Balancing Motherhood and Coaching

By Jen Johnson, Head Coach, University of Vermont @UVMwlax

I am juggling being a Division I Head Coach and a single mom to 8 month old twin boys, Cole and Finn. If I had a dollar for every time someone asked if I now planned to leave the profession, or if I was flat out insane, I would be a millionaire. People are quick to pass judgment and don’t give women enough credit for the ability to balance being a mom and a competent professional. Is it difficult? Of course! But fortunately I have the commitment, organization, and passion, coupled with the support of my peers and colleagues to make it all work.

Photo courtesy of UVM Sports Information.
         Photo courtesy of UVM Sports Information.

The chaos began for me during pregnancy when I went into labor four days after our Conference Tournament in May, which was two months earlier than my expected due date. I then spent the next five weeks going back and forth daily to the NICU at the hospital. My maternity leave had started, but I still needed to hire a new assistant coach while my other assistant was fulfilling coaching duties internationally. I hired a new assistant and her first day of work was running our overnight camp! And she did a terrific job! I share with you my experiences because it shows that no matter what kind of hurdles you encounter, you can find a way to overcome them.

Like most people in our profession, I am a very competitive person. I am also someone who likes to control every facet of my program, and at times, micromanage things. Being a new mom has opened my eyes to many things that needed changing. One, there is more to life than lacrosse. Two, it has caused me to see the importance of a work/life balance. Three, it has pushed me to have more confidence in my two very capable assistants and to delegate more. And they have gone above and beyond the call of duty! Four, if you ask for help, people are there to gladly help you out. Take advantage of it!!!

Even though I know I have good reason to occasionally be a little tardy, a little more tired or stressed, a little forgetful, or pulled in different directions, I still feel guilty about it. I strive for perfection and want to do it all. But I have to prioritize things and be okay putting some things on the back burner.

I have a lot of respect for working mothers in our profession, many of which have more children than I do and make it look easy. We are strong, proficient women who deserve a lot of credit.

Having a family was the best decision that I have ever made and I am thankful everyday that I get to come home from work and see those two ear to ear grins when I walk through the door. I am also thankful that Cole and Finn have allowed me to continue to grow both as a mother and as a coach.

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