In February, JMU volleyball head coach Lauren Steinbrecher’s life changed forever following a single, momentous event: the birth of her second child, Gracie Steinbrecher, who came five years after her son Luke. Her arrival introduced Lauren to a wealth of new experiences, some of which she was ready for and some she wasn’t.
One unexpected consequence for Lauren was the diminished downtime. Lauren went from having a few minutes of rest a day to having none. It’s not uncommon for her to finish her days dozing off while lying in bed completely spent from work and parenting, too tired to even shower.
“You just get so busy throughout the day,” Lauren said. “Then right before you go to bed, you’re so exhausted you’re like, ‘I just cannot shower,’ so you just crash then you get up and you’re like, ‘Oh, got to go, got to go.’”
This has led to many showerless days. Lauren maintains that the longest she’s gone without showering is only three days in a row, four at most.
However, there’s never a moment that Lauren regrets her choice to have kids. She didn’t know how busy she’d be or the hit her personal hygiene would take, but the biggest surprise of all is discovering how much she could love and cherish her children.
Lauren has excelled in her role as a mom. Her husband and assistant volleyball Casey Steinbrecher, who insists that he showers every day, asserts that the responsibility of parenthood has always rested naturally on her shoulders.
“Moms are amazing,” Casey said. “I don’t know how single parents ever do it, that’s just an incredible thing to me, but she handles it wonderfully. She’s always on point.”
Lauren’s ability to coach a successful volleyball team and raise two children comes from her purposeful separation of her work and home life. Both Casey and Lauren allocate their after-work time to hanging out with their kids, and they never force volleyball on their children.
While the two try to maintain a clear balance in their lives, it’s still a challenge. Sometimes, they experience doubts about whether they’re doing their best as parents and coaches.
“It’s not easy,” Lauren said. “You have to prioritize what’s important. We really try when we’re home to be with the kids and when we’re here to be at work, but honestly, it’s not easy. Every day I wonder, ‘Am I doing enough at work, or am I doing enough at home?’”
Fortunately for the Steinbrechers, they’re not alone. The two sport an incredible network of friends, family and co-workers that can shoulder some of the burden when needed. The players on the team are first-hand witnesses to the kind of support the Steinbrechers receive.
“She has a really good support team with her parents, [assistant coach Travis Magorien’s] wife and the daycare that they send [Gracie] to,” junior libero/defensive specialist Sarah Driscoll said. “I think they all help out a lot. Just like any other parent, she has a job . . . She can’t just let having a baby affect it and I think she’s done a really good job balancing both.”
Lauren handles her dual responsibilities with grace. She’s coached a volleyball team to relentless success and the No. 1 rank in the CAA while juggling being a mom to two young kids.
Contact Michael Turner at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more volleyball coverage, follow the sports desk on Twitter @TheBreezeSports.