Hi, I’m Rachel and I’m Ashlee. Welcome to our CapitalMOM Real Life Conversations series.

Why We Partnered with CapitalMOM

CapitalMOM approached us at the end of 2023 and asked us to create some content talking about motherhood, our motherhood journeys, and relatable conversations that we’ve experienced—and continue to experience—as moms that you’ve probably experienced as well.

In this, we want to invite you to be a part of this. Please share thoughts or ideas of topics that you would like to hear. And just know that we are in the throes of motherhood. We are in the real life-ness of it all. We’re so happy to be on this journey together and would love to have you be part of our mom tribe.

Get to Know Rachel & Ashlee

Let us introduce ourselves so you get to know us a bit more.

All About Rachel

I’m a mom of three. I have a six-year-old daughter named Ellie, a four-year-old son named Brecken, and a one-year-old named Finley. I grew up in Lincoln.

I went to Hawthorne, Leffler, and East High. I was a dancer, and I even danced in college. My husband is John. He’s a gymnastics coach for the men’s side at the University of Nebraska Lincoln (UNL). My kids take gymnastics once a week at Go Big Red, and they get to know the UNL gymnasts.

I taught health and PE for nearly nine years before I became a stay-at-home mom. I worked until my firstborn was two and a half, and it was hard. I felt like I was missing so many of her precious years and stages. I finally decided to become a stay-at-home mom when my son, Brecken, was born with a lung injury. And I’ve been a stay-at-home mom since. I love it. I think I love it so much more because I have the perspective of what it was like to be a working mom.

All About Ashlee

I have three kids as well—Ellie (nine), Anna (seven), and Levi (three). We are not from Nebraska originally. We lived in Utah and South Carolina before. My girls were born in South Carolina, but my littlest, Levi, was born in Nebraska.

My husband and I met at the hospital. He thought he was going to be a medical doctor. He decided to be a business doctor instead. But now, he works at UNL at the business college as a professor. I work at an OB/GYN clinic, still utilizing my nursing skills and getting out of the house routinely.

Our Monthly Glimmers & Dimmers

Each month, we’re going to share either a glimmer or a dimmer from something that just happened recently in our lives.

Rachel’s February Glimmer

My daughter Ellie has a lot of passions and always wants to do things. She comes up with new ideas all the time. Sometimes, I can make them happen, but sometimes I just can’t because there are only so many hours in a day.

Last Friday, she came home from school with a book about tea parties. She wanted to have a tea party, make at least three different creations from this book and invite her friends. So, on Saturday afternoon, we made sponge cake and she asked me if I had texted her friends. I hadn’t yet.

On Sunday morning, she asked me again, “Have you texted my friends?” I said no again. But finally I asked Ashlee’s husband, “Is there any way Anna could come over for a tea party today?” And he responded, “Yes!”

So it happened. Anna, our neighbor, my son and another friend were my daughter’s four guests at this adorable little tea party. We set up the living room all fancy. Everybody arrived dressed up. It was the cutest thing ever to see all the little kids at the tea party and making her dream come true over such a short period of time. It felt like such a ray of sunshine seeing them sitting around our dining room table pouring tea.

Ashlee’s February Dimmer

My dimmer happened this morning as I was getting ready. My little guy, who is three, is playing in the tub playing with color-change cars as I’m putting on my makeup. I look over and I see he’s squatting. He looks down and says, “Mom, I just pooped in the bath.”

Oh, the very realness of toddlers and motherhood. I had cleanup duties. Even though I don’t have a dog, I was cleaning up as if I did. I don’t need more chaos with a puppy or another kid right now. I’m just trying to survive now.

How Did Rachel & Ashlee Meet?

Ashlee grew up on a farm and was feeling homesick. So, her family found a cute little place called Little Red Farm just outside of town with a children’s story time. During story time, Ashlee notices that her daughter is playing with another little girl., so she strikes up a conversation with that girl’s mom.

We put ourselves out there a little bit. We started chatting and learned that our husbands, both named John, both worked at UNL. Our oldest daughters were both named Ellie. We lived three minutes away from each other. So then we just asked, “Do you want to be friends?”

Now, after three years of knowing each other, our kids are best friends. Seeing how God orchestrated our friendship is amazing. It’s really rare to find someone who you get along with, your husbands get along, our kids get along and we live close. That doesn’t happen very often, which is why we feel really grateful to have found it in each other.

Hardships in Finding Friends as a Mom

Starting From Scratch

Trying to make friends in a new place is really tough. Sure, it’s exciting with all of the newness and adrenaline. But when Ashlee moved to Nebraska, it was a clean slate—no family, no friends and no safety net. But she knew that having other mothers—other women, not just moms—that supported her and that she felt like she could have something to offer to them was really valuable. Even if you haven’t moved out of state, it can be difficult for moms who lost touch with high school friends and had college friends move back to where they came from.

Exhaustion & Rejection

Meeting new people is almost like dating—friendship dating. There’s a very genuine exhaustion of putting yourself out there and wondering, “Are you going to be my friend? Are we going to jive? Do we have the same parenting styles? Will our husbands get along? Are our kids going to like each other?” With so many unknowns, it can be kind of exciting in some ways, but very tiring.

No Bonding Activities

It’s especially difficult meeting fellow parents when your kids are little. Instead of having sporting events or extracurriculars as the catalyst for bringing everyone together, you’re the one creating all of the experiences. Ashlee’s kids were four and two when they first moved here.

Encouragement for Building Your Mom Tribe

We both have an amazing mom tribe. If we go out of town, we have people to watch our kids and rely on. But we worked so hard to make it happen. Here’s what we did that worked.

Be Vulnerable

You have to put yourself out there to make friends as an adult. Though it’s not easy, no matter what phase of life you’re in, you have to just do it because otherwise it’s not going to happen.

We used to go to a lot of places where we’d see cute moms that we’d like to talk to because they looked like people we’d be friends with. But many times, we’d just say hello and not take it any further than that. Until we met. We were clearly both in need of a mom friend. That interaction inspired both of us to not be afraid to approach people.

If your kids are playing with somebody and that mom looks relatable, go up and introduce yourself. Don’t be afraid to ask for their phone number—the really scary part.

Stay Persistent

Just remember that there’s really nothing to lose. You try it. If it doesn’t work out, no problem. If you try it and it does, you might have lasting friendship. Maybe you get three numbers but they don’t respond to you. That’s okay. They might not be in the place to accept new friends yet. But one of those times, it will work out and you’ll feel like you’re in the right place. There’s even a chance that they’re the one to reach out first, and that means a lot when you’re the one doing a lot of reaching out.

Look for the Good in Others

There are just so many good people out there. If moving around has taught me anything, it’s that there are just so many good people out there. Everyone has something to teach you—about others or about yourself. You’ll meet them.

Find Your Ride-or-Die

There are different levels of friendships—topical friendships and deep friendships. You need to have at least one person that will drop everything and be there for you. Someone that’s going to meet you where you are. Someone that picks up the slack when you’re feeling blah.

Encourage More Than One Mother Figure

My daughter, Anna, came to me once and said, “Mom, I have three moms. I have you, Rachel and another mom in our neighborhood.”

I said, “That’s great!” And she respond, “I think you’re my favorite.”

After that, I was a little hurt. But I didn’t need to be. It’s a blessing that she feels comfortable enough with two other adults in my life that she knows she could go to them as if they were her mom. I’m so glad that my daughter has other female figures in her life because I’m just one person with strengths and weaknesses of my own. She’s going to learn things from them that I can’t teach her, and they’re going to give her so much extra love. I will never be sad about that.

You don’t need to do motherhood alone. Come join our village exactly as you are.

Ashlee Hendricks

Ashlee Hendricks

Real Life Conversations Host

I am a mom to three awesome kids: Ellie, Anna, and Levi. My husband Jon works as a professor at the UNL Business College. While we are not natives to Lincoln (this year marks five years in Nebraska), I did grow up on a dairy farm in southwest Missouri and feel quite at home here. I work as a full-time mom and a part-time nurse at a clinic here in town.

As a family, we are happiest outside and having adventures. We lived in South Carolina before moving here so we’ve had to toughen up quite a bit! We love biking, camping and anything involving water. I have been supported and inspired by so many amazing women and men along my parenting journey. Rachel and I have talked a lot about our shortcomings and wins as moms. I hope as we share some of our story that you’ll find some relatable information that can nurture and inspire you wherever you are on your journey as a parent. We are all in this together!

Rachel Robinson

Rachel Robinson

Real Life Conversations Host

I was born and raised in Lincoln. I am a stay-at-home-mom to three amazing kids named Ellie, Brecken, and Finley. I worked as a PE teacher at Scott Middle School for 8.5 years and turned into a SAHM when my second kiddo was born. I love being home with my kids. It is so fulfilling to me to be home with them through each stage, to care for them and to be a part of the little details and the big moments in their lives.
My husband, John, is a men’s gymnastics coach at the University of Nebraska. Our kids love to go to the gym and play. We love that they now have a relationship with the college athletes. It is really fun. Go Big Red! I am very excited to be chatting about things motherhood here on CapitalMom. I hope you enjoy and are able to relate as we share our motherhood journeys.

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