Working Mama Spotlight on Ashley Papke

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Name: Ashley Papke

Where are you from: Born in Oklahoma and raised in Charleston, SC for 22 years

Where do you live now: Anderson, Indiana since May of 2018

Career: I've managed multiple businesses ranging from movie theaters, body piercing and tattoo shops, and restaurants to providing private care for mentally handicapped adults and children. I've found myself sticking with pizza over the last few years. Currently, I am a Multi-Unit Manager for Papa Murphy’s.

Family life: I've bee married to my husband, Allen, for ten years. We have three wild and beautiful girls: Riley, 6, Piper Ann, 5, and Lyla Emerson, 3. We also raise chickens, and have 2 cats.

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Favorite Indy Eats: I haven't ventured into Indy much, but there is a small Asian bistro in Anderson called Lantern House that is my absolute favorite.

Favorite family fun spot/activity: We love to spend time outdoors. Whether it's just enjoying the evenings on the front porch or playing in the yard in mud, anything goes outside! We like to go shopping (what girls don't like shopping?) There is a small park down the road from our house that we go to often.

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Favorite "me-time" activity: I love to cook and bake. I don't find time to make the extravagant meals as much anymore, but when I do, it is definitely one of my favorite things to do. I also really enjoy gardening and spending time taking care of the chickens.

What are you reading right now? I'm not reading anything currently, but I love reading books about psychology. The human mind fascinates me.

Best Mom Moment: The biggest one was my all-natural, unmedicated, water birth. I also feel an enormous sense of pride when I help my girls to understand something small, like how their actions affect more people than just themselves. I want to raise caring, open-minded, and emphatic children so seeing them understand these things is a big win in my book.

Career Highlight(s): I have bounced around from many jobs over the last couple few years looking for the right fit for a mom of 3. I landed here at Papa Murphy's a little over a year ago, and I have already turned my store into one of the top-performing stores in the franchise, and recently accepted a promotion to a Multi-Unit Manager.

What you love about being a Hoosier? Is corn a good answer? Really though, I love the people here! Everyone is so genuine and kind. Coming from the conservative south, it has been a bit of culture shock, but in more good ways than bad.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grow up? I wanted to be a bikini model veterinarian, but just a veterinarian after the age of 7. As I got older, I wanted to attend the Culinary Institute of Charleston and become a pastry chef.

Where you want to be in 10 years? My dream is to build a small homestead and be able to survive solely off of the land and the animals I raise. I want to teach my kids to get dirty, and how to nurture animals and to be patient. I feel a sense of satisfaction when I see a plant I've grown finally bear fruits and I hope to instill these same things in my girls.

My biggest mistake: Underestimating myself and the amount of resilience kids can have. I stayed at home for the first 5 years of motherhood, and two years ago I had a major stroke. I was unable to speak, walk, or use my dominant hand for anything. I recovered at home with very little help as my husband had to work. I didn't think I would ever work again, let alone successfully. it was the hardest part thing i have ever overcome. Most days, I don't even remember how far I have come, which in a way, is a good thing. I never knew I had so much strength. During my recovery, the quality of life for my kids wasn't always the best, but they knew something was wrong and have overcome all of our setbacks with no lasting effects.

Career/Parenting advice you would like to share with other working mamas: Transitioning from a stay at home mom to working full time can be hard and the amount of guilt from leaving your child in someone else's care can be heavy. But it is worth it! I think we forget who we are as women after having kids. We become walking burp rags, and talk about poop way too much. Mommy groups and playdates are always fun, but there is nothing like reigniting the flame of working again and being something other than mommy for a few hours of the day.