There was a time in my life when an injury made me think I would never play golf again. But for seven and a half years, I put on a back brace and continued to play the game I love.
Now, as a mother, I always do.
All I’ve ever wanted to do is show my daughter what’s possible – show her that she can still be great at her job and be a great mother at the same time, no matter what obstacles she’s in confronted.
Whether it’s golf or another profession, I want her to grow up and see what strong, powerful women look like. I want her to know that no matter how difficult the road, she can always succeed. She can still prevail.
But this path will be difficult. Look at me, for example. Here I am as a mom while trying to compete with the best golfers in the world. None of this has been easy.
These are the things you don’t really think about: getting someone to help watch the kid while you go to practice and the husband works. It hauls around car seats, strollers, and everything kids need when they travel. It’s trying to have dinner when you have a kid there that you have to bottle feed. He starts in the afternoon after being up with a baby all night.
Just the energy it takes, and the time is something I underestimated at first.
But I wouldn’t change that for the world, to be honest. I was at a point in my life where I was ready for a shift in priorities.
To get to number one in the world and accomplish everything I’ve done, golf had to be number one in my life. I tell people that all the time. It should be at the top of the list. You have to be prepared to miss your friends’ weddings or miss family vacations because you want to be the best in the world.
I got to a point in my life where I was tired of missing these things. I was tired of missing something and being gone all the time. So it was sort of a natural golf progression down the priority list.
But that doesn’t mean my passion for the sport is gone. I’m still as excited as I’ve ever been to improve my game.
I’m just grateful to have such a great support system that gives me the opportunity to do both.
A big part of that support system is Smucker’s Child Development Center.
Things are much easier at tournaments thanks to the daycare program. Everything is consistent. The children know who the ladies are. It’s the same setup every week. They have the same toys, and everything is very familiar.
These children grow up around each other. They all have boyfriends that they are happy to see. When I drop my daughter off she runs and hugs them every day. It’s like a big family, really.
And it’s not just a daycare either.
I got food poisoning on a Saturday night when I was at the US Open this year. So this Sunday was absolutely miserable. I was alone with my daughter that evening and called one of the ladies from daycare to ask if any of them could come and stay with me at home.
I had an extra bed and just needed someone else with me to help me sleep.
They were at my house within 30 minutes to stay with us.
So the Smucker Child Development Center isn’t just this thing that’s promoted like, “Oh, we provide X hours of daycare every day, etc.”
If you really need help with something or need more time, they will make it happen in a heartbeat.
They made what I do possible.
I’m having so much fun that I want to keep playing.
It’s funny when I look back and remember thinking I would be done playing at the age I am now. But I enjoy the game more than ever. Every time I’m on this golf course, I become myself. I know my daughter is safe at daycare. So I can turn off my phone and do what I like. As long as I still love doing it, I want to keep doing it.
Obviously, there will be a time when my body, especially my back, will no longer allow me to compete at the same level. And that will probably be my stopping point. But I don’t know when it will be.
Right now I’m just happy to compete and improve.
I have a little girl who watches and imitates everything I do. I want to encourage her to be confident and awesome. And I hope that I can also have an impact on others who see me doing what I do.
Hopefully more women are ready to balance their dream career with motherhood.
If this trend continues, you will have a lot of strong women in this world.
Honestly, I would like to see more.