Melissa is one of my favorite bloggers. Although we’ve never met “IRL,” I feel like we’ve somehow known each other forever. Plus, I feel a special pride in watching Melissa’s writing career grow and blossom, because she was a student in my first online freelance writing class. (*puffs chest with pride*) Be sure to stop in at Melissa’s blog to check out her work and scroll on down for more on motherhood, judaism, and happily-ever-afters.
Tell us about yourself
I’m a happily married SAHM and writer, I’ve been blogging for about six years. Within the last year or so, I’ve started working on a book, and freelance writing. I’m a pretty active volunteer with my synagogue and kids’ schools as well.
What was your reaction to finding out you were pregnant?
Absolute and utter shock. My (future) husband and I were one of those love-at-first-sight stories, and it was absolutely magical. The pregnancy was completely unplanned, and I had no idea how he’d react to it. It was very early on in our relationship. The scariest part, for me, was that I knew immediately that I was having the baby. I knew abortion wasn’t an option, at least not for me, and I knew that he had no say in the matter. He was recently divorced, and I was certain that he wasn’t going to want to have another baby. I was so scared to tell him, and that night, when I finally screwed up all of my courage, took a deep breath and blurted it out – “I’m pregnant” I just closed my eyes so I wouldn’t have to see the look on his face. But he put his arms around me, and said “Thank God, I thought you were going to tell me something awful.”
How did you prepare emotionally for your baby to arrive?
Emotionally, it was tough. Our relationship was new, and the pregnancy was so unexpected. We had the additional hurdle of being of different religions, he was an observant Jew and I was a nominal Catholic. My family was…baffled and confused, I was not the kind of person who they expected to get pregnant. Nobody was openly disapproving, but when I miscarried that pregnancy (I lost twins at 10 and 11 weeks), there was almost a sense that it was meant to work out that way. But for me, for us, that loss was devastating. We wanted those babies, so badly, and the loss brought us together in a way that I could not have predicted. He was the only person who understood how hard that was, the only one who mourned the loss the way that I did. He became the only person I wanted to be around. And we conceived our daughter Jessie the following month. We officially got married when she was eight months old, and had two more children since then.
Describe your typical day:
My typical day, during the school year, involves getting up about an hour before the kids do, so I have time to write. Then I get them up and do the dance around breakfast, get dressed, pack your lunch, did you brush your teeth, get the hair done, in the car for drop off. My little one is in preschool two days a week, and while she’s there, I try and reserve that time for writing (although it gets sacrificed a lot for laundry…). Pick up in the afternoons, after school activities (with two of them, I do dance class, bat mitzvah prep, Hebrew school) some days and some days we are able to just come home after school and start on homework, dinner, baths, bed.
What surprised you the most about having a baby?
I think what surprised me the most was about how completely all-encompassing it was. I didn’t expect that my whole world would change. I thought I’d just be me, with a baby. I still am me, it’s just that “me” means a lot more than it did pre-kids.
Describe what being a mom means to you:
Being a mom is such a huge part of my identity at this stage of my life. I’m gradually transitioning out of being a mom to little, little ones and becoming a mom of a (gasp) almost teenager. Things are different now, I don’t have a baby bag instead of a purse, and my days don’t revolve around scheduling a nap. But most of what I do is still mom-oriented. Even my writing – a lot of that is about being a mom as well. One thing I try not to lose sight of is that everything changes, and it’s okay to lose myself, a little bit, in this process. There will be time later, God willing, for me to focus on “me time.” There won’t always be time when I’ve got a little girl desperate to bake with me or a little guy who wants to show off his latest lego creation, or a long-legged girl hoping that I can make her hair perfect.
How do keep yourself sane as a mom?
I write. I read. Writing fulfills a lot for me. It’s communication and reaching out. It’s being a part of the conversation, whether we’re talking about religion or housework or even just sharing with other moms about my struggles and triumphs. Reading is my escape, it’s my safety zone, and the quickest, easiest way for me to de-stress. I’ve got a really strong marriage as well, he’s still my best friend and the person I want most to be with. I can’t imagine how I’d do it without him.