Ashley McLain is on a quest to foster diversity and inclusivity in Huntsville and North Alabama. The toddler mom has a passion for education and providing resources to families impacted by Autism. Ashley has a heart to serve, and does so through her role as the Regional Autism Network Coordinator. Read below to learn more about Ashley and why we think she’s an Awesome Mom of Huntsville!
My passion is education. I spent seven and a half years as a public educator in English and Special Education. I continued to follow my passion for Special Education into my new role as the Coordinator of the Regional Autism Network at UAH. Through my new career, I am daily discovering new and wonderfully neurodiverse parts of the North Alabama community, and I look forward to continuing to be a part of this community. For those unfamiliar with the Regional Autism Network, The UAH RAN strives to provide on-going training opportunities for parents, service providers, public school educators, higher education faculty and community groups. The UAH RAN is working to establish a library of resources and on-going direct assistance to educators and parents wishing to build a more collaborative relationship. I am most passionate about supporting growth and acceptance for all ability levels.
Ashley’s Motherhood Journey (So Far)
My journey as a mom has been my greatest gift, and at times, my most difficult struggle. My son, Thomas, is a toddler, and I’m sure all toddler moms can relate to the balance between sheer joy and exhaustion! His boundless energy and smile can melt my heart even at the end of the most stressful days. I think my favorite part has to be the giggles and snuggles from an exuberant toddler. There is no way to describe how seeing my son run towards me with arms outstretched for a hug can make anything better. Especially when I know these precious years will go by too quickly!
Her Quest for Balance
My work/home life balance has taken a dramatic shift over the last couple of months. In my new role with the Regional Autism Network, I have been working primarily from home. The biggest piece of advice I have to other moms in the same situation is to close the door when the work day is over and focus on family time. It is all too easy to pull up email on your phone or slip back into a home office for a few minutes, but resist the urge! I also make intentional time for me to unwind. Most of the time, it’s a bubble bath and a book, but whatever de-stresses you is best. This break time is essential to me being the most productive employee I can be, and more importantly, being the best mom I can be.
Her Rocket City Favorites
My family loves participating in anything that can get us involved in the community. Even after living in Huntsville for seven years, we are still finding and exploring new places all the time. Especially with a toddler now, the world of family-friendly activities is vast and amazing! A few of our current favorites are EarlyWorks and the Huntsville Botanical Gardens. We are also anxiously awaiting our first Trash Pandas game!
Funniest Parenting Moment
My funniest parenting moment is an ever-changing story. I’m sure other moms can relate! The most recent incident that comes to mind is the fact that my son has discovered that he can reach the diaper can. If I turn around for too long, there is no telling what might end up in the can. I have found everything from clean diapers to toys to bottles of lotion. It seems that anything he can get his hands on is in danger of being thrown away. Even my remotes and cell phone are not safe from his baby reign of terror!
Ashley Shares Her Top Parenting Tip
I could go on and on about advice that was given to me, and especially about all the rookie mistakes I have made as a first-time parent, but I have found that practical advice is the best advice. As silly as it sounds, I always put a puppy pad on the changing table. It has saved me from having to wash the changing pad cover as often! I know they make “baby” versions of this, but the puppy pads are inexpensive and just as effective. A lifesaver for sure!
The Super Power She Wishes She Had
If I had one super power, it would be the ability to to make people see the best in themselves. In the time of COVID, self-esteem is especially difficult for many people. Sometimes a kind word is not enough to truly lift someone up when they are down. I would love the superpower to know that kind words and actions truly make a lasting impact on those around me.
Continuing Traditions with Childhood Books
Choosing one book is incredibly difficult. I love introducing my son to things my husband and I loved as children, and being able to carry on traditions with him. I have a few books from my childhood, and my husband has a lot from his. It has been amazing to walk down memory lane of things we both remember being enthralled with and watching my son discover them with new eyes. I am looking forward to continuing to share these experiences with my son. I am especially excited to introduce him to some of my childhood favorites like Harry Potter!
- Get your Gameface on: Back in Black by AC/DC
- Recover from heartbreak: Picture by Kid Rock and Sheryl Crow
- Energize yourself: Levels by Nick Jonas
- Let loose and have fun with your friends: Anything from the 90’s boy band era. I can belt out Spice Girls with the best of them, and I refuse to acknowledge that the 90’s were 30 years ago! 🙂
Do you know a local mom you think we should feature as an Amazing Rocket City Mom? We want to hear from you about her – send us your ideas and we’ll get in touch!
You Might Also Like…
Rocket City Mom is a website about raising children in and around Huntsville, Alabama. Started in late 2010 by a local mom and newcomer to Huntsville, Rocket City Mom has grown into a thriving community of local parents and now boasts a staff of four, thirteen regular contributors, and tens of thousands of Tennessee Valley readers making it the #1 Parenting Resource in North Alabama.