Ann Schwartz is a busy physician and active mom in the Atlanta-area. She races on one of our race teams and is the mom of three pre-teen and teen-aged children (10, 13, and 16)
How did you get into triathlon?
I have been a competitive swimmer since young age and triathlons were a natural progression as I also ran and cycled for cross training. I started participating in triathlons in high school after my dad gave me the option of finding a summer job or racing like my older brother. After continuing competitive swimming through college, I had my fill of swimming. After a brief period in medical school with only moderate exercise, I found myself missing the training and competition and found my way back to triathlons.
How do you balance it with a family?
The balance is challenging for sure because I work full-time and my husband Steve also competes in triathlons. We have 3 children (ages 10, 13, and 16), so workouts typically require extensive planning, coordinating, and scheduling. It recently has gotten a bit easier because we can leave the kids home alone while we train, but fitting in our workouts still requires scheduling around all of their weekend activities. We have to be organized and structured and fit the workouts in any period of time that we can find. Fortunately, I’m an early bird, and so I get the majority of my workouts done before my kids get up!
How do you think it helps you be a better mom?
I love exercising and competing, and it is important to me to help manage my stress… ultimately I think that it makes me a happier person at home. I also think it’s healthy for the kids to model both physical activity and pursuing my own interests
How do you deal with mom guilt?
This is a constant struggle. I’ve had to let go of some things. With a busy career and 3 kids, I have to realize that I can’t do everything. I cannot attend every school event or sporting event… I just do the best that I can and try not beat myself up over it. Some things just end up not being a priority… for example, I’m the worst at cooking at home for the family! When I am home, I try to maximize the time with the kids and be available and present in the moment (still working on this).
How does your involvement in triathlon impacted your kids?
I’d like to think that we have been positive role models with the physical activity. All 3 of my kids swim competitively (although they’ll say that they just swim because I force them to) and the older 2 have competed in kid triathlons.
I also decided to ask the kids on this one…
Jackson (16) – “It really doesn’t affect me too much except when you drag me up early to go to a race.”
Catie (13) – “It inspires me to exercise and to finish what we started because they never quit in the middle of a race. But sometimes because of triathlons, I miss things like sports games or birthday parties, or a weekend when my mom doesn’t have to work.”
Abby (10) – “It is good because we get to go out of town a lot for the races and stay in hotels. But we have to get up too early and my mom has too many medals.”