When Career and Motherhood Collide, Find Your Community with Ashley Reckdenwald | Ep #64

March 9, 2023

When Career and Motherhood Collide, Find Your Community with Ashley Reckdenwald | Ep #64 If you agree that being a mom and managing a career is hard work, then you’re in the right place my friend. Ashley Reckdenwald is the founder of Working Mom Notes, a popular Instagram account and online community for working mothers. After […]

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When Career and Motherhood Collide, Find Your Community with Ashley Reckdenwald | Ep #64

If you agree that being a mom and managing a career is hard work, then you’re in the right place my friend. Ashley Reckdenwald is the founder of Working Mom Notes, a popular Instagram account and online community for working mothers. After struggling work as a Physician’s Associate and being a new mom, Ashley tried hard to balance the office, surgeries, breast feeding, and family. She was shy to ask for support, so Ashley created an online Facebook Group in her hometown of Princeton, New Jersey that became a lifesaver. This sense of community led her to create Working Mom Notes, and over six years later she left her work as a P.A. and is now running her online business full time, while raising her kids. Ashley is also the co-host of the Motherhood and Career Collide Podcast. Join career coach and host of the Second Act Success Podcast, Shannon Russell, as she has an in-depth conversation with Ashley to hear how she pivoted to become a business woman growing an incredible network for women. Listen to Episode #64 of the Second Act Success Podcast.

Ashley Reckdenwald

Ashley Reckdenwald, Founder of Working Mom Notes




CONNECT with Ashley Reckdenwald: 

Website – workingmomnotes.com




Motherhood and Career Collide Podcast 


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Second Act Success Career Podcast
Season 1: When Career and Motherhood Collide, Find Your Community with Ashley Reckdenwald Episode: #64
Host: Shannon Russell
Guest: Ashley Reckdenwald
Transcription (*created by Descript and may not be perfectly accurate)

[00:00:00] Ashley Reckdenwald: that's why working motherhood is just.

It's a force of nature that you don't understand until you're actually in the thick of it. Not just one day, but like every day. And I say that to new moms all the time, like, keep in mind that literally you're building endurance as a working mother or a mom in general. Learning how to sort of work on less sleep your day starts earlier and ends later because you're tending to children and there's more in your mind because you're thinking about all the things you need to do, not only for yourself anymore, but for a little. Child and all of that takes time to build up that stamina, that endurance. You can't just go out there one day and say, I'm gonna run a marathon and do well. You have to build up to it little by little and training, and that's what you're doing. Whether you want to be or not, is your training for motherhood when you become a new mom.

[00:00:50] Shannon Russell: Are you at a crossroads in your career? Ready for a change, but you're not sure how to get there? Don't worry. We are about to produce your best [00:01:00] life together. Welcome to the Second Act Success Podcast. I am your host Shannon Russell. I am a former television producer, turned boy Mom. I left my dream job to find family balance, and in doing so, I produced my dream.

Now I am a business owner, podcaster, and career coach. My mission is to help other women like you find what they are truly meant to be doing. If you are ready to start over in your career or pivot to a new purpose, then get ready to be inspired by stories of women who have done just that. We will share advice, an actionable tip.

To motivate you as you move along on your path. It is time to shine. So let's start producing your balanced life of abundance today. This is Second Act


Okay. Raise your hand if you agree that being a mom is hard work. Thanks to my guest today. It has become a little easier and a little less lone. [00:02:00] Ashley Reckdenwald is the founder of Working Mom Notes, a website designed to connect working moms through community. Her Instagram has gone viral many times and she has over 35,000 followers.

Today on the show, we will be talking with Ashley about life pre-kids, when she was an athletic trainer and a physician's associate, and how she pivoted to become not only a mom, but someone who has grown an incredible network for women. Let me introduce you to Ashley Reckdenwald. Ashley, hello. Welcome to Second Act Success.

[00:02:34] Ashley Reckdenwald: Hi. Thank you so much for having me. I'm so excited to be here.

[00:02:37] Shannon Russell: And we were just chatting, we're both in New Jersey. We're both moms who have commuted to New York City. So this will be a fun conversation. Yes. So why don't you tell me about kind of how your career began, maybe right out of college you went to University of.

[00:02:52] Ashley Reckdenwald: Yes, yes. I went to the University of Delaware and at the time I thought I was gonna be like a pre-med type of a [00:03:00] thing and fell into athletic training. I really love sports and it was the perfect combination of sports and medicine. They have a great athletic training program. There at the University of Delaware. And so that's what I ended up doing. And when I graduated from college, I got a great job in New York City for a physical therapy company and I was working there always knowing that it was gonna be just like my fun. I'm in New York City, I'm single, I'm out of college, kind of a gig with the goal to go back to graduate school.

And I was trying to decide what that was going to be ultimately. Decided to go back to graduate. For physician assistant. So I applied to only schools in New York City because I loved Manhattan . Yep. So it's like I'm not going anywhere else. And got into a PA school in New York, went to PA school and then ultimately got a job in Princeton, [00:04:00] New Jersey for an orthopedic private practice.

So I was doing kind of the best of both worlds in my mind of the background in sports medicine. Then leveled up with the PA degree and then kind of back to sports medicine, but getting paid like triple what I was making as an athletic trainer. So it was a win all around.

[00:04:19] Shannon Russell: That it sounds great.

And how long did you do that for? I

[00:04:22] Ashley Reckdenwald: did athletic training for two years, graduate school for three years, and then I was a physician assistant for the past eight years.

[00:04:29] Shannon Russell: You have your first child and how did that affect your career at that point?

[00:04:34] Ashley Reckdenwald: Oh my gosh. So I had been working as a PA in a very. Busy, very, very busy practice, for about two years. And I had been married for five years and I knew that, you know, okay, I got the job, I'm settled in the marriage, we bought the house, you know, do all the things. I'm the oldest child, so it's like your classic, like, got.

Check, you know, everything off your checklist in a specific order. So I was like, okay, it's time now to have a [00:05:00] baby and I'm in a male dominated field and it wasn't really received very positively at work. Oh. So it was just a lot of me trying to prove myself. In spite of my pregnancy, like I really considered my pregnancy an accessory.

I'm like, nothing has changed. I'm still me. Like I can, you know, push out this baby and come back hitting the ground running and nothing is going to be different. And it really weighed on me and took a toll on my mental health for sure. I was really lucky to have a really good first pregnancy, so I was able, Quote, unquote get away with that type of mentality. Um, but it was, looking back, I would've done it a million times differently. It was, you know, really sad that I thought I had to do it that way. And I just feel sad for that person who put herself in a position where she wasn't supported at work. And [00:06:00] it's a shame cause I know a lot of women out there. In a similar position.

[00:06:04] Shannon Russell: Was there anything at work or at your office that was making you feel that way? Or do you think it was just internal of you wanting to keep showing that this wasn't changing you?

[00:06:13] Ashley Reckdenwald: No, it was blatant comments that were made to me about like, oh, now you can't do this because you're pregnant, or, oh, I'm distracted because. I'm quote unquote worried about you in the operating room or you know, things like that. It was just blatant comments that were not appropriate and not helpful. That made me feel bad. I mean, even other coworkers would come up to me and be like, I can't believe that was just said to you. Like, you don't need to tolerate that.

And I was just, Just so naive. I was like, it's fine now. All of this is temporary. I'm just gonna prove myself and, you know, everything will go back to normal. Which it did not, but right. I, I convinced myself it would. Yeah.

[00:06:56] Shannon Russell: Right. With your first, you don't know what it's gonna be like on the other side of actually [00:07:00] holding that baby and how you're gonna feel and then. Exactly. Yeah. And so, so did you go right back into that role when you were ready after having your


[00:07:10] Ashley Reckdenwald: I took, 12 weeks, and I went right back. I started back on a Monday. So number one mistake starting on a Monday. What was I thinking? I had no idea that you could like pick a Wednesday. Like who knew that would've been a better idea and I was just really devastated and exhausted. I was still exclusively breastfeeding. My first was an excellent breast feeder and. So we were just into it. And so then navigating pumping at work and where to store my breast milk and I was in the operating room so I couldn't just like leave in the middle of surgery.

Those types of accommodations weren't set up for me. So you know, I'd just be en gorged for hours and then get a 10 minute break to pump ,


[00:07:58] Shannon Russell: Don't go to the bathroom. [00:08:00] Pumping and .

[00:08:01] Ashley Reckdenwald: Yeah, literally I would like go into the women's locker room where they have like shower stalls and I would plug into the sink and sit down in the shower stall and just pull the curtain and just squeeze my boobs as hard as I could to get as much milk out as quickly as possible, and then right back into the operating room and all the women that would pass by would be cheering me on. They're so supportive, but there's like nothing they could do about it. It just, that's what it was, you know?

[00:08:27] Shannon Russell: So basically you are going through this and you're back in the groove of work. Mm-hmm. , how long did you stay in that role, before you decided to start Working Mom Notes?

[00:08:37] Ashley Reckdenwald: I started working mom notes, I think pretty quickly after I returned. With that first, I'm trying to remember, I think it was within six months because I was so at a loss for how to do these things and mm-hmm. , I was literally so entrenched in work where I was going to work, coming home, so tired. I'm going to sleep. And then [00:09:00] on the weekends, I'm kind of like an extroverted introvert if you will. Mm-hmm. . So in public settings, I'm not like your, hey, it's so nice to meet you, blah, blah, blah. And like going for it. I'm, I'm much more the in the corner observing everyone type of a person. so I wasn't exactly gungho on like mommy and me classes on weekends. That was. Terrifying to me to have to go there and initiate conversation with other new moms. Um, right. So I was like, I need to find a way to do this. I need to meet other working moms in my town, in my area, that I can figure this out. Like how are they doing this? And so I created a Facebook group and literally called it Princeton Area Working Moms and hope to meet maybe 10 women that I could ask some questions. And now we. Thousands of women just locally in this group and it's unbelievable. And because of the pandemic things shifted. But we were doing local meetup at local like play [00:10:00] spaces and they were always at times that working moms could be there, you know, no 10:00 AM on a Tuesday, it would be mm-hmm like 6:00 PM on a Thursday or you know, 10:00 AM on a Saturday, kind of, um, timing. So it was really nice and I've met some really wonderful women and I realized, wait a second, you know, if this many women need this here, women must need it elsewhere too, which is when I then said, okay, let me see what I can do with this. And created Working Mom Notes, meaning the cliff notes of working motherhood and went on Instagram, created a website, and now just trying to connect women as much as possible so that they don't feel alone in this journey.

[00:10:43] Shannon Russell: And it's just blown up. I mean, how many years has it been now that you've had this, then let's count Now you're. You have three kids?

[00:10:50] Ashley Reckdenwald: Yes. It's been about six years and it's done. It's taken a lot of turns Working Mom Notes, which is great, and I'm okay with that. You know, it's really just about building [00:11:00] community and empowering women. I say always empowering women through community and experience, so whether that's be the experience of. Actually being able to physically get together in local mom meetups or just by talking about their experiences and feeling like a part of a community. That's what we're all about at Working Mom Notes.

[00:11:20] Shannon Russell: The online community, especially since the pandemic has just blown up too. And I, I feel you so much. I feel like I was always an extrovert, and I'm telling you, Ashley, I think since the pandemic I've become an introvert where mm-hmm. And especially with, you know, starting my podcast and doing everything digitally, that the idea of going out, like you were saying, I'm Jess, I get anxiety about it sometimes.

[00:11:41] Ashley Reckdenwald: Yep. Absolutely.

[00:11:42] Shannon Russell: Yeah, and it, I was never like that. So I think it's, it just makes everyone feel a little bit more genuine and like themselves when they can chat with someone online or go on your Instagram page and say, oh my gosh, she's. Posting about what I'm feeling.

Mm-hmm. and just knowing that you're not alone. And [00:12:00] for any listeners out there who have not gone to Working Mom Notes on Instagram, you absolutely have to. I mean, you're up to over 31,000 followers. Yeah. Last I checked. I mean, that's crazy.

[00:12:09] Ashley Reckdenwald: I know. I know. I never intended on it. People always ask, oh, how did you do that? Or What was your goal? And you know, sometimes you get. You know what we call the trolls? Like, oh, you're just doing this for likes or followers. I'm like, no, this is all organic. This is literally my public journal. You know, sometimes posts don't do well. I literally posted something this morning that said the internal voice in my head, I call the, disruptive disappointer because it's always like that negative Nelly in my head and I'm like, Stop saying that. And I have to really talk myself out of that negative mindset and I posted it and you know what? It didn't do that great, but it doesn't matter because it's resonating with me , which is most important. Yeah. And, and you know, maybe it will reach someone that. It really resonates with, and it will make a difference in their day. [00:13:00] And if it's that one person, that's what matters to me. So I think it's so funny when people wanna know like the tricks behind it. And I think it's just really speaking from your heart and truthfully and openly and with vulnerability. And people can tell, people know the. .

[00:13:18] Shannon Russell: I think it's interesting on your page too, because you post a lot of your stuff and then you'll share a lot of other people's things as well. Mm-hmm. that, I was just looking through it before we got on, and I'm like, it's not all a hundred percent Ashley. You share other things that are in the same vein that are just as interesting and kind of give, I think a bigger, perspective, to the kind of what working moms face. It kind of pulls everything together everything's just funny and relatable and is that little something that you want in your feed to kind of brighten your day?

[00:13:51] Ashley Reckdenwald: Thank you. Yeah. I mean, I try to, Just keep it real. Sometimes I make a like hard shift towards something political and then people freak [00:14:00] out like, this isn't a politics page. I'm like, listen, working motherhood is political and I'm not a political person, to be honest with you. I never was until I became a working mom and all of a sudden I have three girls and I see what I went through. See, you know, decisions being made on the hill, and I'm realizing how me, how much these decisions not only have affected me and my life experience as a mother, but how much it's going to affect them. And I think really just putting the pieces of the puzzle together that way. , like you said, it is actually all in the same vein. Even if it doesn't feel that way to some people or if their political leanings are different, it's really for me, that commonality of working motherhood and progressing our rights as women in the workforce. And that's really the theme of the page on top of, you know, just talking about motherhood.

[00:14:55] Shannon Russell: It's changing the workplace protocols, the workplace politics. Mm-hmm. . [00:15:00] Mm-hmm. . But also I think, changing our perception because you said you felt this way, and yes, there were comments being made to you when you were pregnant in the office, but. Why do we feel that way? Why were you letting those, those comments get to you? And I remember comments when I was pregnant at work, two different careers, two different offices. And feeling that, and why was I letting these comments get to me? I had a lot of issues of leaving Manhattan early to commute, two hours to pick up my son at daycare and the looks I would get and was it the looks or was it me? having that guilt. It's just there's so much wrapped around what we go through and what can we do to change that for our kids down the road.

[00:15:41] Ashley Reckdenwald: Yeah, it's all of it. I mean, childcare in and of itself is a whole other, you know, can of worms and mm-hmm. , the fact that you had to leave that early to get to where you needed to be and got those looks like all of it in combination is just, again, that's why working motherhood is just.

It's a [00:16:00] force of nature that you don't understand until you're actually in the thick of it. Not just one day, but like every day. And I say that to new moms all the time, like, keep in mind that literally you're building endurance as a working mother or a mom in general. Learning how to sort of work on less sleep your day starts earlier and ends later because you're tending to children and there's more in your mind because you're thinking about all the things you need to do, not only for yourself anymore, but for a little. Child and all of that takes time to build up that stamina, that endurance. You can't just go out there one day and say, I'm gonna run a marathon and do well. You have to build up to it little by little and training, and that's what you're doing. Whether you want to be or not, is your training for motherhood when you become a new mom.

[00:16:47] Shannon Russell: Endurance. I love that because it's true. It's, you're, you're really trying to find the routines that work with you. Mm-hmm. and then. , I think your page and what you're doing is so real because so many times you scroll and you [00:17:00] see self-care, what are you doing? And self-care is such a word that people throw out and mm-hmm. I mean, I know we should all have it, but as a working mom mm-hmm. , that's the last thing that you do my husband's traveling and I had a crazy morning dropping the kids off, and the last thing I was thinking about is, oh, Blend up my fruit smoothie and make it perfect before, you know. It's like it goes out the window, right?

[00:17:22] Ashley Reckdenwald: No, exactly. Yeah. Yeah. I mean, you're grabbing

[00:17:24] Shannon Russell: the, the muffins from the kids and calling it a day, .

[00:17:28] Ashley Reckdenwald: I mean, you and I are talking here. My head is soaking wet because I hopped out of the shower before . It was the only time I had, by the time I got the kids off to school and I have a sick one home with me, and I'm like, all right, I got 15 minutes. I, it's now or never.

[00:17:42] Shannon Russell: Oh, I'm with you. I know. It's so funny. So I think like What you're doing and what you're creating just makes us all feel like we're in it together. And that maybe just bringing these topics and this awareness, to build that endurance that one day, a woman being pregnant in the workplace won't be an issue [00:18:00] or they won't have that guilt and just, you know, slowly over time things will change. Just having you open that conversation for us,

[00:18:06] Ashley Reckdenwald: Yeah, I'm here. I'm here for it. And I'm always here for differing opinions too, which is what I think is even more important. Like sometimes people will call me out and say, you know what? That caption was off, or Your dad is off, or whatever it is.

And I, it's a moment for me to really check myself and say, well, how do I feel about it? And there has been plenty of times that I've. Edited my caption, added more information, taken a post down rephrased, something really had open lines of communication with people because I think it's important, like it's not my idea or the highway, It's, this is collaborative and I have the platform, but not to have it be my way. Mm-hmm. , it's a platform for all of us to really engage in meaningful discussion and maybe see [00:19:00] the other side sometimes, and if. This platform can do that for people, not necessarily convince anyone. I'm not trying to change anyone's mind, but just be there and present with an open mind to, oh, I could see it that way, or I could see how that experience is different than my own.

That I think is so invaluable and so important, especially in this world where we've become so Divis. Mm-hmm. .

I agree. Hey, it's Shannon. If you are enjoying this podcast, then you will love my weekly newsletter. It's full of career advice, productivity tips, and of course inspiring stories of women who have launched a new career that they love.

Just go to secondactsuccess.co to sign up. Plus you'll get the My Success Vision Board to help you with your 2023 planning as well. Now it's back to the episode. So you've got your page and you also have memberships. Tell me about everything that Working Mom Notes encompasses [00:20:00] right now.

I try to post daily on Instagram just for, you know, daily free feed.

Um, I am doing memberships on Instagram as well. Right now I'm connecting smaller communities of women. Like in my stories I've done. Where a woman asks a question about working motherhood and then people write in, and then I anonymously repost. And I think it's really nice having the anonymity there because sometimes, especially in the workplace, you don't want people to know it's you, but you do want to contribute to helping other women. So through the membership, I'm connecting people. 3 99 a month. It's, you know, nothing, nothing crazy. . Mm-hmm. . Also, I have on my workingmomnotes.com page, a private forum, so it's much more personalized where people can come in and ask questions and I'm slowly but truly trying to like group people. by their needs. So for [00:21:00] example, there was a woman who asked about solo parenting cuz her husband travels a lot and a lot of women wrote in, oh, I'm in the same boat. I feel so seen. And so I'm connecting these women so they can all talk together about what works for them or just vent or whatever it is.

Because I think it's really hard to. those people sometimes because you're so in the trenches of survival mode and it's like, how do I do this? How do I find support? So my goal is to be the bridge for working moms to get them they, the support they need, whether it be in the form of resources or on forums, just connecting them together. So that's on workingmomnotes.com. Instagram is my other. Big platform. I have a private group that I still run just locally on Facebook. So if you're in the Princeton area, feel free to join. It's very close knit. Yeah. And very like private and I, I like to keep it that way for those women. and then [00:22:00] lastly, I took some. My Working Mom Notes, original quotes, and I put them on beautiful graphics on Etsy actually, so that you can feel inspired. Buy the print and print it and keep it in your office, in your bedroom, in your bathroom. And it's just to really inspire you, uh, through your journey in working motherhood.

[00:22:19] Shannon Russell: Oh, that's wonderful. So, Ashley, are you a physician's associate or assistant still now? Mm-hmm. . Okay. So you are, you're doing.

[00:22:28] Ashley Reckdenwald: Well, I'm not working as a PA right now, I am at home with the kids and running, working mom notes full-time , it was a really hard shift for me. , right before the pandemic. I thought to myself, I just had my third baby, she was four months old, so I had a four month old, a two-year-old, and a four-year-old Wow. . And it was just the job I was in was not working for me. So I was looking for a different,[00:23:00] Healthcare job where I wasn't taking call as often and so on and so forth. Um, and so I was actively interviewing and the pandemic hit and I was like, I can't be in a hospital right now with this thing that we don't know with, you know, a four, two, an infant.

Infant. Yeah. So, um, I put a hold on all of my interviews and my husband was an essential worker, so I had to be home with my kids. Mm-hmm. , I like so many women and I said, okay, you know, I'm gonna pivot. This is not really ideal. I love working, I love being a pa but I, I can do this.

I'll be at home and I'll dive into Working Mom Notes full-time. It's the perfect opportunity. And here we are two years later.

[00:23:47] Shannon Russell: That's amazing. You may never have done that. You may never have do dove in full-time if

[00:23:52] Ashley Reckdenwald: this exactly. . Yeah,

[00:23:54] Shannon Russell: you're right. Everything happens for a reason. Mm-hmm.

and now, and you are still a pa, so you [00:24:00] can go back and do that at any time, but why not just see where this goes and build this into something bigger and better and I think that's incredible that you have the opportunity, especially while your kids are still young, you're able to be with them a little bit more and there's more flex.

[00:24:15] Ashley Reckdenwald: Absolutely. And it's, you know, I've been there that the night before and your kids are running a fever and you're like, what am I going to do? And it's such a terrible feeling. And to be able to be granted the flexibility that I have now where I do have a kid homesick with me. Yes, I'm doing this podcast with you. Yes, I have some meetings lined up, but it's just a different mentality because I think people. in healthcare especially, the flexibility is not the same in healthcare because I can't work from home, right.

I have to do it from the hospital. So to now have a different type of job is really just mind blowing to me. Cause I've never had a job outside of healthcare and it's, it's really [00:25:00] eyeopening. See what else is out there

[00:25:02] Shannon Russell: and it's your baby. This is what you're building and that's incredible.

An easier lifestyle for you. Right now, I'm.

[00:25:09] Ashley Reckdenwald: Yes. Yes. And like you said, that's not to say that I won't ever go back to being a pa.

I think part of me knew this when I became a pa. That's why I chose this profession. Yep. Because of the flexibility. And it's, it's working

out well.

[00:25:23] Shannon Russell: We talk about that a lot on this podcast about how if you go from your first act to your second act, it doesn't mean you just threw that away and buried it, that you are still that person. You're taking skills from that era, that first act, and you're bringing it into your second act, and you are still that person because mm-hmm. , I, I wonder if you agree that, you know, a lot of times people will change careers and they'll like kind of mourn. They were and say, oh, well, you know, my identity was so tied up in that first profession, and now I'm not that person anymore. And I always try to say, no, you are still that person. You're making the decisions for your [00:26:00] life in this stage. .

[00:26:01] Ashley Reckdenwald: Yeah. And the beauty of the whole thing is that you can go back with more wisdom and more boundaries around what you know about it and what you're willing to do and not do.

They're building blocks each experience that you have. And it's not to say that you can't take that skillset and do something different with it. Do it in a different company, in a different way. I mean, there's so many different ways to think about it, whether it be part-time, full-time, there's just so many options out there, and I think people really box themselves in and say, oh, well this is my degree. This is the only thing I can do. But there are so many transferable skill sets that we all have, and I think it's so important to acknowledge that within ourselves so that we can take those.

And really get outside of our comfort zone and really see what else is out there. Because there's so many opportunities. So many.

[00:26:57] Shannon Russell: And you know what? You are showing your [00:27:00] daughters that too, right? I always feel like I'm showing my kids, Hey, you can have multiple careers. You can try different things. You can graduate with a degree and realize you don't want anything to do with it, and try something. You know, that's more than what we were taught when we were younger. Right. We were taught, right.

[00:27:15] Ashley Reckdenwald: One, we can agree this is what you're gonna do for the rest of your life and deal with it . Yeah.

[00:27:20] Shannon Russell: And hopefully our kids are learning that there's a lot more out there for them.

[00:27:24] Ashley Reckdenwald: Yes, I agree.

[00:27:26] Shannon Russell: What are some of the questions that you get asked most frequently from your communities about being a working mom?

[00:27:33] Ashley Reckdenwald: So people are really struggling the most with community and just like their local, how do I build a village? That is huge. Childcare is huge. What do I do when my kid is sick? How am I supposed to work from home? And really just juggling the back and forth, and I usually tell people. , it takes a village, which we know, but it takes you building that [00:28:00] village, which a lot of people don't know. Mm-hmm. . And that was like the biggest slap in the face for me as a new mom where I had this newborn baby and I'm like, okay, I had a baby. Everyone come on in , let's go village. And. . It's not that no one showed up, but it just wasn't what I expected and I realized quickly that I needed to build in my backup childcare and not just one person or two people, or three.

You need like, Five. Mm-hmm. . And that takes work and that takes effort. Also recognizing that your neighbors can be your village. Like just literally getting out there and knocking on doors and saying hi. Mm-hmm. , nice to meet you. Um, it's very uncomfortable, but it's worth it so much developing those relationships. And in connecting with them, you will feel more in control when things get. chaotic, which they [00:29:00] often do in working motherhood.

Mm-hmm. .

[00:29:02] Shannon Russell: And you know what? Nowadays I think it's different because we all, or not everybody, but some people go away to college and then they come back and you move around. So a lot of us might have friends that are in different areas all over the country. My best friends are all in different states, so now I'm like, okay. It's not like when my mom had me and she had everyone in the same town. So you're right. It takes a lot more effort to make these new friendships and it's harder when you're a mom and it's harder when you're an adult, but you're right. Mm-hmm. . It's that effort to, to do it. Otherwise you really will feel lonely.

[00:29:33] Ashley Reckdenwald: Yes it is. It's so hard, especially after just having a new baby. So I recommend doing it like before. Yeah. Or, or a little bit after. But don't be afraid to ask for what you need. The hardest thing is kind of knowing what you need, especially as a new mom. You learn along the way, and everyone is different. In that sense, and it's okay. And slowly but surely, you just make those connections and build that village and before you know it, it, it will get easier.

[00:29:59] Shannon Russell: So tell me [00:30:00] about your podcast. You have a podcast as well.

[00:30:02] Ashley Reckdenwald: Yeah, so I have a podcast called Motherhood and Career Collide. I. Have a wonderful co-host, Kimberly Didrikson. She is the founder and c e o of Learning Motherhood and the two of us connected several years ago and really just hit it off. And she approached me and said, Hey, listen, like I really would love to do a podcast with you, but more research driven and. Talking about that research and I said, I love it. Let's, let's do it. So each week we tackle different topics, whether it be something trendier like quiet, quitting or quiet firing. And we always have references, whether it be from the Harvard Business Review or some new research that is out. And we talk about the research that exists, and then we offer up our opinion and what we think about it. For example, the quiet firing, I definitely have experienced through my pregnancies. [00:31:00] And then we always end our podcast with How did motherhood and career collide for you this week? And it's just been a really great. Opportunity to have these open conversations about just the realness of working motherhood.

And it's been, it's been wonderful. So if you get a chance I'd, I'd love for everyone to check it out. Motherhood and Career Collide.

[00:31:21] Shannon Russell: What is one piece of advice that you would give to someone who is trying to start a second act?


[00:31:26] Ashley Reckdenwald: believe in yourself and think about the long game. I think that's the hardest thing is you make this change and we live in a world now where we want immediate gratification and sometimes. That shift, that pivot, that change and routine is not easy for a long time, but that doesn't mean that it was a bad

[00:31:47] Shannon Russell: decision.

[00:31:48] Shannon Russell: What does the next chapter or next act look like for

[00:31:51] Ashley Reckdenwald: you? For me, I think it's all about focusing on both my physical and mental health and my ability to [00:32:00] be more present for my kids. I think so many moms like that's our life goal. be more present for our kids. Yeah. also, I'm really, really. Getting to a point in my life where instead of looking for that outward praise, I'm really turning inward to myself and trying to decide, is this right for you?

Is this what you want? Is this how you feel? What is your opinion about it? And not worrying so much about the external noise. Um, and it's really been offering me a lot of peace. And so that's really what I'm hoping to continue in moving forward. So

[00:32:38] Shannon Russell: where can our audience connect with you?

[00:32:40] Ashley Reckdenwald: Most connections happen on Instagram for sure, so definitely gimme a follow @workingmomnotes on Instagram.

Otherwise, I'd love to connect with people on a more personal level on the workingmomnotes.com forum. If locally Facebook and also Etsy.

[00:32:59] Shannon Russell: Ashley, this was [00:33:00] such a great conversation. I've been so excited to chat with you and this was so much

[00:33:03] Ashley Reckdenwald: fun. Thank you so much for having me. This was a great conversation.

[00:33:06] Shannon Russell: Ashley is as amazing as her Working Mom Notes network, isn't she? What impressed me is that she was able to walk away from this full-time career that she really loved where she was helping people physic. And now she has grown a business working from home, helping women feel better emotionally and mentally. Her online community, her Instagram page, it is all really incredible. So if you are not following Working Mom Notes yet, head over to Instagram to follow Ashley. Now I will link to all of the ways that you can connect with Ashley in the show notes for this episode.

Before we leave, I want you to remember one thing. If you are a working mom, that can mean you're a stay-at-home mom raising your kids. You are a mom working in an office and coming home to your kids, or you are working online from home. You are incredible. You are seen, and I [00:34:00] appreciate you. We all work hard and we try to hold it together, so it's important that we remind ourselves of just how amazing we are, don't you? So happy to have spent this time with you. I'm Shannon Russell and I'll chat with you soon for a new episode of the Second Act Success Podcast. Thank you for joining us. I hope you've found some gems of inspiration and some takeaways to help you on your path to second act, success. To view show notes from this episode, visit secondactsuccess.co.

Before you go, don't forget to subscribe to the podcast so you don't miss a single episode. Reviews only take a few moments and they really do mean so much. Thank you again for listen. I'm Shannon Russell and this is Second Act Success.


Previous Episode:

Episode #63 – Stand Out and Get That Job

Episode #62 – Legal Assistant Turned Virtual Assistant with Janis Melillo

Episode #61 – Brainstorming Career Ideas (Career Shift Strategy Session)