‘Motherhood is an Olympic Challenge’
Michelle Griffith-Robinson is a former English triple jumper, and was the first woman in the Commonwealth to jump over 14m. Competing for Great Britain at the 1996 Olympic Games, Michelle also made three World Championship Finals and European Finals, narrowly missing out on a medal at the Commonwealth Games in 1998.
She is also a devoted mother of three, a coach, mentor, and motivational speaker. And now, she is also officially an Ordinary Mother, here sharing her gems of wisdom across a range of topics from fitness, to self-care.
Here, we get to know a little bit more about Michelle…
You’ve said before that Motherhood is an Olympic challenge. What do you think are the biggest challenges new parents face?
I think nowadays, new parents face many challenges. However, the one I think tops it all for me is comparing yourself to others, especially with social media portraying ‘ideal lives’(which we all know are slightly exaggerated!)
For me personally, I have 3 kids who are 15, 11 and 5 and I found juggling their different emotional needs a challenge, as well as trying to work. I know that I am not alone with this quest; it is definitely something that I am a conscious of.
What aspect of motherhood did you enjoyed the most?
I really enjoyed breast-feeding, and the length of times varied for each of my children. This aspect of motherhood I loved so much and shed a tear when I had to stop. Luckily, I think the pressure surrounding breast-feeding has died down a bit.
Do you actively practise self-care?
I am a big advocate of self-care and recognise that it is so needed in today’s society. I think it’s important to have at least 20 mins every day to do ‘your thing’, whether that’s to get a massage, read a chapter, or practise some mindfulness.
How do you find time to stay fit as a busy working mum?
Fitness and sport is in my blood and I also love the feeling afterwards. So, for me finding time is an essential part of my week. I encourage people to get out and walk, run or join a fitness class. I also think, when you make yourself accountable to a group/class this makes it easier to follow through. Let’s be honest, we don’t really like letting people down or ourselves.
What is your go-to healthy meal for the family?
I am a big foodie and enjoy cooking a variety of dinners. My favourite go-to healthy meal would be chicken fajitas. I use wholemeal wraps, chicken breasts or thigh chicken fillets, which I marinate for at least 2 hours with garlic, paprika, sea salt, black pepper and olive oil. We use loads of cucumber, lettuce, and my homemade guacamole with oodles of coriander! There are never any leftovers with this meal!
(For more healthy meals, check out the Ordinary Mothers Online Cookbook)
Many people comment that having children changes your relationship with your partner. What advice would you give a couple before they think about having children?
Having children does change the dynamics of any relationship. My advice would be to make sure your relationship is in a strong place emotionally before having children. Once the baby is here, I advise making time for each other- this has proven crucial. A friend of mine suggested to me to book a date night once a week with my husband. In reality, it probably happened once every 4 – 6 weeks, but we managed it more frequently as the babies got older.
You have also said that motherhood is the best kept secret. What do you wish you’d known before you became a parent?
Basically, you never know how hard, how challenging and how rewarding it can be, until you are a mother. What do I wish I knew before I had my children? That one size does not fit all…
You say you aim to help other mothers with an open and honest approach. What inspires you to help other mothers on their journeys?
I think that I have so much to share from being a mother, and from being an Olympian. I want to inspire mothers to be bold, courageous and confident in their own ability. I believe we can all share a tale or two that would give other mothers hope when they are facing a difficult phase.
If you could give just one piece of advice to a new parent, what would it be?
Follow your gut instinct!
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