xoNecole's Moms Who Inspire series highlights modern day moms mastering all the tasks on their plate, from day to day responsibilities to ensuring their children are kind, educated and well-rounded human beings. Each mother describes their inspiration, what motherhood means to them, and how they maintain their sense of selves while being the superwoman we all know and love.
For Ashley Sirah Nicole Chea, being a modern mom is anything but playing it by the book.
In fact, the author, writer, mother, and all-around creative being chooses to honor motherhood for what it is: a woman who happens to be a mom. Her identity isn't eclipsed by her being a mother, instead it is an extension of who she is and who she is becoming everyday.
The blogger behind Watermeloneggrolls was first introduced to the xoNecole audience when she shared her proposal to husband Chea in a love story that proved love has no color. "I was set on marrying a black man that burned incense and listened to Lauryn Hill and Dwele in the late hours of the night like myself. Instead, Chea came into my life with every topical difference possible," she revealed. "Our souls have always been aligned and that is what spoke to our hearts when we met."
Her multicultural marriage to her husband would later be featured on Black Love, OWN's groundbreaking docuseries highlighting love stories from the African-American community. And although the focus is often placed on her epic love with her husband Chea, Ashley is also the co-creator of two other love stories (and one in progress) in the form of her beautiful children.
Ashley's first pregnancy at 23 was anything but planned, but she knew she'd be great at it regardless. After experiencing loss when her sister died a year prior, her oldest daughter AmirahLee was a vessel for restored faith she didn't know she needed. Motherhood would be transformative for Ashley, but also whatever she wanted it to be.
As a Mom Who Inspires us, Ashley shares how her faith, her family and her upbringing continually inspire her to thrive as a wife, mother and creator.
On what motherhood means to her:
For me, it's a chance to show God's grace.
I believe it's the greatest responsibility in the world. It's my chance to show how great a human can be if you cultivate them with love and respect.
On the three words that represent her approach to motherhood:
Create. Love. Empower. I live by this motto I created for my life, motherhood, and business. If you do all things with this in mind, you will be fine. When I think about their future careers, I want my children to learn from me to do things that make them happy and contribute to this world in a positive way.
On what a typical day in her household looks like:
I make breakfast, homeschool my eldest daughter, play with and help my 19-month-old learn. Work on writing and run around like a chicken with their head cut off. I'm also pregnant [with our third daughter] so I take naps when my husband gets home (laughs).
On how she balances work and home life:
There is no such thing. Some days, you are better in one area than you are another. It will always be that way. Accept it and move on.
On what she believes to be true about herself:
I believe that God speaks to me and I always listen. So when I have a deep feeling, desire, dream that shakes my core I act on it. I dreamed about my children's book, woke up in the middle of the night wrote it and it ended up selling out 3k copies and I self-published it. I dreamed about writing a script and I'm doing that now and I know it will manifest.
I don't question anymore, I just do the work and wait for the universe's timing.
On how motherhood led her back to her first love:
I also used to be a ballet dancer, when I became a mother I had to give that career up temporarily to move back to Ohio to raise my child. Once I was there I was spending more time writing and creating. It was challenging because it took my life in a different direction. I ended up creating a children's book and that pushed my career into a whole new direction.
On the most important thing motherhood has taught her:
We really don't know anything (laughs). Everything we thought we knew can be challenged and changed.
On what scares her about being a parent:
I'm scared every day. They keep changing and growing and as soon as you master one age they change and get older and that brings new challenges.
I just take it one day at a time and understand that I must evolve with them.
On prioritizing her children's individualism:
I respect them and treat them as humans and not my little robots. They will understand that by me allowing them to be themselves, I've given them the greatest love possible, which is freedom.
On how she practices self-care:
By telling my kids and husband no when I feel overwhelmed. It's important my daughters understand that being a mother does not mean we have to over exhaust ourselves.
On her relationship with her mother:
My relationship with my mother was and is very strong. Very open and very encouraging. She's always supported me and pushed me to be my greatest self. She taught us to be respectful, to question and research.
To do things because they mean something and not because everyone else is doing them.
She taught us about mental, spiritual and physical health. I've used those exact tools when raising my children.
On how her mother inspires her:
My mother, she is constantly inspiring me because she hasn't stopped growing or learning. She calls me and tells me things she did wrong, things she wished she did differently and challenges me to read and learn from my mistakes as well as hers. She is growth, and that gives me so much inspiration to do the same.For more of Ashley and her darling little ones, follow her on Instagram.