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5 tips for easing ‘mom guilt’ while coaching

There are two important points to keep in mind while you read this article.

Firstly, there is no way to alleviate all mom guilt. Secondly, these are things I found to be helpful in my journey – but what works for one family may not work for the next.

Starting a family is a huge decision. When we decided to do it, I was an established coach rebuilding a program and dealing with the pressures of a Power 5 institution.

I went through a lot of emotions as we welcomed our first child, Jackson. As excited and in love with him as I was, I was nervous for my career.

How would I do it all and be present everywhere I was needed at all times? Was my family’s dynamic going to be a point of negative recruiting for other schools against me? Was I going to have time to be on the road recruiting as much as I used to? Was I going to need to separate work and family?

After we welcomed our second child, Blake, my wife – who also coached collegiately and at club level – stepped away from the game in order to be more present in the kids’ daily lives. That gave me a little more flexibility with my career and the daily demands.

As we have grown through the process, I have realized how important it is to bring my whole self to each role, both as a mom and a coach. Becoming a mother has made me a better coach and being a coach has prepared me to be a mother. In my eyes, the roles go hand in hand now.

I am never able to ‘do it all’ and the guilt is real. The struggle to balance it all is real. But here are five things I have learned along the way to help alleviate a bit of the ‘mom guilt’…

 

01 – SET BOUNDARIES

Boundaries are going to be different for every coach and every family. One of my biggest ‘mom guilts’ is bringing work home.

I have tried hard to set boundaries for myself around time I value. For me, this means dinner and bedtime. I put my phone away, leave my baggage at the door and I am completely present.

If I need to that day, I plug back in after our kids are down. Those are times I have felt the guiltiest about missing, so I absolutely do not miss them if I do not have to.

 

02 – BUILD YOUR ‘VILLAGE’

Your ‘village’ will absolutely change as your career takes you on new adventures. Know the importance of a strong village and include people you share the same values with.

If you trust your village like you trust yourself, you know your children are in fantastic hands. The guilt subsides a tiny bit.

You can’t do it all and be everywhere at all times – but it can be beneficial to combine your coaching and parenthood worlds, says Kat Mertz (Picture: Lorena Martins)

03 – COMBINE YOUR WORLDS

If it is possible, combine your worlds – bring your kids to team dinners, for example (if allowed under your local Covid regulations). Let them be a part of your culture. Your team will love it and your kids will thrive in the environment.

 

04 – GIVE GRACE

At the end of the day, give yourself some grace. We are human. You can’t be at everything.

You’re going to miss school functions. You’re going to miss an Under-5s Saturday game. It is okay.

 

05 – GOT QUESTIONS? ASK THEM

Ask all the important questions of your employer – what is your parental leave policy? What resources do you have available? Ask for childcare help when you are on the road.

If you’re a breastfeeding mom, where will you be able to do this while on the road? Can you secure accommodations to bring your nursing baby? Ask the questions.

 

 

Parenting is the most complicated opponent you will ever face and the scouting reports are never accurate.

Coaches’ kids are some of the luckiest kids in the world. Let go of some of that guilt and focus on all the positives this game provides to your own children.

You got this, mama!

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