Meet Ashly Cummings, NURSE, and Founder of The Balanced Prep
I’m so glad I’ve gotten to connect with this motivating mom of two. Native to Arkansas, Ashly was born and raised in Hope, but has since settled in Benton for the last eight years with her hubby and sweet little girls.
Ashly is a rockstar mom for sure!
She does it all from her day job at UAMS to bringing the burn at McClure fitness to being a mom and wife to running her business, The Balanced Prep.
When she’s not balancing her job at UAMS as a radiation therapist in the Radiation Oncology Center you can find her behind the mic at McClure Fitness getting the beat going in her spin and the cut classes!
She also finds the time to be a present with her family and run The Balanced Prep–getting the most out of meal prep with minimal effort and maximum effect (and flavor too)!
Where are you from originally and how long have you lived in town?
I’m originally from Hope, Arkansas but have lived in Benton for 8 years.
You’re a Momma! How many children do you have and how old are they?
I have 2 little girls: Emerson-4 and Maggie Kate-2.
What are your favorite things to do with your kids?
Travel! I love taking them to experience new places or familiar places that we love.
What is your favorite thing about raising your family in Little Rock/Benton/Bryant area?
I was raised in a small town so I’m happy to raise my kids in a small town as well! I do love being close to Little Rock though for some of the bigger city opportunities and activities! We love to go to the zoo!
What’s your best mom hack that makes life easier?
Meal prep, of course! Having my fridge full of pre-made meals is such a lifesaver!
What are your favorite places to eat in Little Rock/Benton/Bryant area?
My kids favorite place to eat with Big Orange, they beg for it all the time! My favorites for date nights are Yaya’s, Samantha’s, and Maddie’s Place.
Self-care is so important as momma’s who give so much, what’s something you do just for yourself?
I absolutely believe in making time for yourself and taking care of yourself. Heading to the gym 4-5 times a week is a must and I try to get a massage every 4-6 weeks! Plus sneaking in any alone, quiet time to read is life giving to me.
What’s something you can’t leave the house without?
Of course my phone but also my Kindle
What is your leave favorite mom job? (packing lunches, dishes, bathtime, laundry….)
Dishes! So now I give that duty to my husband, ha!
Tell us about your career outside being a mom.
I run The Balanced Prep Blog where I share healthy, flavorful, flexible meal prep recipes and courses! I love breaking the stigma that meal prep is bland, boring, and time consuming. I’m all about minimal effort with maximum results. I’m here to help the busy momma find meals that are fueling for themselves and their families.
How has the Benton community been instrumental in getting you to where you are now?
I teach fitness classes at McClure Fitness in Benton and the community there is like no other I’ve ever experienced. They have been so supportive and encouraging. I’m not sure I would have had the confidence to step forward and build a business without them!
How has being a momma yourself shaped you as a business owner?
Being a mom gave me the desire to start a business where I could create more flexible hours so that I can be more present with my kids. On that same note, I also became aware that as a mom there are not enough hours in the day to get everything done that I want to do. Meal prep became a weekly occurrence in my home and I realized it helped me get HOURS back during the week with my kids because our meals were already prepared. I knew other moms (well anyone really) could benefit from this and the method I created to get it done quickly and efficiently so that thought birthed The Balanced Prep. So I guess you could say if I had never become a mom I might not have ever become a business owner at all!
How do you balance being a mom, wife, and business owner? Do you experience mom guilt? How do you handle it?
I think being a mom, even without being a working mom or business owner, is incredibly hard. There is so much pressure to be enough. Enough for your kids, your spouse, your family, etc. So mom guilt, yes. I absolutely experience it but not just because I have a job outside of the home. I do wear many hats-wife, mom, employee, business owner, fitness instructor, friend, aunt, sister, daughter. I wish I could say that I only wear one of these hats at a time, but that would be a lie. Often times there are multiple stacked high and my only goal is to not let them fall and then to work hard to take the time to wear one at a time from time to time. Turning my phone off to be present with my family. Stepping into my workspace to be a business owner for a couple of hours without distraction. Going out to dinner with girlfriends to have a little fun and relax. And let’s give credit where it’s due, my husband is SUPER helpful!
Anyone special you’d like to thank for helping you through parenthood?
My sisters, they have always encouraged and supported me and have been a sounding board. They know that at times I just need them to listen, but when I ask for it they provide guidance from their experiences.
When parenting gets hard, what’s something you tell yourself that gets you through?
It’s only a phase! With toddlers theirs attitudes can change so quickly, I just really try to think of the good moments from earlier in the day and try to be patient.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve gotten from another mom?
That every other mom isn’t out to judge you and you don’t have to raise your kids the same way as anyone else.
What are your future plans and goals?
Right now I’m very focused on growing The Balanced Prep, not only on the number of people I’m able to reach and help but also growing the number of resources I have available. We’re also remodeling a home in downtown Benton so I’m excited about seeing that come together this year and living in the center of the community!
Be sure to follow along with Ashly on her social and website to see tips, tricks, and motivation for a balanced life!
Social: @thebalancedprep on Instagram and Facebook