Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Moms Who Inspire Me: Ashley

Welcome to the second part of my three part series on Moms Who Inspire Me (Gretchen was Part I). Today I want to introduce my dear friend, Ashley. I was introduced to Ashley and her hubs through my boyfriend-at-the-time (who now happens to be my husband!). They all went to high school together and have stayed close friends since. Ashley has been a model to whom I look up to as a wife, mother and friend. Seriously, she is the sweetest and most loyal friend a girl can have. She always knows the right things to say (especially when a certain mama calls her in tears a few days after her baby was born, completely bawling because she inadvertently allowed her daughter to develop her first diaper rash!). Ashley's gentle mothering, courage as a police officer's wife and solid faith have quietly guided me through many of my own insecure moments. She is mama to Santiago and Amilia, two kids whom I hold close to me like my very own nephew and niece.

At what age did you become a mama? 
How was that in relation to when you thought you'd become a mama?
   I was Blessed to become a Mommie at age 25. Growing up I was never the kind of girl to plan/dream about my wedding, house, kids, or live on a timeline.  But 25 seemed like a great age, I made it past my mom's age of 22 with her first child. She always told me how young she was.

Growing up, what was the part about becoming a parent the most exciting for you? 
Has it changed?
Kinda silly to say but I was really excited to dress them (much be the beautician in me). But on a serious note, I feel growing up I was most excited about the toddler and early childhood years. The years when kids can actually tell you what they need. Now that I no longer have a child in baby years I wish I could go back and enjoy it more!

What has surprised you the most about being a mother?
The biggest surprise was that to be a Mommie/Parent is a learning and a confidence building process. When I brought my (now 4 year old)  colicky son home I felt like I had no I had no idea how to soothe him, making our bonding a bumpy road. This instantly made me wish I would have grown up with younger sibling or had babysat more. For some reason I thought once you had a child you instantly knew how to raise them with confidence.  Maybe it is because of all the technology and easy information I have learned there are SO many ways to raise a healthy loved child.  I just have to be confident in my Love for them and they will grow with big hearts and Faith. I will 100% admit it took me a few years to 'come in-to' my role and realization that my Husband and I have complete power in how our babies view this world. The best Gift ever!

Who was your biggest help? How did they help you?
My BIGGEST help has been and continues to be my wonderful Husband. He is great a cook and doesn't mind cleaning, but the best way he helps me is emotionally. He is always  there for a hug or as easy wise wisdom when I overstress. He has been my best friend since high school and has grown into a great playful Father! I really don't know how I could parent without him!

What has been the biggest challenge of motherhood (easy question, right?) 
and how have you tried to overcome it?
My biggest challenge of Motherhood so far has been the struggle in my mind if I am doing everything the best I can.  I struggle with owning two small businesses, being a wive of a police officer, and trying to be the best Mommie I can; making sure I give attention to each avenue.  I try to keep my priorities clear and I am constantly reminded how fast these babies grow (especially when Santiago gets dressed and his pants are all a sudden too short).  Disciplining is a huge challenge for me....sometimes I just cry right along with them, even though I know I am teaching them limits and rules. Oh..and one last one...Santi went though the stubborn eating phase! NOT FUN! but we had to be strong and not give into his refusal.  If he is hungry he will eat!

Name your top soothing tip
Definitely the "Ssshhhhhhing" loudly and swaddling tightly as a baby. Now with a toddler and 4 year old child I find giant hugs and goofy kisses help! (cuz most the time they are over-exaggerating their problem) Both my babes have their favorite blankies as well :)

What is your kids' favorite meal that you cook?
Amilia (2 years) will eat pretty much anything especially the sweet stuff! Santiago (4 years) favorite food changes with the wind.  Some days its breaded chicken, some days pizza, and some days carrots! Pancakes seem to be everyone's favorite!

Did you become your mother, take a completely new road or find a clever mix in between?
I think so far I have become my mother.  I remember her being crafty, attentive, and loving.  I think I am more adventurous than she was taking the kids to new places, but I think that is just a change in times. Someday as a mother of teens I hope I take a different road than she did.

Did you have a parenting style that was different from the rest of your family (such as sleep solutions, babywearing, potty training timing) and how did you respond to family who approached you about it?
I do not have a large family, our children are the only grand-babies.  So any input I get is generally very delicately given from my M.I.L or my Mom.  My M.I.L's constantly reminding me to just relax, kids will be kids. My Mom speaks of her memories, like letting me sleep under the kitchen table or my sassiness as a kid. I kinda wish I had some more free advice, suppose I could ask.
Isn't her family gorgeous?  She is also the creative mama behind Santi Mae Designs, where she makes beautiful comforting blankies and stuffed birds that focus on the sensory experience. Penny proudly snuggles with her blankie for naptimes and has a Buho and Lovebird to match. Check out her work!

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