By Jessica J. Wilson
From the outside looking in, Ashley Dressler exhibits every aspect of an outstanding mother. She is nurturing, helpful, sweet and, even in frustrating situations, she shows nothing but grace toward her three young children. Being a mom is challenging, but she makes it look effortless. Let’s take an inside look at Ashley’s secrets to surviving potty training, sleep deprivation and keeping a marriage solid.What is one of the funniest moments you’ve had being a mom?
The summer Addison turned 2 years old, we were potty training when we took our annual road trip up to Michigan. From where we lived at the time, it was a seven and a half hour drive, and I stressed the entire drive wondering not if but when we were going to have a potty accident.
Addison did a fantastic job telling us ahead of time when she needed to “go,” so that we could find an exit with an acceptable restroom for our travel potty seat to touch, get into the bathroom and get situated in time for her to actually go potty. Well, we hit a stretch of the drive where there were no bathrooms for miles, and Addison of course ended up needing to “go.” So my husband explained that there are times when you have to use the “special potty,” but that it’s only okay to use the “special potty” when mommy and daddy say that it’s okay. Addison’s little brain was completely confused when we pulled off to the side of the road on a deserted exit and had her “go” in a field of flowers.
So far, what’s your scariest moment of being a mom?
One day, Addison (who was 15 months at the time) and I were upstairs and we were walking from the master bedroom across the hall to the guest room. For whatever reason, it completely slipped my mind to hold her hand as we walked across the hall. A split second later, she was tumbling down the stairs, in what seemed like slow motion. To this day, I can relive that sight as if it were happening before me this very moment. It was the scariest and worst feeling of my life. Not only was I terrified for my daughter’s tiny body, but I felt like I had completely failed as a mother.
While it could have been far worse, Addison ended up breaking her wrist, which had to be in a cast for three weeks. While wrestling with incredible guilt and feeling like a failure for forgetting to grab Addison’s hand as we walked across that hallway, God was gracious enough to meet me and tend to my heart. This was the moment I realized that I couldn’t protect Addison (or any of my kids) from everything. Of course, we, as parents, strive to care well for our children and protect them as best we can. But there is a freedom in understanding that our kids have been entrusted to us, to help shape them, guide them and love them well.
How do you maintain a solid marriage after having children?
Tangible ways that Adam and I strive to maintain a healthy marriage in the midst of busy life is to keep our marriage (and each other) on the forefront of our minds, every day. This looks like serving one another, thinking of ways to celebrate one another, trying to make life easier for the other person. Taking time to date each other is also critical. Time spent together equals relationship. Get time away from the many demands of kids, work and life, so you can be reminded of all the amazing reasons why you chose to say “I do.”
What’s in a name?
We walked through a difficult season of infertility before having our first daughter. So, when looking at baby names, we fell in love with the name Addison, which means “daughter of Adam.“
Getting out of the house with two kids and a baby.
Must-have baby gadget?
Anything that keeps your hands free — wraps, slings, carriers… I just ordered a Baby K’tan.
Best advice about being a mom?
The tough moments you experience as a mom are just a season, and they will grow out of it. The opposite is true, too.
Do you know an interesting mom we should feature in our #MWM section? If so, message “Fort Campbell Families” on Facebook with her name and contact information.