We are heading to SoCal this week and chatting with Ashley, mama of 3 who is currently living in an RV with her family and running her own interior design business, Arrows and Bow. This mama keeps it real about the challenges of being a boy mom, doing home schooling, all while living in an RV! We are amazed at how she does it all, so please read on and learn a thing or two!
Tell us about yourself: Where do you live, age, marital status, number of kids and business.
Hey! I’m Ashley and right now my family of 5 is living in our renovated RV. We bought land earlier this year in SoCal and are living on our land while we build our house. So exciting... kinda crazy. My hubs and I have been married for almost 11 years. We got married pretty young, I was 20 and he (Dino) was 24. We have 3 kids: 2 boys- 8 and 6, and a girl- 4. The boys are crazy and Quinn, our daughter just kinda balances out the whole fam! My business is Arrows and Bow. Last year in July I decided I wanted to do something with this design bug I had living inside of me. So I started an Instagram account and a blog. Every month my job evolves and grows, it’s been an amazing journey of figuring out what I want to do and empowering me to live fearlessly, share my faith, and have opportunities to use my creative side while designing peoples’ homes.
Describe a day in the life of you.
Well up until this last month, I homeschooled my boys. No I’m not one of those super moms that do everything and totally love every second of it. Let’s be real, homeschooling in an RV was not an easy task and I counted the days until we hit summer break. Now our days are filled with keeping ourselves busy. It’s pretty hot in the RV so we have been going to the beach and friends’ pools and of course my boys are in day camps to get all that energy out.
Do you have help? A nanny or housekeeper? Family?
We don't have a nanny. My parents live close by and they are very helpful. Once every week or two, they take one of the boys for a sleep over. It’s amazing what eliminating one kid can do! We also schedule regular date nights with sitters. We feel strongly about "mom and dad time".
How do you manage to have “me” time?
I have no problem telling my kids to go play outside and to not come back until you’re hungry or someone’s hurt. Our RV isn't huge but my husband and I have our own room away from the kids so I shut the door and will give them the iPad if I need to. And like I said, I am always down for a day date or dinner date. It’s so important to have “me” time and adult time.
How do you manage to make time to stay in shape? Do you workout? Diet?
I have a super cheap gym membership. It allows me to hit up a class and drop the kiddos at childcare, win win! I also TRY and eat a healthy balanced diet. I do also have good genes so that helps, but I like to feel healthy regardless.
Do you get ready every day? Makeup, hair and curated outfits? If so, how do you do it with children?
I usually get ready every day. Hats are a mom’s best friend. I feel like I can wear a somewhat cute outfit and then throw on a hat and all of the sudden my outfit went from a 5 to a 10! And it’s a win because I don’t have to do my hair. But I like to dress up when I go out. Usually mascara, tinted moisturizer and some blush are all I use on my face. My kids are a little older so they don't bug me usually.
Has your style changed after motherhood?
Honestly I think it’s gotten better. I don't think it has anything to do with motherhood but with age. I am 31 and I just feel comfortable in my skin and have a better sense of my style.
What’s your guilty pleasure?
Watching shows with my hubs is our favorite thing to do. It’s all we can do to stop us from tossing the kids in bed before 7. But usually as soon as they go down we get in bed and watch our shows together. I love it.
If you breastfeed, how do you schedule your day around feedings and outings?
Been there done that! But when I did... I did a feed wake sleep system, it was amazing!
How many hours of sleep to you get a night on average?
I’d say 8-9 hours a night
What is a priority for you, and what gets sacrificed? For example, everyone looks great but the house is a disaster, or the house is clean but work deadlines get pushed back.
I’ve always been somewhat of a "clean freak". That’s such a poor term though because I’m not a psycho about it. I just love our home feeling clean and organized. So I’m constantly cleaning things out so that we don't get to the point where we are overrun with junk. And I’m also a “go go goer”. While that is a great quality I think, I don't allow myself a lot of down time. I wish I would slow down a little bit more.
Do you cook meals every day for your family? If so, how do you plan them?
No. Back at our house I did cook more regularly. Here at the RV we seem to eat out more. But even still, I’m not a huge meal prep planner. I shop at Trader Joes and always buy staples there that I know I can use for our favorite meals-- stuff for enchiladas or tacos, frozen chicken, salad, home-made pizza, BLT items. Nothing gourmet, but yummy!
Have you ever felt like you are losing yourself to motherhood and or life? If so, how did you bounce back?
YES—during home schooling this last year right after we moved into the RV. I felt like I was drowning and crowded. Thankfully my husband is my rock and we prayed together constantly, he supported me and brought me out of it. Mothering can just be overwhelming at times and while it’s amazing to say "well we should cherish every moment because it goes by so fast…" we are still human with selfish desires and sometimes weary hearts.
Does hubby help you with anything particular? If so, what and how?
Yup. He is just so supportive of what I do. He's a cheerleader for me and I love that about him. He lets me be me. He is also a great dad and as much as he can, sacrifices his time to be with us. I appreciate it so much.
How do you manage motherhood and marriage?
That’s like the one thing we've never really argued about--oddly enough. From day one it’s always be us inviting the kids into our lives. So while our kids live in our world and we love them more than anything, they are not "our world"... if that makes sense. We just try and make time for ourselves to reconnect. Last thing we want is for our kids to move out one day and look at each other like strangers. So we make each other a priority.
Do you work? Do you work in an office or at home? What does your work consist of and how do you get it done during the week?
For the longest time I was "just a mom", which is the ultimate job if I may say so. Now I do interior design work and home staging. It’s all on my time which is awesome so I try and schedule things in advance so I can accommodate childcare when I need it.
Have your circle of friends changed now that you're a mother? if so, how do you meet new mommy friends?
Yes, I feel like they are always changing, which for me is tough because I love friends. I love real, genuine, close friends... and unfortunately they are hard to come by. But bible studies have been a great source, and people’s baby showers! I have met a lot of friends at my other friend’s baby showers.
What’s the least favorite household chore you dread doing?
Cleaning the toilets. I have 3 boys- enough said.
Describe a recent experience when you didn’t have it “all together” and how you handled it all.
Probably every day. I lose my patience with my boys a lot... they are just crazy town. I handle it by knowing I have a gracious father who I can go to daily and ask for strength and forgiveness. And I try harder the next day...
Fill in the blank: As a mother, it's a luxury to ____
…wake up and eat breakfast... and then get back into bed and sleep.
What is your philosophy on balance and does it exist in your home?
Yes. We believe mom and dad set the tone of the house. We try to do everything in moderation and balance. Kids’ time, mom and dad time, our activities…life.
What are your dreams outside of motherhood that you would like to accomplish?
I would love to grow my business. I really don't even know what that would look like because it’s always changing. But that’s what excites me about it!
What is one thing that keeps you sane?
Quiet time with God and date nights with my husband. I try to carve out time in the morning to pray and read my bible. It doesn't always happen but when it does, I feel like my day is better. I also try to schedule a date night once a week. Just gives me something to look forward to.
What is one question you'd like to ask our fellow mama readers?
I would love to know how other moms deal with multiple boys. It’s my biggest struggle as a mom, I think, and I’m probably feeling it more right now living in this tiny space with them. But still would love to know!