Meet our last, but certainly not least, mommy blogger, Ashley H.
Ashley worked with both Jens at their ad agencies before staying home with her twins. In Ashley’s previous life, she was a media genius and we’re super excited that she’s going to continue that on CSP. Ashley represents the North, as in Lake Norman and surrounding areas and we just love to hear the scoop up there. She also offers an honest perspective on new mommyhood as well as raising multiples. Is it me, or is there something in the water with the # of twins running around this city?!
Smarty Specialty: VP of Mommyhood x 2
Kids: Fallon & Cannon (boy/girl twins)
Lived here since: Birth (born and raised Charlottean)
Super Smarty Questions for Ashley:
What was it like when you found out you were having twins?
Sheer euphoria. We found out at 9 weeks. We actually expected to come out of that ultrasound with news that it was not a viable pregnancy due to some complications I was having. So to hear that they found TWO strong heartbeats was like being told we won the lottery. That’s a moment in time I will never forget. I still cannot believe how lucky/blessed we are to have a set of twins; it’s the most incredible experience ever.
What was it like for you transitioning from a full-time advertising director to staying at home with your twins?
Tough!!! Both worlds are intense so it wasn’t like trading one for the other was a shock to the system. Becoming a SAHM was my first time truly experiencing physical exhaustion as opposed to the mental exhaustion that comes with the ad world…though I hear the mental exhaustion comes back into play with parenting teenagers, but for now I’ll pretend I didn’t hear that. The loneliness that comes with the isolation of being a SAHM was also hard, I worked with some incredible people and was used to being around a lot of people every day. I was also struggling initially with feeling that I’d lost a bit of my identity that was tied so closely with what I did for a living. However, I didn’t join the mommy club not realizing what I was signing up for. This is the most important job I’ll ever have and I’m grateful every single day that I am at home guiding these two beautiful creatures through life. I absolutely LOVE it and do not desire it any other way!
What is your best advice for women when they first stay at home?
It’s hard, but stick to doing something every day that makes you feel good (productive) about yourself. For me it was, and still is, making myself presentable most days by taking a shower, putting on a cute outfit (even if it is still maternity wear) along with a few dabs of makeup. It goes a long way in helping me feel better about me, because let’s face it is tough dealing with post-baby body image! Another piece of advice is to go easy on yourself! You’ll get A LOT of well-intended advice from friends, family, the internet and books…take it with a grain of salt. Don’t go overboard on reading too much (you’ll work yourself into frantic hysteria that you are doing everything wrong)… be educated but let your own motherly intuition be your best guide. Pat yourself on the back daily and be mindful of what a wonderful job you’re doing, and enjoy the ride. It goes fast!
>What is your favorite place to buy maternity clothes?
I was lucky and didn’t have to buy a lot because a girlfriend of mine lent me a bunch of her maternity wear, but I did purchase a few things from Gap maternity that I liked. Since I was on bed rest for 5 months I really didn’t need to sport a hot momma look, so yoga pants & sweat shirts were my daily staples.
Did you ever watch “A Baby Story” on TLC?
Ad nauseam. And I thought pregnancy hormones were to blame for my sappiness every single time a baby was born….wrong! It still gets me each episode.
What is your favorite activity with your kids?
Our weekly gym class at Rolly Pollies in Mooresville, the staff is incredible and the owners, Kerry, Laura & Marty, are so awesome!
What is your favorite restaurant with kids?
Mac’s in Cornelius – just opened recently, original location is on S. Blvd. Fallon & Cannon love the mac-n-cheese and collard greens – great for babies just figuring out table food.
What is your favorite restaurant without kids?
131 Main and/or Dresslers
What is your favorite children’s boutique?
Again, I am so fortunate. My sister-in-law has pretty much outfitted the twins. She shops boutiques, etc. in PA. I also have a girlfriend who has two boys so she has lent me clothes for Cannon. I owe these two a great deal!!! However, I have a few favorite places when I do shop…Janie & Jack is my all time favorite, Baby Gap is adorable, Pout Couture in Cornelius is too cute. For those nursing, expecting or with newborns I HIGHLY recommend The Milky Way. They can help with all your needs in those initial months (aside from the cute clothes aspect that they also offer). I love Poppies at Birkdale for cute gifts and monogramming needs.
What is your favorite place to get a good deal on children’s clothes?
Sales at Janie & Jack are the BEST, my hands-down favorite. Gymboree sales are good. LNMOMS (Lake Norman Moms of Multiples) Spring & Fall sales are awesome overall but especially for coordinating twin sets.
What is your favorite weekend escape?
Have I missed the memo, is there such a thing???? Actually, I haven’t escaped much in the past 11 months but I did take my first girls weekend trip away last month to Banner Elk and REALLY enjoyed my wine and sleeping past 6am!
Jetton Park in Cornelius
Minivan or SUV?
SUV. But we are in denial and still drive “cars”.
Best thing about raising a family in Charlotte?
It’s my home town; I’m a native and happy to raise my own children here. It has grown up so much and has so much more to offer culturally and educationally for kids now. The annual Festival in the Park and Nature Museum at Freedom Park used to be the extent of representation in these categories. In addition to being a fantastic city with great weather year round, Charlotte’s central location to the mountains and beach is ideal!
I could not live without my…
Double Snap-n-Go in the first 6 months. EZ-2 Twin Nursing Pillow for twin moms who plan to breastfeed. Dr. Browns sippy cups – easy to suck from for babies just learning. Summer Infant portable Video Monitor – for twins moms and you can purchase an additional camera. The Ultimate Crib Sheet by Basic Comfort @ BRU. If you are expecting, register for these and forget the traditional crib sheet. You DO NOT want to be taking off your bumper & lifting up mattresses to change sheets with newborns and babies. Cloth diapers for burp cloths. They are the best and make great dust rags later. Bebe au lait nursing apron (hooter hider for nursing moms and very fashionable:-) Bravado nursing bra- this is the best in my opinion. My family for all the support they’ve given me this past year. My incredible husband who makes raising twins a fun and sane experience. My laptop. Wine.
I wish someone had told me sooner about…
Online grocery shopping at Harris Teeter! And the Ultimate Crib Sheet by Basic Comfort at BRU.
Best kept secret in Charlotte?
For the LKN point of view, not sure that it’s much of a secret but getting out on Lake Norman in the summer during the week is the absolute BEST…less boat traffic and the islands aren’t packed. Also, The Landing (hole in the wall) in Sherrills Ford has the best ribs…accessible by water, makes for a fun night to pack a cooler and take the boat.
OK, that wraps up our mommy blogging team. If you have a super smarty friend who you’d like to nominate for Smarty Mom/Dad Saturday, email us here. We’d love to hear about her/him and why you’re nominating them. Stay tuned on Wednesday – the countdown to our new design is on. On Wednesday, you will wake up to the new CharlotteSmartyPants.com. Charlotte hasn’t seen anything like it!!