August 1, 2021

Profiles in Parenting

Melanie Shankle and duaghter Caroline

Profiles in Parenting is a new and recurring post. For years, parents of the children I treat would ask, “Is any of this we’re talking about written down in a book?” In 2009, I began to write the book. I also began sampling blog sites written by parents. My daughter told me about www.thebigmamablog.com, written by a mom, living in San Antonio, who she and many of her mommy friends followed. I checked it out and have been a daily reader since. Fashion Friday mostly goes over or around my head, but I’m not completely fashion disabled, either. I appreciate many things I don’t fully understand…but well-dressed mommies are definitely worth appreciation.

 

When I decided to regularly profile and interview parents for “Profiles in Parenting,” Melanie Shankle was a natural first choice. I said to myself, “Here is a young mother who began to blog as a way to show-case one of the loves of her and her husband Perry’s life (their three-year-old daughter―Caroline) and reflect on the relationship she has with her husband and daughter as a family.” Wow! What a redeeming and cool thing to do. There is something very powerful about thinking deeply and clearly about your life, relationships and responsibilities―and then writing about them. Writing makes our thoughts more exact and productive. Six years later…she continues to write a daily blog, has published a book and is under contract to write her second. There’s no grass growing under this lady’s feet.

 

I’m proud of Melanie and all parents who are fully engaged in developing themselves and their relationship with their spouse, as they balance helping their children develop themselves. There are a lot of ways to teach our children and one of those ways is through modeling the lesson for them.

 

We wish Melanie, Perry and Caroline our best as they continue their adventure as a loving family. For more about Melanie as a mom, wife, mother, daughter and author―continue with her interview below.

 

Dr. B:

 

Is there anything you will share about your childhood and family life that has helped you most with parenting?

 

Melanie:

 

My parents divorced when I was nine years old and that has definitely shaped my parenting.  I want my daughter to view my husband and me as a team and never as two people she can pit against each other.

 

It’s also so important to me that we spend time together as a family and sit down for as many dinners together as we can.  I never really had that growing up and it was something I always dreamed about.  I’m glad I can give that experience to Caroline even though she may not fully appreciate it until later.

 

Dr. B:

 

Divorce can be such a difficult challenge to parents and their children. Although it may take some time to process that challenge, there are usually harmful and helpful aspects to these difficulties. Would you be willing to share more about these experiences as a child and how that has informed your marriage and parenting?

 

Melanie:

 

Well, it definitely shaped me.  And I think one of the things people don’t realize about divorce is that it never goes away for the child.  The parents can move on and remarry, but the child is left to deal with all the after-effects for years.  And even in the best situations there is always a fear of being disloyal to one of your parents.

 

Being a child of divorce has made me more determined to make my own marriage work.  It’s not always easy, but I believe it’s easy to think the grass is greener on the other side and it never really is.  I heard someone say that divorce is just essentially taking one problem and dividing it into many more problems.  I think that’s so true.

 

Dr. B:

 

If I’m not mistaken, you were married and had a professional career for a while before you had your child. Soon after, you began to blog…and six years later you are still blogging, have written a book and started another one (more about your books and the release dates later). It is fascinating how our lives unfold and I’m curious about how you think about yours. Would you reflect on this process as we listen in?

 

Melanie:

 

It’s amazing how it all unfolded.  I never set out to be a writer even though it was something I always enjoyed.  Writers, in my mind, were associated with poverty and a lot of angst.  Think Ernest Hemingway.

 

But I think it’s an example of how God plans things for us that we couldn’t have imagined.  I was just doing what I felt like I was called to do, working and being a wife and mother, and he opened up this whole new world for me and I’ve been able to pursue my dream of having a book published.

 

Dr. B:

 

What is your greatest challenge as a parent and what is your greatest joy as a parent?

 

Melanie:

 

I think the greatest challenge is remembering that I’m not parenting a mini-version of myself.  She can be like me in so many ways, yet she is her own person and I can’t put my fears and insecurities on her.  She gets to develop her own.

 

And I also happen to have a strong-willed child.  It’s a constant balance of shaping that will without breaking her spirit.  Because her feistiness is such a gift when used for good.

 

And my greatest joy is just the whole experience.  Having this amazing little person who makes me laugh every day and listening to her perspective on things.  It’s an incredible gift.  I think every year gets better because it’s fascinating to watch the person she’s becoming as she has her own thoughts and opinions.

 

Dr. B:

 

What is your take on the role of grandparents in our nuclear family?

 

Melanie:

 

Grandparents are so important.  My dad and his wife moved closer to us when Caroline was two years old and it has been the biggest blessing for all of us.  Caroline gets the benefit of being surrounded by people who love her and encourage her in everything she does.   And I feel like grandparents always get to be on her side and spoil her a little bit.  I think every kid needs a little of that.

 

Dr. B:

 

Some people choose to develop a faith in God and some do not. I value individual’s choice, especially with faith. I am aware that you have chosen to develop and foster a faith in God and share that in a very nice and respectful way. I’m curious about your faith and any other core principles you believe help you with your parenting and family life. We would love to hear anything you will share about this topic.

 

Melanie:

 

My faith in God absolutely shapes my life and my parenting.  For me, I have no other responsibility than to give Caroline a life centered on faith.  My number one wish for her is that she loves God and follows the path he has for her life, whether that takes her to the mission field in Africa or being an accountant in Texas.  I want God to be her passion and for her to find her strength and security in him.

 

If I succeed in that, then I will consider myself a successful mother.  A mother who is so flawed and made mistakes along the way, but has taught her child what is the most important thing.

 

Dr. B: Thank you Melanie, very much for taking the time to be interviewed and share your thoughts about your life as a wife, mom and writer. This is such good stuff! In our modern times with information coming at us from all angles…it is good to hear about people who are dedicating their life to powerful principles. Parenting is a high and challenging calling. Thanks for accepting the challenge with passion…Melanie.

 

Melanie Shankle lives in San Antonio, Texas with her husband, Perry, and daughter, Caroline.  She writes daily for her blog, Big Mama and is the author of a new book from Tyndale Publishing House called Sparkly Green Earrings: Catching the Light at Every Turn.  It releases in February 2013, but is available for pre-order right now.

 

She is currently working on her second book for Tyndale, tentatively titled The Antelope In the Living Room.  It will come out in Spring 2014. To pre-order go to www.amazon.com and www.barnesandnoble.com.

 

Until next time…Claim your Power and expand your Dreams. ~Dr. B

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