Melissa Hermiston with her children Rowan and Archer. (Submitted photo)

Being a mother the “biggest adventure” of your life

‘It’s both the most fantastic and the hardest thing that I’ve ever done’

It’s hard to believe that Mother’s Day is this Sunday, May 10, a time for 100 Mile House residents young and old to honour and celebrate their mothers.

One of these moms who will soon be honoured by her children this weekend is Melissa Hermiston, a current stay at home mom due to the pandemic. Hermiston moved to the Cariboo with her young family four years ago in June of 2016 from the Lower Mainland, with a desire to leave the city and live a quieter and more affordable life.

“We love it here, we would never go back,” Hermiston said. “The space that we have to breathe and be out in nature, the people in the community are fantastic everyone you meet is so friendly. It’s just a nice lifestyle change, a little bit slower paced and a little bit quieter and it’s a great place to raise kids.”

At 37 years of age, Hermiston has two children her eight-year-old daughter Rowan and her six-year-old son named Archer. Becoming a mom, she said, is nothing that anyone can prepare you for despite the thousands of books out there on parenting.

“It’s both the most fantastic and the hardest thing that I’ve ever done,” Hermiston said.

Every day she’s challenged with new things and is taught something new by her children, all while feeling an unconditional love unmatched anywhere else in the world. Hermiston said there was a lot of sleepless nights when they were little and some trial and error with learning how to be responsible for another human being while teaching and raising them. Despite the hardships that come with it, it’s a responsibility she wouldn’t trade for anything in the world.

Hermiston will always tell her friends who are expecting children that they’re in for the biggest adventure of their lives, one she can only advise they just jump into and see where life takes them. The biggest things to remember though is you’re often sacrificing your own life and time to your children.

“I’ve been a mom for eight years now so I’m very used to the fact I don’t have a life of my own anymore,” Hermiston joked. “I think now that my kids are getting older I would say one of the biggest challenges now is having confidence in the fact I’m raising them right here to be good little people and instilling in them the values I want them to have.”

The most rewarding part of being a mom for her is watching her children go out into the world and interacting with others, even if due to recent COVID-19 related events that’s impossible now. Watching them accomplish their goals, meet new people and generally thrive in a social environment, knowing they have the confidence to try new things is extremely gratifying for her.

Despite this, Hermiston was quick to say, with a laugh, she’s quite happy with just two children and doesn’t intend to have a third. With a healthy boy and girl, she said that at this point she and her husband are just looking forward to watching them both grow and mature.

COVID-19, an inescapable part of 2020, has made some fairly major changes around Hermiston’s household as prior to the pandemic both she and her husband worked full-time jobs and their children were in school, meaning they didn’t spend a lot of time together in their home. This has completely changed as ever since the schools shut down in March, she’s been at home with her children. This has led to them spending a lot of time at home together trying to adjust their routines and entertain themselves while avoiding visiting family and friends.

“It’s been a challenge, the first few weeks were pretty rough for sure especially because the weather was still super cold and snowing like crazy and we’d wake up and be sad it wasn’t spring yet,” Hermiston said. “It’s gotten a lot better since the weather improved, we’ve been able to be outside all the time which is nice. We’ve had good days and not good days but this is probably the most time we’ve all spent together since I was on maternity leave with my son so that has been a nice silver lining to all of this.”

For Mother’s Day Hermiston said her family is usually pretty chill about celebrating it and said that her children and her husband Jeff will make her a nice breakfast and they’ll hang out together. This year she said they plan to hang out at the house together and that she intends to let them spoil her and just spend a nice day together, without going out.

“I’m kind of a believer in less is more so nobody needs to go over the top on anything too crazy, complicated or expensive especially this year because of everything else that is going on in the world. I think (people) should just take the day to slow down and enjoy one another’s company and be appreciated for each other,” Hermiston advised. “Maybe let mom sleep in and take the kids out for a walk for an hour so she can have some time to herself to decompress, it doesn’t have to be any more complicated than that.”

To Rowan and Archer on the Mother’s Day, Hermiston would just like to say thank you for being so much fun and making her a mom, providing her with inspiration everyday. Without them, she wouldn’t be a mom.

“There’s no right or wrong way to be a mom as long as you’re approaching it with love and nurture then you’re going to do fine. There’s going to be days that you doubt yourself and second guess everything that you’re doing but just take it one day at a time and you’ll do fine,” Hermiston said to future mothers in the Cariboo.

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