medicine to help get me through that phase of mommy hood and I would do it again in a heartbeat! I’m a firm believer in medicine because I personally witnessed how it helped me become not only a better person but a better mom! With my second, long story short, he had an extremely severe case of reflux and at one point we were told that he could potentially have cerebral palsy. Between the non-stop crying with my reflux newborn, terrible two’s with my toddler, and now the news of (possibly) cerebral palsy for my son, I about lost it. I went on medicine and once again it helped bring me out of a dark pit.
Does hubby help you with anything particular? If so, what and how?
My husband is honestly amazing. He works full-time, is a full-time dad (you know what I mean), and helps around the house. And get this… he does all of our laundry!!!! That’s right ladies- now get your husbands on it ;))) kidding. But honestly, I am blessed by his willingness to help with “things” that might typically be categorized as a woman’s role. I love that we both play a huge part in helping one another in parenting and around the house. We’re a great team!
How do you manage motherhood and marriage?
We’re pretty strict in our house about schedules and bed time. We (mostly) parented by the methods of Babywise from the beginning which created a schedule from the get go. Our kids are in bed by 7-7:30pm which gives my husband and I quite a bit of “alone time” at night. Between that and date nights, we are able to spend quite a bit of quality time together just the two of us. Hallelujah!
Do you work? Do you work in an office or at home? What does your work consist of and how do you get it done during the week?
Yes, I’m a mom! ;) Just kidding… I had to answer that way. I work two days a week in the office as an administrative assistant and the remainder of the week I’m at home. As far as my blogging “work” goes, I typically try to work on it later at night. Sometimes I’ll find myself up a little too late trying to catch up on e-mails or what not, which is why I often times don’t get my full 8-9 hours of sleep. I also just recently started selling Rodan & Fields skincare which is another part-time job to add to the mix. I’m honestly passionate about everything I am doing though, and to me, that’s what truly matters!
Have your circle of friends changed now that you're a mother? if so, how do you meet new mommy friends?
Not at all. In fact, once my friends started having kids- my husband and I got on it! Although my daughter wasn’t technically “planned”, we would have started trying within the year. It really is funny though how moms can relate to each other on so many levels. I’ve loved getting to know some amazing mamas through my blogging journey. I think it’s so important moms stay connected to other moms- it’s a great life support in this wonderful and often crazy times of mommy hood.
What’s the least favorite household chore you dread doing?
Putting my clothes away lol. Yes, my husband does all the laundry and sets it on my side of the dresser to be put away, yet, that pile just gets higher and higher by the day J
Describe a recent experience when you didn’t have it “all together” and how you handled it all.
To be honest, I feel like this is most days for me. Sometimes I don’t have it all together and sometimes my kids don’t have it all together… it’s how we react that matters the most & this is something I’m working on as I definitely don’t have it all together every time.
Fill in the blank: As a mother, it's a luxury to …go pee alone!
What is your philosophy on balance and does it exist in your home?
As much as we can- yes- I am a firm believer in balance. Setting a schedule is a huge aspect in creating balance in our home. It helps everyone involved- mom, dad & the kiddos (whether they think so or not ;)
What are your dreams outside of motherhood that you would like to accomplish?
About nine months ago, I started blogging. It was something that had been on my heart and mind for a long time. I finally mustered up the courage to start it and have had so much fun along the way. This is something I’m extremely passionate about now as I personally took the leap to go after one of my dreams. I think it’s so important for us moms, as individuals, to take the time to go after what gives us joy apart from motherhood but will ultimately help us become better moms.
What is one thing that keeps you sane?
I’m going to cheat and say three things: Jesus, “me” time, & baths
What is one question you'd like to ask our fellow mama readers?
I think I’d ask the same question you did, regarding personal dreams. How are you intentionally living your life in creating true joy and meaning to your personal dreams and goals?
Thank you so much Melissa for being so transparent with your struggles, you are helping more mothers than you know! If you would like to see more of Melissa's beautiful feed follow her @ellabrooksblog and make sure to check out her blog here!
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