mom life

When one door closes - Knowing when it's time to move on

Twelve years ago, I decided that I wanted to be a group fitness instructor. I had just become a stay at home mom to my first baby, but was still itching to do something to get myself out of the house and make my own money. I studied, I practiced and then took the exam. Know what happened? I didn’t pass! We ended up moving a short few months later and I set that dream aside for years. A few more moves and another child later, I started to feel the itch again to give instructing another go. Fitness had re-entered my life as a way for me to deal with some pretty harsh trials that had taken a toll on me in all aspects. It became my therapy and my outlet to deal with the pain and anxiety. And after seeing the impact it had on my life, I wanted to help do that for other people. And so, after we had moved for the 6th time in 9 years, I decided to try again. And this time, I passed! And then immediately found out I was pregnant the next day. So once again, my dreams to teach were put on hold. Fast forward two more years, I had another baby and we had just moved AGAIN, and I just walked into a gym and asked if they needed an instructor - my certification was still active and I figured why not just go for it. They took a chance on a new girl and thus fulfilled that goal I had set as a new mom.

At my peak, I was teaching 8 classes a week and loving every minute of it. But, about a year ago, I started to fill the urge to start cutting back. So, I cut back the number of classes to 5. And then I cut back to only teaching at one facility. And then I cut back to two classes a week. As I have stuck to those two classes the past two months, it still didn’t feel like I’d cut back enough. As much as I enjoy what I’ve been doing and the people I have met along the way, my heart is being pulled in another direction and my body is telling me it can’t keep up.

PiYo Class

So, today, I taught my final class. My son is half way done with middle school and I have hated that he comes home to an empty house several nights a week. My youngest seems to be sick more often than not. My own body is suffering from adrenal fatigue and will require me to completely slow down in order to heal. There are so many reasons why I know it’s time to move on. And while I know I am making the right decision, I will admit it has been an extremely emotional week and I’ve been in tears more than a handful of times as I think about closing out this door.

People keep asking me what comes next. For the first time in my life, I have no clue. This is the first time I don’t have a new path to pursue, no new big goal or dream I’m trying to fulfill or work toward. I have been searching for the inspiration, but honestly, I feel like what I’m supposed to do is lean in to the unknown and see what happens.

Closing this door is scary and humbling. I have learned some profound lessons - like sometimes reaching a goal can take several attempts and might not happen in the timeline we expected. Rather it will happen at the precise time I need it the most. I’ve also learned that I can multitask with the best of them. I have shown my kids that I can be their mom and still have time to do something I love. And as I close this door, I am showing them that I’m choosing them.

I regret nothing about this chapter of my life. I needed it, I met some amazing people, I felt like I served others, and I will always look back on this phase of life with nothing but joy. My friends, go after what you love if it makes your heart happy. But also know when it’s time to let go - even if it means stepping into the unknown.

Group fitness instructors
when one door closes

Fresh Face Friday - Ashley

Back for the second edition of Fresh Face Friday and I can’t wait for you to meet Ashley. This lady knows a thing or two about girls and today’s youth. And, I mean, how darling is she and her little miniature versions?!

ashleym.jpg

(1) Tell everyone a little bit about yourself and your family.

I’m a Utah native, married to a Michigan man for the past 11 years. We currently live in the greater Detroit Metro area with two girls, ages 4 and 2 with another girl on the way in March. I love doing anything that exercises my creative abilities whether it’s crafting, photography, design, or DIY home improvement projects. I am off beat in ever sense of the phrase.

(2) What do you most look forward to raising three daughters?

Matching clothes, girls’ trips, and having them be good friends.

(3) How do you plan to develop their confidence?

I have a three pronged answer to this. First and foremost, is to be an example, which for me is really hard. I can’t expect my girls to be brave, to put themselves out there, to not feel insecure about who they are or what they look life if I can’t do it myself. And believe me, I’m not very kind to myself. My husband even tells me I am brutal. But, I’ve worked hard this year to be my own friend. I also make it a point to not talk down about myself, especially when my girls are around, or to complain about how I look. I’m sure one day they will absorb negative messages about what girls should be from the world, but they will not get it from me. It would be a dream if they can look at their mom and say ‘Hey, Mom likes herself, I can too.’

Second and third is a balance between words of affirmation and providing chances for my girls to be challenged - out of their comfort zone. Both are so important. Kids need to know that they are loved and loved as they are right now, and they need to know their strengths. I also think that giving our children opportunities to stretch and grow. They need to know their confidence doesn’t come from getting things right all the time. It’s okay to fail, to not be perfect and things worthwhile are things to work hard at - even if it takes a really long time.

(4) What role do you hope family will play in their lives? What about friends?

I hope they will discover that family and friends are the many branches of love and they will make my kids feel like they are not in this world alone. There are lots of people rooting for them.

(5) Do you have a family motto or mission statement? Why did you choose what you did?

We have a couple. “When we know better, we do better.” This came from my oldest feeling bad and saying sorry for things she didn’t know were wrong or wasn’t supposed to do. I didn’t want her to apologize since she didn’t know, so I took this quote from Maya Angelou. It’s been a good one we use frequently. The second one is “By small and simple things, great things are brought to pass.” It’s kind of similar to the first, in that it’s about improvement. Even just a little bit at a time, small things can lead to amazing things.

(6) What are your biggest fears as your girls get older?

When they learn the world can be mean and harsh; and that people will be mean and can hurt them.

(7) Anything you hope to pass on from your childhood/teen years?

I want them to have tenacity and drive. I had an early morning paper route at the age of 12. I woke up at 6:30 every morning to deliver papers. I saved money and budgeted for things that I wanted at a young age. It helped set good habits for the rest of my life.

(8) What is your biggest piece of advice for other girl parents?

Teach them to be kind.

(9) What would you like to see change in the way girls are treated for the next generation? Any ideas for accomplishing this?

I hope that we embrace girls the way they are and not what we (or society) expects them to be. My girls couldn’t be more opposite; one is super girly and the other is tomboyish and I love them both for it and don’t want either one to feel like they need to be anything other than themselves. I feel like we are getting better at this, but we need to be better at not judging other women for who they are or what decisions they make. We need to lift each other up.

(10) I firmly believe that the rising generations will change the world for good - moreso than any before. How do we support and encourage them to speak up and let them know their voices matter?

I think the best thing we can do is to listen to them and take them seriously. Both my husband and I work with the youth in our church and we are always amazed by the ideas and thoughts they have.

(11) Favorite ways to build connection with your girls?

Personal and family anecdotes. For me, I like hearing relatable stories and I feel that there is power in them. Also, to get down on their level to make eye contact and hug things out.

(12) Any favorite resources?

Know How Mom Tips on Instagram and A Friendly Affair Blog

(13) What do you hope your daughters learn from your example? From your husband?

Just to work hard and to be genuine and authentic.

(14) Fun Facts:

Favorite way to unwind? Bubble baths or skincare stuff

Books or Movies? Both

Mountains or Beach? Beach

Favorite holiday movie? It’s a Wonderful Life and Christmas Vacation

What candy did you steal from your kids Halloween stash? All the Reese’s, Almond Joys and Kit Kats

Favorite Thanksgiving Pie? Apple a la mode…ALWAYS!

And now you all can love Ashley as much as I do! I have watched her in years past as she worked with the youth at church. She has a gift for relating to them and I think it is so fun watching her raise her own daughters. She’s wise, relatable, fun and beautiful.

Thanks Ashley!