Melissa Radke is a public speaker, writer, entertainer, and vlogger – but even more than that, she is a mom who gets it. We first came across Melissa when her “Red Ribbon Week” video went viral, and we were hooked. Her honest approach to motherhood, paired with her sincerity, compassion, and amazing sense of humor has attracted a dedicated social following and an enthusiastic fan base. We could go on and on about her, but we thought we’d let her introduce herself in her own words…
Tell us a little bit about yourself:
Hi y’all! My name is Melissa Radke. I am a blogger, a vlogger, and one time in the 4th grade I was a clogger (but I really don’t like to talk about that too much.) I love to write and I do so quite a lot; usually about my family, my faith, my friends and my immense lack of parenting skills. #jesustakethewheel
When did you first discover that people had a connection to what you were posting in your videos and on your social channels?
The first video I ever had go “viral” was called Red Ribbon Week and at this point almost 30 million people have watched that video. Is it because it is the most hilarious thing ever? No. Is it because it is a normal, every day mom just trying to keep up? Yes. After that video I thought to myself, “Man, I didn’t even really try. I just made a video being myself. Maybe that’s the key. Maybe people are drawn to real people who look like them and have no groceries in the house like them and can’t do sit-ups like them.” So I decided to be authentic. I decided that be what I was created to be…and its been the most fun and freeing thing I’ve ever done.
What is the best piece of advice you’ve received about motherhood?
I pretty much think anything Dr. Phil says is the gospel and I adore him and I hope to meet him before I die, so that said I remember him one time saying, “You don’t join a babies world. A baby joins your world.” And I liked that. So I went with it. If we listened to George Strait while I cooked dinner then by cracky, we kept listening to George Strait. It we watched the TV too loud, we kept watching the TV too loud. It made our lives much more enjoyable and guess what? Baby adjusted juuuuuust fine.
Of course all of that is dust in the wind once that baby turns about five and has your number. Then it’s pretty much every man for himself. I pretty much quit watching Dr. Phil as a viewer and now am about three temper tantrums away from being a guest on his show. If he ever has a show entitled “Parents Who Have Burned Their How-To Parenting Books” look for me. I’ll wave at you!
What is the worst piece of advice you’ve received about motherhood?
“Quit listening to Dr. Phil, Melissa.” Just kidding! The worst advice? Hmmmmmm…to be honest, it probably came from a book I read. I won’t name the book, but every single solitary thing in it was so Scriptural. Does that sound horrible of me? Trust me, I go to my faith A LOT as a parent. But it was non-sensical. Almost as if we should apply overtly religious rhetoric to potty training or not allowing corn syrup. I wanted to scream! I just thought to myself, “I’m an adult. I own this house. I make these rules. I will call on my faith in regards to raising kids of character and integrity and giving back to the world, but when it comes to whether or not they can have a 2nd can of soda in the span of 10 minutes….I got that!” Then I threw the book across the room. And then I got busy using the head on my shoulders and the brain God gave me.
What do you wish you could tell other moms who are feeling unappreciated or insecure about being a mom?
Girl! Friend! What did Troy and the Wildcats sing in High School Musical? WE’RE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER! (You’re welcome for putting that song in your head.)
Truth is, I do not have one single friend – not one – who has ever said, “I feel pretty equipped for this. I kinda feel like I’m killin’ it!” Because no one feels that way. And just when you start to think that 10 isn’t so hard and you can handle their attitude, they turn 12 and then you start all over. And then, after their teen years come their young adult years – and that’s another new stage entirely. Once you become a mom you become a part of a club. And its the saddest, weirdest club ever. Its not one of those super cool, neon lights, thumping music, two-drink minimum clubs you used to go to. It’s a club of women in elastic waist pants who wear their hair continually in messy buns and only primer and chapstick. And they stand around saying things like, “How could they have made a C? I stayed up all night working on that Science project!” Or “They found all their teeth in my dresser!! So I lied and said the Tooth Fairy lived in my underwear drawer.” And yet, if someone came and offered up an exchange for that club versus the other one, we’d never switch. Never. It’s like the Peace Corp, being a mom, its “the toughest job you’ll ever love.”
What role have other mothers played in your motherhood journey?
You know, not everyone has the luxury of having a “Mom Squad” so I’m careful not to gloat about mine. Some women are busting their tails doing it all on their own because they are a single mom holding down two jobs and they don’t have a lot of time for dinners with other moms or Bible Study groups or Yoga classes. So as I sit and think about who has played a part in my motherhood journey I don’t think about Girls Nights Out…
I think about the teacher my daughter had in kindergarten who looked my terrified daughter in the eyes, calmed her nerves and pulled her first loose tooth.
I think about the Camp Counselor who loved on my child last summer and harnessed her competitiveness instead of trying to squelch it.
I think about the Little League coach who told my son he was a leader and he needed to act like one, so he did.
I think about the nurse at the Pediatrician’s office who tells my daughter how beautiful she is, and I get to see my child’s face light up becomes sometimes it means more coming from someone other than MOM.
The librarian at school who encouraged their reading.
The Sunday school teacher who checked on them when they were sick.
If we look closely enough, we might just find that there is a village all around us. And thanksbetoJesus, because we need one!
An important note from Melissa:
I would love your readers to follow me on social media, but if they do they need to be fully aware of these things:
- I am a mom today because someone else made me one. We had a son who passed away on Christmas Day, 2005 so both of my children are the product of the most wonderful thing ever created: ADOPTION. I am a mom because two young women were brave and selfless and courageous enough to want more for their children and more for themselves. Adoption is not a secret in our home, we talk about it with great respect and sincere thanks.
- My son is kind and sweet and laid-back and even keel. My daughter is feisty and dramatic and just like…her daddy.
- One of those things in number 2 is a lie.
- You will not always find the perfect mom. Heck, you will not always find the perfect adult. But you will find someone that probably tries hard like you, loves hard like you and mom’s hard like you; someone trying really really hard to be the World’s Okayest Mom…and I hate to brag, but I’m pretty much killin’ it.