Stacey Learmont plays for Perth Glory in the national women’s football (soccer) league – the Westfield W-League – and is the only mother in the league. I recently asked her some questions about managing motherhood and professional football and the benefits of growing up being active and involved in sport.
Stacey started playing football at age fourteen. Her parents are involved in managing and coaching football and three sisters and her brother also play football.
Stacey has a 15 month old daughter, Olivia. She is a professional footballer, an at-home mum, does accounting for her husband’s business and is studying for a Bachelor of Education (Early Childhood Education).
You juggle motherhood, study and playing soccer. You must be pretty organised. How do you manage it all?
I find that all the responsibility associated with motherhood has helped me to become very organised. I plan each day as much as possible, so that I can find time for all the important things in life. My husband Grant and I share the responsibilities at home, which really helps. My whole family was very supportive when I started considering whether or not to play again this season, which means we are never short of a baby sitter when we need one.
What does a typical day in your life look like?
Well our day normally starts around 6-6.30 (depending on how good the night has been) when we stay goodbye to Daddy as he goes off to work. We follow with breakfast and a play in the garden and walk down to the shops and get all our food for dinner before it gets too hot. When we get back from our walk we generally have play time before Olivia’s daily nap. Once Olivia goes down to sleep, I attempt to get all my house work done and dinner cooked for the evening. When she wakes we make lunch and might do some drawing or read some books. Then we packed my bag for football and daddy arrives home. My training generally starts around 5 and finishes at 7 so I am home to put Olivia to bed and say goodnight. Once Olivia is down for the night, study begins.
How do you keep your energy levels up during the day?
Drinking a lot of water. Quality sleep and healthy snacks. The park is my secret weapon when Olivia’s energy levels are exceeding mine.
What do you like to do with your free time (when you are not playing, studying or looking after your daughter)?
Family is the most important thing to me, so any spare time I have I love spending it with my husband and daughter. We love going to the zoo, beach and going for bike rides.
You come from a family of people involved in sport. What sports did you play as a child?
I come from a big family and as kids we didn’t stop playing sports. When I wasn’t training with the local swimming and netball teams, we could usually get a good game of street cricket, pool volleyball or football going at home. We even had a full-size set of soccer goals set up in the park out the front of our house when enough kids from the neighbourhood started to join in with our evening match.
What, for you, were the benefits of being active and involved in sport as a child/teenager?
During high school, I swam most mornings and played club football in the evenings and on the weekends. The early mornings and regular training helped me development commitment, discipline and a sense of sportsmanship. Playing state and school girl football came next, allowing me the opportunity to travel to many destinations in Australia, which was very exciting as a sixteen year old girl.
Do you have any suggestions for parents who are wanting to get their children interested in being active and playing sport?
Sport should be fun, so make sure that is always the focus. If your child is able to experience benefits of exercise at a young age, they will establish a positive connection that will stay with them throughout their life. Let them try things out for themselves and tell you what they like - never push them. My parents lived and breathed football, but the decision to start playing was completely my own.
Stacey is a fantastic reminder to mums that their activities outside of caring for children are part of what make them great mums. She is also a wonderful role model for young girls about the benefits of staying active and going after what you want.
The women in the national women’s football league have been very successful at an international level – winning last year’s Asian Cup and making it to the quarter finals at the last World Cup. Give them your support. If you’d like to know more about women’s football, visit their Facebook page.