Mothering An Olympian!
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Mothering An Olympian!
Being the mother of a sports champion and an Olympian can be a stressful and overwhelming job. Mother & Child had the honor to speak to Fatma Rashad, mother of Nadia Negm, our very own Egyptian rowing champion to learn what life is like being the mother of an Olympian.
Here’s what she had to say:
1. Tell us how you planted the athletics seed in your child? Was this your daughter’s first sport? Who chose it? Did she fall in love with it from the start?
My principal is to expose children to as many sports and hobbies as possible, and eventually something will hopefully trigger a passion. Nadia was 12 when she began rowing and no, it was not love at first stroke, but the more she did it and the more she got a grip of it the more she fell in love with it.
2. How did school &/or club help develop your child’s athletic skills?
I have to say the school was not really involved since rowing is an outdoor sport that cannot be practiced on school grounds like other sports, plus the fact that rowing is not a sport many students take up. As for her club, well, that became a second home and the team mates became a second family which I think had a huge impact on Nadia’s persistence and dedication.
3. How did you manage the training schedule with school, activities and siblings?
Balancing school and training was a huge challenge especially in the last 2 years of her IB and final examinations; it was a real struggle. Nadia would leave home every morning at 7:00 am only to come home not earlier than 8:30 pm and then expected to catch up with school work. Not to mention the regattas every other weekend in tournament season and the training camps. As for siblings, we try to keep a balance and make sure everyone has their interests and is given equal chances and time.
4. How different do you see your daughter from her peers?
Nadia is different from her peers in the sense that she had to give up and compromise many things that a typical teenager does, especially as a girl. Nadia’s wardrobe is mainly sports gear and flat shoes. She sometimes found it hard to “fit in”, which is why her team mates have become her best friends as they lead the same sort of life and harsh training routines.
5. If not all your children are athletes, how has rivalry and jealously been?
Luckily, we have not had jealousy between Nadia and her brother who actually did join the rowing team for a year and decided it was not for him. We maintain that what fits for one does not fit for all, so her brother Youssef has other interests which we give equal importance to.
6. How has your husband been supportive?
My husband has been extremely supportive. It’s important for the whole family and home to be supportive in order to provide the best environment for any aspiring athlete.
7. What have been the most difficult challenges?
The most difficult challenges have been really to juggle between school, family life and the very high demands of the sport. Also keeping the motivation up when things don’t go well and supporting Nadia to get back into it and keep up the spirits. Everyone has a bad day so that’s when athletes need the most care.
8. What personal gratification do you get from your daughter’s achievement?
I have to say that personal gratification is the pure pride I have when I see the “character building” the sport has given Nadia. Yes, it’s great that she’s won so many championships and regattas, but what it has done to shape this human being is bigger than all the medals.
9. How do/did you manage expectations & disappointments?
Expectations and disappointments are a huge part of any sport once it reaches a professional level, but then again this is part of the “character building” to be able to roll with the punches and get up, brush yourself off and go back stronger. I always told Nadia that the day she decided it’s over and that she wants to close this chapter in her life, I will only support her. As parents, we need to motivate our kids to a certain degree but after that, whatever they choose to do is their decision.
10. What are your dreams for your daughter?
My dreams for Nadia are “her dreams”. I want her to reach whatever she puts her mind to and know that nothing is impossible; whatever the outcome I want her to be happy and enjoy this amazing journey called life.
Photo credit: www.row2k.com