Ashley is a mom, founder of the Bizzimumzi podcast, and Define London fitness studio. She is a former Broadway performer and celebrity trainer. Through Bizzimumzi Ashley has created a welcoming community to share the highs and lows of parenting, and inspire others to feel empowered in their journey. Ashley believes the most perfect picture of parenting is simply when you are trying your best. Bizzimumzi is a safe space that helps parents to inspire, educate and support each other to be the best parent they can be.
What is Bizzimumzi all about?
Bizzimumzi is a new website, resource and community for parents who simply want to do their best for their children, even if ‘best’ isn’t ‘perfect’.
Bizzimumzi is a welcoming community to share the highs and lows of parenting and inspire others to feel empowered in their journey.
With advice-based articles, podcast interviews with other moms, dads and essentially anyone who cares for a child (from a variety of different backgrounds, countries and experiences), an online community to ask questions and share stories and suggestions, and a fledgling shop.
I can only hope to inspire, educate and support new and existing parents to be the best they can be.
What’s your story? How can more South Asian women relate to you and learn from you?
I am not actually South Asian myself. I was born and raised in a small town called Moundsville in West Virginia, USA. My background is a melting pot of polish, a splash of German, a sprinkle of Irish, and a small dash of Cherokee Indian.
Later in life, when I met my now husband, I was introduced to South Asian culture. I have been very blessed to join in marriage and be welcomed into a beautiful South Asian family. My father-in-law is from Delhi, India. My mother-in-law is originally from Amritsar, India (Rajasthan).
We were wed at a big South Asian wedding in Udaipur, India. We selected certain wedding traditions from both sides and integrated those into our celebration. It was pure magic.
We are a blended family of cultures and very different upbringings. We have a nearly-3-year-old that will learn in years to come why were are different skin colours, why we chose each other, and how it is important to live in a world of gratitude and acceptance.
Anyone joining the Bizzimumzi community will essentially be joining a very vast community of different races, creeds and religions. Loving and nurturing a child takes an army and the true beauty of raising a child is not a one-size-fits-all rule book. You will learn and grow from hearing and reading about different perspectives of parenting as well as gain great insight and advice.
Do you think parenting should be taught from an early age in life?
As I said just now, there is no one-size-fits-all book for parenting. When your child is brought into the world and integrated into your home… life is truly flipped upside down. You cannot predict really any of it until you are in the thick of it. It is truly wild! I love it. I relish in the big wins, and by wins that could be nailing bedtime and lights out at 7:30 pm 3 days in a row. I also take in and learn from the big failures. I have always loved being around kids growing up, but I can’t imagine having raised a child as a child. I believe in instinct and I believe in true kindness for others.
What’s the right way of parenting?
I don’t know the right way of parenting. I know that for me and my partner, we are trying to be our best each day for each other as a couple and the best present parent for our child. I feel anyone raising a child designs their own sort of rule book or ‘right way’ of parenting.
Do you think the yoke of regaining body confidence post-pregnancy will lessen sometime soon?
Like navigating parenting, navigating your emotions postpartum and finding ‘you’ again takes time and a huge amount of grace. This hits every woman differently through their pregnancy journey. I for one took a very long time as I suffered postpartum depression and then I miscarried baby number 2. I felt for two years that I was in a bit of an emotional spiral and I struggled with finding the energy to strengthen my body confidence. It wasn’t until recently that I structured a fitness routine for myself; my time to invest in my mental and physical health. I feel better, sleep better and definitely feel I am a better wife and mother because I am taking 30-60 minutes 3 times a week for me. Not everyone has that luxury and there are ways to fit in little workouts throughout your day without even going to the gym. We touch a lot on this on the Bizzimumzi website and I also share fab ways to work out at home and with the kids on my Bizzimumzi YouTube channel.
What role can men/partners play in helping here?
Being there… Being there for each other. That is how you can help each other and navigate the wild world of parenting. Communication truly is key. My husband and I have had bumpy roads at times because our communication was off. Daily check-ins, planning special times and making each other a priority are huge to your relationship too and also create a less stressful environment for your family.