Another week, another inspiring #Realmomster to have coffee with. This time, meet Ashleigh Coryell, 30 year old stay at home wife & mom of three (5,3,10 months). She recently started diving into the influencer world about a year ago after having some pretty big revelations as to how she was loosing herself while being in the midst of the daily grind of motherhood. She has always loved inspiring and encouraging women, but after having this revelation she had even more fire in her belly to share daily life with other women and encourage them to pursue more than just motherhood – because it’s important for your kids to see you do so!
I love the honesty behind each picture on her Instagram, the funny facts and the naked truth behind those apparently “perfect” snaps… She keeps it real, honest and fearless while documenting her beautifully chaotic life with three kids. We had coffee with the mom of three and found out so much about her life as a mom, wife and online influencer! Keep reading…
Can you describe yourself in 3 words?
Compassionate, introverted, song bird.
What’s the #1 thing you like about yourself?
Gah my love handles! Those dang things just keep hanging in there haha.
How do you start your day?
My mornings are forever morphing.. right now I start my day with my kids waking me up. I get everyone’s breakfast ready, coffee started, bed made and then we get ready for the gym. Seeing as I’m basically riding solo in the morning, it takes me a long 2 1/2 hours to get just those few things done and out of the house to get a decent workout in before the kids place closes.
What wakes you up, gets you going, pumps you up?
My family! When I have a day full of quality time it fuels me for the rest of the week. I do what I do because I want my kids to learn that it’s possible to be a great mom AND do something you love. Quality time is my love language so hands down, if that is fulfilled it’ll pump me up for the rest of the week.
You’re a mom of three – have you always wanted three kids, did you plan them, how was each pregnancy different from the other? (Hmm, can we also talk about the 50 hour labour you went through with your daughter Haven ?…. #wow ).
Wow, this is such a loaded question, haha! Ever since I can remember I’ve wanted to be a mom! As far as how many… I knew that I always wanted more than 2 because I come from a family of 2 and we always wished we had just 1 more sibling. With that being said though, 3 feels right for us… we feel complete right now and I think that’s how it should feel, right?! We planned each one to be 2 years apart and thankfully, they are all almost exactly 2 years apart. Pregnancy for me was a dream! I LOVE being pregnant. I love dressing the bump, I love all the baby kicks… I love it all!
What is it like to have and manage three kids?
I always tell people that having 3 kids is like managing a beautiful circus.
It’s loud pretty much all the time, everyone is doing different things at all times and your mind has to be in a million places at once. With all of that said though… I wouldn’t trade it for the world. We run our household a bit differently seeing as my husband is a writer/actor & bartender. Every week looks different and anything can change in a minute so most of our plans, if it involves my husband, are almost always tentative. We have taught our kids to be flexible and because of that, we don’t really have normal kid schedules although we do try to maintain the normal 8:30 bedtime for our sanity. We have also chosen to homeschool, which we will be starting full time this summer! I’d be lying if I didn’t say I am a bit nervous but mostly excited to see how much my oldest daughter is about to flourish.
One of the things on my list is to have help with the kids, but as of right now unless we lean on some friends or pay for a sitter we don’t have any help. Usually when I’m working I sneak in an hour or so on my husband’s day off or stay up late after the kids go to bed. I may even put a movie on for them and work for he duration of the movie. At this stage in life giving myself grace is so important! We do what we have to do to get work and other important things done.
Working mom or stay at home mom?
I’m a stay at home mom who does blogging and other fun things for an outlet!
What was the biggest challenge for you about having kids and staying sexy, cool and interesting for your husband?
Time management!!! I used to be amazing at time management but after having 2 kids… all of that got thrown out the door. Staying physically in shape is definitely important to me for more reasons than just to look physically attractive to my husband. But also, not obsessing over it and recognizing how much time I really have to dedicate to working out. How do you keep the “flame burning”? Making sure that we are always feeding our individual love languages. If I don’t have quality time than my tank isn’t full and I more often than not start getting short. Same with him! He’s a physical touch/words of affirmations guy. When he doesn’t get that from me than he gets depressed and short. So we always try to keep our line of communication very open. Going on fun and interesting dates is fun too. Something out of the normal dinner and a movie date.
What’s something you feel judged for the most as a mom?
Honestly, I’m not sure I’ve ever cared what people thought of me as a mom from the get go. Maybe because I quickly learned that everyone has a different opinion as to how momming should look or be like. When I became a mom, everything that people were telling me wasn’t my story. Everyone is different! I’m dedicated to owning my motherhood journey and refuse to be shamed by any outsider for owning motherhood.
What’s something you swore you’d never do as a parent but now totally do?
Oh my gosh… so many things.. put my kid on a leash! Give them my phone or iPad… snacks as bribery.. need the list go on?!
How do you wind off?
After the kids go to bed I love to wind down with a favorite tv show. I usually have to schedule it in with my husband but honestly… since having my 3rd, this has been a massive struggle for me. Time is so tight and I also want to make sure that we have family time too. It’s a work in progress lol.
What does a normal day in your life look like?
Our schedule is as follows on a normal day right now: 6:30 am- wake up , 7:30 breakfast, 8-9:30 dressed and out the door (yes, it takes me that long to get 4 body’s ready to leave the house), 10am gym, 11:30 play at the park, 1pm errands 4:30 bath time for all kids, 6pm screen time/cook dinner 7pm my husband comes home/eat dinner, 8:30 read book/bed time, 9:30 us time, 10:30 bed.
What was your life like before babies and how is it now post babies? What’s the best thing you have learned about yourself after having kids?
So different! I mean I can barely even remember because I’m like “what did I do with all of that time?!” Haha! I worked at an urgent care working 12 hr days before babies. We went out on a lot of dates and slept in. Post babies none of that is happening but we are so so happy! Our babies are such a gift and ring us so much joy!
Where did your ambitions and priorities fall after being a mom of 3? How do you make sure you still follow your passions and not lose yourself in the role of “mother”?
This was my main reason for starting an IG account and blogging! After baby number 1 I realized how much I didn’t even know what I loved anymore. I was making the kids my world and was forgetting about myself. Allowing myself to take some time to “work” which for me is basically inspiring and encouraging other women, sharing clothes and other brands that I love to work with gives me an outlet to exercise what’s in me. It gives me an outlet to do something that’s for me! It tugs at my heart strings, makes me get creative and pushes me in all the best ways.
Any thoughts on Mom Guilt?
So many… Normally, I feel mom guilt it’s for small things like telling my daughter a simple no for something she wants or when I have to run errands, work and get stuff done, I have mom guilt! The reality is… I will fail my children multiple times in their life.. that’s inevitable. No one is perfect. I also know that I try to be an awesome, present mom so I try to remember that when asking myself the question “why am I feeling mom guilt?!”
What’s one thing your husband does as a parent that makes you love him even more?
The way he plays with our girls. He is ALL IN like all the time when he is playing with them. He’s got the voices down for every character, he’s animated.. I mean he is honestly the best dad in the world. It’s easy to let love blossom even more watching him with our kids because I didn’t have that as a child.
What’s one thing he does as a parent that makes you wanna punch him in the face?
Ha! There’s not many honestly… the first thing that comes to mind is when he’s driving.. for the life of him he cannot stay in the lanes without driving on what I call the brail a million times. It drives me nuts! And if he’s talking and using his hands it’s even worse lol!
You have been talking about loss on Instagram lately, and from reading your posts I gathered you have recently lost your father. I am terribly sorry for your loss, I can not imagine what you must have gone through. If it is not too uncomfortable for you, I would like to discuss the way you have talked to your kids about this event, how you tried to protect them but still be honest, how you have gone through it together as a family? What’s the one advice would you give to fellow moms/ women who go through the same thing?
Wow… there’s a lot I can say with this topic because it’s so fresh. I’ve not sugar coated anything with my kids. My 2 youngest are too young to even understand so I wasn’t so much concerned about them as much as I was about my oldest. She is already a super compassionate girl. She’s my feeler! She can sense anyone’s pain most of the time and she wants to care for you and make you all better. So when we headed to my parents house (for what I didn’t know would officially be my dads last week of life) it was first off, just myself and the kids because my husband had to work. It was by far one of the toughest weeks I’ve had in life. Juggling everyday motherhood, the emotions of myself/kids/my mom and then be there for my dad. I’m not sure how i was holding up and to be honest… I’m still kind of recouping.
My kids saw everything.. the hospice machines being brought in the house, the nurses, the hospice transport guys that had to come get my dad. The first full day that I was back home I had to help my dad out of the tub because he was too skinny and weak to help himself and my mom had left to get herself something to eat. I had my son crying downstairs, my middle playing and my oldest came upstairs because she wanted me to help her change costumes but I couldn’t leave my dad. (For the record, I knew my son was safe and just wanted attention!) when Haven walked in the bathroom she immediately clammed up and got scared because honestly, my dad looked as if he came out of holocaust. She had never seen him like that. From that point on she didn’t really want to go in his room, talk with him or hold his hand until I sat her down and was really honest with her. I told her that these are papas last few days of life… holding his hand right then and telling him how much you love him might be the last time you get to do that so love on him as much as you can now before he goes to meet Jesus! After that conversation she ran into his room and laid with him, holding his hand until he fell asleep. She’s so sweet! A couple days later when he had to be transported to a facility, the only way they could get him down the windy stairs was to roll him up in the sheet and carry him down that way. After they left, I was left alone with the kids and my oldest asked me very sadly “why did they take papa in a paper bag?!” So I had to explain that it wasn’t a paper bag, it was a sheet… and also that he was never coming back.. he was basically headed to go see Jesus and that was the last time she was going to see him. That was HARD for me.. so hard! Even just writing this I’m crying. Never in a million years did I ever think that I would have to explain to my very young children that their grandfather was about to die AND they were to see the very fast decline with their very own eyes.
My dad worked for a funeral home and my kids remember coming to visit him at work so when we drove up to the funeral home a couple days after he passed my daughter said “mom, this is papas work… why are we here?!”. I sat for a minute at the steering wheel and took a deep breath, turned around and said “You’re right Haven! This is papas job! His job was to help families throw a big party to celebrate someone that they loved who died. Now that papa is was Jesus all the people that papa worked with are going to help us plan papas big party to celebrate his life!” She smiled but also had a few tears and said ok!
I’ve learned through this process that sugarcoating doesn’t actually help anything…it just makes things more challenging. Children just need the truth served to them on an edible platter. It takes extra effort on our end to think of an edible way to deliver it but it’s so worth it. So, that would be my advice to others going through loss with children present. Explain everything so they aren’t in the dark, give them permission to cry and try to explain it all in such a way that it doesn’t scare them but is still informative and thy know what’s happening.
What’s the most embarrassing thing your kids have done in public?
My oldest has asked very loudly wether someone was male or female… my other daughter legit spread her legs in the middle off the mall ramp and pee’d & watched her pee stream down the ramp while people were walking by… so EMBARRASSING.
How do you find time for adult time?Do you have a lock on your door? How do you have sex? When do you have sex? Do you have secret tricks for having sex?
OK— this is still 100% something we are still working on. Sometimes we have to schedule it kind of. Most of the time we give our kids all of the yummy treats that we have, put on their favorite movie and tell them that we are going to have ‘alone time’ so only come get us if it’s an emergency.
First thing on your mind when you wake up?
That wasn’t enough sleep haha.
Last thing on your mind before you go to sleep?
How did I do today?
We know that life is not always what it looks like on Instagram… and with you being so present all the time, tell us how you do it – how do you hide your bad days, what goes on behind those picture-perfect snaps on your profile, when kids are actually moody and throwing tantrums, or you haven’t eaten in 10 hours, etc… Just the #nakedtruth and life #behindthescenes
I really do try hard to show both sides in my feed because I never want people to be under the impression that I’ve got it all together. Sharing with instagram my feelings with the loss of my dad was super vulnerable for me but also.. I recognize that my process could possibly help someone else’s process. Whether that’s a feeling of not being alone or just seeing that i go through hard things too and somehow that’s encouraging to you, it’s worth pushing past being uncomfortable. Being present is always a work in progress. Some days I’m great at it and others I fail miserably.
Cook in or order out? I would’ve said cook before 3 kids, now i say order out lol
Natural or C-section? Natural for sure even though I’ve had to had 3 c-sections
Tropical or adventurous family vacation? Tropical hands down!
Breast or bottle? Breast but thank GOD for bottles when the nips need a break
Never missing from my fridge? Coconut yogurt for my every night “dessert” that I add chocolate chips to
Solo vacay with the husband or with the whole family? Hands DOWN Solo vacay! Leave those babies at home with their nana! Lol
Thank you so much Ashleigh for being part of the Realmomster team, and for being so honest and true and funny about everything!