• Shelby Schmidt

Mother AND Athletes

We grow up idolizing professional athlete, worship them like some celebrities and celebrate the bad asses they are. When we are young we don’t fathom that they are people too. Us as adults need to do better to remember that they are in many ways just like us. They have families, responsibilities and stress. While they may have some extra luxuries we don’t, it doesn’t make them any less human.

If you haven’t read the Washington Post article about numerous athletes not being able to bring their children to the games please pause and click HERE to read it and then come back here to finish this.

Even if you aren‘t a mother, chances are you know one. To have to be separated from your child is hard enough when it’s by choice but imagine that choice not being your own. Especially when they are young (I’m talking not even 6 months) it can be utterly gut wrenching to have to be away for long periods of time (not even bringing in the breast feeding portion which we will come back to). The fact of having to leave children before we are ready is nothing new. With many companies not offering paid maternity leave it’s a all too common tale. Even those that are lucky enough to have paid leave it’s usually the standard 6 weeks.

For those who have not have kids, imagine growing a tiny human, going through labor/birth, then having to step immediately to a care giver role all while you don’t get to sleep and feel like you are physically falling apart. Now imagine having to learn an entire new life, go back to work after being out for 6 weeks and be expected to pick up like nothing has changed while EVERYTHING has changed.

Now if us mear mortals have to do that you would expect the top athletes in the world would get more support, right?

That’s a big negative ghost rider

Countless female athletes are being told basically “Sorry, your baby/child can’t accompany you to an oversees trip BUT you are expected to completely shut off that maternal drive and focus solely on the Olympics. OH, and if your breast feeding just stop.”

Like, What?!?!?

If you’ve ever breastfed or tried to you know it’s not just the simple act of feeding. There is a connection both mentally and physically that I can only describe as like having another arm or leg—You can’t move properly without it. I know for me personally my nursing journey was full of highs and los and when I stopped my hormones and emotions went everywhere. My daughter and I decided when that would stop. If anyone dared to try to tell me to just stop I would have probably went full on momma bear mode.

To have a commitee force that decision would have probably had me seeing every shade of red there was. NO ONE has a right to tell you what to do for you and your child. NO ONE.

Whole I’m sensative to the ongoing pandemic and being someone who is taking it with the utmost caution, I find it comical that a child and their caregiver would be considered “foreign spectators“. They are not some overzealous fans looking to cheer on a perfect stranger. This is the child of an athlete who has worked toward the mecha of athletic standards to represent their country. Allow these women to bring their children!!


Being a mother shouldn’t mean you have to make these hard decisions. Being a mother shouldn’t be viewed as a secondary consideration Being a mother doesn’t mean you are less than.

Being a mother AND a person with goals, dreams and drive is the goal, not a pie in the sky dream.

One organization that I highly recommend you check out is &Mother they do an amazing job of supporting mothers and bringing awareness to various issues that we face. It’s 2021, moms can be moms AND so many other things. It’s time to stop looking at motherhood as a disadvantage. We are strong, we have dreams and we should be able to reach for the stars.

The best thing we can do is support each other. Share stories like this, uplift other women and not be afraid to share what may or may not work for us—-without judgement, without sass and without any attitude.


A great example of women supporting women was on a recent post by Aliphine Tuliamuk. She is one of the athletes that is facing the reality of not being her young daughter Zoe to the Olympics. She is still nursing while training for the Marathon event and is in unchartered territory of how to manage the two. Even after reading just a few comments on that post my heart filled with so much happiness for so many women sharing their experience, tips and words of encouragement.


Regardless of what happens when it comes to the final decision by the powers to be, this is yet another block being added to help rectify some of the many road blocks women and moms face.

Take the time to do even the smallest something to help another mother. We aren’t in competition. There is room for us all and without each other we won’t get very far.
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