Best Of live

My Aha! Moment: Finding Balance

I was watching Oprah.
Which, I’m sure, is when 80% of the World experiences their Aha! moment.
It was that episode from her final season where she shows the guests who have impacted her most over the years.

One guest stuck out to me more than the others.
She was interviewing a mother who had accidentally forgotten her child in the car on a hot summer day. Her daughter died.  Over a thousand miles away, in Australia, another mother was watching the show. And it hit her…like a ton of bricks.
Slow down.

And then that Mom said something I will never forget.
Something that brought tears to my eyes.
Something that made me think,
made me question the type of Mom I am right now.

She said:
After my daughter was born, I was trying so hard to have the life I had before.
I was trying to fit her into my schedule, instead of fitting my schedule to hers.

Right there.
My Ah-Ha moment.

Am I trying to be the person I was before Baby W?
Certainly not.
My life now includes Mac & Cheese stains, flash cards, sand boxes, dirty diapers and mountains of laundry.  I have embraced that, and adore it.

BUT…
Am I trying to still DO as much as I did before Baby W.
Certainly.
Probably even more.

I wake up in the morning, lean over and kiss my precious boy and then I think about the day ahead.
The tasks I have to accomplish. And rather than think about his daily schedule, I think about how to fit him into mine, so that I can get MORE done.

And what am I sacrificing to do so much MORE.
Time. Quality TIME.
With him.
With my husband.

Moments.
Moments where I am solely focused on the simple rise and fall of his tiny chest as he sleeps,
instead of worrying about unanswered emails.
Moments where I cuddle with my husband on the couch while we watch a rented movie,
instead of sitting next to him on my laptop while watching out of the corner of my eye.

There are only so many of these moments in a day,
and I wonder how many of them I am actually present for.
Physically I am there.
But mentally, I am visualizing my to-do list.
Planning the tasks I can cross off as soon as Baby W gets distracted with his toy trucks.

Sure it’s normal to multi-task.
Momma’s wouldn’t get anything done if we didn’t.
But there is also a balance.
And I have lost mine.

So I spent the morning thinking about how to reclaim the balance…
How to get back those moments without giving up my passion.
I couldn’t come up with a solution that gave me exactly what I wanted–which is to have it all.
Because deep down, I know that we can’t have it all.
That we have to make choices.
Decide where our priorities lie.
And once we decide,
sacrifices must be made,
we must let go of some things,
no matter how much we love them.

And because I want to reclaim those special moments with my family
I am going to have to give some things up for now.
At least until I figure out how to “do it all”.

So, here are my efforts to find balance–and they may change daily, as I work to figure everything out:
Blog promotions will slow down even more then they already have.
Giveaways won’t go away, there will just be fewer of them–but when they happen, they will be BIG.
You may even find my etsy shop closed from time to time.
I will let others help me more.
I will be guest posting far less.
And emails, oh the emails–we have a love-hate relationship.
I love, love, LOVE receiving and reading them.
I HATE myself for not returning them.
But for now, I have to do what I know to be best for my little family.
And for now, selfishly, I will take those kind words you send me, I will read (and often re-read) them, I will cry, I will laugh, and I will continue to be touched by what you have to say.  I will let your words continue to be my motivation to do MORE–so please keep sending me your stories and thoughts, and forgive me if I don’t get a chance to write back. Just know that I love you and you make a difference to me–trust that to be true.

And please, wish me luck in my quest to find balance,
perhaps, for the first time in my life.
_________________________________________________ 

Jada Pinkett Smith has this to say about her Aha! MomentOne day I was so overwhelmed I thought I might be crushed under the weight of  all the responsibilities I’d taken on. I pray and meditate every day, and when I  started meditating that morning, I felt that God was telling me, Surrender or  explode. All of a sudden, I was released. The stress was gone, and in that  stillness came the solution: The less I do, the better things will go.

What has been your Aha! Moment?

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76 Comments

  • Reply
    Jenny
    August 28, 2011 at 7:49 pm

    Wow. What a beautiful post, I have been thinking about the same things. You have just inspired me to slow down and make sure to take part in the moments I can’t get back. Watching my son learn to talk and the most basic things like his ABCs and 123s and watching my precious daughter learn to crawl and walk and play. The internet will still be there after they go to bed and after we spend time with our hubbies. Sometimes makes me wish for “the olden days” when we didn’t have such access to the EVER moving online world. Thank you, thank you for your post. I wish you great luck in your quest to find more time for your family.

  • Reply
    [email protected] Present Life
    August 28, 2011 at 7:49 pm

    This is such a hard thing for us moms to do. We put so much pressure on ourselves to be Super Mom but the truth is, if we’re trying to do too much, we’re not really doing any one thing well. But it’s important to give ourselves permission to let go of some things. So good for you! I hope you find the balance you are searching for and I hope you can find more moments to cuddle on the couch or watch your little man sleeping 🙂

  • Reply
    Scotti Oxford
    August 28, 2011 at 7:50 pm

    Good for you. This is something we all struggle with. I have tried really hard this summer to be more balanced and have only done so-so. I was just sitting here thinking of how to get more of my personal life back. I have come to grips with the fact that some emails will go unanswered and some will take a few days. I love that I have made a business for myself but it can’t control my life anymore. I am so tired! haha! Thanks for the reminder! I hope you find balance and when you find the magic solution PLEASE share with us 😉

  • Reply
    Jamie
    August 28, 2011 at 7:52 pm

    I think this is a great idea. I love your blog and I love reading about your life but family has to come first. I admire that you have the courage to take a step back. When you find your balance you may come to appreciate all this blog world has to offer, not saying that you don’t appreciate it now. Just sometimes if you take a breather you realize how wonderful your blog is and how you touch everyone’s lives.

  • Reply
    Kara
    August 28, 2011 at 7:58 pm

    This post hit home (most of them do though ;). I am in the process of finding my balance…I was considering actually making a schedule that I refer to on a daily basis to make sure that I prioritize my time correctly. It’s so funny that you posted this today…my husband and I were JUST talking about this. I was telling him how I figured Id have MORE time as a SAHM than when I was a full time working mom. I almost feel as busy as when I was a teacher!! Makes me feel good that I am not alone. Keep us posted on if you find any ways that help you find more balance. Good luck LMM 🙂

  • Reply
    Carolyn
    August 28, 2011 at 8:07 pm

    Beautiful Post. You said it all so well. Recently I’ve been hearing a lot about slowing down. I believe that all these “messages” are coming at me for a reason. “Someone” is trying to tell me something. And now your blog….

    Well, I made the decision to blog 3 out of 4 weeks. It is amazing what I can do during one week of unplugged.

    Thanks for this blog (another reminder) I need to slow down.

  • Reply
    Heather
    August 28, 2011 at 8:12 pm

    I have been trying to find balance since my son was born almost 18 months ago and it seems almost impossible sometimes. This post definitely helps motivate me to try a little harder to find it though. Good luck to you and all of the other moms out there (including me!!) in finding balance. In the end, our families are the most important thing. Thank you for this post… I love it 🙂

  • Reply
    Maureen Polderman
    August 28, 2011 at 8:16 pm

    Oh how I needed to read this today!! I literally am feeling the “explosion” starting, and it’s such a struggle because saying no to things that are “good” is SO hard…we want to do it all, be it all, have it all! But I’m so happy for you Ashley to have made the decision necessary for your family- it gives all of us out here reading and trying to blog the sense that it IS OK to slow down and cherish the balancing act that is our lives!!

  • Reply
    Jayna Rae
    August 28, 2011 at 8:17 pm

    These are many of the things that put my blog to a stop over the summer, and my blog is SIGNIFICANTLY smaller than yours. I just had to think about who and what my focus was. Was I thinking of the next post? Was I in tune with my kidlets? Were we having both quality and quantity time? I think this is a constant thing that changes as our family dynamics grow and shift. I am sure that your audience will be with you whether you post once a week or everyday. As long as there is substance, there are readers.

  • Reply
    Kate
    August 28, 2011 at 8:17 pm

    Dang, lady. You said it. As I’ve just had my third wee one, I’m trying to figure out what I’m going to do and when I’m going to do it. Right now, the two older ones are napping, along with the littlest one resting with daddy. It’s the only time I feel okay doing “things.” Reading your post is making me wonder, even more, if I should try to head back to work, or take some serious time off until the ladies are a little older.
    It’s soooo great to hear that others struggle with the whole me vs. them schedule. Maybe it could be an us schedule very soon? Yes, the mommas need to slow down. Thanks for the reminder!

  • Reply
    Marissa
    August 28, 2011 at 8:27 pm

    This is why I love your blog so much Ash! Were you speaking right to me?? Thanks SO much for the reminder!! XOXO!!!

    -Marissa
    mommarake.com

  • Reply
    Pamela
    August 28, 2011 at 8:48 pm

    Beautiful. A place I found myself in many years ago when my child was little. I never regretting the decision I made and you won’t either. This post will touch many heart.

    Blessings,
    Pamela

  • Reply
    Stephanie
    August 28, 2011 at 9:04 pm

    And with THESE words. You INSPIRE me MORE. May you find the balance you seek for your family and well-being. I haven’t blogged in over a year…and rarely comment…but I do still read and keep up with a few of my favs. (your’s of course!) And…although I feel some guilt about it……..when I have the extra time enjoying my little family and experiencing those “everyday” moments…it is more rewarding than words could express. Thank you as always…for your honesty…and for once again….reminding us what really mattters…and what being the best mommas’ we can be…really means.

  • Reply
    Maria-Isabel @Agape Love Designs
    August 28, 2011 at 9:11 pm

    This is a wonderful post and a great reminder for all us moms! I have had this aha moment several times. And I have tried my best to balance all that I want to do with all that I need to do.. I am STILL working on it though. So much is wanted and NEEDED out of us Moms. And its easy for us to get sucked into the thinking that we can do it all! We multi task like crazy, we go on little sleep, we act like the energizer bunny on steroids to get done what we have to, all without thought or much care for ourselves sometimes. I believe it is in out nature to do and care for others.
    I am reminded of Proverbs 31: 10-31 “The Wife Of Noble Character” When we as woman read that passage it seems intimidating and we may feel like we could never live up to that woman! But how often do we sit and realize how much we REALLY ARE just like her! I don’t think we give ourselves enough credit and know that we really are a lot like her. And that passage just shows how important we women are and how differently gifted we are. As well as all the things women are capable of doing.
    God has blessed us with the ability to be strong and sensitive at the same time. We can endure so much! So we feel like we can take on the world! But of course that doesn’t mean we should or HAVE to. We definitely need to have balance. Ive learned that if I put God first in all that I do, things work out just right. When things go wrong and I can come to a point where I look back and ask myself what went wrong I realize I was taking things in my own hands, following MY own plans NOT Gods. Now that is an “aha” moment in itself.. one that I have had to realize more times than I would like to admit! 🙂
    So its good to slow down and really prioritize our lives, put God and family first! I can for understand and relate to that. You are such a blessing and inspiration to everyone who reads this blog and that wont stop just because you slow down a bit. In fact it just may make us appreciate you all the more. 🙂

  • Reply
    Camille
    August 28, 2011 at 9:17 pm

    Thank you for this post it was exactly what I needed….So beautifully stated.
    xoxo
    Cami

  • Reply
    Amanda @ little b
    August 28, 2011 at 9:45 pm

    Thank you for such a beautiful and heartfelt post! Ever since our daughter was born I have been trying to find myself again. When I got pregnant I made the choice to put finishing school on hold so I could put my heart and soul into motherhood. Lately I have been struggling with not feeling accomplished or good enough to be our daughter’s mother, not feeling like I can contribute to our little family. I had moved out to California with so many goals and aspirations for my own life and those goals have completely changed. Thank you for this wonderful reminder about the precious gift I have been given, the gift to be someone’s mommy. I’ve been trying so hard to find myself, when all I really need to do is look into our daughter’s eyes or snuggle up with my fiance to realize I’m right where I should be 🙂 Blessings to you and your lovely family and all of your special moments together!

    Amanda

  • Reply
    cassie
    August 28, 2011 at 9:53 pm

    Beautiful post. I would have to say this post was my aha! moment. I am horriable when it comes to balance, and far worse when it comes to the things that I want to get done. I can really relate to this. I need to start spending far more time with my little ones and stop worrying so much about the stuff that I want to do, and focus more on what they want to do as well. I need to spend more time with my husband as well. Thank you so much for sharing this post, it really hit home.

  • Reply
    Jaima
    August 28, 2011 at 9:55 pm

    3 weeks ago, I began this challenge myself. I even blogged about it. And so far, it has been very successful, and I feel 110% about myself, about being a Mommy, and about being a wife. It’s so easy to become involved in more and more things and caught up in things that aren’t truly necessary. My struggle is with wanting the perfect, cleanest home. But I have been telling myself that one day very soon I will wish my daughter was still here to make messes for me to clean up… That she was still here to want tickles and snuggles… And that is what has help make my challenge successful. Best of luck to you.

  • Reply
    Modern Wivelyhood
    August 28, 2011 at 10:04 pm

    Beautifully written Ashley, good luck finding your balance! You are so inspiring! Thanks for your sweet comment on my blog!

  • Reply
    Ashley
    August 28, 2011 at 10:18 pm

    This is a great post. I have been thinking this so many times but can’t get there. I have to work, or we won’t have benefits, which in my opinion is a bare necessity of providing for your family, just like shelter and food. I get so angry as my work day goes on that by the time I get home I don’t even enjoy the few hours of the day I have left with my little ones. It makes me feel guilty, but I just keep doing it. I can write down the things I won’t do to have more time with them, but that anger is still there.

  • Reply
    Amy White
    August 28, 2011 at 10:32 pm

    Do what you’ve got to do to find your balance, and we’ll be here when you return. You’re such an inspiration Ashley, I don’t have any kids, and my husband is deployed but I too struggle with finding the balance in life. It’s natural, and you may never find that ‘perfect’ balance, but being that you’re constantly on the go, it’ll be good for you and your family for you to step back, and take a snapshot of your life as a whole. Reevaluate, and cut out what’s not truely important. Good luck my friend! 🙂

    Amy

  • Reply
    Lacy
    August 28, 2011 at 10:36 pm

    I absolutely LOVE this post. I am not a momma, but I’m a wife and I too struggle with finding balance. Reminds me of the story of Mary and Martha in the Bible. Sometimes it’s more important to just “be” than to “be doing.”

  • Reply
    Tania
    August 28, 2011 at 11:02 pm

    OH MY!!!!
    You hit home…I had the same situation this weekend (and actually posted about it)
    You are an amazing woman, and even a more AMAZING mom. How do I know… simple, just look at little W face. He is happy.
    But we all have those moments, and trying to balance everything is a mommas daily battle.
    I support you full one.
    You too need some loving 😉
    You are not alone in this.
    Just be happy 🙂

  • Reply
    Trisha @ 3 Four and Under
    August 28, 2011 at 11:07 pm

    We were talking about this same topic today in Relief Society. All of the things that we do in our lives are good things, but are we being to busy? That really hit home with me today too. Thanks for the reminder!

  • Reply
    aubrey
    August 28, 2011 at 11:34 pm

    you hit the nail on the head when you said ” I think about how to fit him into mine, so that I can get MORE done”
    You are so right. My baby W is almost 13. THIRTEEN. It’s such a huge struggle that balance. Making everyone happy. I always tell myself I can have my cake and eat it too….. but the truth is you can’t. Something’s always has got to give. And that cake is making me fat and stresssssed.
    Thanks for putting it in perspective again for me. The balance between being super mom, sexy wife and rockstar ______________fill in what you want to be when you grow up. IS SO OVERWHELMING.
    I need to step back. Breathe and remember how lucky I am for whats sitting in front of me RIGHT NOW.

  • Reply
    Kelsey
    August 28, 2011 at 11:36 pm

    You have read my mind! I’m proud of you for actively CHOOSING to do less and accomplish MORE time with your family!!! When we do less we truly get more. You have a lot to share with the world and we all appreciate it..but we can ALL relate to wanting to have and do it all. Good luck with this new action plan! I pray that I can find this kind of balance too! 🙂

  • Reply
    Salena Lee @ A Little Piece of Me
    August 28, 2011 at 11:38 pm

    I remember watching that show and the re-run you are talking about. It really makes total sense. It was so heart wrenching and because of that show I am so fearful of doing so much that I would forget my child, not only strapped in their car seat but anywhere. It only takes a second of being distracted for something bad to happen. Thank you so much for this reminder.

  • Reply
    Jen
    August 28, 2011 at 11:50 pm

    …..just another reason I LOVE your blog….so real…so genuine…..and strangely they always seem to come at just the right time. thank you thank you thank you!!!!

  • Reply
    Mechelle
    August 29, 2011 at 1:52 am

    What beautiful words and LUCKY you!!!! you found this out before your son was 14! Yes, slow down.. my son is 14 and I slowed down, so I thought when he was little and my girls too, only to realize I did not slow down enough.. My son is 14, my girls are 11 and 9..May seem young still, but I Long for those little toddle hands in mine.. that little child crawling up in your lap to read a book too! Take all the time in the world with them, the rest of us can wait! It goes by way too fast, a saying I thought was “crazy” when I was pulling my hair out chasing a toddler, chaning a diaper and breast feeding the third.. How I longed for them to “get bigger” so I could get more done! for what? Who cares if your house is clean, or the laundy is done? Spend all your time with your boy, and make so many memories and take so many pictues you don’t have room to put them all! You will blink and he will be a freshman in high school!
    Thanks for sharing what we all needed to hear! Best of luck to you honey, you are doing what is right.
    Mechelle

  • Reply
    Jen
    August 29, 2011 at 2:07 am

    I saw that episode of Oprah when it originally aired. I was horrified because I realized that I was trying to do too much. I was trying to raise my children, cook fancy dinners, keep a perfectly neat house, still attend all outings with my friends and be perfect and beautiful for my husband. On top of that I felt I had to make sure my children were involved in everything, getting every possible experience offered to them. It exhausted me and it made me cranky and it made me anxious. And all this was before I blogged! I think it just takes time to realize (esp after you have children) that things aren’t always going to as they were. They can’t always be “perfect.” You learn to let the small things go. It still drives me crazy when my house is a wreck, but then I remember how I used to spend so much of my time constantly cleaning, and I don’t care anymore. Now I keep my home semi-neat (which is probably pretty clean to most people) and spend more time doing things I enjoy, like playing with my kids, my crafts/decorating, and my blog. It just stinks that it is so hard to find that balance. Your blog and shop are both amazing and will continue to do well. Enjoy yourself and your little one because, I’m sure you know, that it goes by so fast. I’ll still be a fan no matter how much or how little you do/write! Thanks for your inspiring words and projects!
    Jen
    Scissors & Spatulas

  • Reply
    Lacy
    August 29, 2011 at 2:16 am

    I think I have my aha moment every night while laying in bed. I sit and replay the day in my head and realize how little time I spent just taking in my babies, they’re laughs, new discoveries, games, everything. And then my mom guilt takes over. I don’t want to miss anything. It’s about memories, not a clean house, or clean dishes. Time goes by so quickly, I try not to waste it, but it does get hard. Thanks for this post, it’s nice to know I’m not the only one:)

  • Reply
    mama marchand
    August 29, 2011 at 2:46 am

    I want to thank you SO much for this post. It literally sucked the wind out of me for a few moments because it’s EXACTLY where I am right now. In every single way. Thanks for your honesty and for giving me my own aha! moment through this post!

  • Reply
    Rebekah {A Blissful Nest}
    August 29, 2011 at 3:35 am

    Ashley, You have just touched me! I hung on every word. I had the pleasure to meet you and hear you speak at SITS in San Diego and you have such a warmth that touches peoples souls no matter if they are your best friend or someone you have never met. You have used that gift and have started this amazing journey of a blog that we can follow along. BUT there is nothing more important than our families (and sanity!) and I adore you even more for your brutal honesty. I myself struggle to find the balance and wonder how to have the time to have another baby, have a big design career, a clean house ALL the time, and still have my makeup and hair done. But the most important thing is to see my baby smile and hear her laughter. I could not imagine if one day that was gone. So with all that said- I wish you all the joy and happiness your family and more brings you and I will look forward to your posts that make me smile, think, and laugh. Thank you and take care!
    Rebekah

  • Reply
    Kristie
    August 29, 2011 at 3:39 am

    GREAT post! I have a 3.5 month old and I find myself in your same dilemma. I want to be a mom but still be ME. However it is about him…and I want to find that balance…someday.someday!

  • Reply
    Dyna Ly
    August 29, 2011 at 3:44 am

    I love this post so much I shared it on my blog’s FB page. I can totally relate to it and I felt a little ashamed and sad for being half there for my son. I am constantly on the go planning my whole day…even while I play with him. I decided every weekend to take him somewhere fun and new so he can get use to the world around him. He is just 7 1/2 months…but I want him to know mommy is always there for him, mommy loves him, mommy wants him to see the world through his eyes, mommy lives every moment for him and his daddy.

  • Reply
    Lindsay
    August 29, 2011 at 3:48 am

    Thank you so much for sharing this post. I have been feeling the same way for a while now and this is just what I needed to hear/read. You are so inspiring & seem to always say the things I need to hear. Thank you. Really. Keep up the great work 🙂

  • Reply
    Angela
    August 29, 2011 at 3:59 am

    Hi Ashley! Even though this is the first time I’ve ever left you a comment, I read your blog ALL the time and love your witty writing and “real” down-to-earth personality! I wrote an almost identical post on my blog (which is SIGNIFICANTLY smaller than yours 😉 ) b/c, being LUCKY enough to be a SAHM to my 2 little ones, I felt that I just could not get a grip on the balance thing and wanted-and needed-to take advantage of every small, precious moment with my kids and husband. It’s hard as a woman who is home all the time to sometimes feel appreciated and valued, and my blog and my writing and my creating all gave me those feelings so it was hard to step back and say, “it’s ok…even if my little toddlers don’t thank me for wiping their bums, or making a perfect pb&j, I know they appreciate me and I can find value and worth in my simple day-to-day tasks.” Not that I will never blog or write or create again (b/c I also feel strongly that we should always be doing all we can to improve and continually educate ourselves), I’m just taking a small step back too. So GOOD FOR YOU! And I’ll still come back and read no matter if you post once a week or once a day! In a college class I took, a guest speaker (an accomplished woman) said, “Women; you CAN have it all…just not right now. ” Line upon line, and it’ll all be alright! Thanks for always making me smile!
    Angela

  • Reply
    Alison
    August 29, 2011 at 6:49 am

    I am so proud of you for making a courageous and even somewhat painful decision! That is so awesome! Honestly, none of us readers of your blog are eternally affected by what you do as much as your precious family is. Your son’s tender self image is being formed for life right now. You are showing him his worth by the time you spend with him and the patience and tolerance you have for his foibles. He will grow out of his toddler ways and will shock you with what a great kid he is turning out to be. And you will realize that all the times you gave him extra love and tenderness have paid off, even if he does not remember the fun things you are doing everyday all day long. It really pays off in how he feels about himself. And you will have the satisfaction of knowing that you really did everything in your power to maximize this time with him. And in a couple years when you mourn the fact that his preschool days are gone, you will be glad you made this decision to focus on your relationship with him. You are affecting eternity right now in this important time in his life. Bless you!! His darling smile and the twinkle in his eye shows what a great job you are doing!!

  • Reply
    Terri Williams
    August 29, 2011 at 10:01 am

    Wow, thank you thank you thank you for posting this. I was trying so hard this weekend to write something VERY similiar and could not find the words. I typed, I deleted, I cryed and I worried that my followers wouldn’t understand. I haven’t commented on a post of your before but I had to on this one and say good for you! I am write behind you! Relax a little and enjoy!
    Terri

  • Reply
    Stella & Ruby's Mama
    August 29, 2011 at 1:20 pm

    Here Here! I have been feeling this way too lately! I did not have the chance to see that episode, I too have been taking on too much. Trying to find the balance with both girls, husband, housework, blog, new pt sales job… I don’t think there are enough hours in the day…

  • Reply
    Stella & Ruby's Mama
    August 29, 2011 at 1:21 pm

    I hear ya! I have been feeling this way too lately!
    I did not have the chance to see that episode, I too have been taking on too much. Trying to find the balance with both girls, husband, housework, blog, new pt sales job and possible contributor job. I don’t think there are enough hours in the day to say yes to everything. Help me find the balance.

  • Reply
    Allie
    August 29, 2011 at 2:29 pm

    GREAT POST! I’m not yet a mama, but I can definitely relate to this post. My life over the last few months has been so so busy which has left little time for blogging. I still have managed to get my daily posts up, but I rarely have time to read other blogs and comment (today is a special day since I have time, hehe). At first I beat myself up over this, feeling bad I didn’t have as much time for all my blog friends, but then I realized it’s because I’ve really been living life, and that is by far the most important! Ahhh, life can be tough sometimes, huh?

  • Reply
    Stephanie Sloan
    August 29, 2011 at 3:54 pm

    Fully supporting you on your quest for balance! We all need it! Mine is kind of backwards. I have a special needs child and the past 3 years have been all about her. I actually almost lost my marriage this month. Balance was gone. Through God alone I think my marriage will be saved. So balance is a focus in my life too now.

    Hold close what is dear and all the rest will fall into place….at least this is what I am telling myself : ) HUGS! Your blog is truly wonderful-but we will all be here happy to follow along at what ever pace you have to offer. Lots of love! Praying you find peace in a beautiful balance.

  • Reply
    Aleyta
    August 29, 2011 at 5:01 pm

    Beautiful post. I haven’t found mine yet (I usually have them in the bathroom or in the shower FYI haha) but I know I will have it soon, as things are starting ti pile up and I can feel the tiny stacks of tension building. Thanks for this post. You are so inspiring!

  • Reply
    Steph
    August 29, 2011 at 5:21 pm

    I read this post last night, sitting on the opposite couch as my husband, and it made me cry! You are soo right about everything you said! I actually turned off my computer and went over to sit with him. I think he thought I was crazy. And you now what, I didn’t miss checking facebook again, or whatever else I thought I had to do on the computer. I just sat there with him and it was great! Thanks so much!!!

  • Reply
    Shanna @ Yellow Pocket Boutique
    August 29, 2011 at 5:30 pm

    I can relate to this so much. Fortunately, I have more time with my son than most since I’m a stay at home momma. However, I have tried to take on more than I ever have since he’s been born. I’ve recently started a blog and opened my shop and I’m struggling with finding a good balance too. I hope you update when you do find that balance. I’m sure lots of people can benefit from your experience. Thanks for sharing your life!

  • Reply
    Kristyn
    August 29, 2011 at 5:36 pm

    This post was my “Aha” moment. I have been doing the same thing with my little guys. When I have my babies I always get so worried about how things are going to change. How I am going to lose more of my time, my freedom, myself. And I think I try and pretend like nothing has to change, that I can still run around like I always did and the kids will just come along. But thats not fair. Things have to change thats part of the deal. Being a mother requires you to give up your time and freedom and little parts of yourself. It’s the sacrifice that you agree to to get a baby. It means no more long shopping trip, not getting all or even half of your errands done in one trip, it means no more leisurely lunches or dinners out because none of those things interest small children.

    Shaun and I talked about this last night and realized this is exactly where our frustrations come from with Jack. When we are trying to get things done or run around and expect him to let us… it is a disaster, he acts up and is a mess. And we keep thinking why can’t he just mellow out and why can’t he behave better. But its our fault, he’s a kid, he doesn’t understand or adjust well to change. A two year old has no concept of why one might need to hurry or why we can’t stay in the toy department of Target for hours. Unlike us he isn’t caught up on schedules and lists. He lives in the moment, and it makes me sad to think of how many of those moment I too have missed by trying to do something else that was so important at the time, but I honestly don’t even remember.

    I remember reading something once about how your kids need to have your full attention and know that they are the priority in your life, so when you are playing with them or talking to them you need to put down the cell phone, turn off the tv and shut down the computer, because how often do we think well while I am playing with them I’m sure they won’t notice if I quickly check my email or facebook and that “quickly” turns into a hour later and so many little moments that you’ve missed. I need to be better at that, I need to cut myself off from all distractions and just enjoy my children more.

    Thank you for this post. It has helped me realize the little things that I do or don’t do that make all the difference. I love reading your blog you are truely a gifted writer, and a great friend!

  • Reply
    Chantel
    August 29, 2011 at 6:44 pm

    Awe man, I am so glad I stumbled across your blog. This is just what I needed to read. Thank you.

  • Reply
    Laura @ Laura's Crafty Life
    August 29, 2011 at 7:17 pm

    I think your post was perfect. We have so many hats to wear – woman, wife, mother, and for some career woman as well. It is hard to find the balance, but something definitely has to give. I have had some similar aha moments myself lately. It is so hard to not feel pulled in twenty different directions. The best advice I can give is write down what is really important to you and make sure each day you are focusing on maybe the top three for sure. Everything else just might have to wait!

  • Reply
    Meredith Jane
    August 29, 2011 at 9:02 pm

    Amen to this. Easier said than done, I’ll bet… BUT life is confusing enough without all this added pressure.
    I am a mother of older children heading off to university, one thing I don’t have is regrets in not spending enough time with them. I wasn’t perfect but I know I spent every second I could with them in between working part time outside the home and all the other chores of raising a family. This did mean putting my own life and wants on hold for quite a while but that was okay with me – TIME with your kids is THE most important factor in raising them. I don’t feel like i ever found a ‘balance’ because life changes so much each year and at each stage along the way but I gave them ‘the best of me’ always.
    The internet has become such an addiction….I worry about where it will all end. So many times as I read some blogs, (NOT yours, I will say) and I wonder if some moms live and structure their lives to create the next blog post….
    Ashley, you seem so talented in your writing and sensitivity and your creativity- I think you were made for so much more! I think you should write a book! Good luck and you’ll never lose your followers so don’t worry about that.

  • Reply
    M.O.T.B
    August 29, 2011 at 9:16 pm

    I don’t think I have had my Aha moment yet, and maybe I need to!

  • Reply
    Kristen
    August 30, 2011 at 1:48 am

    Ashley, It is posts like that one that say you CAN do it all because you know what to put first…your family. Enjoy smelling the roses, their season, just like childhood only lasts so long. How incredibly blessed your family is.
    With much appreciation for the inspiration you give to all of us!
    Kristen

  • Reply
    Trish Small
    August 30, 2011 at 3:34 am

    You go Girl!!! God honors order and you will be blessed to send those extra moments with your family. It’s hard I know. As mothers we want to not loose ourselves but what I have realized is I have found much more of myself sacraficing the things I think I need to do. As of mother of 3 soon to be 4, it’s the little moments that counts with your kiddos and they adore you for it.

    Rock It Little Miss Momma!!!

    Blessings
    Trish

  • Reply
    Jill @ A Mom With A Lesson Plan
    August 30, 2011 at 4:59 am

    I could have written the exact post. I keep pushing the “something isn’t quite working” thought out of my mind, but you have sealed the deal…its time to face the facts. I’ve taken on more than I can handle, and it is my family that will suffer. Time to take a look at what is really important. Good luck to you, and good luck to me=)

  • Reply
    bzeedik
    August 30, 2011 at 5:33 am

    Really good post. I am an Oprah guru. That episode also hit me like a ton of bricks. It was an aha for me too. I was reminded of the need to re prioritize the other night when we were talking… I hate that I have those moments where I am watching carefully waiting for the girls to be distracted so that I can go do my stuff! You are awesome and inspirational 🙂
    xo

  • Reply
    Kristin
    August 30, 2011 at 6:11 am

    This is wonderful and something I think about a ton since my son was born. How to I be with him fully and still get done what I need. I don’t! 🙂 but I need to be 100% okay with that and find that balance. Thanks for writing this. I think the blogging world is a wonderful and tough place, in that it is so inspiring and fin to share and see what we are all doing. But it is rough to see mostly good stuff and feel bad that we don’t have it as together as others. Thank you!

  • Reply
    Rachel
    August 30, 2011 at 6:55 am

    Thank you for being honest and open! I have been feeling the same way- as so many others I read :). I love, adore, & cherish, my three children and I want them to be completely assured of this. Time and most of all quality time- with attention on them is what I always want to give from myself. They deserve it- even when they are behaving naughty 🙂 It is hard- sometimes I just want MOM ME time. Then I realize what I am missing-. Time slips by- God will honor and continue to bless you with good choices.
    We will continue to pray and support you!
    XXOO

  • Reply
    RadiomomRhetoric
    August 30, 2011 at 12:25 pm

    How well put Ashley! Bravo! I have those little ah-ha moments all the time…it is REMEMBERING them that is harder for me. I work a sometimes slow but sometimes time sucking job-and have 4 kiddos. One big thing I did a while back was look at all the “yes’s” I say to anyone but my family. I have stopped saying “yes” so much. I try refrain from doing things that don’t give me or those close to me-joy. In all kindness, I also will bid farewell to people in my life that are not understanding about it. 🙂

  • Reply
    Emily Shepperd
    August 30, 2011 at 3:59 pm

    Great post! Ashley from The Shine Project sent me!

  • Reply
    Kiersten Moore
    August 31, 2011 at 12:07 am

    I just wanted to say I think you are a terrific mom from all the post I have read. I have loved going back and reading your older post since I found your blog. I think you have things so balanced and your little boy is so lucky to have you for his mom.

  • Reply
    Alexis
    August 31, 2011 at 2:02 am

    So I don’t expect you to read it. Obviously. I know you’re busy. But I just wrote a blog about how we place so much emphasis on being busy!! Why is it so important!! I, for one, much rather be remembered by being kind or genuine than by being busy. Good for you for simplifying your life! 🙂 You’re a good momma!

  • Reply
    Kristen Duke Photography
    August 31, 2011 at 4:04 am

    Uh oh…less guest posting…I hadn’t read this yet, I promise! It’s an easy guest post though, right? I am very appreciative!

    It is SO hard for me to sit still. To NOT multi task, but I do need this reminder.

    Do you really do flashcards? I’m in trouble…

  • Reply
    Aileen Billdt ~ Lil' Buckaroo Designs
    August 31, 2011 at 8:37 am

    Ashley-my dear friend Ashley (You must be a friend because your name comes up a lot in my house, lol! My hubby knows exactly who you are whenever I ramble about something I have read on your blog-“Oh well you know Ashley over at LMM? Well she said that she is experiencing this with Baby W….. so we are right in line too” See?? Friends!) Anyway….your post just gave me chills. For a couple reasons. One-I still read your blog pretty much every day but I stopped posting comments. Do you want to know why I stopped??? Because every single time I have posted a comment whether it was the next day, the next week or a few weeks later, you always emailed me back. And I LOVED getting emails from you-it made us feel that much more like friends (which I love), but I also started to feel bad because I see how many comments you get and I didn’t want you to feel like you always had to email me because surely if you were taking time to reply back to me you were doing it for all your readers. And THAT is WAY too much for anyone to stay on top of. So I decided I needed to stop commenting because as much as I ABSOLUTELY LOVE READING LMM I didn’t want to add to your plate. And sometimes I think-I really need to comment so Ashley knows how much she still touches my life and makes so many of my day to day struggles as a mommy seem so much easier because I know I’m not alone, but then the thought of overwhelming you always stopped me. So………..now that you promise you are going to work on gaining balance in your life, I will start to comment again because I can rest assure that my comments aren’t going to add more to your plate!!
    Other reason I got chills is because I have been struggling to find the balance too and everything you wrote is exactly what I wonder and have been feeling. So…….thank you for this post and all of your posts!! I love you-all your readers love you and I am so proud of you for taking action to gain your balance back and I will now try to do the same!!

  • Reply
    Brandi
    August 31, 2011 at 9:54 am

    This email was my Aha! moment…thank you. Again…you write just what I was thinking minutes ago waking up next to my 2 year old boy. I decided to get up an hour earlier than him and read my blogs and make my to-do list for the day. Then…I read your post. The timing could not have been more perfect….I stopped writing my list (which was not easy) 😉 and decided my half painted wall, piles of laundry and cleaning can wait another day. My daughter goes to Kindergarten next week and the mommy guilt has taken over lately…did I play enough with her while she was home with me every day? Did my projects consume my attention too much? Was I just too busy? I also need to find that balance. My boy still has a few more years till he’s in school and I realize now just how fast that time at home with them goes. Again…thank you. Love you and your blog.

  • Reply
    Julie S.
    August 31, 2011 at 12:30 pm

    This is so powerful! No one is perfect, but I think that when I had my son, I was fitting him into my life as opposed to the other way around, and I felt like people around me were annoyed. A lot of family members told me that I shouldn’t have to keep Brayden on such a schedule, etc but I wanted to because it worked for him. It worked for me. It worked for my husband. I wanted that simpler life, but soon felt that maybe I was the one being ridiculous. Turns out, I wasn’t, and trying to do it the other way around triggered some nasty anxiety. This post is a great reminder to me, and I truly thank you for posting it!

  • Reply
    Anna
    August 31, 2011 at 5:30 pm

    This is exactly the same AHA moment that led to me starting a blog (not the baby thing because I don’t have one, but the idea of always feeling guilt). When I started The Guiltless Life I said it is important to live without guilt because it weighs us down. Of course I still fail daily at that but I think we should all try for it because guilt is such a wasted emotion and it just makes us feel awful. So about those emails: don’t worry! I would say that people mostly email you to leave nice thoughts and let you know they felt something when reading your posts. I don’t think people write just to get a response. So read, soak up what people are saying and then relax! Don’t beat yourself up! You’re doing a great job – so keep living as guiltlessly as you can! 🙂
    *Disclaimer: This comment wasn’t meant to be a big promo for my blog, I’m sorry, it’s just that I wanted to say that I feel the same and it happens to be through my blog that I express that – it seemed too coincidental not to comment!

  • Reply
    Mindy
    August 31, 2011 at 8:36 pm

    you put things so well. I’ve been blogging for almost a year, 4-5 posts a week consistently. And ever since I got back from BlogHer, I haven’t posted for over 2 straight weeks. I’ve never done that! Because I’ve been sleeping on the floor next to my baby girl’s crib at 9pm instead of blogging, crafting and editing pictures from 9pm-2am. And I haven’t edited pictures of my friends’ babies, from 3 months ago. It’s hard for me to swallow =T but I can’t do it all. And I’m enjoying the sleep 🙂

  • Reply
    Lis
    September 4, 2011 at 2:44 am

    I do not have an ‘a-ha’ moment to share, but I just have to say how much of your post resonated with my personal circumstances. I wish nothing but the best as you find that balance.

  • Reply
    Ambrosia
    September 6, 2011 at 8:18 am

    I, too have been struggling to find balance lately. I have three boys right now – ages 3, 6 & 8 plus another son due in November. Two sons play sports and are in school. Add in 2 blogs, a little etsy shop, bible study, MOPS, playgroup, a rental house in another state, taking care of my hard-working hubby, etc and it just gets overwhelming. There are days I’ve realized that I hadn’t even played with my 3 yr old – I sat at the computer or sewing machine all day. And that BREAKS my heart! His little face is so precious to me and his heart is huge – how could I not spend as much time with him as possible? I will say that as the kids get older and can help more around the house, and spend more time away (and not hanging on to your leg all day), it is easier to get “things” accomplished. Unless you just keep adding more kids (like me). lol You seem like an amazing mom and Baby W is lucky to have you! Just the fact that you are worrying about finding balance and fitting into HIS schedule shows that. I pray we can all find the balance we need without sacrificing too much of who we are as women and without the guilt that naturally comes with saying no.

  • Reply
    Julia
    September 6, 2011 at 4:06 pm

    Such a powerful post. I have been struggling with balancing motherhood and working full time. I constantly feel like I am only giving a piece of myself to each task. I have tried several things to try and relieve my stress but nothing has worked. My aha moment was when I read your post just now; it never occured to me that I am trying to fit my twins into my schedule. I usually try to fill the weekends with plans so that I can maximize my time with the kids and my husband but it just leads to meltdowns and fights. I am going to do something new and not have anything planned ahead of time this weekend and see if that works. I am going to focus on fitting my schedule into my kids schedule. Time with them is going too fast and I want to spend every moment with them.

  • Reply
    Andrea
    September 6, 2011 at 4:58 pm

    I needed to read this today, thanks for sharing your heart! i really appreciate it. It’s good to hear someone else say it’s “ok, to slow down” every once in a while!

  • Reply
    Christy
    September 6, 2011 at 11:03 pm

    Hi! I am a new follower. I have been to your blog many times….not sure why I’ve never followed. As blogers/readers I think most of us wonder how some people do it all. Until we all realize that we don’t do it all. Something gives at one point or another. I love how real you are, and thank you for that. I also need to find the balance in my own life. Blessings and {hugs} to you.

  • Reply
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    September 27, 2011 at 7:25 am

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  • Reply
    Phyllis
    April 27, 2012 at 11:45 pm

    I just stumbled across your blog and clicked randomly here and there and found this posting. I watched the very same episode and it made me cry. As a new mum, I find myself constantly unbalanced with all the things I NEED to get done. Feeling like I’m under performing as a mum and wife bothers me. The episode was an AHA moment for me. I want to be more present with the moments given to me by my family. Appreciate your post and the honesty. Ciao!

  • Reply
    Lynette
    November 13, 2012 at 3:58 pm

    Wow. I am so glad I read this post today! This hit me like a ton of bricks. I had my first baby in April, and as I look at it, I’m trying to live his schedule AND fit in way too much as well. Thanks for sharing.

  • Reply
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