The Highlight Reels | Ashley Manley


Ashley Manley lifestyle photographer
Our post today is powerful and hits close to home we’re sure for many of our Reset attendees! Ashley Manley is one of our new speakers at Reset 2018 and is talking today about the chaos of being a mom and how we portray ourselves on social media.  Read on!blog-1-2.jpg

I got a text from a friend the other day from a friend that said, “Guh! I might have to unfollow you on Instagram! You are making me feel like the worst mom!” She said it jokingly, but a wave of guilt washed over me.  I had posted a picture of something fun from our morning, I can’t even remember now what it was, but I know it was the best part of our morning. It didn’t cover sibling fighting, me wanting 2-seconds to hear the news, or the failed attempts at teaching my son to hold a crayon.  Those chaotic moments?  They usually don’t lend time or creative thought to pick up the camera.

ashley manley

Starting to teach preschool at home this year has been an amazing journey but it’s also been a really hard one.  I question daily if I can last through one more story or if I’m serving my kids the best I can.  I am tested in patience and forgiveness and constantly reevaluating expectations.  I spend a few moments, sometimes seconds, a day feeling like I’m doing a great job and the other hours wondering which end is up while praying for bedtime.

And while I try to be honest in my photos and posts on instagram, at the end of the day it’s just a highlight reel.  Thoughts and photos that can be edited or deleted, shared or not shared.  Most often, written in the calm moments when things are better, not the heat of the chaos.


Since the text, I’ve pulled back a little from my presence on instagram.  Social media is a slippery slope for me, and my relationship with it is one that requires constant awareness.  Am I being authentic? Am I following authentic people? Am I posting this photo to inspire or to brag?

We aren’t a perfect family, our mornings in school aren’t perfect, so for anyone to think otherwise would be so far from the truth.  And, if I’m totally honest, a little hysterical considering how insane it feels around here and the number of times I reheat my coffee.  But I learned a lesson, a valuable one: Just as I share the best of my best, I’m reminded others do, too.  Best pictures, words, and experiences.  The highlight reels are pretty and wonderful, but real life, the best moments, and all of our most important growing and learning? That happens in between the stills of the highlight reels.



You can follow Ashley on her website and Instagram.

Ashley is sponsored by Pretty Presets for Lightroom.