Mom of Fame – Ashley

Don’t you love social media? We do! You connect with so many different people throughout your life and find the things that you have in common and that unite you as people – in this case, moms.

Lisa went to school with Scott and Scott married Ashley. Recently Lisa and Ashley connected via Instagram cause they were having babies at the same time! Got that?! We love how this whole social media thing works!

Ashley recently went from being a full time working mama of one to a stay at home mama of two. We were curious to hear her thoughts and she happily obliged. She is honest and we love that here at Momfaming.

Please welcome Ashley into our Mom of Fame!

Tell us about yourself and family!

I’m Ashley and I’ve been married to Scott for 9 years this July (woah!). We recently had our second child, Grayson, who is now 16 weeks old. He has an older sister, Ellie, who is just over 2 years old. We also have a large dog, Tugg, who is our biggest baby and a large fluffy cat, Puffin, who loves all the attention Ellie gives him! I recently quit my job as a research coordinator for a large multi-site concussion study to be a stay at home mom; I’m incredibly grateful to Scott for working to support us all and so lucky to have this opportunity! We are still trying to find our groove but we’re learning to embrace the craziness!


What is the best piece of advice you were given about motherhood? Did you take it? Would you give that piece of advice to someone else?

My husband was recently told “the days are long, but the years are short” and that really resonates with me at this point in my life. When Ellie came to the hospital to meet her new brother, I literally couldn’t believe how grown up she looked. I don’t know where 2 years went! And now that I’m a SAHM, some days are LONG but I know there will come a day that I wish for the days when I had two babies still. I’m trying to savor every happy moment, take deep breaths in the not so fun moments, and repeat this saying throughout. I will definitely pass this along to other parents!

I’m trying to savor every happy moment, take deep breaths in the not so fun moments, and repeat this saying throughout. I will definitely pass this along to other parents!

How is motherhood different than you imagined it would be?

It’s SO much harder than I imagined it would be. In a good way, most days, but I could never have imagined the emotional load it would carry. Having such extreme love and joy for these adorable tiny humans, but also frustration and annoyance when the same adorable tiny humans are being defiant, throwing a temper tantrum or crying inconsolably for an unknown reason – trying to keep cool in hopes of providing a good example for them is so much harder than I could have imagined!


What are your three strengths when it comes to motherhood?

I think I’m a good listener – I really try to listen and engage with Ellie when she’s talking to me.

I’m present – I try not to be on my phone if I don’t have to, and involve Ellie in whatever I’m doing. We’ve been allowing a lot of screen time right now with how needy a baby is, but even then I regularly interrupt her to ask questions about what she’s watching or what she wants to do when we are done.

Lastly I’m affectionate – I want my kids to feel loved, so I make sure to say it and show it as often as I can!

Describe a time where you were completely overwhelmed as a mother.

Nights where I have to put both kids to bed by myself are overwhelming right now. Grayson wants to nurse-sleep on me all evening, so trying to get Ellie to bed with him crying in the background has been really hard. It makes me short tempered with both her and Grayson and then I feel guilty after they’re asleep – it’s the worst.


Is there anything you feel that you have lost about yourself since becoming a mother? What have you gained?

I do feel a bit invisible these days – like I only exist to take care of the kids. But I feel like now I am better at appreciating the small things. I also used to be super independent, to a fault, and having kids is helping me realize that accepting help is not a weakness but a necessity 😉

What do you want your child(ren) to learn from you?

It contradicts what I said before, but independence. I want my kids to be confident that they can tackle things on their own. That being said, I hope that my new found appreciation for help softens it a bit so they learn to be independent but accepting of help as well!


You recently went from working mom of one to stay at home mom of two. How has the transition been? What do you miss the most? What have you gained?

Oh man, I’m still trying to come to grips with this one. I wouldn’t change a thing but it has been so hard. I’ll try and put it into words, but it’s gonna be a lengthy description!

I have always worked, and I left a job that I truly loved and gave me a sense of accomplishment. I had reached a point, though, where I felt guilty every time Ellie would do something new and I’d realize that she learned it at daycare. I am SO grateful for her daycare center, we loved them and so did she, but the mom in me wanted to be the one helping her learn all of these new things. Most notably, we were having a snack one day after I had gotten home from work – something like cheerios or raisins, there were a lot of them out in front of her – and she counted to ten. TEN! I couldn’t believe it. So, in talking with my boss about maternity leave, we worked out that I’d come back part time. However, as my maternity leave came to an end, I just couldn’t imagine being away from both of them . I talked with my boss more about what my part time schedule might look like and we just couldn’t find an arrangement that worked for both the job and my family. I should note publicly that I have… had… the best, most understanding boss in the world – another reason it was a really hard choice to leave. But ultimately, it made the most sense financially and emotionally for me to stay home!

What do I miss the most? Everything! Haha, but seriously. I miss having a quiet drive to and from work. I miss having adult conversations that have nothing to do with kids. I miss having clear solutions to problems. I miss having definable goals. I miss having an income. I miss my colleagues. I even miss my office. So, everything.

What have I gained?  Also everything! One of my colleagues sent me a very sweet email after I announced my departure, and it said “you are taking on a much harder but far more rewarding position, one that you and your family will benefit from.” I take such comfort in those words, and I already see the truth in them. Now I get to see all of the things Ellie is learning and I’m the one who she can come to when she needs me. I’ll be here when Grayson rolls over for the first time, when he says his first word, when he takes his first steps.

I am so lucky, even though it’s easy to forget during times of frustration and sometimes I do question whether or not I made the right choice quitting my job. I also know that not every mom has the option to quit her job to stay home. I’m incredibly fortunate to have a partner who supports us so I can be the one to raise our kids. So, to sum it all up, I’m still struggling a bit as I try to find our new normal, but we’ll get there and I know I won’t regret it in the end!

To my tween daughter: What I’m not giving you is the greatest gift

Dear tween daughter,

I know what you want. It comes in a clean, white box with a silver apple on it. It is a window to the world, access to anything at anytime, a real-time digital autobiography for the world to read. I know that it seems like everyone else has one. I know that the first year of middle school without a smartphone made you feel left out. I know that you think it will connect you. But I want to give you a different perspective. Please hear me out.

Everyday at 3:18 pm I would start to see your middle school peers filing out of the bus and making their way home. Some had their heads down, eyes locked on a screen, fingers swiping and tapping methodically. They would pass our house silently, one by one, not noticing me with the cooing baby or the doodle wagging his tail so hard that he might fall over. Their faces were blank and focused, like a zombie parade. I wondered what kind of circus show would pull their gaze away from whatever was pulling them into their phones.

Then I would hear an eruption of giggles at least four houses down. I could see two girls happily skipping down the walk, their hands making silly gestures and their faces lit up with expressions that no emoji on earth could ever replicate. Their eyes would be locked on each other and they bounced their words back and forth like a ping pong match. My heart smiled first when I saw that it was you and your best friend, and a wave of pride and relief would come over me.

You, my sweet daughter, are a curator of a dying art. The beautiful symphony of voices fluctuating to express feelings; hands enthusiastically conducting an orchestra of emotions; the crescendo of laughter at the end. It’s a slowly dying art but you are keeping it alive and it cannot survive inside a screen.

You don’t know how to take the perfect selfie; or the hashtags that will attract the most likes; or the feeling of scrolling through a social media feed to discover that you were one of the only kids left out. I know you feel like the only one without, but I’m giving you a gift.

You know that Polaroid picture of you and your best friend hanging from your string lights? That’s the only copy that exists in the world. It’s priceless. It’s an original. You and her were in that moment and now that moment is happily displayed where only you and your closest friends can see it. There’s no hashtag, screen capture, digital copy, filter or comments to augment that moment. It belongs to you. Your life and moments should be made for yourself, not for an audience. Your beautiful and brilliant mind cannot make all the right decisions right now because those parts of your brain are not even close to being developed. I cannot expect the science of that to change for you, so I will not burden you with the choice of how much of your life you should share with the world.

Please accept this gift. Keep it in your pocket. It is a treasure but you might not realize its value until you are older. Keep lugging that big Polaroid camera everywhere you go and capturing your moments for that beautiful string light gallery in your room.

There will come a time when you get to open a clean, white box with an apple on it, but for now, the greatest gift I can give to you are these memorable, awkward, explorative years without a smartphone.


10 Fine Motor Activities I Made Using $10 Worth of Items from the Dollar Store

Last week I was so excited when we received the catalog for the local teacher store. I was happily going through it and circling things I could get for Ryan to play with/learn from this summer (once a teacher, always a teacher). That is until I started adding up how much all of it would cost and it was beyond crazy (think—over $100)! So I decided that I would make my own activities for him instead.

For those of you who don’t read momfaming regularly (and you really should!) Ryan is a 20 month old with Down syndrome. I only tell you that second part so that you understand he is not working on things that a typically developing 20 month old usually is (all of these activities can be made more challenging, though, if your kiddo is ready for it!) Our big goal for the summer is WALKING. Besides that, though, I really wanted to work on his fine-motor development. This is where the dollar store comes in! I was able to come up with 10 different activities using $10 worth of items from the dollar store (as well as a few things I had laying around the house). Check them out below!

$1 Store Items: 1. Tweezers, 2. Pipe Cleaners, 3. Straws, 4. Mixing Spoons, 5. Pompoms,
6. Cheerios, 7. Play Dough, 8. Playing Cards, 9. Watercolor Brushes, 10. Pool Noodle

  • Pompoms & Water Bottle – Have your child pick up an individual pompom and then put it into the water bottle. This will really help them practice their pincer grasp as well as the direction “put in”.
  • Straws & Water Bottle – Same concept as above but with straws instead of pompoms. I bought the straws with a spoon scoop so that they were a little bit thicker than regular straws. Once your child gets really good at it, you can move on to thinner straws for more of a “pincer grasp” challenge.
  • Pompom Scoop – Put a bag of pompoms in a bowl and have your child use a spoon to scoop them up and put them in another bowl. This will help their wrist movement and also prepare them for self-help skills like feeding and stirring!
  • Noodle Pieces & Spoon – Cut the pool noodle into 1 inch thick slices. Then have your child put the slices onto the long spoon. I had to hold the spoon for Ryan but my hope is that he will eventually be able to hold the spoon in one hand and use the other hand to put the noodle pieces on.
  • Tweezer Practice – This concept is a little advanced for Ryan but it is the perfect fine motor practice for those who are ready! You can have your child use the tweezers to pick up pompoms, straws, cheerios or any other small objects you have laying around the house.
  • Card Slot – I used an empty oatmeal tub but any container with a lid will work. You need to first cut a slit in the lid (big enough for a playing card to go through—-I made the opening a little thicker to start and then I will make another one that is thinner once Ryan’s ready for it). Then have your child pick up a playing card and put it into the slot. Once he/she gets the hang of putting it in horizontally, turn the tub so that the card has to be put it in vertically instead.
  • Water Painting – Have your child use a watercolor paintbrush, dip it in water, and “paint” with it on a piece of colored construction paper. Once he/she has practiced a lot and has good control of the paint brush (and you’re ready for some messiness!) let him/her use some paint instead of the water!
  • Play dough & Straws – Put a piece of play dough in front of your child and give them a handful of straws that you have already cut in half. Instruct them to put the straws into the play dough and then ask them to take them back out. Again, this works on the pincer grasp as well as following directions. It also helps to get the child used to the movement involved in using a fork or spoon and bringing food to their mouth.
  • Play dough & Pipe Cleaners – Same idea as above this time using pipe cleaners (also cut in half) instead of straws. To add another element to this give your child a handful of cheerios and see if he/she can put the cheerios on the pipe cleaners. Once he/she gets the hang of that, just use the pipe cleaners and cheerios without the play dough for lacing practice.
  • Play dough Practice – Kiddos can work on a lot with just a hunk of play dough sitting in front of them. As they manipulate the dough they are working the muscles in their hands which are needed for fine motor control. They will also stimulate their creativity by making the play dough look like whatever they want it to!

Easy enough, right!? Now run—don’t walk— to your local dollar store and get started! It’s going to be a long summer if your kiddos don’t have anything to do!

Have you figured out any fun, easy, and cheap activities to make to keep your kids busy (and learning) throughout the summer? Let me know in the comments!

#Momguilt Part Two – The Second Child

So awhile back I wrote a blog about #Momguilt. Little did I know that it only gets TEN TIMES worse when you add a second child into the mix.

The same feelings of guilt are still there.

The guilt of …


making a healthy dinner

when I lose my patience

when I’m distracted by something else *phone*

that I allow TV and tablet

Now there are even more and a lot of them have to do with my attention and how I can evenly divide it. I would, ideally, like all aspects of my life to feel most important.

  • My children. This is the area where I have the most guilt.
    1. My son. I feel guilty that I have literally changed my son’s life in a drastic (but beautiful) way. When my attention is on him I am distracted by his sister and her needs. I know that I don’t give myself credit, but it’s hard.
    2. My daughter. Although she gets attention – (just finished up a wonderful 12 week maternity with her) it’s very different from what Ben got when he was a baby and I feel guilty about that. She really will never get my FULL attention because she is the second child.
  • My husband. Although it isn’t said and completely fine – I know that my husband is the one who gets the shaft completely. Our lives have taken a turn from the two of us, to the three of us, to now, the four of us. I am sure it will get better, but right now this mama goes to bed right when the baby does which gives us almost zero time together.
  • My Work Life. Although I just started work I am already feeling guilty. When you don’t have kids your work is basically your baby (right? Am I the only one?). I know that I will get into a groove again and it will just take time. Why do we think things should just happen instantly?!
  • Daycare guilt. This is geared more toward my three month old. My son (three years old) thrives at his daycare. There is a constant pressure on my chest about leaving my three month old with others. The guilt I have about going to work and not being with my children is great.

Luckily, I have an amazing husband, family and friends who make me feel like I am doing it all and doing it with grace. We can’t be perfect. No one is.

Now, please pass me a glass of wine.