Kate Cramer competes in stadiums around the country, accomplishing feats many of us could only dream about, but in everyday life, she is a humble and devoted mother. Though she may stand atop podiums receiving medals for a living, it’s how her kids and husband view her that matters the most. She is passionate about creating a life of joy without limits for her family, and she exemplifies the passion, joy, and fearlessness in grand ways. Despite her unbelievable accomplishments, intimidation is the last thing you feel around Kate. She puts everyone at ease with her kindness and sense of humor.
How did you meet your husband?
Jayme swam at Stanford with my older sister. My parents hosted a swim meet in 2005 with Olympian and World Champion swimmers from Stanford and UT. He was one of the swimmers.
Three things you always have with you?
Gum, my Yeti with water in it, and my life planner.
Most recent proud parenting moment?
I’ve noticed that my oldest, who has been painfully shy, has developed a spark of confidence since she moved up in her swim group. She is proud of herself, and I love seeing that.
Last mommy fail?
The kids were playing indoor soccer for 10 weeks, twice a week. I realized the last week that I had been bringing the girls, who were seven at the time, to their little brother’s soccer practice. They had been playing and practicing with the six and under team the whole season.
How do you keep it all balanced?
My planner! I look at it three or four times in the morning, and then multiple times throughout the day. I know some people can just use their phones, but I have to see it.
How does being a professional athlete affect your daily life and parenting?
I have to plan out each training session ahead of time because I train twice a day. First workout is done at 4:30 a.m. I try to get it done before they wake up, so I don’t take any stress out on the kids.
Where does your confidence and fearlessness come from?
My dad instilled it in me as a young child. I was in a running race when I was four. I wanted to stop running, and he grabbed my hand and said, “No walking.” He always taught us about the little engine that could. We would repeat, “I think I can. I think I can.” Can’t was considered a curse word.
Greatest thing about being a mom?
Watching my kids become independent. That’s been a really big joy for me. I love watching them become little people.
How do your kids view your unique occupation?
My kids love that I am a Spartan racer. They’re right next to me when I practice, and they’re trying to imitate everything I’m doing. It’s become a good healthy family thing. It gets them moving and active.
How is Spartan racing an opportunity for you to pursue your dreams and goals?
When I saw it on NBC, I thought it was something I could do. My first race was just to see how far I could go. It’s also a way to live out my faith through athletics. It became a deeper mission for me to touch other people. Now, I feel like it’s become a lot for my kids, to travel with me and to see hard work and effort. I love getting to show them that they can push beyond limits.
If you could invite anyone over for dinner, who would you invite?
Bobby Flay. I would have him cook dinner and teach me while he was cooking.
What’s something parents shouldn’t feel guilty about?
Making mistakes. We try to be perfect people and role models, but we are far from perfect. I have learned to open up and talk with my kids when I’ve parented wrong.
What good habit do you have that you would like to pass on to the kids?
Reading my Bible. I’ll spend 10-15 minutes reading it a day or try to. I plan it purposefully to do it when they are home.
Any bad habits you would not want to pass on?
Candy. They know I’m always that mom carrying sugar around.
Hardest thing about being a mom?
I wish that I could shelter them from hurt and pain. I have to let them figure it out even if it causes them pain.
What would people be surprised to learn about you?
I eat a lot of junk. I know how to eat healthy and can preach it all day long, but actually putting it into practice is a lot harder.
How did you react when you found out you were going to be a mom?
My first reaction was shock. I found out while my husband was competing in the Olympic trials, so I couldn’t tell him all week.
What do you like to do as a family?
We like to tailgate at LSU football games, go to Gulfport, and play with the kids on the trampoline in our backyard.
What’s your parenting style?
I am pretty laid-back, but a disciplinarian as well. I think I’m a good mix of both. I use a lot of the same parenting skills that I used as a PreK teacher.
What’s the best parenting advice you have ever received?
My dad has given me a lot of it. The best is “Don’t teach them fear. Let them learn to mess up or fail, but don’t let them be scared to try new things. Let them soar.”
In what way do you use what you’ve learned in competing in your parenting?
Endurance and perseverance. We’re not perfect, and I get it wrong a lot in parenting. I try to learn from that just like in a race.
What’s your favorite time of day?
After 3 p.m. when I pick up the kids and our afternoon activities begin. I love the afternoon and early evening.
If you had 24 hours all to yourself, what would you do?
I would grocery shop by myself, cook in my house with no one there, get a massage, and take a nap. I need one of these days!
In my fridge, you will always find… Lunchables.
Favorite movie growing up… Aladdin.
My guilty pleasure is… gumballs.
Favorite children’s book is… I Love You Forever by Robert Munsch.
Growing up, I knew I wanted to… be a professional athlete.
I can’t stop listening to… Micah Tyler and Ed Sheeran.