London-based mum and blogger Ashley Wilson is better known as A Mother’s Edit on Instagram, where she started sharing her daily outfit pics as a way of getting her out of the mum-working-from-home fashion slump she saw herself delve into after the birth of her first daughter, Vivienne...
Fast forward to a second daughter, Margot, and a loyal following who rely on her affordable buys and clever styling inspiration as their own personal fashion edit, Ashley has become an advocate of not only finding your fashion groove after kids but also keeping your mental health in check. Her struggles with anxiety have been recently documented on social media and the influx of support and reassurance from other women in the same boat have had such a positive effect, her anxious feelings have actually decreased as a result. “By being open we support each other. And since I have been open I haven’t been having the feelings I used to have. They may come back but to me that says a lot. It was almost a form of therapy by being so open about it.” We caught up with Ashley to talk career after motherhood, where and how she shops each season, and why opening up about anxiety can be the best form of treatment for all struggling mothers… Go to www.amothersedit.com
How long have you run your blog A Mother’s Edit and what sparked the idea to share your fashion choices on social media?
I started A Mother’s Edit when Vivienne was one year old. I tried to return to my old job but they couldn’t give me any flexibility on my office hours so I made the decision to freelance. Instead of getting up and glamming up for my London office job, I found myself pulling on the same clothes each morning to sit at my kitchen table and work from my laptop. I felt down on myself and craved a reason to make an effort again so I started taking pictures of myself and posting them on Instagram. I would never show my face – in fact, it took a year until I finally included my face on my Instagram and revealed my real name instead of the ‘V’ I had used on the blog for a year.
Did your style change once you became a mother?
Out with the heels and in with the flats, I am afraid. Comfort has to play a big part in what I wear. I live in my Levis 501s and always find a shirt makes you look pulled together yet is so easy to throw on with jeans. And I love to play with my jewellery. Always gold and never taken off.
How do you juggle your work commitments with being a mum to two girls?
With a lot of help. I am so lucky to live near my family and my own mother has been such a help since I had my first daughter. Expectant friends who don’t have family close by I always advise to build a support network like a family – friends, new and old and help one another. I’ve met some incredible women since becoming a mum and my motherhood journey would have been a lot harder without them.
Can you tell us what it’s like being an influencer in London - do you plan your outfits and content ahead of time, hang out with other influencers, take your own photos, etc.?
London is such an inspiring city I feel so lucky to have grown up here and now living here with the girls. I love to walk everywhere so my mum-uniform of flat shoes works pretty well. I have to choose my outfits on the day as I am so ruled by my emotions. If I am feeling good about myself it’s staples like jeans and a tee. When I need to perk-up I will pull on a maxi dress or a fabulous skirt. I’ve met some truly inspiring women through my Instagram and blog work that I am lucky enough to call my genuine friends now in the same way you would in an office job. It makes London events so much fun. Photo-wise it’s whoever and whenever – I don’t work with a photographer at the moment – with the girls it’s much easier to not have a timetable to stick to so a quick mirror selfie or using my tripod at home is ideal.
You have such a great knack of finding high-street and affordable gems - what’s your shopping strategy each season?
I am quite a shopping addict so get so excited when the new season starts. The ‘new in’ tabs online get a lot of use. It does mean I have to send a lot back as quality is not always prominent with high-street finds and I don’t want to wear something that won’t last no matter how cheap it is. But definitely knowing your style, what works on you and using that search bar with your keywords whether that’s ‘bias cut dress’ or ‘leopard print’.
How would you describe your personal style?
Evolving… some days I am androgynous, other days I have a Parisian vibe, occasionally I embrace my femininity, but most are simple black, white, beige and denim.
What are some of your favourite brands to wear and stores to shop from?
I’m always shopping in Mango, H&M and Zara. &OtherStories is an absolute favourite for more individual gems, as well as Urban Outfitters, Topshop and ASOS.
You recently shared your battles with anxiety on Instagram. Can you share what prompted you to be so honest about mental health in such an open forum?
I am naturally a very open person, I tend to bump into someone on the street and instantly tell them way more than they had bargained for, usually then walking away thinking why did I tell them that, they couldn’t care less. But it makes being open on social media very easy and the whole reason I started my blog was to make myself feel better when I was stuck at home alone… which evolved into making others in the same situation also feel better about themselves. Life changes so much when you become a mum and if just helping someone have the confidence to wear this season’s polka dot dress then I feel my blog has done well.
Did you suffer from anxiety before you had children or is it something that came with the extreme life-change that is motherhood?
I never experienced any form of anxiety until my maternity leave. It was such a strange feeling and left me feeling very insecure about my worth – as a mother and also as a woman. I like to figure things out and I couldn’t figure this one out. I found it so frustrating. I think hormones have a huge influence on new mothers and definitely contributed to mine. That coupled with a complete change in lifestyle and day to day activity.
Are there any tools or tips you would recommend for other mothers experiencing anxiety?
Talk – don’t be embarrassed as it’s so common. When I opened up on social media there was an influx of others in the same boat – thousands of others. By being open we support each other. And since I have been open I haven’t been having the feelings I used to have. They may come back but to me that says a lot. It was almost a form of therapy being so open about it.
What is your approach to social media - have you ever felt the need to do a digital detox?
I have always said to friends and family – the moment it stops being fun I am out.
How do you handle the more stressful parts of parenting?
By sharing – or oversharing! And making sure I squeeze in time for myself. If I am having a horrid day and nothing is going right – having something exciting that’s just for me in the diary gives me a sense of relief. Even it’s just a quiet evening walk around the block when my husband gets home from work.
What is your favourite thing to do together as a family?
Hide and seek. Feel silly but that’s the truth. Every weekend all four of us!
What is your definition of self-care and how do you make time for it?
Self-care is doing something that makes you happy. Before we had children chances are this was about 80% of our free time. Now it’s probably about 8% – if that – so it’s very important to look after ourselves physically but also mentally. A swim, walk, talk on the phone with an old friend, manicure, pedicure, massage or facial. Whatever makes you feel like you’re all charged up again at that precise moment.