Life Lessons from Mama T

by Book+Main CMO, Melissa Saneholtz

My first experience with romance was rocky. I watched my parents wade through life extremely unhappy together. I remember as a child, wondering why my dad never complimented my mom. Why did they never hold hands or kiss? Reflecting on how young I was, it seems crazy that even then, without any concept of marriage and relationships, I knew something was missing.

Fast forward to the summer before my sophomore year of high school and my dad decided to end their twenty-three-year marriage, leaving my mom to raise five kids. I was the oldest and my youngest sister was seven at the time. Times were tough, but I learned a valuable lesson through my mom. Women are strong!

My mom kicked ass and provided for us in ways I’ll never forget. She was so busy working multiple jobs that it was difficult for us to spend time together. But, she made the time we did have quality.

One of the things my mom loved doing was hair and nails. Once a month we’d have a spa day. My mom, three sisters (and occasionally we could talk my brother into it too) and I would all get into our pajamas, and mom would do treatments on our hair and paint our nails. This was a sacred time for us. It was a happy time.

Over the years, I watched my mom on those days. In the beginning years, shortly after her divorce, her eyes were sad, but she smiled, trying to make this time for us happy, despite the sorrow we were all experiencing. Eventually, I started to see her coming into her self. The sadness disappeared and in its place was determination. Her goal had transitioned into raising five happy, healthy, and respectable adults. We all failed her at times, but it was always our mom that had us looking back on our actions and making changes for the better. Later, she met a man—who would eventually become my stepdad—and she beamed.

Melissa and Mama T

“My mom kicked ass and provided for us in ways I’ll never forget.”

For the first time in my life, I saw what true love looked like. It didn’t come at the hands of a man lifting up a woman, but a strong independent female, who loved herself for the first time, finding someone worthy of her. I learned that in order to truly love, you have to love yourself first. My mom gave me that.

I’ve carried on the spa tradition with my own kids. Products change over the years, yet there are a few I search for because of tradition. My girls look forward to this day each month and so do I. My middle daughter, Ava, loves to read the OPI names. She insists on choosing her color this way and I love it because I used to do the same thing. Zoey, my oldest is a huge fan of Malibu treatments. Having blonde hair, in the summer it often turns green. At ten years old she can tell a difference once she’s had a Malibu treatment. So much of spa day with my kids reminds me of my childhood and it makes my heart happy. Every now and then, we’re fortunate enough to have Mom (Grandma) enjoy the day with us.

Spa Day

If I can give you any advice, it’s love yourself. Embrace your uniqueness, find your happiness, whatever that looks like for you. And make traditions. Whether they’re with your children, spouse, or even just for your own self-care, mark a date on the calendar for that one thing that gives you joy and don’t let anything get in the way of it happening.

Much love,


Interested in the products I still use today for spa day? I’m happy to share!

One of my favorite OPI products is Nail Envy. I’ve always had brittle nails and this stuff is magic!

I mentioned above Malibu treatments and I highly recommend for any kind of buildup but especially pool chlorine. It takes the green right out!

You have to have the nail dryer! It feels like being at the salon (for my kids at least). Bonus: This one is affordable!

About Melissa

Melissa is mommy to three kiddos under the age of ten, a lover of audiobooks, Paranormal and Fantasy Junkie and professional collector of book paraphernalia. We’ll let her take it from here. Follow her @melissa on Book+Main Bites!

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2 Replies to “Life Lessons from Mama T”

Fred Jefferies says:

This is a awesome!

Beth Cranford says:

I love this so much! I definitely need to incorporate Spa Days with my little one!

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