Ashley Rader, 38, didn’t think she would ever have kids. But that all changed when she met husband of five years, Jeremiah. Together, the couple has three girls—Georgia, 4, Paige, 2 and Harlow, 11 months—and Rader Renovations, a full- service residential construction and remodeling company in East Dallas. Rader, the owner, founder and general contractor (Jeremiah works in commercial construction), says sometimes resembles a happy “crazy town” as a working mom of three.
DID YOU AND JEREMIAH
WANT A BIG FAMILY?
Until I met Jeremiah, I didn’t want kids. I just didn’t see them in my future. Something automatically changed when we met and fell in love. I went from not wanting any children to wanting a big family.
WHAT’S IT LIKE OWNING A BUSINESS AND BEING A MOM?
Once we decided we wanted a big family, I knew I needed to make a switch in my career. At the time, I was working in commercial construction which is 24/7. I knew I would continue to work but needed to find a more family-friendly and flexible environment. About a year before Georgia was born, I founded my own residential construction company, Rader Renovations. Now, my clients are moms. They totally get it and understand the demands of being a working mom.
HOW DO YOU MAINTAIN A BALANCE?
I never valued time like I do now. Every minute of every day is calculated. I work to make the most of every minute, whether it’s at work, with Jeremiah or a girlfriend or with the kids. I make a concerted effort to stop work each day at 5:30pm. I go to every school function and don’t work on Saturdays, Sundays or holidays.
YOU SEEM TO HAVE THE BALANCE THING DOWN, BUT DO YOU EVER FEEL MOMMY GUILT WHEN YOU’RE WORKING?
I know that my hard work is part of what helps provide for our family. Working also makes me a better mother and hopefully a role model for my daughters. I often think about the example I want to set for my girls. And who knows? Maybe I’m building a business that they could eventually take over one day.
I also recognize that in order to be a good parent and wife, my personal sanity is more important now than ever.
WHAT WAS THE BIGGEST ADJUSTMENT GOING FROM TWO GIRLS TO THREE?
Three is exponentially harder. We are now officially outnumbered. Jeremiah and I both feel this constant struggle with making sure each child is getting individualized attention.
HOW DO YOU MAKE SURE THAT EACH OF YOUR GIRLS IS GETTING WHAT THEY NEED FROM YOU?
It’s definitely a struggle. Jeremiah and I regularly plan individual “dates” with each child.
AND HOW DOES JEREMIAH HANDLE HIS ROLE IN A FEMALE-DOMINATED HOUSE- HOLD?
Well, in the last year, he bought two four-wheelers, a motorcycle and a truck. Clearly, he needed a dose of testosterone, an understandable response to the sparkles, glitter and Barbies in our home. Seriously though, he is the best dad. He’s super involved and loves his time with his girls.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE OTHER EXPANDING FAMILIES?
It is going to be more difficult, but it’s so worth it. And I think there’s an advantage to having them close together. It’s hard when they are all young, but they will grow up together and be friends.
Plus, neither Jeremiah nor I require much sleep. We’re pretty energetic naturally. In fact, I can’t drink caffeine or I won’t sleep at all.