Ashley Brown is no stranger to the juggling act. As the founder and creator of Routine and Things, Ashley helps moms find serenity in the simplest of forms: routine. Her mantra? Healthy and happy routines are a form of wellness. 

“Unfortunately I didn’t understand the power [routines] possessed until a rough transition and a pile of fragile moments brought to life the amazing impact these tiny habits could have on living a peaceful life,” writes Ashley on her website. 

We could definitely classify 2020 as a pile of fragile moments, right? That’s why we’re having coffee with Ashley today! She is kindly sharing how routines can help all of us feel more grounded — even when days feel more and more like Groundhog Day. But routine doesn’t have to be dull and mundane. There is joy to be found in the act itself — a philosophy reflected in the cheery colors of Ashley’s website, her attitude, and her line of colorful notepads and journals!

The busy mom lives in Arcadia (the quaint little neighborhood located in the Hamilton/Lauraville area of Baltimore City) with her two young daughters and her husband, who also happens to be her high school sweetheart.  She loves everything about city living and growing both her family and her business there. 

How does she take her coffee? Black with a splash of hazelnut creamer.

Coffee With Ashley Brown, Routine and Things

Give us the 30 second elevator pitch for Routine and Things. Where did you get the idea? How did you start the business?

Routine and Things is a product based business that equips women and moms with the tools they need to consistently live their happiest life one routine at a time! As women, especially moms, we are far too often burnt out, overwhelmed, and simply surviving the day due to managing everything on our plate. Routine and Things helps to solve this problem by providing women with the know-how and tools needed to manage their home and life with ease. We teach women how to create life-giving and intentional routines that lessen their load and help them thrive, and equip women with vibrant and incredibly useful products that help them start, maintain, and enjoy routines so they stay on track with stressing less and smiling more!

There’s a certain irony in the fact that our schedules have less things on them right now and yet feel more overwhelming than ever since our roles seem to have increased. What advice to have for moms feeling the struggle?

First, breathe and know you are doing great! Right now is a challenging time for many but know that you can take steps to lessen the overwhelm and invite in more ease. The first place you can start is by identifying what about your day is causing you to become stressed, anxious, or overwhelmed. Where is the major struggle and is there a routine you can put in place to lessen this struggle? For example, if you are struggling with getting your kids prepared for virtual learning, you could create a simple morning routine for your children to prepare them for their school day. If you have multiple areas of chaos or struggle, start with the simplest problem to address first. Also never bite off too much than you can chew. My recommendation is one routine at a time.

Let’s talk a little bit about routines. Why do you think they’re important? Especially in our current COVID reality where every day may have a certain groundhog day fog?

In my opinion, routines can help to alleviate the groundhog day fog. Routines give you predictability in ‘knowing’ which can help you manage your days with intention and ease. Routines provide you the opportunity to work smarter and not harder in your days. When you have a process you are repeating frequently, this lessens your mental overload and allows for more peace of mind. Routines are also awesome because the structure and predictable patterns create more time, energy, and freedom in your life. Routines are the gift that keeps on giving and honestly one of the most sustainable ways to make life more manageable.

What does your morning routine look like?

It’s super short and sweet. I adore my bedtime routine the most so I keep my morning super simple. It all happens from my bed, which is the best part! Once I wake up, I pray, stretch, and take a look at my phone. I know you may be wondering why my phone but I have a reason for this. I am slow to wake up in the mornings so I prefer to have a way of waking up my mind and reading The Morning by The New York Times or taking a peak on Instagram does this for me. My morning routine is perfect for me. It gets me warmed up and ready to start my day!

Ashley Brown, Routine and Things

I’ve said it before — but I hate the question about “balancing work and family” because balance doesn’t fit the equation. There is a tremendous amount of juggling though. How do you approach work and family (and you!) as a parentpreneur?

For me, it’s all about prioritizing. Like you said, it’s a juggling act, so it’s about choosing which ball comes first. My family is my top priority hands down, but then everything else comes after. This business does help to support my family, so it is a major priority for me as well as I love the work I do so it doesn’t feel like work and more like fun. I’ve become very clear on my vision for what I want in life and have very strong values I am not willing to compromise. I feel this helps me juggle my responsibilities more smoothly. I also make sure to plan my weeks which helps tremendously. I choose to make time for the people and things important to me. Those things come first and then I fit everything else in the cracks and crevices of time I have. When you stand firm on your values and understand your priorities, the juggling act becomes easier.

What are you most looking forward to in 2021?

A vacation (if possible). Ideally I would love to go to a beach, maybe Hawaii to celebrate getting through 2020. I love water so any type of island or beach would be perfect!

Is there anything I didn’t ask that you hoped I would?

Nope, I really enjoyed chatting and I would like to say to any mom reading this, you’re doing great and however you want to feel in 2021 you can. It is possible for you. One small step at a time. One routine at a time!


Photographs provided by Ashley Brown.