I was one of those young girls who dreamed of growing up and being a mom. I imagined I would have a great career doing something fabulous and a wonderful husband to share it with, but those goals were not as clear as what I would teach my children when I was a mom.
I was in my mid 30’s when my first daughter was born and in my late 30’s when my 3rd daughter was born and with a houseful of girls, my Mom dreams had all come true! Being a stay-at-home, working mom has allowed me to be there to show my daughters all the wonderful skills I wanted them to learn. I was committed to being the one who taught my kids how to swim, how to ski, how to skate, how to ride a bike, and more recently, how to enjoy running. I believe all moments moms spend with their children are teaching moments, and for me, it turns out a lot of that time has also been spent coaching them as they learn to love sports!
I have 3 “girly” girls that love to play Barbies, dress up, and pretend they are at school. During down-time at home it is easy to see what my daughters are learning from me. Determined to not have weight-watching daughters, my approach from the beginning has been to show them the fun side of staying active and to give them the skills they need to enjoy participating in a variety of activities. It’s no surprise then that their school time Barbie takes recess breaks to ride her Barbie bike, go skiing and do a few back flips on the Barbie balance beam! Role play has a way of mirroring real life!
From the time they were babies, I made it a priority to plan weekly swimming trips with toddlers, pregnant bellies and bucket seats. No matter what age the siblings were, each child enjoyed regular pool with me to get them comfortable in the water. As a former lifeguard and swimming instructor, teaching my kids to swim came naturally and I am proud to have 3 mini mermaids that have been enjoying swimming on their own since age 3.
Staying active in the winter is always a challenge, but since winter makes up half of our year and staying indoors for 6 months is not an option, I make sure my kids learned to skate and ski young. With me holding them up on skates or controlling their harness as they guide the both of us down the snow covered hill, I have watched my kids blossom into expert skiers and silly skaters (not our best skill!).
Running is something kids do naturally, but running at events and crossing a finish line for the reward of personal accomplishment and maybe a metal is something learned. All my kids started in 1km “kids fun runs” and around age 7 they decide they want a bigger challenge and we register for their first 5km. My kids now eagerly sign up for family and individual 5km runs just to see how fast they can run against themselves.
Learning to ride a two-wheeler is a rite of passage, but now my girls are using those bike skills to join me as I run on weekends and combine their love of swimming and running with biking to become avid triathlon kids.
I like to think my coaching has inspired my girls to love a challenge, to eagerly try new sports, and to show them that there is no limit to what they can accomplish. In turn, they have shown me that being an active family can be a whole lot of fun!