Welcome to our best blog series, Mom-hood! I am so excited to share the advice, encouragement, and stories of some amazing moms with you. Every guest blogger is not only a mother, but a business-savvy individual who is raising their tribe the best way they know how. I hope this series is not only relatable and inspiring, but offers comfort in knowing that every mother doesn’t have it all figured out, and we’re all just doing the best we can with what we’re given. Thank you so much, Dani for sharing with us your thoughts and feelings. I know I can definitely relate to a lot of this on my journey through parenting and I know our readers will, too. Xx Adrianne
ASHLEY MOORE | @AHARMONMOORE
In a few short sentences, tell us about your sweet family and what made you want to share your motherhood journey with the world.
Hi! I’m Ashley! You can find me not taking life too seriously over on Instagram @aharmonmoore. I live in Virginia Beach with my husband and 2 boys, age 2 and 6 months. I also work as a postpartum and nursery nurse, and I have a passion for helping mamas survive postpartum depression. I started sharing my life on Instagram as an easy way to document our memories. From there it just grew and became an amazing way to meet others like me. I have found the best crew of moms and it’s helped me realize none of us have this motherhood thing all together.
What is the best thing about being a mom?
That’s an easy one. It’s gotta be the full nights of sleep and clean, quiet house I get to enjoy, right?! Nope. The best thing is watching this little person that you created, and seeing how your actions and words are molding them. I remember my oldest son hearing his baby brother cry, and he went and sat next to him and said “it’s okay brother, I got you. I’m right here.” Talk about my heart melting! It truly hit me then that the hard work, sleepless nights, meltdowns (from both sides), utter exhaustion, it is all so worth it. There is no better feeling of pride and joy than seeing your child happy and thriving, or mastering a new skill.
What’s your biggest motherhood challenge?
My biggest challenge is not to let the mom guilt get to me. I’m a working mom (shout out to my fellow nurses!), and because of my schedule and on call hours, I may go days without even seeing the kids. Literally, I can be gone from my house from 6am to 8pm (or later), and only talk to them over face time. Then I get time off, and I’m so tired and burnt out that I find my patience is thin and my fuse is short. More days than not, I fall asleep wondering if I’ve failed them. I wonder if I’ve given them enough attention, if I’ve made my time with them count, if they’ve had fun, if they’re going to talk to me when they grow up, the list goes on and on. But at the end of the day, I have to remember, we were given to each other for a reason. An all consuming love like motherhood will make anyone question if you’re doing it right, but if you always let that love lead, you can’t go wrong.
If you could give one bit of advice to other moms what would it be?
Definitely get a home delivery wine subscription, because your gonna need that. Kind of kidding. My best advice would be to love yourself, mama. Don’t let social media define your worth. Don’t let your kids not being potty trained define your worth. Don’t let those dirty dishes, reheated coffee cups, and piles of laundry define your worth. Love yourself and give yourself grace. It’s so easy to think we need to do it all, but we don’t. No one has it all together and that’s okay! Remember that big ole motherhood love I mentioned? Well snag a little bit of that for yourself and always remember you’re doing an amazing job. Even when it feels lonely and hard and all wrong, you are doing it and you’ve got this!
What is something you do for “me time”?
This is an area that I definitely need to get better in. But I try to take small moments throughout the day to recharge. When I get the blessing of both boys napping at the same time (cue the angels singing), I take at least 15-30 minutes of that time to do what I want to do. Maybe its binging on some Oreos or putting a trashy show on tv for half an hour. Sometimes it’s finally taking a shower. Whatever it is, it’s totally for me, and really helps me get a breather and feel human again.
What characteristic do you admire most in other mothers?
I admire the moms out there who are fun! Sometimes I think I’m fun, but listen, I know I’m not and that’s okay. I just don’t have the mind for fun or creative activities. And anything fun the kids can think to do on their own is probably too dangerous (in my mind) and I’m going to veto that too. You want to read some books and cuddle? I’m all for that! Can I interest you in a tickle fight? Alright let’s go! How about we have a dance party? Woohoo! But that’s about the extent of my funness. Thank goodness my husband is a little too overflowing with fun to make up for it (even if it does make him the favorite parent).
What’s something you’d like to achieve for yourself as your kids get older?
I have a great career in nursing management, a fun passion project through Instagram and Rodan and Fields, and still get some time home with my boys. I’m pretty happy with my life right now. My biggest dream is to use my experience as a mom and nurse to help others with postpartum depression and mood disorders. I don’t know yet what that looks like, but as my kids get older I want them to see me continue to use my passions and skills to make a positive change in the world.
Name a woman (or women), past or present, whom you admire.
So many! I’m going to stick close to home and say my sister. Her first daughter passed away at 41 weeks of pregnancy. How she carried on her life, birthed three other children, and lives through her grief with faith is so inspiring. And I’ll add in to that my mom too. She was a military spouse and had two kids 22 months apart. The fact that she raised us by herself and kept the household while my dad was deployed is truly miraculous. And she doesn’t even drink alcohol! Talk about a saint.
Knowing what you know now, what would you tell your first-time mom self?
I would give her a hug and say “you were made for this and you will not only get through this, but you will flourish on the other side.” I would tell her motherhood is going to feel even harder than it is right now. You will struggle through postpartum depression, finally feel like your whole self again, then get pregnant and start the cycle over. You’ll have days when you sob for an hour before you pull it together and carry on. You will feel unappreciated and unsure of everything. But I would tell her, you will also feel undeniable joy. You will feel so much love that it’s just bursting out of you. You will be so thankful for your healthy, beautiful boys. And you will realize how amazing, powerful, strong, and independent you can be. You will become a whole new better version of yourself, the you you were always meant to be.
What quotation or or saying sums up your life as a parent?
“This is why we can’t have nice things.” Every parent can relate to that one, right? I heard once “your kids aren’t giving you a hard time, they’re having a hard time.” That thought has always stuck with me and it crosses my mind all.the.time. It really helps to shift my mind set when I think of how my kids must feel. Imagine being told what to do constantly, given little to no control over your day, not knowing how to express yourself, then getting scolded when your frustrations come out as a tantrum! I try to remember that when my kids are getting on my last nerve, and realize I’m probably getting on theirs too.
What does being a mom mean to you?
Being a mom is everything. We struggled with infertility with our first son, and there were moments when I didn’t know if I would ever be a mom. Motherhood has given me the highest highs and lowest lows. It has shown me how big a love can be. And even then, I still can’t fathom the depths of it. It has helped me grow in my faith in God. It is the hardest, most exhausting, most selfless thing that makes me question why I ever did it in the first place. But it is also the greatest joy and the best thing I have ever done.