Stephanie Louden, LPGA player, talks more with Kim Orlando about getting back on the course 2 months after having her first child.
TMOM: How was it at first, being back on the course?
STEPHANIE LOUDEN: It was really great, actually. I’d missed the competition. The pressure to hit shots. All of that is stuff that I love.
TMOM: Was it hard to focus out there? To keep your mind on the game?
STEPHANIE LOUDEN: It was very hard. I played pretty well, but it was tough not to think about the baby. I kept telling myself "OK, when you’re at home, focus on Lucas. When you’re on the course, focus on the game." It wasn’t easy, but I think separating these two halves of my life may actually have helped my golf game.
TMOM: How’s that?
STEPHANIE LOUDEN: Well, when my only real focus was my career, I would come home from the course and spend hours obsessing about shots, putting, whatever. Now I get home and leave golf at the door because it’s all about my baby. And I’m guessing the lack of obsession might be a good thing for my game.
TMOM: As far as the tournaments go, what is your means of travel? How do you guys get around?
STEPHANIE LOUDEN: Last year we did a lot of flying. My husband and I have become experts at conquering the airport, and actually my son flies great. But it’s pretty expensive, and it’s no fun to drag all the luggage around. So we may break out the minivan for next year’s tour and try to drive to a lot of the tournaments.
TMOM: How does the baby handle the traveling overall?
STEPHANIE LOUDEN: Fortunately for me, he’s a very flexible baby. He goes with the flow really well and doesn’t tend to get very fussy.
TMOM: And you? Do you go with the flow?
STEPHANIE LOUDEN: Ironically enough, motherhood has made me a more relaxed traveler. I used to like everything totally planned and scheduled to the minute. But once there’s a baby, you realize there’s no such thing as a set schedule ever again, so you have no choice but to roll with it.
TMOM: Do you have any tips for traveling successfully with a family?
STEPHANIE LOUDEN: Definitely pack light, because you end up acquiring things no matter where you go. And give yourself a lot of time. Way more time than you think you’ll need.
TMOM: What is your one must-pack item?
STEPHANIE LOUDEN: My pillow. It’s my connection to home.
TMOM: Most people mainly travel when they’re going on vacation. But for you, travel is a large part of your career. So is being at home your idea of a vacation?
STEPHANIE LOUDEN: We definitely like our time at home. But despite the pace of the tour, we still do like to travel. There’s only one rule – nobody brings their golf clubs. That’s my idea of a vacation – no golf allowed.
TMOM: What advice would you give to other women who have full-time, high-pressure careers but really want to be parents?
STEPHANIE LOUDEN: I’d tell them to go for it. I’d tell them that you don’t have to give up your career to be a good mom, and that the blessing that comes to you as a mother is unmatched by anything you will experience in this world. I would tell them not to obsess over figuring out every detail ahead of time – it will all work itself out, and it’s so completely worth it.