Best Of live

Embrace, Heal and Breathe

It’s been hard for me to find the words to share what I need to say in this post.

Being a better listener.
This has been a more recent personal goal of mine.
Ever since this girl entered my life, I’ve made a more conscious effort to be the friend who listens. Like really listens. Who hears the words coming out of your mouth before thinking of what I want to say next. The kind of friend who internalizes your words and then tries to imagine how you must be feeling.

When you’re done talking, I may not even offer advice, but the look in my eyes and the understanding tone in my voice will let you know that you were heard.
And so often that’s all we want…
To be heard.
Especially by those we love.

Being a listener isn’t easy.
Listening is a muscle. And it needs to be exercised.
It takes continual conscious effort, and most days I am a far cry from the listener I described above.  Many days I allow my desire to be heard stand in the way of my ability to listen.

And that goes beyond just listening when my loved ones have something to say…
It includes listening to myself…it includes not talking over myself when my mind and body are trying to send me a message.

I can’t tell you how long my body has been trying to tell me something very important. And I’ve been ignoring her. Pretending I can’t hear the important information I know she is trying to convey.

ALERT: You’re tired. Really, really tired.

That’s the message she’s been sending…every day.
And it’s the message I’ve been ignoring.

I find myself bargaining.
I’ll just get through this busy season, and then I’ll slow down. I promise.
But I don’t slow down. Ever.

Because I’m afraid.

I’m afraid of the person I’ll be if I’m not being defined by what I do. If I slow down, and stop doing as much…then that can only mean that I won’t matter as much.

Do you ever know that something isn’t true, but you feel it about yourself anyway?
Yeah, well I guess it’s kinda like that.

Somehow, being defined by what I do is making me feel trapped.
And this feeling robs the joy from what I love to do so much.

Is this starting to sound like a Quarter Life Crisis yet?
Because it sorta feels that way.

I guess what I’m getting at is this:
I need to get that joy back.
I need to push the elephant off my chest and start breathing again.
I need to set my boundaries.
I need to learn when to say “yes”,
and that it’s okay to say “no”.
I need to sleep more.
And cuddle more.
And be present in every day moments more.
I need to do less, so I can have more.

So I’m going to take a month off from blogging.
I’m not quitting. I’m re-grouping.
I’m taking some time to find my Aha! Moment.
I’m taking some time to hopefully become a better version of myself.
To figure some things out.
To (for the very first time in my 28 years) take the necessary measures and dedicate myself to eliminating this toxicity from my life.

Because did you guys know its possible to be happy and also a little broken at the same time?  And I’m needing a little time to embrace the “happy” and heal the “broken”.

I don’t expect enlightenment.
Just looking for a little clarity.

And I look forward to returning with bunches of wispy fly-away hairs where my bald spots once lived…

I still plan on writing during this month. Because that’s part of my learning process.  That’s part of how I figure it all out. And I’ll still be documenting our lives through pictures, because that’s what makes me smile. So you can expect a full report on our adventures when I return.  In the meantime, when I’m missing you (which I know I will), you can find me digging through the archives of my favorite posts and pouring over your heartfelt comments, and finding comfort in our shared experiences and sentiments.

And if you find yourself in need of a little light reading in the meantime,  here are some of your favorite posts:

Our Love Story
What You See is What You Get
The Rescue
My Kid is in Therapy
Birth Story and a Change of Heart

And here are a few my favorites:

In An Instant
Lady With the Glasses
A Bit of My Story
Mommy Guilt: One Momma’s Rant 
Letter to 16 Year Old Me
The College Years

You can also follow our daily adventures on Instagram (@littlemissmomma) or on facebook.

Gosh, I love you guys! Thanks for your support.

(p.s. there will be a fabulous BLACK FRIDAY post that I have already agreed to put up…so be sure to check back then for a HUGE discount on something you will love)

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58 Comments

  • Reply
    Jenni
    November 13, 2012 at 3:30 am

    Hello! I completely understand this. I took a break off a couple of months ago and it was SO necessary. After not finding the best thing for me I got blood tests done and found out I was super low on vitamin D. Since taking it I have so much more energy. Not saying that is what is going on with you, but your body is certainly letting you know something is not okay. 🙂 I hope you find the rest and refreshing you need.

    If for some reason you want to keep your average posts up a bit (for advertisers/keeping blog open/etc.) I’d be happy to work with you on a guest post.

    But, first and foremost– REST, RELAXATION, and FUN. 🙂 Have a good break!

  • Reply
    Lindsay
    November 13, 2012 at 3:32 am

    Hugs. A little downtime is good for the soul. We’ll be here – when you get back! <3

  • Reply
    Kelly
    November 13, 2012 at 3:33 am

    Wow, kudos to you for knowing what you feel and having the power to fully express it. You can’t give anything to others if you haven’t enough to give. Rest, renew, recharge and resume better than ever before….All the best!

    Kelly from chic Saturday

  • Reply
    Amy, Using Our Words
    November 13, 2012 at 3:35 am

    I just want to say thanks. I could have written this piece myself (though perhaps not as gracefully), right down to the bald spots. (Mine are in my eyelashes…started in about 3rd grade and is as bad now as it ever was.) Thank you for reminding me that owe as much to myself as my readers. I may just follow your lead. After the busy season, of course. Enjoy your listening, loving, living, and breathing.

  • Reply
    Kim
    November 13, 2012 at 3:35 am

    Wishing you all the best on your break. Read you when you get back.

  • Reply
    Leah Martone
    November 13, 2012 at 3:53 am

    Enjoy- you deserve it! I’ll be missing your work but thank you for the inspiration to (maybe, hopefully, thankfully) try out your strategy for myself. Happy holidays, Ashley and family 🙂

  • Reply
    Kristin
    November 13, 2012 at 3:55 am

    Way to go, Ashley. We support you! Enjoy that extra time with your husband and two precious boys. Sending happy thoughts your way!

  • Reply
    Andrea Hunt
    November 13, 2012 at 3:55 am

    We’ll miss you, but GOOD FOR YOU MOMMA. Take the time you need. We all understand and LOVE YOU!

    Andrea

  • Reply
    Cait
    November 13, 2012 at 4:00 am

    Oh Ashley. Why is it that I often feel like you are reading my mind or talking to me?! As I prepare for my second babe and try to be a good mom to my soon to be 2 yr old, and a good wife and super paralegal and so on and so forth, I find myself ‘happy yet broken’ as well. I tell myself it is just the new norm for me…but maybe there is hope for a fix. Good for you for taking the break and please do share if you find resolve. And I hope you do.

  • Reply
    Elise
    November 13, 2012 at 4:20 am

    Happiness and relaxation to you! While reading this post I couldn’t help but think you would enjoy this book, The Gift of an Ordinary Day: A mother’s memoir by Katrina Kenison. Thanks for the great blog 🙂

  • Reply
    Tahnie
    November 13, 2012 at 4:31 am

    Oh honey girl, you do what you need to do to live your best life! Enjoy this precious time with your boys and embrace the superwoman that you are! Do things for you, celebrate the every day, make memories and just live life on your own terms! You deserve that kind of freedom!!

    xoxo

  • Reply
    McKenzie Guymon
    November 13, 2012 at 4:34 am

    As I told you already on Instagram, you are seriously amazing. I am really glad that you are taking some time to yourself. You have been such an inspiration for me over the years. Thank you for being so open and honest. You really are beautiful inside and out.

  • Reply
    Kate @ Mommy Monologues
    November 13, 2012 at 4:42 am

    I understand exactly where you are coming from & what you are saying. “I’m afraid of the person I’ll be if I’m not being defined by what I do.”– that is PRECISELY how I felt Summer 2011. So I took a break from blogging. That break turned into a year of blogging. I won’t lie, I loved.every.single.minute of being gone. I focused on the important things, spending time with my son, being pregnant, hanging out with my husband, my house, reading books, etc. It was so awesome.

    I have been writing here & there for the last month or so. It’s nice, I’m not going crazy. I’m not letting “what I do” control what I want to do or need to do.

    I hope you enjoy your month off!

  • Reply
    AbsoluteMommy
    November 13, 2012 at 4:43 am

    Have a fabulous break! Enjoy those boys but also enjoy writing without the pressure. I love that you always put yourself out there. So many of us should reevaluate, and sometimes that means a break from the hussle and bustle.
    Happy Holiday!
    Xoxo
    Megan

  • Reply
    Wendy Orme
    November 13, 2012 at 4:57 am

    Well, I’ll miss you, but I hope you feel better after your break!

  • Reply
    Mindy Harris
    November 13, 2012 at 5:05 am

    i am proud of you to the moon and back, adorable, intelligent ashley. i have loved your blog for the longest time and i so admire you for listening to your heart and taking time off where it is due. i have struggled with this myself and recently gave up selling some things/working at a boutique part time because i felt rushed in the evenings to get the kids to bed so i could “craft.” in 50 years nothing (well, sooner than 50) that i did/didn’t craft will matter one iota. only wilder and story will. and i get to have the best LONG cuddle times with them every night. some days we don’t leave the house our our pjs. sometimes i get bored, but one day, they will be being rushed off to school and me to PTA meetings/bake sales.
    our world needs to simplify a little!
    i don’t blog 5 dys anymore. i’m never going to be a “big blogger” who makes ad revenue. i’ve tried and failed. but God has still brought life and beauty thru my writing which is why i continue to do it. i just don’t pressure myself anymore.
    enjoy those boys who look like baby GAP models!!

  • Reply
    Brittney
    November 13, 2012 at 5:16 am

    You are such a great writer. I want to be a listener like that too. Glad to have someone understand the quarter life crisis.
    Great job putting it into words.

  • Reply
    Ilene @ Much Love, illy
    November 13, 2012 at 5:19 am

    you go, girl! *total snap of the fingers, zig zag motion* i am proud of you and wish i could give you a big ole hug! enjoy your break. i think we all need one every now and then! love you!

  • Reply
    Barbara
    November 13, 2012 at 6:28 am

    I hope this break gives you some amazing time to focus on you and your beautiful family. Sending prayers and love your way the whole time (:

  • Reply
    Monkey
    November 13, 2012 at 7:04 am

    Proud of you! You are the best est baby in the whole wide world!

  • Reply
    Susan
    November 13, 2012 at 7:43 am

    Well Ashley, you’ll be a HUGE miss over the next month but I completely understand and agree!!! It is so funny that you post this now! I have been pondering over the same thought myself. Sometimes you need to focus on yourself and your home with no distractions, then all of a sudden you feel ‘refreshed’, then you can be more generous with your time…. but only when you feel you and your home life can spare it!!!
    Have a wonderful time with you and your family, I look forward to seeing that eagerly awaited next blog post! 😉
    xoxo

  • Reply
    Southern Gal
    November 13, 2012 at 12:48 pm

    Good for you! Have fun taking it easy.

  • Reply
    Karen
    November 13, 2012 at 2:24 pm

    I am a newbie at this blogging.Reading your blog this morning really touched a cord.As mothers,wives,homemakers…we put our personal self on a shelf above all others.That was my life until I was diagnosed with stage 4 throat cancer in 2011.Then I had to put every thing on the back burner and think about me.I am cancer free now.Thank the Lord!But after that experience I find it easier to just say “no” I hope you have a wonderful time.And look forward to reading your blog when you return.

    • Reply
      Tahnie
      November 13, 2012 at 5:01 pm

      I empathize with you Karen! So glad to hear you are now cancer free!

      xoxo.

  • Reply
    Stephanie Sloan
    November 13, 2012 at 2:30 pm

    Kudos to you for doing what you need! I think you have a bunch of mama’s following you, and caring about you, that know exactly where you are at. Take all the time you need! Be good to yourself…if you don’t take care of yourself-no one will. So grab that oxygen mask and take some deep breaths before you save the rest of the world! Much love and many, many prayers!

  • Reply
    Kelly
    November 13, 2012 at 2:36 pm

    Ashley, First let me say that I love your blog and honesty. I feel like we’re in the same boat as many other woman. I actually just told myself the other day I can’t do everything but I can do a few things and give them 100%. That is not an easy realization, especially coming from the type A control freak that I am. For me, I just keep reminding myself that my boys are only going to be this age once. Plus, they are freak’n cute and make me laugh so time is better spent with them. Good luck and take care of yourself.

  • Reply
    Lisa
    November 13, 2012 at 3:14 pm

    We all need to just hit pause every now and again and just live in the moment not in the rush.

  • Reply
    Lynette
    November 13, 2012 at 3:52 pm

    I appreciate this post. I can definitely relate. I had my first baby in April, and I’m still adjusting and figuring out how to manage my time so we can all be happy. I haven’t blogged since August simply because I’ve had other things going on, and I’m fine with it. I hope that throughout this break you take, that you will find the healing you need. I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers.

  • Reply
    Chelsea
    November 13, 2012 at 5:10 pm

    Good on yah! Sometimes you just have decide between the good and better things for your family. Enjoy the break and hope all is well with you guys!!!

  • Reply
    Aunt Debbie
    November 13, 2012 at 5:55 pm

    So proud of you Monkey Woman. I know this was not an easy decision.
    I look forward to spending more time with you, Ben and the two cutest nephews any aunt
    could ever have.

    Love you soooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo much!!!

    Bubbie

  • Reply
    tiffany
    November 13, 2012 at 6:38 pm

    Well we will miss you and look forward to your return…but I will say I COMPLETELY understand. I just had my second child and it seems to be a bigger transition than having the first…there is just no time, and Im tired, and Im getting through but there are soooooo many other things I WANT to do, like blogging and crafting and they nag nag nag at me…so I cant completely enjoy the moments as well.
    I think its good to take time…God Bless You!

  • Reply
    Social
    November 13, 2012 at 9:33 pm

    Great post! Thank you for sharing!

  • Reply
    Charlotte
    November 13, 2012 at 9:53 pm

    While I’ll miss you during your break, I think it’s great that you’re taking time to yourself. We all need that, and it takes a special kind of strength to recognize that. Enjoy your babe and your boy and your man and soak it all in. Let yourself heal and regroup and live. I think you’re wonderful, and I love you and your blog.

    Love, a long-time blog stalker

  • Reply
    Jess Williams
    November 13, 2012 at 10:47 pm

    Thank you for being so real with your writing. Sometimes we can get so caught up in posting our lives we might not actually enjoying it. I understand the need for a break, but know I’ll miss reading your posts. Can’t wait to find you on Instagram 🙂 have a great month off!

  • Reply
    pam
    November 13, 2012 at 11:01 pm

    Sometimes you need to take a break to actually LIVE life instead of just blogging about it. When I had a blog I found myself constantly living from behind the camera, or composing words in my head that would mean something. Sometimes my brain hurt from all the work of blogging. And it is work. It’s often fun, therapeutic, and worthwhile, but it’s a lot of work.

    Enjoy your time off. Play with your kids, read books, take naps (ha!) enjoy life! Your readers will be here when you’re ready to come back. And I am sure you will come back better, stronger and wiser.

    Signed,
    A busy mom who’s been there

  • Reply
    Raven
    November 14, 2012 at 12:44 am

    LOVE this post Ashley. Such a good reminder. I am right there with you when I feel like I need to do it all, I need the house clean and I need to make sure my husband is happy and well fed and that my kids get enough play time and don’t watch too much tv, etc. Slowing down and like you said, getting the elephant off the chest is what is most important. Thanks again for the reminder 🙂

    ps I think you’re a FABULOUS mom.

  • Reply
    lori
    November 14, 2012 at 1:13 am

    take the time that you need and rest and take care of yourself as well. we all understand and support you 🙂

  • Reply
    Shavone
    November 14, 2012 at 4:10 am

    Ash, we will definitely miss you during this break. Please take the time needed to regroup and enjoy your beautiful family. Consider it a fast, and thank God for your blessed life each time you feel the urge to blog. We’ll all be here when you return!

  • Reply
    Shirley
    November 14, 2012 at 5:38 am

    You will be missed but with 2 small children I don’t see how you have the time anyway. We will be waiting till you feel like you can come back. We will pray for you and your beautiful family. God Bless

  • Reply
    Haleigh Barrett
    November 15, 2012 at 12:51 am

    Good luck! I hope you accomplish all that you want and need to. I’ll miss you lots 🙂

    hope to see you soon!
    <3 Haleigh

  • Reply
    Anna @ IHOD
    November 15, 2012 at 1:53 am

    Hats off to you for listening to that inner voice and being honest with yourself. I admire you so much for it! I am gearing up for a mini break myself and cannot wait to just be with my family full time. Its needed and necessary to soak them up. Hugs to you!

  • Reply
    Cassaundra
    November 15, 2012 at 2:53 am

    ahh, i bet it took a lot just for you to push “publish”.
    good for you. enjoy the holidays.

  • Reply
    Chelsea
    November 15, 2012 at 4:06 pm

    It takes a lot to take a step back and refocus! I think this time of year is the perfect time to do it. Having just found you, I can’t wait for you return! I hope you find the clarity you seek.

    Chelsea
    Haute Child In the City

  • Reply
    Heidi Ferguson
    November 16, 2012 at 6:56 am

    Umm…okay a little freaky. Cuz are you me? I have been feeling so so so similarly to everything you wrote about. I feel like I talk so much about myself that I’m a terrible listener so I’m always consciously working on that. I am afraid that when I give up blogging and business that who will I be? How will I get validation? Will I need validation from perfect strangers like I seem to think I do now? I love so many things about blogging but I find myself sometimes just staring at my kids and thinking I wish I had zero obligations right now except to just be here for them. My life is such a tight schedule and it’s exhausting. I think it’s great you are taking a month off to really figure out what you want. It’s a very tricky thing when you’ve worked so hard to get where you are. We should talk sometime. 🙂

  • Reply
    Sarah Beth
    November 19, 2012 at 4:22 pm

    All the way from NC..so proud of you! I’ve been reading your blog for months now. Hope you find peace and snuggle with those boys and eat plenty of cupcakes 😉

  • Reply
    Amanda
    November 19, 2012 at 6:51 pm

    Ashley- I totally understand! Good for you for reconizing this and acting upon it. It’s so hard You will be missed but breathe and enjoy! xox

  • Reply
    lisa leonard
    November 27, 2012 at 4:16 am

    I love you so much.

  • Reply
    Kenz @ Life According to Kenz
    November 30, 2012 at 1:53 am

    Hey girl, I just came across your blog. What an incredible first post to read. This brought me to tears. It’s something that I needed to be reminded of as well, so thank you SO much! You are amazing and I love you already.

    Xoxoxoxoxoxoxox!

  • Reply
    Ryan Elizabeth
    December 29, 2012 at 7:43 pm

    This post came to me in just the right moment of my life….and I was just searching for silhouette cameo pictures. I had a breaking point in November, and had to say enough is enough. I let go of all the pressures of the world and started writing again, because like you, I learn so much just by writing out my problem, and in the end find my solution. My 3 boys are all in school all day this year, and I found myself not knowing who I am & where I went. I was defining myself by the outside world & my accomplishments instead of looking inside at myself. I was feeling the pressure of keeping up with how everyone else mothers better, cleans better etc, etc.. It’s taken me 2 months to regroup….and I’m feeling much healthier and have stopped my mind from comparing myself to others. Reading this post I feel I am not alone in my journey & I find great comfort in that!

    Thank you for this post…and I’m off to subscribe & explore!

  • Reply
    Amy
    February 23, 2013 at 8:19 pm

    This is really awesome. I know how hard it is to take a break, to feel like you are saying “no” when really you are saying “pause.” Good for you for doing this! That takes amazing strength and courage to allow yourself the time to regroup, heal, and renew yourself. 🙂

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