I have been really hesitant to write this post. Partly because I had some struggles with it, partly because I just haven’t had the time to really sit down and think it through, and partly because I just really wasn’t sure how much I wanted to share. But it just didn’t feel right not being 100% honest about all of my life. This blog is about our family and my journey through motherhood, the wonderful, crazy roller coaster that all of that is, and this is just another stage of it.
If you have been following us for a while, you know that I was a fashion marketing teacher at a high school for eleven years. After having Avalon I went part-time, and then at the beginning of 2016, I resigned completely to accept a position as a part-time bridal stylist and pursue my own wedding planning business. So starting last January, I would work about three days a week at the bridal salon, usually afternoons/evenings, and pretty much every single weekend. The other days I stayed home with my girls, while somehow trying to figure out how to be a business owner for the first time in my life. To market & promote myself, to keep myself organized with the clients I already had, and to attend meetings to coordinate the weddings I was planning. Plus of course, the weddings. I also was trying to continue to manage this blog, which has always been such a great outlet for me. A place that I feel so grateful to have for my kids to look back on one day, where I have made so many great relationships with inspiring ladies and fellow mamas, and also, a place that has turned into a side-business for me (which we really needed when I was no longer working full-time).
I am sure there are tons of people out there that manage all of this (and more), but it didn’t take long before everything started piling up & I was left feeling pretty overwhelmed. Above anything else, the biggest reason that I decided to make the change was to give me more time with my girls and even though I was physically there with them more than before, there is no doubt that I was getting way less quality time with them than I ever had. I was stressed, I was trying to fit the biggest to-do list ever into an hour naptime, and when that didn’t happen, I felt anxious the rest of the day while I was trying to accomplish things when they were awake. They needed me, all of me, and though I did everything I could to make it work, most days I was stressed and overworked, and trying to manage way more than I could handle.
Ultimately, I found that all of the things I thought
I would love about this new schedule were exactly the things that I found the most challenging. And with that, the things that I thought I didn’t like about teaching were exactly the things that I so badly wanted back. I missed having a set Monday-Friday schedule. The benefit of always knowing when I was going to work (and that I would always have holidays and summers off!) was something I completely took for granted for so long. I also really hated working nights, I thought I would rather have the mornings with my girls, but after this experience, I would take getting work out of the way in the morning and then getting to spend each afternoon & night with them ten times over that any day. I always thought I would love working from home, especially after I became a mom. I don’t know that my personality lends itself to not working at all (though we could probably make it work without my income, we definitely wouldn’t be able to give our kids what we want to, to be able to have the freedom to accomplish all we want to, or to grow our family), so before all of this, I truly felt like a job from home was the best of both worlds. That was definitely not the case for us. I now have the UPMOST respect for moms who run a business while taking care of their kids, to put it simply, my high-maintenance little divas (love them so much!) need my full attention and I want to give it to them. We all did better when I could just be with them I was home and then get my work done at a job outside of the house. And lastly, working weekends was really hard on me and even harder on the four of us. Spending time as a family is what we value most, and with my husband gone all week at work and then me gone on the weekends, our times together were few and far between.
SO! Very long story short, after getting down on myself for a couple months for messing up a really good thing that we had, I decided one day out of nowhere to look into going back into teaching, but in a different field. While I loved teaching fashion when I was younger, as time progressed, I really felt like I needed a change, something that would give me a new challenge and motivation but that would still leave me in education, because I really did love it. I took a class to get certified to teach something different (while still working at the bridal salon, planning weddings, and blogging to make money!), and somehow, all the stars aligned and I got hired at an elementary school eight minutes from my house teaching early childhood education, PRESCHOOL! Which was crazy, since that’s exactly what I hoped for when I decided to take the class this summer.
I officially started at the beginning of this month, the same day Waverly went back to school, and still can’t believe I went from teaching high school juniors and seniors to little ones who are the same age as my own kids (!!!). It’s been absolutely crazy and definitely a huge adjustment to learn everything new again, but it’s also been so wonderful. I have always believed that everything happens for a reason, and though it was a crazy road to get here, I really wouldn’t change it. After having Waverly, there were so many times that it was painful leaving her, and especially after having Avalon, I thought how much better life would be if I could just work from home, or have some sort of different situation. Well, the grass is not always greener on the other side. More than any other experience in my life, this taught me to not dwell on the things that you think could be better, but to truly be thankful for what you have. I have always felt like I am a “glass half full” kind of person, and even on the most challenging days this past year I found so much positive, but the past few weeks have just been some of the absolute best we have ever had. Even though I obviously still miss them when I’m at school, I have finally been able to have hours upon hours of uninterrupted, stress-free moments with my girls every afternoon, and to appreciate it more than ever before. We have had our weekends back as a family, including my husband, who is always 150% supportive of everything I do and right by my side. I really love my new position, the people I work with, and of course, the sweet little babes that are now in my class. I have no doubt that this is exactly where I was supposed to be all along (and I can assure you, there will be no more job updates from me, this is it!). 😉
I will always be supportive of ALL my fellow mamas, whether you have a full-time or part-time job outside the house, are running a business at home, running a household staying at home with your little ones, or at a crossroads trying to figure it all out. Every situation is different. We all have our challenges and triumphs, we are all just trying to make the best life for our babes, the best way we know how. I’m forever thankful for mine. I just couldn’t love them one bit more, they are the light of our crazy life!
PS – Obviously I am no longer working at the bridal salon, but I am still planning weddings & styling, just on a much smaller scale!!! My goal is to take just take one every couple months or so, I will try to share some pictures when I do. 🙂
PPS – These images are from a session we did with my friend Shawna Bielat recently, can’t wait to share the rest! Happy, happy Tuesday friends! XO
That is awesome! Good for you! I know how you feel and love that you took ahold and changed it. Isn't teaching preschool fun? I am loving it and the sweet babies in my class. So happy for you.
Congratulations, Ashley! I'm so glad everything worked out for you.
This really speaks to me because while I am home now, so many of the creative jobs I am interested in have night and weekend hours and the whole being away from the family bothers me. I know there is no perfect job or situation, but if it were me, the preschool gig sounds pretty great! I think it's great you acknowledged you weren't happy in the new arrangement and decided to change it. I'm sure everyone is happy to have your afternoons and weekends back!
That is wonderful! I don't know how other moms run a business at home. I work part-time (I use that term loosely, I have very little hours) at home and it's hard. I'm hoping to go into preschool too! I'm so glad to hear you are enjoying it.
WOW, what incredible changes to muddle and work through, lady! I've been in a state of flux since we moved and it's helped me find my passion in the fitness world which is awesome. But, I also love the lil ones and am pursing a way to do both elementary ed and fitness if possible. Props to you for figuring out what you want and making it work!
Oh Ashley, I'm so sorry to hear that you struggled with your decision to quit your original day-job, but like you said, everything happens for a reason! And you never would have known if you hadn't been brave enough to try! Congrats on your new teaching gig! Whether juniors and seniors or pre-school-aged kiddos, I know you are a fantastic teacher and those kids are lucky to have you! Thank you for pointing out that the grass isn't always greener on the other side! There have been years when I have struggled with my job (and education in general these days) but I also know I have a great thing with my mom-friendly schedule and summers off and I can't seem to want to give that up! Thank you for sharing and I wish you nothing but the BEST in this new career move! P.S. You are always so put together and I never would have guessed you were a stressed, anxious mess on the daily!
Oh girl, I am so, so happy for you that you figured it all out and are doing better. I truly believe some of us are just meant to work outside of the home, so I know just what you mean. This sounds like the most perfect thing for you and your family! <3
So happy for you mama!! xoxoxo
Ashley! Thank you so much for posting about this! First, I'm so glad you were able to figure out what worked best for you and your fam, and were able to make the changes you needed! I am currently evaluating my work situation and am struggling to decide on what I should do, so I really appreciate hearing your story! xo
Good for you girl!! That schedule sounds completely overwhelming & teaching preschool sounds like it would be right up your alley!
I bet you are a fantastic preschool teacher, Ashley!! Going back to work this August was a huge transition for all of us but we are finally all in a routine but I would be lying if I didnt mention how much I miss being home with my girls 😉 Oh that elusive green grass, am I right?!
So glad to hear you've found a new place of balance for you and your family.
Whenever I see bloggers post things like this I worry that they're going to say they're stopping blogging 😉 thankful that's not where this went!
Ashley! I am so happy that you figured out what you wanted and needed to do! I pray that everything continues to go well and that you continue to feel peace with your decision!
SO happy for you and your new endeavor! You seemed like a wonderful teacher and I know teaching preschool will let you still express your creative side. I always thought the grass was greener on the SAHM side, but I truly feel like I am not cut out to do that. I am a TERRIBLE teacher and Mason is better off at school all day with people who can teach him better than I can. That being said, I LOVE our moments together and think I appreciate them even more. My new job has been heaven sent and although I've been at it for a little over a year, I still am so thankful I found it. They are SO flexible with my schedule and Mason's appointments and such, I know this is where I was meant to be. So excited for you that you found your calling!
You do you, girl! Whatever is best for your family, that is for sure the way to do things! Happy for you!
Oh friend, I think you just said EVERYTHIG I've been feeling the past few months. Working at home is hard! And trying to get it all done during nap time is not feasible. I really need to sit down and reevaluate what's going on around here and prioritize. And clearly my boys come before everything else. Thanks for sharing you heart, it's exactly what I needed to hear some else say!
Congratulations! I have to say, there is something super special about the field of education. I always thought I wanted out of it, but being in a school is so fulfilling and just energizes me! So excited for your journey in PK!
You never know unless you try! Glad you found out what you needed, you can't have happy babes without a happy Momma. Congratulations on your new endeavor!
Ashley! Congratulations!! This seems like the PERFECT fit for you and your family!! I can't wait to hear all about the adventures of your preschool kiddos!
You go Mama! This is excellent and so exciting too! Xo
I occasionally work days from home if daycare is closed, kids are sick, etc. and it is HARD. because yes, little ones want all of your attention, and I completely relate to feeling frustrated and overwhelmed if they don't nap when I need them to, or cut them short, or just have an off day. So happy for you finding a new job and getting back into the swing of things!
Being a mom is hard…working or stay at home! We never give ourselves enough credit. I am so glad that you found something that makes you truly happy! I am a 3rd grade teacher and it's so hard leaving my two daughters every day. Although I often wonder "what else could I do that would give me more time with them?" the known is always better!! After teaching for 11 years, it's so natural for me and that gives me free evenings (well before the grading and lesson planning after they go to bed!) and free weekends, holidays, and best of all summers!! It really is a great gig 🙂 I am sorry you had to take a long road to get here, but congrats 🙂 Those kiddos will love having you as their teacher!
You are an amazing mama! I'm so impressed with you for leaving you teaching job to start something new and then when you discovered it wasn't for you, that you found what was right for you and your family and you're doing it. You made it happen! I love that. You kind of make me want to be a preschool teacher! So glad you're loving this new 'new' for you and your family. 🙂