Who are you?
I am a single mom of 2 absolutely incredible little kids whom I love taking down to our travel trailer in Pismo Beach for days of just playing on the sand. We all enjoy playing pretty much anything outside and practicing our baseball skills. I am a real estate agent who loves my job and I’m not just a football fan, but a Packers fan for life.
What is your biggest strength as a mom?
Truly wanting to play and hang out with my kids. I know that there are times when the laptop and phone need to be put away, and a crazy game of tetherball needs to take place.
How do you spend your time away from your children?
I enjoy a glass of wine with my mom and friends, reading a good book, and listening to screaming rock or super inappropriate rap music crazy loud in my car, lol!
How long were you married before and how long have you been back in the single life?
I was married for 10 years and have been back in the single world for about a year and a half.
What has been the biggest change for you?
Wow….there’s been so many changes, but I think the biggest has been getting used to not having a partner there to lean on and share responsibilities with. As we all know, being a parent can be a tough job. Most of the time when you bring another little human in the world, you do it with the expectation that someone else will always be there to vent to, bounce ideas off of, share your children’s successes, and just generally be there for each other in the good times and bad. Due to the circumstances regarding my divorce, this wasn’t so much an extremely hard part of my transition from married with kids to single with kids, however, it has been, and can still be daunting at times! School, dance class, t-ball, work, dinners, clean house, play dates, dare I say “Social Life,” can sometimes be quite the juggling act, but it definitely helps to have a support system of amazing family and friends that step up when I need them.
What has been the hardest part?
I have two main struggles I deal with. The first is that I am a super protective mama bear and in a situation like this, there are times that your children are not with you and you have no control over what or who they are influenced by. I cannot even explain how hard that is. I just want to shield and protect them from everything. I understand that way of thinking is totally unrealistic, however, when that discretion is completely taken out of your hands it’s frustrating, it hurts, and it is extremely hard.
The other big issue I struggle with is feeling like I just do not give enough to my kids. For example, every single day is packed full. I mean, there are days that we leave the house in the morning and do not come home until the sun has set. Usually it’s a combination of school, kid’s activities, and work. By the end of the busy day, after baths, our nightly story time quite often turns into TV time. I mean, we’re all snuggled together watching a family friendly show, but I feel like such a crappy mom sometimes that I do not even have the energy to read my kids a story. Or the fact that I’ve been promising my daughter to make her favorite soup (which takes quite a bit of prep time) for the last 2 months. Feeling inadequate as a mother because there are just some days where copious amounts of caffeine is just not enough sucks and is a struggle I deal with almost daily.
In what ways have you been positively changed?
I absolutely love that I have re-found myself. The last few years of my marriage were extremely hard and I had become a shell of the person I used to be. After the first few crazy months of getting used to this new single mama life, I started becoming “me” again. I mean, it was noticeable to everyone close to me. MOST importantly, my kids can see who their mom really is. I look at the person I had become and cringe that that is who my children were seeing as their mom/role-model. Let me clarify though: I kept a clean house (way cleaner than now), made healthy dinners for my family (again, way more often than the present), played with and enjoyed my kids, literally everything a good SAHM would do.
But I was just going through the motions; just getting through each day. I was raised that you make marriage work, especially when kids are in involved. Long story short, my hand was forced in ending my marriage, it was not a choice made lightly (as many of you already know), yet little by little, I became “Ashley” again. Beyond getting back to my optimistic self, I learned I am much stronger and resilient than I ever thought I was. I should’ve known that was in there somewhere because I’ve always had an amazing role model in my mom.
What advice would you give to a newly single mom?
Take it one day at a time and don’t beat yourself up. Some days will be great and others will make you feel like an utter failure. During those bad days, when you go to bed, it is so important to let it go as you sleep. Pray, meditate, whatever you need to do to not let that negativity creep into another day and start the next morning fresh and in a positive mood.
What are you looking forward to most in your future?
Honestly, I try not to focus too much on the future anymore. I had my whole life planned out by the time I was a teenager and carried out my plan perfectly until circumstances I had no control of turned my world upside down. At the time, it was devastating. Now, I am in such a good, happy place taking it a day at a time. Of course, someday, I’d love to get married again and share my life with that special someone. After everything, I am still a hopeless romantic and probably too optimistic, lol. For now though, I am happy and open to see where life takes me and my babies one day at a time.
Thank you for sharing your experience with us, Ashley. You are so inspiring!