Ashley Rader didn’t think she would ever have kids. But that all changed when she met now-husband, Jeremiah. Together, the couple has three girls—Georgia, 9, Paige, 7 and Harlow, 5—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 their home resembles a happy “crazy town.”
DFWChild: Did you and Jeremiah want a big family?
Ashley Rader: 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.
C: What’s it like owning a business and being a mom?
AR: 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.
And business is as busy as ever. We keep a steady stream of amazing clients that we are so thankful for everyday in putting their trust in me to renovate, add or build their most intimate spaces, their homes.
C: How do you maintain a balance?
AR: 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. It is my goal to be home at a decent hour and I only work one or two Sundays out of the month. Sundays seem to be the only day I can concentrate on work without the hustle and bustle of my office and employees.
C: You seem to have the balance thing down, but do you ever feel mommy guilt when you’re working?
AR: 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. Sometimes I am not sure how I successfully orchestrate three little lives that have turned into very big social and activity-filled lives to my work life, to home life, married life and first and foremost remembering to place God ahead of it all with Tuesday night Bible studies.
My girlfriends are my life blood and support, without them I would not have the wherewithal to keep it together or know what to do when I need help in any capacity. Somehow it all seems to flow. To be honest I could not do what I do without serious support from all angles of my intertwined life.
C: What was the biggest adjustment going from two girls to three?
AR: 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. And our youngest, Harlow, thinks she runs the show!
C: How do you make sure that each of your girls is getting what they need from you?
AR: It’s definitely a struggle. Jeremiah and I regularly plan individual “dates” with each child.
C: And how does Jeremiah handle his role in a female-dominated household?
AR: Well, he did buy 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.
C: What advice would you give other expanding families?
AR: Find your tribe, do life with your tribe and know that you are in the greatest investment of all time with yourself and your family. Your rewards might not be visible or apparent every day or even every year but you will get there and you will thrive!
This interview was originally published in October 2017 and updated June 2022.
Photo courtesy of Tabatha O’Brien Photography