Audio (Podcast)

We Are Not Alone: It Takes A Village

Sarah Webb
By Sarah Webb

“You are more than enough. And YOU are doing an amazing job at life.” -Ashley Carroll

Ashley runs the podcast, It Takes A Village, all about marriage, motherhood and empowerment, some of my favorite topics.  Today she’s joined Plaid Radio to share her why with us and her thoughts around the need for a village to get through.

theashcarroll.com
ittakesavillagepodcast.com

Introduction:00:09Welcome to Plaid Radio by Plaid for Women and the #NoMeanGirls movement. Enjoy today's show and be inspired to change the world.
Sarah Webb:00:18Welcome to Plaid Radio. I'm your host, Sarah Webb, and I'm with today's guest, Ashley, from the Podcast, It Takes A Village. It Takes A Village, is all about marriage, motherhood, and empowerment, which are some of my favorite topics. So today, Ashley's joined Plaid Radio to share with us her "why" and her thoughts around the need for a village just to get through life. Welcome to the show, Ashley.
Ashley Carroll:00:37Thank you so much, Sarah. I'm so excited to be on and to share my journey with the platform and audience. I'm really excited.
00:45Excellent. Well, before we talk about the Podcast, give us the stats. Like where are you from? How long have you been married? Kids, dogs, plants? What's going on?
00:54Yeah, totally. So, I am Ashley Carroll, like you said. I'm originally from Orange County, California and then moved to East Texas. Actually, a town of 4,000, which was a huge culture shock going into high school, which is everybody's worst nightmare, right? So, the new girl in a small town, it was not fun! I've been married to a wonderful husband for almost six years in May and then we have a soon to be eight-year-old and a soon to be five-year-old this March and April. So, man, it's just crazy how fast they grow and… yeah, it's just so crazy! I'm still in shock that we're getting into birthday season right now and I'm not prepared at all.
01:40Well I have solved that. I have two kids as well, and they only get a big birthday party every other year because I kind of get overwhelmed with the planning. I am not a Pinterest mom and so I can't handle it. So we still celebrate in the off year, it's just not like the big school party and all of that. So, consider implementing that, if you can.
02:00That sounds like an amazing idea!
02:03Well share with us your desire to start the Podcast, It Takes A Village and how has the Podcast grown and who are your listeners?
02:12Yes. So, It Takes A Village, originated as a blog and used to go by a different name. I started with every mom I feel like is… that you have all these changes going on. You change as you get older. It's like, you become a woman, and that's a transformation right there, and then you get married, and it's another transformation or reinventing of yourself, and then you become a mom, and then it's like, “okay, now I got to figure out what to do with this,” and a really good way for me to organize my thoughts and to have an outlet was to write. And I was realizing as I was writing, [as] I was sharing my stories, that there were a lot of moms going through a lot of the struggles that I went through. I had a hard pregnancy. The way that we went about getting married and having kids was a little bit out of the ordinary. So, I'd write about that and I just realized that hey, if we talk about more of these things with each other and if we're real with each other, [if] we're not letting Facebook dictate how we feel and compare and think that other moms have it all together and we're over here like a hot mess and we're struggling, but yet we're not asking for help. I really wanted to start to bridge that gap between “I'm isolated, but I have 800 Facebook friends,” because we do! And then at the park it's awkward. You meet a mom and you're like, “oh, she seems like a good fit. Should I give her my number? Like do I Facebook friend?” And it's hard! It's a hard place to be a mom and to have all these things going on and have no way to talk. And so, I started the Podcast because I thought, I don't know everything, but I really want to bring some of these topics like, infidelity or infertility or just how your marriage changes or how to balance motherhood and raising toddlers, and then raising teens. All these topics that other people… I can bring other people on and ask them their opinion, ask them their advice and give that to other women. And so that's kind of how It Takes A Village Podcast was formed. Which is funny, because I was the kid growing up who when you used to have to call your friends on the phone, like you actually had to call them, there was no texting. You would call their house and the parents would answer and you'd have to say, “Hey, is Sarah home? Could she come out to go play,” or whatever. Like literally as soon as the parents would answer, I would hang up the phone. I was so nervous. And so it's so funny now that I was so passionate about this idea and creating this for women that I literally had to get over myself and get over a lot of fears just to create this. And now I do it every day, I'm talking every day, and it's just thinking about that is so funny. So, basically that answers your question of how it's grown, is that I was petrified. A mom who has no experience, I didn't go to school for Broadcasting, I actually went to school for Exercise Science, which I don't use at all. And so, I just got a microphone, watched a bajillion YouTube videos, and did it all myself. I worked late after the kids were asleep and I think that is really what drove me, is that I really believed in what I was doing and if I hadn't, I wouldn't have been able to put in all those hours teaching myself something that I didn't understand and had no experience in whatsoever. So, the Podcast went from me recording in my living room to having guests on like Maria Kang, [who] is known as the No Excuse Mom and then Jess Connolly, Caroline Paul, who is an author and she actually has a twin sister who is famous for being on Baywatch, and then Heather Avis, Chrissy Powers… Just a lot of women who I feel like are being transparent with the world. Whether it's on Instagram or in books like Caroline Paul writing Gutsy Girls, all those things. And it's just been amazing to see how many people really relate to this Podcast and really believed in my dream for it. So it's been exciting and it's definitely fun to see it grow.
06:16It is fun and I think sometimes when you're doing something and you don't know how to do it, like you said, you're not in Broadcasting, you were even scared as a child about talking on the phone, [but] when you push yourself outside of those boundaries, it's almost even more satisfying because you had to work so hard to get there versus maybe being a natural at something. I really like that. This month, we're all about village and making friends, none of us do this alone, and it really… especially after you have children… it's that mom group [where you can say], “my kid won't do this.” And someone either has a solution that's helpful or they [respond], “yeah, we were in a diaper until age 12” and you're [relieved] finally someone [understands]. Why do you think it's so hard for women to make friends as an adult? I feel like there's so much judgment out there [around] what kind of... If you have kids or if you choose not to have kids, if you're working or if you're not working. Why do you think that it's so hard for us?
07:15I think it's hard for one, because our plates are just so full as it is. If you have multiple kids, they're probably in sports and they have all these activities and we tend to put… as Moms, as women, we tend to put everybody else's needs above ours. So, we want to serve everybody else. We want to make sure all the things are done. The kids are to their places on time. They have good lunches. All these things. And I think that we forget that friendship is a huge part of something that we need in our lives to help us, [to] have community. We don't look at community as a need. We look at sleep and water and food as needs, but community is huge! It doesn't help that on Facebook, it does look like... because we're only posting good pictures, you know, we're only posting [things] like, “oh my son did this at his recital,” or whatever. I'm guilty of that as well. And I try to always post, every now and then, “Hey, me and my husband, we have fights, too. Our family photo looks perfect, but I was just literally yelling at him five minutes ago about how he didn't take out the trash,” or whatever. And so I think that not only does limited time keep us from making those connections, but just the idea that she's got it all together and were intimidated. We don't want to bring our… what we think is our messy lives into other people's perfect world. We think that they're not going to relate, you think they're going to judge us, but then the other mom's is thinking the exact same thing. So, that's why I say that it's so important that we are real with each other, that we're transparent, and that we're not afraid to reach out because if you notice, like I have, I pay attention to things, I'm really good at reading between the lines and sometimes people post things about, you know, their toddler who can't sleep at night. It's like a shining light in the darkness and you're like, oh my gosh, me too. And so, it's in those moments where you can really reach out and shoot a mom a DM [direct message] and say, “Hey, my kid is struggling sleeping, too.” And you can joke about it and can make connections. It's just seeing those moments where other people are like, we're real people! There's nobody that's doing it perfectly. Maybe we're just afraid to ask for help.
09:29Well, and I feel like sometimes Social Media, and this thought that everybody's perfect, is like a wall of judgment between two people and it's really… nobody has it all together. I try to show real pictures as well. Especially like when my kids are fighting. I'm like, “this is real life!”
09:47Wait! Let me get my camera real quick!
09:49I want to remember… I kinda even sometimes with my kids want to remember those “not as positive times” because then it makes the times that are more beautiful, when they actually don't fight for 10 minutes and they play together, I'm like, “Oh gosh, this is it!” I think judgment can be this wall that really separates us and we're really so much more alike than we think we are. So yeah, I totally get it. So, what are some of the memorable stories you have from your Podcast? Like after you've been interviewing all these women and they're being transparent and they're putting it out there, have you noticed any common denominator in interviewing these women?
10:28Oh my gosh. I cannot tell you how much I went into this Podcast thinking that I would be able to give it as like a gift to other women, but it's been an amazing gift and blessing to myself because these women are some of the most amazing people! I interview CEOs in Silicon Valley to the mom next door and no matter what her role, I'm always amazed at how strong they are, how resilient they are and just, man! Some of these stories are amazing! I had a woman, her book was called Rise, How a House Built a Family, her name is Cara Brookins and her story went viral and was on the news because she... Her and her kids built their house from the ground up by themselves. She was in an awful relationship and she’d finally had enough and [they] didn't have anywhere to go and what she could afford was a plot of land and the cheapest way to get a house for her was to build it herself. And so her and her kids watched YouTube videos and built their house themselves. And that to me, I mean that's just inspiring! Then I have a friend who was on a Podcast, Jen Rosenbaum and she's a boudoir photographer, and she was diagnosed with breast cancer and just how she overcame it and it gave her a new perspective on... She takes photos of women, to make them feel beautiful for living, and here she was about to lose her breasts. She got double mastectomy. And to hear her story and how she was able to thrive in the way that she looked at her situation, it was just so amazing. And so, I think that the common denominator that I've learned from all of the guests is that, we are strong, we are resilient women, and as Moms, especially because we have kids, it's like that Mama Bear in us comes out and we will do anything for our kids, and we can overcome. And if we put our, and it sounds so cheesy, but whatever we put our minds to, we can do it. Especially if our kids are involved, because it's always them over us. And man, we are protective of them! It's so amazing to see and hear the power that we have, that we have inside all of us, but yet some of us have more trouble believing it than others. And so, I think just helping women realize that we all have it in us. It's just learning how to channel it, learning how to use it and realizing that it's in you. It's just so amazing.
12:53I'm really excited! So, this year we're having our second annual #NoMeanGirls conference and it's all about women, first loving and having self-respect and self-care, because we, like you said, we're givers, givers, givers. Then also, breaking down those barriers and lifting other women up, because I think when we're together, and we talked about that community, we're unstoppable. Our keynote speaker this year is Karith Foster and her keynote speech is on, You Are Enough, because [I don’t know about you, but] I have this little reel in my head or this little voice that really tells me almost every day, “you're not enough, mom. You're not enough, wife. You're not enough, daughter. You're not enough. You're not enough. You're not enough.” [Yet] when I'm able to really squash that and move past that, I'm really able to do amazing work. I don't know where it is in our DNA and our imprint that even gives us that peace, but once we're able to get over our own selves, we're able to do amazing things. And like you said, you have that inside of you and sometimes it's just getting over yourself and that reel or whatever that negative thought train is that you have, once you get over that, it's like, wow, you just feel so free and you do this amazing thing. Whatever your amazing is. We all don't have to look the same.
14:13Yeah. We were all given... That's what I have learned also, is that my gifts are not the same as somebody else's gifts. So, like you said, you don't do the Pinterest birthday party thing. Some other moms might nail that, but they may be bad at being organized in their home or whatever. And so that's your gift and that's theirs and you don't have to compare it, it's just that we were given different gifts. So, when I want to have a Pinterest birthday party, I'm not going to force myself to fit that mold because I think that that's what I should be doing. I can ask that mom, “hey, you're really awesome at this and it seems like this is your thing and you're really have fun doing it. Can you do my party? Can you plan it for me? And in exchange, I'll help you organize your office or your house or whatever.” Because I think that's where it comes in, is feeling like we have to be all the things and we weren't made to do all the things because, we just can't. So yeah, I totally agree that once you get over that mindset of I'm not enough, then you're able to be so much freer in enjoying your position as a mom. Enjoying your position as the boss mom, a wife, whatever, because you're just doing it your way and you don't care. It doesn't have all that pressure attached to it. It's just you doing your thing and you can have fun and you can get it done. And it always turns out better that way, too.
15:33Well, let's get into your Nine Mom Truths. You recently shared this. So, let's go over the Nine Mom Truths and then maybe tell us why you think it's so important for mothers to hear this.
15:43Yeah. So, originally it came from the idea that I had read a blog post, 10 Things That I Want My Daughter To Know, and it was all great and I loved it and they are really good. They're things that I want my daughter to know. And when I was reading it, I was like, “why do I not tell myself these things?” Why do I spend so much time telling my daughter that she is beautiful, that she has strong as she is brave all of these things? And yet I'm here sitting over here like pulling out my fat on my tummy. I'm being the hardest on myself. I get down because I'm not strong enough or this or that. And so that's really where it came from. And so I just went through and was trying to like turn every point around from the article and put it towards moms. And so, the first one was, you are beautiful, because I think that's probably the one we struggle with the most, realizing that as our skin stretches, and pools and things fall and do all these things.
15:43You've had kids, that's just all there is to it! You're body has grown people.
16:58Exactly! And so, I really wanted to tell moms again that “hey, you're amazing, you're beautiful, your husband loves you, gave him all these kids, all these things.” But then I also reminded them that they are not alone. Just like we talked about, there's moms who are maybe not in your community, maybe not next door, but I'm sure there's a mom online. I'm sure there's a mom at your church, wherever, that can relate to, in some way, what you're going through. It's just that you have to be okay with embracing the awkward of, "Hey, like you sort of look like somebody I could talk to," and reaching out to those moms. The third point was, if you wouldn't say it to your daughter, don't say it to yourself. So, if I'm going to tell my daughter that she can do anything if she puts her mind to it, then I need to live that out. I need to example that for her, because what she sees momma doing, that's what she thinks she can do. If I'm telling her that to love herself in her own skin, then I need to do the same thing, because she's watching me as I look in the mirror, as well. The world may seem like it's holding you to an extremely high standard while your kiddos just want you. I think that's another thing, we are trying to do all these things for the appearance or for the approval of other moms like, “Hey, I'm doing a good job. Don't you see me? I'm a good mom.” Or we feel like we have to do it ourselves to prove to ourselves that we're nailing it as moms or as business women. And that's not true. Our kids… Half the time when we just do the mediocre, they're cool with that. Sometimes I'll plan this immaculate day and I'll think, oh, if I keep them busy and I do all these things, that's when they're going to be like, “mom, this is the awesome day!” But then sometimes it's… well we just chill and have popsicles and we hang out and that's what they really enjoy. You know?
18:47I completely agree. My kids always want me to jump on the trampoline and that's just not something I like doing. Last night I did it and both of my kids were like, “this is the best day ever!” I was out there for 10 minutes doing something that I didn't necessarily like, but they like, and it didn't cost me anything. I didn't have to put on special clothes, you know what I mean? Being with them and I was like, I need to write that down in my journal. I can still capture that feeling. I don't have to have this quintessential picnic and this big day planned. Just go jump on the trampoline with them, but note to self, next time I'll use the bathroom before I jump on the trampoline and that goes back to point number one that our bodies are different.
19:30I know! Oh my gosh, that's funny you brought that up because we just recently had a birthday party at like a trampoline park and I was like, “this is not a good idea.” But just going through all these truths, not only do I write for other women to hear it and because I think that they need to believe it and I really believe it for them, but I write and do these Podcasts because I need to believe it. So, a lot of the times I'm saying it for myself, so that way I can hold myself accountable to do those same things. I don't know if you want me to go through the rest of them, but those were like the most powerful things for me to do. Just to sit down and write out, wow, these are the things that I tell my daughter to do. Just a very good realization moment of, I really need to focus on how I'm treating myself and that that's important and I shouldn't take that lightly.
20:22Absolutely. And I'll be sure to link that up in our show notes so that our listeners can check that out. So, we've really focused on community and village and this need for friendship. Why do you think not just having your family is enough in today's world? Why do you think that we need this village or the support group of other women?
20:43I think that it is enough, I just think that we need another outlet. You can't always go to your husband and tell him, rely on him, to talk to you about how you pee yourself on the trampoline or what should I do to get rid of the lower belly fat or what do I do if I want to make lunchtime easier in the morning? And it goes back to, we all have different gifts, and I think that having that community allows us to speak life into each other's worlds and being able to talk to a mom who's nailed it at potty training, that is her thing, and [maybe] you don't get that part. You're like, “I don't know what I'm doing. I keep trying to feed him M&M's but he still won't aim it in the potty.” So, I think that having that community is a part of self-care for us. It's an outlet. It's a place that we can relate to one another. We can talk about things that we can't talk to our husbands about. We obviously can't talk to our children about. And it feels good to talk to other adults. We're talking babble to our infants and then we're talking like we're a part of the sesame street cast when we're talking to our toddlers, and so it's nice to say adult words and have conversations with other adults. And I think that you can find community anywhere. I think that the movies does an awful idea of displaying female friendships for the most part. There's some really good movies out there that show some good examples, but this idea that you're going to have this one friend that you've known since you were in kindergarten and you can tell her everything and anything is, I think, kind of a miss. And so, I think the way that we need to start looking at it is, a friend is a friend, no matter if she's local or virtual, and you can have many friends. You can have a friend that you go to about your business. You can have a friend that you go to about your marriage, but you don't talk to her about your business, because she knows nothing about that. Or finding all these moms that you can go to. And something that I've done recently that I wanted to share was, I don't know if you've heard of Voxer, it's an APP and it's sort of like a walkie talkie. And so, you press a button, like you can walkie talkie and you say, “hey, it's me just checking up on you guys. This is what I'm doing today,” whatever. So I started this Voxer group. I put on Facebook, “hey, I really want to connect with other women. This is really awkward, I don't know if anybody would want to join. I don't know really know you guys. But you know, if you do let me know.” I had a ton of people comment that yeah, they wanted to do life with other women. They wanted to talk about their business with other women. They wanted to talk about life and this Voxer group has only been created probably a little over a month, and we talk to each other every day. Like I've only met, in person, two of these women one time and the rest I absolutely have never met them and we have told each other things that we don't tell our people that are close to us. We've talked about our business… and that's why I want to really just drive home that if you just put yourself out there, you can have friends that are virtual and can be there for you and support you just as much as a friend that is local.
23:55Yeah, absolutely. I'm going to definitely check that out. Check out your group. So, you talked a little bit about, you have a great husband, but you're [also] very candid, marriage is tough and you tackle that in your Podcast. What are some pieces of advice that you'd give to others in marriages being challenged with raising small children?
24:15Yeah, so I am super passionate about date night. I know that it's hard, it's a hard concept, and a lot of moms say like, I don't have time for that. All these other things… But I think that date night has really made an impact on my marriage in that it's a chance for me to get out of my sweatpants. It's a chance for me to get out of the role of mom and really transition into wife and woman. I can put on a pair of jeans, actually fix my hair or do my makeup and connect with my husband without the kids interrupting. And maybe that means that you ask a mom to switch off watching your kids. Maybe it means hiring somebody for [a night]. I know that sounds hard but making it a priority just like you would set aside money for your phone bill or set aside money for this or that, setting aside money for a date night I feel is super important. Once my husband and I started doing that, especially after we had more than one kid, it was really impactful that we got to connect with each other one on one and have those adult conversations. For me, it was like I could step out of mom mode, because turning off mom mode is very hard for me, and just the physical walking out the door... I'm dressed differently. It's just him and I… There's something about that that helps me to step away from who Ashley is as a mother and then remind myself who I am as a woman, who I was that attracted this man, and really connect with each other. And so, I would say date nights is number one, and then number two, I think everybody's heard this a bunch of times, but learning about love languages has been really helpful in my marriage. We went a couple of years without knowing each other's love languages and then we took this quiz and we were like, “oh, that makes sense. I was not even approaching you in that way and you needed this and I wasn't even doing that.” That was another way that we were able to connect. Yeah. Those two I think have made the most impact in our marriage and I don't think that we would be able to be as sane or connect as well had we not implemented those two things.
26:23My love language is definitely unloading the dishwasher and acts of service, I think is what that one's called.
26:23Yes.
26:31We've talked about judgment, inclusion, picture perfect lives and we have our movement or campaign, #NoMeanGirls, which is all about supporting each other. Can you remember a time that you experienced mean girl treatment, either professionally or personally?
26:49I think that we can all kind of relate to probably that whole junior high… junior high and high school is so rough for girls because that's when we kind of get catty and competitive and our bodies are changing and we're comparing ourselves to each other. And so probably like most of the women listening, I had the same cattiness and cliques going on in high school where I would feel left out or isolated or, so-and-so would say this about me or I would say this, and rumors would get spread and my friends would stop talking to me and I'd sit alone in the cafeteria or whatever. But I don't want to focus on the mean girls, I want to focus on learning how to help girls and women realize that we can't control how others act, because there's always going to be some mean girl, and that's her thing. You've talked about that many times on this Podcast, it's usually not about us, it's about them. So, if we can't control them, if we can't control what they think and how they are treating us, I mean of course we could stand up to them and tell them what we think about that, but I think the biggest thing that we have impact over is how we respond and really owning the fact that it IS them and it's not us. That they get a rise out of us getting hurt or crying. [To be able to say], “okay, that's fine if you think that about me and I'm okay with that. That's your opinion.” And then just being able to move on, because I guarantee that when you become older, even in high school, you finding your people, whether it's one girl or maybe it's three girls or maybe it's a group of girls, those are your people. And if they give you life, if they can give you advice, and they can fill you up, then don't worry about what everybody else is saying. That's your people. You need to kind of stay in your lane and everybody else can just do what they want to do and say what they want to say. That's why I think that having your core group, whether it's one or two or three women around you, is important because those are the ones that are going to give you life amidst mean girling. Whether it's as an adult or in junior high or high school.
29:03I totally agree. Ashley, this has been a great conversation. It's been so wonderful to learn more about you and It Takes A Village. How can our listeners connect with you if they're interested in subscribing to the Podcast or following you online?
29:17Yeah. So, the Podcast is on everything from iTunes, Spotify, iHeartRadio… you can go to, ittakesavillagepodcast.com, you can find me there. You can shoot me a message. I'm on Instagram as @theashcarroll and then on Facebook, if you search It Takes A Village Podcast, you can find all the groups and all the pages on there, as well.
29:36Excellent. Well thank you so much for joining us. It's been a pleasure.
29:40Yeah, I'm so happy to be a part of your guys's Podcast and I think the #NoMeanGirls movement is an amazing thing that you guys are doing and I'm really excited to be able to share my story with you.
29:40Absolutely. Well that's a wrap for Plaid Radio.
Sarah Webb
A bit about me, I'm a wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend, employee and volunteer. I am married and have two children - one who aspires to be a secret spy ninja and the other wants be a doctor for toys...Read More
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