Tresa + Ashlee, Mothers and Podcasters

Tresa and Ashlee are a mother-daughter duo who share a goal to find connection, beauty, love and healing, by sharing their unique stories and insights through their podcast, The Art of Joy.  
  • Ashley Nackos
  • May 18, 2023


It's such a treat to talk about motherhood with you both! Let's jump right in with Tresa – being the OG mom here. Take us back to pre-motherhood for you and how you eventually found yourself on your own journey to motherhood.    

Tresa - Let's start with the first life-defining moment I experienced, which happened at the young age of eight when my mother died. Experiencing deep loss at such a young age set me on a journey of self-discovery, navigating life on my own and ultimately becoming a chain breaker.    

I was so young when I became a mother. I was 19 when I married and got pregnant with my first child (Ashlee). I was SO excited to experience motherhood, but I felt unprepared, having grown up without my Mom to set that example for me. Through that pregnancy, I just remember taking that love I didn't get to experience from my mother and giving it to my child.   


And how was motherhood defined for you, Ashlee?   

Ashlee - Being a mother was all I ever wanted. It was the ultimate goal for me. I didn't even think about what I wanted to be when I grew up because I always knew I wanted to be a mom.   

Having the most hands-on, protective mother who was always wanting to be involved at that deeper level and understanding throughout my childhood was something I knew I always wanted for my kids. My Mom cultivated that desire in me.    

It took me a while to get pregnant. I was taking my hormones, doing acupuncture, taking my temp every morning- I was doing everything I could, and I still wasn't getting pregnant. It was unexplained infertility. This was supposed to be my identity, and it wasn't happening. It was a really, really hard time.   

I eventually got pregnant with my first daughter, Poppy, and it was the best day of my life when I found out.   

Fast forward to now, being on the other side of all of that, and I'm like, WOW, there was diving timing for how that unfolded in my life. There was a reason for that struggle.    


Tresa, how did Ashlee's infertility experience feel for you?   

Tresa - Watching Ashlee struggle through infertility was so gut-wrenching. My child was not supposed to have a struggle. That was such a significant learning for me because I think when you grow up with a difficult childhood, you want to protect your kids from their struggles, and I realized I couldn't do anything about it.    

Ashlee became such a profound teacher for me during this time. I had to surrender and watch her suffer through it.    

I remember feeling the biggest relief when we learned the wonderful news that she was pregnant with Poppy. It was the best day!   


Prior to Poppy being born, did you have conversations about motherhood?   

Ashlee – Yeah, all the time. What was so cool was that during my pregnancy with Poppy, my Mom had embarked on this journey of self-discovery and beautiful healing. So, at my baby shower, we did a whole sound bath. I'm sure some guests were confused by what was happening.   It was amazing, though! I laid down in the middle of the room and was surrounded by the sound bowls and all my family and closest friends. My Mom wrote this beautiful meditation that she guided me through. It was so beautiful because it set me on this path of "Oh I can do this however I want to."   


I love that! And how cool that you did it your own way even then! Tresa, how did your perspective on motherhood change when you became a grandmother for the first time?   

Tresa- It was another chance! Another chance at motherhood and another chance to embody what it is to be a matriarch.   

I think, most importantly, through raising my kids, I realized that our children aren't meant to follow this mold of what we think they should be. I became curious about understanding who they are - outside of any construct and structure that I'd given them, or that was given to them by religion, culture, etc. Who are they? Who are they meant to be? What can I give to them to honor their individuality?   

A lot of struggles come when we have expectations, and they aren't met.   

We tend to get stuck in our own way of thinking and doing. If you can stay malleable and moldable and curious, that's when you can really connect with your kids.   

When Poppy was born, I felt like an ancestor. It made me realize l have a much bigger legacy to leave behind. There is nothing that will ever stop me from being as present as I can be with my grandkids. You're never too old to do, become, or discover the deeper depths of who you are.   

My grandkids give me a new chance to figure it out.   


How do you stay malleable, moldable and curious?    

Tresa- When I feel that ping of "this feels different," I've trained myself to know that means I have to stop and listen.    

That was a really big shift for me. It was hard for me to remain curious and not be controlling.   

You're never going to get it right 100% of the time. I don't think we are meant to do it right all the time because that's how we learn.   

I see a whole new generation of people rising up who will blow my mind with their courage to become their true selves.   


And what about you, Ashlee?   

Ashlee - My girls are still so young, but already, just being present and aware when my phone or work is pulling me away. We live in such a fast-paced world, and intentionally slowing down is how you don't miss those special moments.   

Bring intention to playtime. Let them know, "I desire this time with you." Tell them you're putting your phone in the other room.   

They are our biggest teachers! They are so much more connected, and they bring you into the present moment.   


What do you wish for your daughters?   

My wish for them is that they can stay teachable through all of life and eventually through motherhood when/if that day comes for them.   

I hope through my example that, I can teach my kids to fall into themselves and that they can teach their kids to fall into themselves.   



To listen to more from Tresa and Ashlee on all things motherhood, connection, love and healing, check out their podcast,  The Art of Joy

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