Mia Hamm Talks About Raising Active Kids and Staying Fit as a Parent
How do you raise active kids and stay fit as a parent while keeping a smile on your face? This is not a trick question, it’s something I ask myself regularly. To me an active lifestyle is part of a happy life because when you exercise your body feels better, you’re less stressed and you sleep better. It’s also important for your kids to be inspired and encouraged by you to sign up for sports, get out the door or simply enjoy some play time outside. How do you do that when you’re raising a family and have a full agenda?
That’s why I was very glad to learn that soccer superstar Mia Hamm was going to be part of a web chat organized by natural oral care leader Tom’s of Maine. I’ve known about Mia Hamm since my friend Christine shared her passion for female soccer (women football) and she’s always seemed bigger than life in many good ways. Now the mom of three kids under age 6, Mia Hamms spearheads a foundation dedicated to raising awareness and funds for bone marrow transplant patients and their families, as well as creating sports opportunities for girls. A true inspiring power mom!
In the webchat, Mia Hamm discussed many things including raising active kids and staying fit as a parent and I can’t resist sharing the parts I really enjoyed as an outdoors and active mom. The questions you’ll see below are questions every parent faces at some point. Thank you Mia for your wisdom!
How do you get your kids to try new things that are healthy?
That’s a great question. With food the rule with our kids is that they have to try it. I’m not gonna put anything in front of them that I probably don’t like. If they have to try it then I have to try it as well. A lot of the times, they like it and they’re like, “Oh my gosh, I really like this!” You have to tell them that it’s important for their bodies and their minds to eat healthy or try new things – like jumping off the diving board. Hopefully it empowers them to have the courage to do it.
How do you stay in such great shape?
In complete honesty, it’s not as easy as it used to be. For my entire life I had someone who organized my day and now that I’m retired I have to do it myself. It really is about how I feel about myself and how I interact with my husband and my kids. I’m a lot easier to deal with when I’m able to go out and exercise. Not only that but it sets a good example for my kids. If they see me sitting in front of the TV, not eating healthy things, not taking care of myself – I shouldn’t expect differently from them. One of the things I like to do is I like to run and play with my kids. I recently got into vikram yoga which is great because flexibility was never a strength of mine and as I get older, it’s important.
How do you keep your kids active?
Well first of all, my girls will be 6 tomorrow and our son is 1 year old so they’re constantly active. But you know, as I said earlier it’s about setting a good example – getting up and wanting to go outside with them. We live in an area of the country [LA] that has great weather year-round so there’s really no excuse not to go outside. We go for walks, we go to the park, we kick the soccer ball, we throw the baseball. With our son now walking it’s even easier to go outside and be active.
With 3 kids and your charity work, how do you de-stress?
I like to cook, I like to read but also exercising. That for me is the biggest de-stresser. Going out for a run, putting on my earphones, listening to great music – getting lost for that 30 minutes to an hour that I’m out there. Or going to the gym. Having that time to breathe a little bit and knowing that I’m taking care of myself, not just physically but mentally as well.
Is there a cause that you’re passionate about and if so, what is it?
In 1999 we started the Mia Hamm Foundation. In 1997, my brother Garrett died from a complication after a bone marrow transplant and at the time I wasn’t making a lot of money and my parents were looking at very large medical bills with regards to his care. Many other families were facing these obstacles so I started the Mia Hamm Foundation to help families who were going through it. We started raising money, we gave out money to hospitals.
My brother and I also shared a love for sport and he was so great with regards to wanting me to be a part of that experience. The other aspect of the Mia Hamm Foundation is creating more opportunities for young girls in sports and helping them feel empowered. Whether it’s being on the national team or getting a high school or college diploma – if participating in sports gives them the strength to do that, then it’s so important to make sure they have those opportunities.
Who taught you to be healthy?
My mom, she was a ballet dancer and she also liked to cook. We had spinach salad growing up, every vegetable that’s available. She really set a good example and I try to do the same with my kids.
What advice would you give to parents of kids who resist them participating in sports?
First of all, talk to your kids about it. For some parents there’s a safety issue, you want your kids to be healthy. Of course a big part of sports is being active but the other thing, especially at a young age, is how sports is extremely social. You want to be around your friends and do the things they do. If they’re into sports, that’s an important part of socialization. I played all different sports because that’s my friends were doing. Just because what my friends were up to.
Frog Mom Note: The Q&A you read is my version of the webchat. Some answers I deliberately shortened, others I transcribed word for word, striving to provide my faithful version of the answers. You can listen to the whole thing and see Mia Hamm read her book Winners Never Quit here.
About Mia Hamm: As an all‐time leading scorer, male or female, in international soccer history, Mia Hamm has been the five‐time US Soccer Player of the Year, the most any player has been honored. She played in Team USA at the 2012 Olympic Games. In 1997, Mia’s brother, Garrett, passed away from complications related to AplasticAnemia, a bone marrow disease and in his honor, she established the Mia Hamm Foundation. The Foundation’s focus is dedicated to raising awareness and funds for bone marrow transplant patients and their families. See miafounation.org for more information.
A Message from Tom’s of Maine: Tom’s of Maine is asking parents to consider what’s inside their children’s toothpaste with the launch of its new natural toothpaste, Wicked Cool!, formulated for kids 8+. With no dyes, saccharin or artificial flavors often found in other brands, Wicked Cool! and Tom’s of Maine Silly Strawberry natural toothpaste, are available nationwide and at tomsofmainestore.com.