Melissa Charles Ain't 'Stepford'. She's Wolf.
Melissa Charles, mother and mom blogger behind the hit blog Not a Stepford Life, is about as far away from being a Stepford wife as you can imagine. Yes, she homeschools her kids but don’t confuse her doing so with the submissive nature that is, many times, equated with that choice -- rather inaccurately, if you ask me. Melissa is just as much a wolf as her husband, Wolf (and I say this with tremendous respect and admiration).
The Canadian mom to six kids as well as a domestic abuse survivor, Melissa’s hardy nature and calm, yet passionate, demeanor weaves together her blog in a way that captures your attention and even gets you riled up when the lady, herself, becomes so. Not frightened to speak her mind, Melissa tempers her howl with understanding, kindness and a delightful sense of humor.
As she may describe herself as “weird or tired” (found below), the first word that popped into my head when doing the required research for this article was “resilient”. Melissa is a model of resilience and a whole lot more. She’s been through a ton and I, daresay, she is using her own personal challenges and history to make the future of many moms better. Her interview is a lesson in strength and fortitude not to be missed.
What is your full name?
Where do you live?
New Brunswick, Canada
How many children do you have?
Five at home (6 in total)
If you were asked to describe yourself in one word, what would that word be?
Weird. Or tired.
What is your personal mantra?
Know better, do better.
Do you believe you have a “life’s purpose?” If so, share it.
To do my best to make things better than the day before.
Tell us about you and your life.
Oh, goodness. My life has been a study in extremes. A domestic violence survivor, single mom, turned married mom of a large family. Health care worker, injured at work, now live with a severe chronic pain disability and turned into the 'One Armed Wonder' creating a second career as a writer, while homeschooling Minions. Moved across Canada, and I'm never bored. Or get to sleep through the night. I survive on coffee and humour.
Finish this sentence, “The best part about being a mom is _____.”
Honestly, I enjoy the relationship I have with each of my kids. They're very different people and being able to watch them grow is pretty amazing. That, and my 11 year old son makes me a pot of coffee every morning.
How long have you been blogging for? Do you blog for any group blogs or websites beyond your own?
On and off for many years. I opened my site two years ago in July. I've been very lucky to have my writing featured on Scary Mommy, xoJane, Huffington Post, BuzzFeed, amongst others.
What is the name of your blog? When was it launched?
Not A Stepford Life. I switched to my own site (vs a free site) in July 2014.
Share with us the significance of the name of your blog to you. How did you come up with it?
It's a play on not being a 'Stepford Wife'. Perfection is so NOT our lifestyle. It was originally my shot in the 'Mommy Wars'. Because I homeschool, there seemed to be an assumption by some that homeschoolers are some weird paragons of perfection, or have extreme beliefs. Not even remotely the case here. It's evolved and grown since then, but the title still fits.
What is the primary focus of your blog?
Humor - largely family focused - but I tackle news/op-ed stuff from time to time.
What makes your blog unique?
Not to sound arrogant, but I think my voice does. There are a lot of humour writers out there, a lot of folks who write opinion stuff, and I think that what sets any writer apart is their voice, their perspective on things.
Tell us about your blog, including what you hope to accomplish through it.
My blog is a place to share. Most times it's humor, but I also take time to express thoughts on more serious matters. For example, To The Woman With The Bruises deals with domestic violence. Definitely not a light, humorous piece, but probably still the one I'm most proud of.
Beyond your blog, do you engage in other social media outlets such as Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter, etc.?
Facebook, absolutely. I'm a FB junkie. Twitter is great too. Pinterest, Instagram, I have them but I'm not as active on these. There's only so much time in a day, and I do things one armed with Minions underfoot.
What is the one piece of advice you would give to moms who may be interested in beginning a blog?
Find your own voice. Be you. Be real. Find a group of bloggers to talk, celebrate, commiserate with.
Are you an entrepreneur or professional beyond your blog (and outside of being a mom)? Please share.
I do freelance writing and am working on a novel -- about 3/4 of the way through the first draft, and it's going really well. It blends paranormal, romance, suspense, thriller, with humour running through it. I'm really excited about how well it's writing, and so far, the folks I've had beta read it have demanded more. Those folks aren't married to, or birthed by me, so I'm taking that as a positive, LOL.
Do you support – either formally or informally – a particular social cause?
Domestic violence and poverty are my two causes.
When all is said and done, what is the one thing you hope your loved ones and those who knew you remember about you?
That I loved them.
What is it that they put in that Canadian water to grow them like Melissa Charles? Whatever it is, we need to figure it out so that the rest of the world may add it into their own supplies alongside Fluoride and everything else they toss in there. It seems that “resilience” is the required trait of the hour and will be for some time now. Might just be a blog post in the making for the mama wolf, if you ask me -- another opportunity to expand both her voice and her pack in the unfettered way Melissa Charles has become known for -- her own “Call Of The Wild” so-to-speak!