Next up in our Cast Spotlight is the lovely Melissa Haak who will be performing a special piece with her online and real-life friend, Hyacynth Worth. Theirs is another piece that was an instant “YES!” when auditions were over.
Tell us about your family. How many kids? Spouse or partner? Single?
Married for 10 years to my super supportive husband. I have three kids (ages 1-7) and one angel.
Tell us about living in your Chicagoland neighborhood. Where do you live and what do you love about it? What aspects of it are fabulous for families? What would you like to improve?
I live in the suburbs now, though the city will always hold my heart. I love my block because we have 13 kids the same ages as mine between the houses on either side of me and across the street but I would improve the lack of sidewalks and general lack of walkability. If you follow me on twitter you’ll hear me lament about it all the time. I hate how much time I need to spend in my car!
What is the one thing that really surprised you about being a parent?
Everything! Becoming a parent for me was kind of like being dragged down a rabbit hole by my hair. I was not prepared for the emotional roller coaster it would put me on or how I would never again be able to make even the simplest decisions without great thought about its consequences to some unknown future. I am also continually surprised by how much I have learned from my children ; they are raising me as much as I am raising them.
What is the biggest reward you’ve had from parenting so far?
They have taught me so much about love, and faith. That has been the biggest reward.
You co-wrote a beautiful and touching piece for LTYM. (Thank you!) What else and where else do you write? Why? How has writing about motherhood/parenthood affected your relationship with your children?
I write as therapy (free and cheap!) at Peanut Butter in my Hair about the sticky side of motherhood. It’s really more about me and how I go through and process things and less about my children experiences because that’s their story to tell. My kids know that I write and frequently can be heard saying “please don’t blog/tweet/facebook this”.
I have always been creative and enjoy creating beautiful things. I am one of the founders of Bigger Picture Blogs where I write (almost) weekly about creativity and nurturing your inner artist. We also encourage people to take the time to step back and look a the simple moments of their life that make up the bigger picture of who they are. To be intentional about those moments, write them down , capture them and savor in their beauty. We have recently launched two new community based writing projects, Writing Me and Writing Circles and we host several writing and creativity events a year.
When we moved to the suburbs I felt out of the loop and completely lost and I found there to be hardly any resources online for the Lake County area. I created Little Lake County where my team of writers and I keep parents in the know about events and activities, review locations, and share tips about living with kids in Lake County. I also write bi-monthly on the events and activities for families in Lake County at TribLocal.