Ashley C Williams/actress/environmentalist/NYC
What is your definition of a crushable Mama?
I've had crushes on mamas before and for me it's usually their badass Amazon goddess like essence and their cubs resembling mini versions of them with the same inner strength. That just makes my heart gush onto the floor.
What is the most rewarding thing about motherhood?
Every day I am in absolute awe that I created this little human being. I have the greatest opportunity to set an example for the next generation. I get to guide my little one to reach his full potential and more. Because Tristan is a part of me, we have this beautiful connection and when he looks at me with these big inquisitive eyes and is observing my every move and every sound, this rush comes over me. Even in my most tired state, my most grumpy, at a loss, "what is my life, I can't do this" kind of state... he will do something like grab my face with two hands and just stare at me, the corners of his lips smirking, his eyes shining, his tongue clicking. Or he'll press his mouth against my chin and let out some kind of ecstatic animal like squeal or give me a big knowing smile, when he discovers something new. His natural innocence, playfulness and presence is contagious. He's a daily reminder for me that nothing else exists except for right now.
Where has motherhood pushed you to grow the most?
Motherhood has totally pushed me into letting go and trusting. Before I had a child, these were my greatest challenges. Being thrown into this role somehow gave me a whole new perspective on life. I have the biggest responsibility in the world now and it's scary and tiring, yet somehow I feel stronger and more confident than ever. Somehow I'm making more time for my dreams to come true, somehow I feel more alive and inspired than I have ever felt before. It comes and goes of course and I have lots of difficult days. But it's as if I was reborn with my baby and we are learning and growing together.
What are your top 3 best tips for a new mama?
What has been your biggest challenge as a parent?
There have been lots of challenges but the biggest one has been finding balance and asking for help.
What is your parenting philosophy/approach?
I guess if I were to put names to my philosophy on parenting it would be a combination of Attachment parenting and Spiritual. When i found out I was pregnant I knew I wanted to try and do everything as natural as possible. From the pregnancy to the birth to his first years and beyond. It's a very down to earth approach. I didn't read too much about this way of parenting because it's very similar to how my parents brought me up and what I'm doing for myself, so a lot of it is second nature. I believe that to co sleep, nurse on demand and carry him in a sling close to me early on, strengthens the intuitive, psychological and emotional bond between us. The more I connect with him, the more I know him and can give him what he needs more quickly. On a spiritual level, I want to be a role model for my son. I want to be whatever I want my child to learn and experience. I want to focus on raising inner awareness, a higher consciousness and being connected with everything in the NOW. Basically I just want him to learn how to Be ! I want to guide my child instead of teach. I want to help him find his own potential by supporting his interests and practice FULL acceptance.
What has been your biggest surprise about motherhood?
I was told about the overwhelming love you feel for your child and also the overwhelming exhaustion. I am continuously surprised at the intensity of the two every day. They are both very real.
What is your approach to food and raising a child?
I grew up a vegetarian. My dad works in the organic foods industry so from a very young age I learned about the kinds of foods we should be eating to keep our bodies clean and healthy, and also to keep the environment healthy and the doctors away ! I'd like for Tristan to have a plant based lifestyle. I'm feeding him good organic fruits and vegetables from local farms and not buying any of the store bought baby food that is loaded with sugar and/or processed enough to make it shelf stable for more than 2 years. I am proof that a child can grow healthy and strong without eating meat and dairy. It's also been helpful for me, as a vegan, to cook for him cause it inspires me to find new recipes every day and make it fun and creative. So I'd like to raise Tristan this way until he is old enough to make his own choices about how he'd like eat. Hopefully he continues the clean eating!
What is your approach to disciplining your child?
I haven't really thought much about this honestly. Tristan is still too young for me to implement any kind of disciplining. I imagine when we get to that point i will do my best to help him understand why what he did was wrong. And what he could have done instead. I love the idea of just helping him learn to make the right choice. I think it's so easy for a parent to punish a child by sending them to their room without dinner, or taking their favorite toy away, or rewarding them with candy when they do something right. For one thing children are very smart and they will quickly learn and take advantage of this system. Then they aren't doing the right thing for the right reason. I want him to do what's right and learn why it's right. Not learn that good behavior is for the sole purpose of getting candy or a new toy. I'm sure this is easier said than done and like I said I haven't gotten to this point yet, but this is what I have in mind.
4 tips to finding balance in motherhood?
This one is a work in progress. But I'm starting to find that what works for me on a daily basis is:
Your top 4 lessons you wish to instill in your child?
What are you letting go of?
The past, the future, worry, mistrust, impatience.
What are you calling in?
Love, trust, acceptance, sunshine