SS18 Fettle Girl - Chelsea Baker
A piece from our very own Fettle Girl, Chelsea Baker, member of the Australian Jillaroos Rugby League Team.
How does Chelsea handle Mum life and being an elite athlete?
People often ask me, “how do you do it, how do you juggle being a mother and an athlete?”. There’s gym sessions, field sessions, my sport, their sports (each do multiple), Dad’s sport, my work, school and somewhere in there we need to fit family time!!!!! My honest answer, I have no idea. I do it because it has to be done. Is it easy? Never. Is it worth it? Absolutely! I want my kids to grow up knowing that with a bit of hard work and determination, they can be anything. I want them to know what their mum did and mostly I want them to be proud.
Sometimes they don’t understand why I have to go away for days or weeks at a time, and that’s hard for all of us. I tell them “Mummy has to go away for footy, I get to play for Australia”, but all they hear is “Mummy has to go away”. I know that in time they will understand what I’m doing and why. I love playing rugby league, it’s a massive part of who I am. If I didn’t love it, there is no way I would be leaving my kids for such periods of time. Some days are harder than others, we have to race from my daughter’s dance, to my sons Football training and then to the other end of town for Mum and Dads Touch Football, all starting while the other is still going. But to see the look on my kids faces while they are doing what they love is priceless. I hope they can see that same look on my face while I’m out there playing.
I was lucky enough to have my beautiful babies, my husband and my family come and watch me play for Australia in the Rugby League World Cup final in Brisbane in December of 2017. I saw them in the crowd after the game, and that’s when all of the emotion from the month away hit me. I ran to them, hugged them and cried my eyes out. At that point, Matt, my husband told me what my son had said during the game after I had just dropped a high ball. “Dad, why didn’t she just catch it?” I burst out laughing. My biggest critic. My kids got to join me for a lap of honour around Suncorp Stadium, they got to see me lift up the World Cup. This is a memory I will forever cherish and an experience that I am so incredibly grateful for.
Yes the juggling act is hard, tricky, exhausting but I wouldn’t have it any other way.