Who: Ashley Reth
Where: Westbrook, Maine
With: My husband Terry, my daughter Poppy, our 2 cats, Boy + Girl
What: The General Manager + Buyer for Little (a children's boutique in Portland, Maine), and a collector of vintage clothing with a love for styling.
Tell us a little more about what you do!
I have been working for Little since we opened in 2015, helping to design the layout of the store and curate the assortment of ridiculously cute product. Over 4 years later, my role has shifted from being hands on with merchandising + interacting with customers to helping with all aspects of the business, both in-store + for our website. I love that every day is different.
— On Self
How would you describe your style/aesthetic?
I aspire to have a more minimalistic approach to life, but at the same time I love “things”. I love collecting special items + decorating my home with them. I try to buy well made, sustainable pieces as well as second-hand for myself (+ Poppy). Letting go of fast fashion is something I have worked hard at. Now I think hard about my investments, but know the money is being spent in a way I feel good about.
What's your routine for getting ready in the morning?
Even after 24 months of being a mom, I have yet to figure out the best morning routine. It feels like we are always rushing for the door. Poppy is still waking up at night so some days it’s a little harder to get up in the morning. Once we are up, we take turns getting ready while the other person gets Poppy ready or packs lunches. One of my personal goals is to be able to slow down our mornings so we can sit together for breakfast, drink coffee outside in the sun, and maybe feel like we are not always racing the clock.
What would you say is your go-to uniform?
I am usually in some version of a high waisted, wide leg pant + a boxy cropped sweater or oversized button down with Vans or Converse. I like to mix it up with adding some vintage here + there, or a wearing a dress (usually mid length and loosing fitting) or jumpsuit. Comfort is key while still being able to show my personal style.
— On Motherhood
How do you create mom/life balance for yourself?
I know it will never be a true balance, but always a work in progress. After becoming a mom and especially after going back to work, I had a hard time taking care of myself. This is something I still to work on, but I have made a point to set boundaries for myself. I put my phone away when Poppy is around, though I do keep it close enough to snap a photo. When I am working, I try to keep my focus on what I can get done that day so I can go home feeling good about turning it off later. My therapist told me to focus on quality time over quantity; while I want to spend all my time with my daughter, I know that is not realistic. Once I started putting my focus on really being present and thinking about quality rather than how many hours are in a day, I saw a shift. I am still far away from where I want to be in regard to taking care of myself but I am working on it.
What is your biggest accomplishment as a mother?
I've only been a mother for a little over a year but I feel like Poppy and I have already developed a strong bond. I see her big, beautiful personality come out around me and I know she feels safe and loved.
What is your most vivid memory from your journey to motherhood?
I was really nervous about having a baby. I knew deep down I was pregnant and for no reason at all, thought Terry was going to be upset when I told him (he wanted a baby, so go figure). I finally took a test. I waited till he was in the shower to show him the stick and he cried with joy. That instantly broke down my wall. It didn't make all my fears go away but it did make me excited to be having a baby. And it turned out, I have never felt as confident as I did when I was pregnant. I loved the way I looked, the way my body was changing. It was so empowering to know you were growing a tiny human inside of your body!
What does a typical day-in-the-life with your family look like?
We are up around 6-6:30. Terry takes Poppy to daycare, and we both head to work. Usually by the time I get home, Terry is home with Poppy and has started dinner. We eat together then get Poppy ready for bed. Once she is asleep, Terry and I either catch up on some chores around the house or watch a few episodes of our current show.
How did your upbringing differ from how you raise your own kids?
Poppy comes everywhere with us. She is truly integrated into our lives. Yes, our lives have changed drastically since we had her but we still get to enjoy the things we did before we became parents but now with Poppy. I don't remember it being that way growing up.
One nugget of wisdom for other mamas?
Go with your gut. While it is great to get advice and read all the things, sometimes you need to just turn off the noise. Being a mother is an incredible thing. Our intuition will guide us in the right direction for our kids and our families. Doing things outside the norm or different from people you know is okay, no matter how hard it is. Other people will make you doubt everything even though you know in your bones it is right. It is hard, but don't let them.
— On the Future
What are your hopes and dreams for your children?
I want Poppy to be herself. I want to do the things she loves doing, no matter what they are. I want her to be a kind human being. And I really hope that she loves herself starting at a young age.
When your kids are grown and out of the house, what will your Saturday mornings look like?
Drinking a cup of coffee and reading the paper, talking a walk or going for a drive with Terry. Slowing down.
Move to an apartment in the West End of Portland, travel, make things.
— Quickfire Round
It may sound simple but being able to buy all my food locally and know where it all comes from is the baseline for knowing that I've 'made it'. Also, owning a home right on the ocean and being able to travel anywhere I want.
Can't live without:
Burnout by Emily + Amelia Nagoski - highly recommend it!
Alarm clock set to:
Reality TV - Queer Eye, Great British Baking Show
Rule you always break:
I set a timer for Instagram and I reset it a few times a day...
That one where you get a full nights sleep in like an hour
My sister. She is a great mom, an amazing teacher, is a strong woman, + for the most part has her shit together.