Guest Pep Talk (Ashley Simmons): How I’m succeeding and failing all at the same time.

I set very reasonable goals for myself this year.  Very reasonable.  Things were going well, but I didn’t want to set myself up for failure. In the back of my mind I was thinking, “I can so do this, and I will even go above and beyond. This is going to be awesome!”  Well, spoiler alert, it wasn’t awesome.

As many of you know I had the experience of carrying, birthing, and caring for a beautiful baby girl this year.   Everyone tells you how hard it is going to be. Some really lovely people tell you how amazing it is going to be. And in truth, it is both. However, somehow my Husband and I ended up with a really wonderful child. She was eating on a predictable schedule and sleeping at minimum of 7 hours a night at 7 weeks old.  There were a few bumps in the road, but really, it was great.

This little pumpkin is the adorable reason I don't sleep anymore.

This little pumpkin is the adorable reason I don’t sleep anymore.










Fast forward to end of October. I have a 4-month-old and I’m feeling pretty good. I’m thinking I have the hang of things as a full time working Mom. I was excited to getting back to being more regimented about my exercise routine and healthy eating habits (pregnancy had thrown me a bit off course). Then November rolls around and BLAMO! My daughter regresses. Now she is waking up every 3 hours at night, she refuses to take her naps, and she wants to eat, what feels like, all the time. To make matters worse, over the following weeks I got a terrible cold, followed by awful allergies, followed by my fifth and worst breast infection yet. If you have never had a breast infection (I have no clue if men or non-nursing women can even get them), think really bad flu/high fever/can’t get out of bed/want to die/lots of pain/but still have to feed and take care of a baby. I was distraught and exhausted. November was supposed to be my month. My month to get back on track. My month to have no excuses.

Now my goals were reasonable.  I wanted to exercise 1-2 times per week and just cut out processed/refined sugars.  I had cut out processed sugars before and it really wasn’t so bad. In fact, after a little while you completely stop craving them. Yet I found myself refusing to read certain labels because if I didn’t “know” that there was processed sugar in it, then I could somehow pretend that it was okay to eat.  Yes, I somehow pretended away the sugar in Ketchup and BBQ sauce this month. As far as the exercise goes, 1-2 time a week was what I was already doing prior to November so no big deal. Ha! All of the sudden I would realize that the end of the week was here and I hadn’t even gone for a walk. So I would park my car further out at the grocery store. This way I could say I got some “exercise” while walking to and fro. I was carrying my 15 lbs daughter in her 13 lbs car seat, so that makes it a little better, right? Obviously this wasn’t how I wanted my goals to go.

I knew I could do better. But all the things that were happening were real, and felt real. I tried so hard not to let them become excuses. But some days I was just too tired to care (that’s an excuse right there…) that I was failing.

Then it hit me. It hit me in an exhausted stupor. There is one area that of my life in which I make no excuses. No matter how tired, sick, or discouraged I am I will always hold, feed, care for, and love my daughter. No excuses. She wouldn’t understand them anyways.

My NoExNo goals, my goals, may not being going as planned, but at least I know that I am capable of pressing forward through all the obstacles without excuses. Now I just need to work on transferring that skill to other areas. I won’t stop trying. No excuses.


Ashley Simmons is a full-time employee, part-time photographer, and mother to a beautiful baby girl.

Ashley is tired.

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