She is one of the sweetest, most supportive, encouraging, hard working and dedicated Super Moms I know... and yet don't "know," as we've never officially met! I can say she is my #1 Mommy Stories fan, seriously, she has been there from the start of this project and always, always gives me feedback and advice. She's one of my go-to Moms who I ask a zillion questions of, because she'll tell me like it is, always honest and kind. Having her friendship is certainly one of the BEST rewards I've found since creating this blog and discussion group. We definitely have plans to meet up some time soon!
I love her honesty with her motherhood experience, and how she does this whole thing without guidance from her own Mom. Her mother passed away from breast cancer, and so it seems fitting to me that she was chosen as October's Mom of the Month, as it's so important to consider your breast health and remember those who have fought hard against breast cancer and those we've lost.
Images shared from Google.com
In honor of Melissa's mother and their family's struggle, please read her story, share kind comments, and more importantly - do something for breast cancer, beyond wearing pink this month.
Schedule a doctor's appointment. Text 3 friends to do self-breast exams this week. Donate to a good cause. Run a 5k that donates its money to breast cancer or even just any race and wear tons of pink to bring awareness to donating money or self-exams.
Stop this month to consider your own health and those around you. It's important.
Thank you, Melissa, for sharing your story! You are such a deserving Mom of the Month!
Images shared from Melissa Gilbert
1. Describe your child in 3-5 words. How did you choose their names? Kind, smart, inquisitive, constantly moving. My husband and I could not agree on any boy names. We had tons of girl names because I think I just assumed I would have a girl. We literally had to comb through a baby book and we both instantly loved "Mason" when we read it. The middle name was easy. We had already decided way back that if it was a girl, we would use my Mom's middle name and if it was a boy we should use my father-in-law's middle name. I love the idea of continuing on "family names". So Mason Thomas it was.
2. How old is your child? How did you tell people you were expecting a baby? Mason turned three in August. We found out about our pregnancy close to Christmas so I gave my in-laws Christmas cards from their grandchild. No one got it at first because they just thought it was from our furbaby (because we were THOSE people) Haha. I skyped my Dad and Sister... I don't think either one was surprised because I had been hording baby paraphernalia for months.
3. How would you describe your pregnancy? How was delivery, birth and labor for you? My pregnancy had its speed bumps but nothing too major. I had gestational diabetes and had a hard time feeling guilty like I was failing my son. I also had round ligament pain from very early on, making it painful to walk at times. I was pregnant at the same time as 6 coworkers and 3 family members... It was very hard not to compare my journey with theirs! I was induced at 39 weeks due to my g.d. and it was a very annoying process. I was admitted on the 30th and didn't go into labor until the 1st. That's a long time to go with very little food when you're pregnant! When my water finally broke, my son went into distress so I ended up having an emergency csection. It turned out that the cord was wrapped around his chest multiple times causing his heart rate to drop. I remember when they pulled him out, it took three of them to unwrap him. I cried the whole time and never stopped until he was laying on my chest. As soon as he was laid on me, his hand reached up and touched my nose. That's when I fell in love.
4. Describe yourself as a mom in 3-5 words. Creative, proud, full of love.
5. What type of mom do you hope your child thinks you were someday when he's old enough to tell you?
I hope he remembers the times that I stopped what I was doing to jump in puddles. I hope he knows that I always have his back.
6. What things have you done as a mom that you're most proud of?
I'm cool with the messes. I love baking with Mason even if it means flour and sugar everywhere. I let him paint without smocks and play in the mud.
7. What have been the most difficult parts to being a mom?
Being a Mom without having my own Mom beside me. She passed away 2 years before I gave birth. I have an amazing support system: a very involved dad, my understanding husband, my sister who completely gets what I'm going through and mom friends that are right beside me in the trenches. But it will never replace what it would be like to call my Mom up for advice... And that's a hard pill to swallow on the hard days.
8. What is your favorite baby/child product(s) that makes your mom job easier?
Lanolin cream for drooling, Destitin for diaper rashes, sound machine is a must have.
9. What advice about being a mom would you give to a brand new mother?
Be kind to yourself. Don't compare your beginning to someone else's middle. Social media can be an amazing outlet to a new mom but be careful about believing everyone's "perfect" mom moments captured in a single photo. It has a way of picking you apart when you are sleep deprived and covered with old food and spit up.
10. What is a typical day like for you? Sundays and Mondays are filled with work. I'm up at 245 am and out the door by 330. I have an hour drive both ways. On my drive home, I use that time to make phone calls so I can catch up with friends and family uninterrupted.
I'm home by 6 pm so I get an hour to play and hang out before my son goes to bed. On every other day, I'm awake no later than 6. We try not to rush in the morning and spend time on the couch cuddling and watching TV.
Once breakfast and showers are out of the way, we are either outside playing, running errands for the morning or having a play date. Before lunch I try to cram in household chores while Mason plays by himself. I'm a firm believer that when he naps, I rest, too. Sometimes I will prep dinner or pay bills when Mason sleeps but typically that's when I get caught up on DVR, surf Instagram or read.
When he wakes up, we will sometimes bake or do a craft together. Then my husband is home by dinner and we have lots of family play time.
11. What 5 things would you like to do with your kid someday, if anything were possible and money no object? Take him to Disney World, Diggerland, Scotland, and go on a couple road trips of his choosing when he's old enough.
12. What are your favorite things to do in the fall? What are your Halloween traditions?
I love going to the Pumpkin Festival in NH (used to be in Keene), I love pumpkin decorating and apple baking! I'm a huge fan of all holidays and Halloween is one of my faves. I love dressing up and even though a can't sew a lick, I love making my son's costumes.
13. Tell us a time where you felt like you failed at parenting... but then realized you truly had not failed, things worked out fine.
Breastfeeding was a total flop for me. Before Mason was born, I had done tons of research. I was convinced that it was the easiest and most natural thing a mom could do. I was quickly schooled that motherhood doesn't always go as planned!
My son had latching issues, I couldn't produce enough milk, I hated my lactation consultant and I was making everyone miserable around me while I tried to succeed at breastfeeding. After trying everything under the sun, I finally switched solely to formula at 5 months. It was the best decision I could have made for us.
14. What makes you a strong mom?
Mason. He is what keeps me going when I want to quit.
15. Anything else you want to add?
The day I was told that I was chosen to be October's Mom of the Month, I had quite literally the most horrible day as a Mom. My son had, had the most epic meltdown in the middle of Old Navy over pooping, he loudly misbehaved through our lunch in a restaurant and he hit and scratched me while I was trying to put him in his carseat to go home.
I felt undeserving when I read the wonderful honor that was being given to me. Here I am with only one child and I felt like I was failing that day. But then I remembered that no matter how bad our day was, I still loved him with all my heart. We still ended the day with smiles and kisses and chose to not let those few bad moments define us as a son and mother.
Being "Mom of the Month" doesn't mean I'm perfect. I'm far from it. But it does mean that I get up every morning and try my hardest. And I'm thankful that I am surrounded by equally wonderful moms (and dads) that have helped shape me into the Mom I am today.