kids

The fearless sportswoman who took three days maternity leave.

Meet your new hero.

Kate Sheahan is a sporting goddess. She is one of the stars of the new AFL Women’s League who, once upon a time, was a scrappy, football-crazy 12-year-old being told she was no longer allowed to play with the boys.

These days, that little girl is also a mother-of one, who swapped footy for tennis, started her own business, and just rolled right on through motherhood.

Hear Kate talk about her three days of mat leave on I Don’t Know How She Does It, here:

Kate’s “day job” is being a tennis coach, running her own business coaching elite juniors (that’s kids who are really, really good at tennis). She went out on her own the same year she got pregnant with her son Will. She left the court to give birth – and that “was horrid, there were lots of complications” – and got back to work.

“Three days after I gave birth I was back on the court with Will in my arms,” she says. “I just improvised… We made it work.”

Kate with her dad Mike and her son Will. Via Twitter.

Kate turned to tennis after she was told she could no longer play with the boys she'd been competing against since she was a toddler.

"I was obsessed with football. I was the only girl in the competition and it didn't occur to me until they told me 'I'm sorry Kate, you can't play next year.' I think it was a physicality issue, but it made me realise, 'Where do I go from here?' And I always wanted to be an elite athlete, I'm just hard-wired that way."

And that's how she turned to tennis. She says she was never good enough to be a pro, but she was "good enough to learn a lot of lessons to take it into a coaching career."

Kate attending the Copeland Trophy. Via Twitter.

But that determination is not why Kate is every working mother's new spirit animal. That would be because when I asked her, on the podcast, what she thought about women "having it all", she didn't offer up a platitude like "not all at the same time."

Nope. Kate didn't hesitate before firing back - "I've got it all."

"I'm playing football for Collingwood in a professional AFL women's league, I have the most beautiful little boy in the whole world, I have a family and I have supportive friends. And I'm 34! I just can't believe it... I feel like a kid again, I just can't believe I've been given this opportunity."

The ladies of AFL. Kate Sheahan with son Will, Moana Hope and Susan Alberti. Via Twitter.

It's the interview that will make you feel lucky to have a busy, chaotic life, rather than exhausted and overwhelmed by it. It's the interview that will make you feel like you can do absolutely anything you set your mind to. And it's the interview that will have you fist-pumping for the little girl who was told she couldn't play with the boys.

Bring it, Kate Sheahan. We can't wait to watch you soar next year.

Listen to the entire podcast, here:

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