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Spotlight: New Mom and Football Wife Shelby O’Donnell

By Mandi Kreisher

We are celebrating families we love here at BCB!

Meet the O’Donnell family!

If the name Pat O’Donnell sounds familiar that’s because Pat is the punter for the Greenbay Packers!

Pat and his wife, Shelby, are due (very) soon with their second child. We sat down and talked to Shelby about motherhood, being a football wife and so much more.

 

-Name:

Shelby O’Donnell

-Kid(s) and Ages:

Palmer O’Donnell – 19 months

Baby #2 – Due August 2022

-IG handle:

@shelbyodonnelll

-Where do you live/are you located?

Green Bay, WI

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I graduated in 2013 from the University of Miami, majoring in Accounting, with a minor in Mathematics. I worked for seven years for a national homebuilder in the Accounting and IT departments. After giving birth to my daughter in December 2020, I decided it was best for my family and I to stay home full-time and raise her. I am now due with my second child in August 2022. My mission is to share my experiences with other moms in order to make their experiences as positive as mine has been so far!

-Talk to us about being a new mom all while expecting another child.

Everyone loves to ask me if this pregnancy is different from my first one (especially since we are waiting to find out the gender of baby #2). I would say that being pregnant while having a Toddler at home is a completely different experience than being pregnant and working a full-time corporate job (my former life). The most challenging part is being inevitably tired during parts of the day and trying to still play and be engaged in exciting activities with my daughter. In the first trimester, there would be times where I had many food aversions, but still had to feed my daughter her favorite meals. Let’s just say, my former corporate boss was more understanding/empathetic than my young daughter. 🙂

-Tell us about you and your husband. How did you meet? How long have you been married?

My husband and I met in the Summer of 2013 when I was working full-time as the Administrative Assistant for the Head Football Coach at the University of Miami and he transferred for his fifth year of eligibility. We have been married since February 2020.

-What is it like traveling so much? How has this changed since having kids?

Before getting married or having kids, I traveled frequently for my job, therefore this lifestyle was not completely new to me. However, I would say it is definitely more challenging when you are not alone. In my opinion, the key is to prepare ahead of time (snacks, toys, etc.) and stay calm because your kid feeds off of your energy.

 

 

-How do you handle being a football wife AND a mom all while expecting your second child?

Every day is a unique experience as a mom, especially a pregnant mom. I think communication with your husband is the most important part of any relationship, no matter what career the husband and wife may perform. When I am overly tired and he is home, I express to him when I need a break and see if he could please take our daughter outside to play or on a walk. If I do ask him for help, I try to be strict with myself and ensure I actually close my eyes and relax, not just scroll my phone on social media. I do not do this often, but this way he knows I am being genuine and appreciating the break.

-What is the toughest part about being a football wife?

I think with any career, it is tough to watch your husband give his all every single day and face disappointment. Only one team at the end of the season can win the Super Bowl, so I feel badly for him when any games may not turn out as expected.

-What is the best part about being a football wife?

I love watching Pat fulfill his dream of playing football at the professional level. It is especially so meaningful to be able to bring our daughter to games and practices to support him.

-Pat has a podcast called Locker Room Dads. Can you tell us a little bit about it?

Pat started Locker Room Dads as a way to talk to his peers across the league and across other sports/careers about the highs and lows of DADHOOD. There are so many resources for Moms to share their stories, but Pat wanted a platform for men to be candid and open when it comes to the benefits and challenges of parenthood. I think the podcast does a great job at illustrating that it does not matter if you are a professional athlete or not, many experiences are similar when it comes to adding a child to your family.

-What would someone be surprised to learn about you?

Growing up as the youngest of three girls, my dad raised me as the “son he never had”. Therefore, I always loved watching and attending sporting events before ever meeting Pat. Surprisingly enough, I actually was on a Pennsylvania State Championship Basketball team in High School. Disclaimer, my former teammate is now dominating in the WNBA, so I cannot take full credit. 🙂

-How do you balance it all?  Do you have any #momhacks/ #parenthacks to share that makes this easier?

I believe it is truly impossible to “balance it all”, I rarely feel like I am in my best shape of my life, the house is perfectly clean, and my daughter had the most exciting day of her life… but all we can do is try our best. I try to give my daughter my full attention and energy when we are together and take time to tidy up, exercise and/or relax when she is napping/after bedtime. I think the biggest “mom hack” would be to take friends and family up on their help when they offer. Most of the time, if someone mentions it, they mean it.

-Talk to us about mom guilt, do you have it?  How do you combat it?

It is common for me to have mom guilt if I am doing something for myself (even an OB appointment that requires a babysitter). However, I just try to focus on using the “free time” to re-energize and become that much more “fun” and present with Palmer when I return. I know the mom guilt will increase when Baby #2 arrives, but I just keep telling myself that I am giving Palmer the best gift of all, a sibling.

 

 

-What’s at least one regular routine you have implemented to keep sane?

I absolutely love going for walks and I believe it is a great, low impact exercise that does wonders for improving mood and gathering your thoughts. I highly recommend that habit to any new mom.

Also, when my husband is home at night, he takes pride in playing with Palmer during bath time. It allows him to have “ownership” of an important task of the day, while allowing me time to either prepare dinner, clean up, or even respond to text messages/emails from the day. He loves that it is their special time to be together, especially if he was gone for the majority of the day.

-Who is in your mom tribe and how did you meet them?

I am very fortunate to have met amazing mothers through the Packers’ (and formerly Bears’)  football team (teammates and coaches wives), my neighborhood, and even chitchat from local parks/playgrounds. Since moving to Wisconsin, the community has been so friendly and I count my blessings every day that so many people have made it feel like “home” in a couple of short months.

-What is one piece of advice for new moms that you wish someone told you before motherhood?

Be open to asking others for their insight and opinions, but ALWAYS trust your instincts first. There are a wide variety of opinions on every single topic regarding motherhood, but no one will ever know your child as well as you, so you just have to sift through all of the information to try your best to make the most informed decision possible.

-What is the best part about your kids ages RIGHT NOW?

Palmer is beginning to understand words/commands, as well as communicate and share with me what she needs/wants (i.e. water when she is thirsty, or “all done” when she is finished eating). I am excited for her to be my helper when the new baby arrives!

-What is one product you can’t live without?

Palmer loves her Kyte Baby sleep sack and white noise machine. Both of these function as “sleep cues” and has helped her nap and sleep well throughout the night

Last show you binged:

Bridgerton Season 2

Last book you read:

Becoming Toddlerwise

Go-To Family Dinner:

Grilled BBQ Chicken, Asparagus, and Sweet Potato

Favorite Beverage:

Cold brew Coffee

Favorite Take out:

Rustique Pizza

Favorite Dessert:

Cotton Candy Ice Cream

Dream Vacation:

Bora Bora

-5 things you ALWAYS have in your diaper bag

  1. Water Wipes (I use them for diaper changes and every time I make a mess in public)
  2. An apple or granola bar (Palmer’s current favorite snacks)
  3. A book (Palmer loves to read in the car)
  4. Water bottle (love the Munchkin water bottles or Yeti ones)
  5. Aquafor (My go-to for diaper rash or to put on a cut if Palmer plays too hard)

Thanks for sharing with the BCB community Shelby!

You can visit Shelby on Instagram here and Pat on Instagram here.

AND you can listen to Pat’s podcast Locker Room Dads here!

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