Kerri Walsh’s Blog: Leaving on a Jet Plane

08/31/2010 at 09:00 AM ET

Kerri Walsh has taken home two Olympic gold medals in beach volleyball with partner Misty May-Treanor.

But she has two even bigger accomplishments to her name: Sons Joseph Michael, 15 months, and Sundance Thomas, 3 months, with fellow volleyball star Casey Jennings.

In her latest blog, Walsh, 32, talks about how tough it is to spend time away from her boys — and why hugs are needed (and welcome)!

Joey and Sundance – Courtesy Kerri Walsh

I’m sitting on the floor in the United terminal, waiting to board my flight to Chicago for work. Leaving the house this morning was tearing my heart out — I’m flying solo this weekend and I’m devastated. I have been giving myself pep talks for days in preparation, but they didn’t work.

My eyes are flooding and my chest is heavy. A little baby just cried out and it made me think of my boys. Are they still asleep? Are they happy? Do they know how much I love them? Two full days without them … It’s been 30 minutes and I’m already struggling. How on earth will I get through this?!

This love I have is really something else. It’s hands down the most beautiful thing in all the world and it’s also the scariest. Why does my mind drift to terrible ‘what if’s’? Why, when I have so much faith in my heart and soul?

I guess it comes down to the fact that I am a control freak and the fact that I can’t keep my boys constantly by my side and free from worry, harm and sadness absolutely kills me. How did my mom do it with five kids? So much love, so much worry! The love is the easy part, the worry … oh hell!

Faith, hard work, humility, family and my husband — these things fortify me on my tough days. Gosh, I could use a hug! Anyhow, to all the mommies out there — whether you have one child or 10, whether you are a stay at home mom or a working mom, I applaud you and I am beyond proud to be one of you.

This job is not easy, but it most certainly is the MOST WONDERFUL, blessed, character-building job in the world. I send you love on your good days and a big warm hug for your tough days — please feel free to reciprocate. 🙂

Love and so much respect,

— Kerri Walsh

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Anna on

About to leave my little guy for a whole week, so I hear ya sister! HUGS TO YOU!

Jennie B. on


Nate's Mom on

Beautifully said. Hugs to you!

Roony on

Currently debating when/if I’ll go back to work when my little one gets here. This post makes me feel like no matter what, it’s going to be okay, because I am not the first woman to feel this heartache. And he’s not even here yet!! But wow…just absolutely amazed by the struggle and sacrifices that women the world over make. Parenthood is a sometimes frightening, always enlightening, absolutely magnificent journey! Thanks Kerri!

Jeanne on

I’m with you!

I made the mistake of reading the book My Sister’s keeper while on my first trip away from my son… talk about heart wrenching!

C on

I feel your heartache. I am sitting at my desk at work, eating lunch, and missing my son terribly. It seems the world is just not fair – the US needs to create longer maternity leave policies as babies need and should be with their mothers. That or we all need to win the lottery so we can stay home with our little ones!

jennifer on

Thanks for this as I sit here at my job during the start of school hoping it’s all okay at home..5pm seems like an eternity.Kerri,you’re words are a blessing to this working mom of 9!! God bless all moms!!

Jennifer on

“guess it comes down to the fact that I am a control freak and the fact that I can’t keep my boys constantly by my side and free from worry, harm and sadness absolutely kills me”

That one sentence sums up exaclty how I feel about my 2 kids. Glad to know I’m not alone.

(((HUGS to you too)))

Jenny on

You feel heartache, yet you are still leaving. I have no sympathy for you because if you felt true turmoil you would turn around and go back to your babies. A 3 month old should not be left without the comfort of his mother.

Dawn on

Mine are 19, 15 and 15 and it NEVER gets easier – just different. This is why you need strong women in your life to help you through each new hurdle as it comes up.

Jen on

That must be hard. I have yet to leave my 2-year-old for more than a few hours. I can’t even imagine leaving a tiny baby. I don’t think I could do it!

Linda on

I get my 2 little people back today from a visit with their dad!! I understand the fear and wanting to protect them. It is very hard.

“Jenny” you should be ashamed of yourself. How are we supposed to support our families. We all have to work sometimes. It’s hard enough to leave them without someone sending negative thoughts.

Hugs to you, Kerri!! I’m accepting the ones you’re sending out!

Erin on

Wow Kerri, THANK YOU! Thank you for the compliments from a fellow mom… I loved reading your words because you perfectly summed up how I feel! Being a mom is amazing and it’s so nice to hear that support from other moms! Bless your family, and lots of love right back to you! xoxo

Susan on

I agree with you completely Linda, every mother works hard, whether at home with her little ones or out in the workforce. Sometimes it can’t be helped. My thoughts are with you Kerri.

Rebecca on

Very timely post! I’m leaving my 8-month old for the first time next week when I fly solo for work. It’s only a two-day trip, but I’m still already feeling so anxious about it. Thanks for sharing, Kerri. Your post has helped put me at ease, and bravo to you for being such a great mom!

Shel on

My baby is 22 and lives 9 hours away. I am not an obsessvie mom, but I really miss him every day and love him so much. Thank goodness for cell phones and the other media that allows us to keep in touch so much more than it would have been years ago. Hugs to you!!

Jenn on

Couldnt have said it better myself! I’m sitting here at my desk looking at my 3yr olds picture missing him terribly! Big hugs to you!

And “Jenny” shame on you! I guess all moms will stay home with their children, go on food stamps, and let the government support us now because you said we shouldnt work! Sorry, but I want a better life than that for my son!

Kim on

Take it from a mom with a 22 year old and 16 year old, who has worked everyday of their lives. I’m a better mom for working and always have been. I have the joy of coaching (volleyball, BTW) my own daughter now in high school, so I’m reaping the rewards of being away from her when she was young. Hang in there. You are serving yourself as you serve others by working. Your kids will benefit because you are showing them that a mom can be both mom and employee! Chin up! They will adore you for all you do for them.

Halley on

Over the summer, I had to leave my six year old for TWO WEEKS while I was on a business trip. Even though I knew he was having a great time at Grammy and PawPaw’s house, it ripped my heart out to be away from him for so long. Some days it was so bad, I felt like I almost couldnt breathe. The joy involved in loving your child is unreal, but the pain of being away from them is too.

It makes me think of all the moms and dads in the service who are away from their kids for months at a time. I dont know how they do it, and I suspect it is, by far, the hardest part of the job.

Blanka on

Here in cnada we have one year maternity leave, it is very long compared to many other countries, still going back to work was the single hardeest thing I had to do. I was lucky, my mon was staying with my lil guy so I had nothing to worry about at least…He just started daycare at 26months and is adjusting very well.

In a perfect world we should be able to BE with our kids untill they turn 3 in my opinion … those years go by so fast!!! I feel so bad for moms who go back early to work because you are missing the most crucial part of their lives wher mommy IS #1 and should be with her child… so yeah, play Loto ladies;)

Halley on

Jenny, how dare you?!? That is one of the most spiteful, awful things I have ever heard someone say! I am quite sure that Kerri’s three month old is in the care of HIS FATHER or grandparents or another trusted caregiver who is taking very good care of him. I am sure he is totally fine, and when his mother comes home to him, he will be very glad to see her. Mother should be supporting and building each other up, not saying hateful (and incorrect) things like that. Kerri, chin up girl, we’ve all been there, and your kiddos are just fine. You’re doing a great job!

Jeanne on

I’m appaulled by Jenny’s comments! You should be ashamed of yourself! We mother’s have to stick together, it isn’t like Kerri is leaving them in them with a big bowl of water and a litter box – she’s a good Mom and you should be ASHAMED of yourself for even attempting to make her feel anything else. Not everyone can be with their kids 24/7, even though most of us would LOVE it.

I think you should follow the “Mom Rule” and go with if you don’t have anything nice to say don’t say anything at all! There was no need for your mean spirit!

Barbar on

It is never easy! Mine are 6, 13, 14, 15. They all need me in different ways… I am there for them and am fortunate to work part time. I left for 2 weeks overseas, but was able to communicate with them – that was so important to me. Thank goodness for texts, emails,and Skype – maybe more for us mothers that the kids!

jessicad on

The one thing I miss about life before my daughter is that I didn’t worry so much, now I have this other person who has my heart and happiness wrapped up in her and I ache when I’m away from my her, so I feel your pain:) But, enjoy the time to yourself and doing what you love!

No mother should ever be made to feel even worse about leaving her children. I think Jenny is just bored and trying to start an argument and get attention.

Rachel on

I am due to give birth to my first child in October. Already I am feeling anxiety of having to come back to work and leaving my LO. (cry cry) I wish I had the means to stay at home, but to pay bills, car payments, loans, my husband and I cannot afford to live on one income. Jenny, you should be ashamed of yourself for putting moms down. They feel bad as they do. Not eveyone is rich and can afford to stay home.

MG on

This couldn’t have been written with any better timing. My 22 month old is spending some one on one time with my mother who lives 6 hours away. The first time she spent a weekend away from me, she was about 5 months. It was so hard to let her go. I make it through these trips by making several phone calls to my mom. It’s hard not being in control & having her with me, but she’s getting to establish a relationship with her grandma, papa & aunties. I make several phone calls checking up on her & she’s doing fantastic! Sometimes work happens. It sucks to have to leave them, but it’s only for a couple of days. I’m happy to see a lot of other mother’s being so supportive. I’ve had someone tell me that he couldn’t believe I was pawning my kid off. Some people who don’t work don’t understand the commitment & sacrifices you have to make to provide for your family. It’s not as easy as turning around & going back to them. Some of us need to provide for our children & sometimes that means leaving them for a little bit. Big hugs Kerri!

Mrs. R on

What a horrid troll you are Jenny!
Shame on you for being so MEAN!
Parent have to make incredibly difficult choices DAILY and to so CRUELLY lay judgment on her is incredibly unfair.

Kerri – your posts are my favorite by a celeb ever. I’m a Bay Area girl, and you are a hero around here… for your volleyball, for your spirit, and for your amazing transformation into an awesome mom.

Keep at it girl! You’ll go gold in 2012!

V on

I left my son for a whole week 2 weeks ago & on the 3rd day it was the hardest of them all because I received calls from him where he was crying come home mommy I miss you…That broke my heart & I cried with me.

rachelle on

Wow Jenny! I can’t believe you have no sympathy for a woman that has to leave for her job. It’s not like she’s going on a vacation or anything. I had my daughter and was back at work when she was 5 weeks old because I HAD to. Not everyone gets the choice to stay home and be with their children 24/7.

H on

ahhh jenny, bored were we….wanted to cause a stir did we? where ae you children while you are spouting you nasty commentsmay i ask???

I love my job, truly I do, and i LOVE my babies and i miss them every single second i am at work, i worry about them, if they are missing me, had enough to eat drink, cold or too hot my mind is a whirl with thoughts but i no my kids will be so proud of their mama and how hard i worked to get where i am today, i hope it will inspire my children to do something with ther lives and be the best they can be. if i could stay at home till they start school i would but i can’t and its rubbish but life its hard and to give my kids what tey need, roof over their heads, food , clothes mummy has to work and work hard and i am proud i do. jenny and the like of her can pee off lol

Laura on

The first thing I have to say is that I can’t believe you Jenny. You are beyond appalling for writing something like that. Kerri is sitting there pouring out her heart and soul about how awful she feels and you turn around and pour salt in the wound and throw a shot of lemon juice in there for good measure. I really hope you look back on your comment and realize how spiteful it is to say something like that.

Kerri, I have 4 kids ranging from 23 to 14 and I have been incredibly lucky to be a stay at home mom to them. It wasn’t easy having only one income but we managed. Now I have a new kind of heartache coming my way. My 21 year old son has joined the Army. He will go to boot camp in January and I don’t know what I will do. I’m sitting here crying as I type this because I am so scared for him. But you know what? It’s what he wants to do so I will stand by him and be proud of him and miss him like crazy. I will pray and cry when he’s gone and pray and cry when he comes home. It never ends, worrying about your kids and loving them.

E on

Jenny – you disgust me. Stop being so sanctimonious and judgmental. Beautiful blog Kerri, and congratulations on your gorgeous boys.

Sally on

I don’t get why you are all so upset about Jenny’s post. I also don’t get why people say they are better mother’s because they work. WHY?? Just so you can buy more love for you kids and pay someone else to love them for you?? I stayed home with my kids for 14 years and my husband and I made sacrifices no new car, no new house ect.

I now work part time and I know that working is a lot easier than staying home. You don’t have to deal with the children all day, only for a few hours. I would bet that most of you could afford to stay home but don’t because you don’t want to make the life style changes. I know for me, I wanted to be the one to kiss the hurts and snuggle them when they were sick.

Roxana on

Kerri, I also have 2boys Ben will be 4 in Dec and Martin just turned 1yr old. My heart goes out to you. I cannot imagine being away from them for 2 entire days. I’m also a working mommy and it kills me sometimes when I drop them off to daycare and Ben tells me he wants to stay home with me. I’m sending you lots of hugs!!

Roxanne on

Hey, Jenny, I got your back! LOL

This woman does not HAVE to leave her boys, she is choosing to. What are they, like 2 minutes old? How the hell are they supposed to form healthy attachments if their mother is leaving them at such a tender age? Tiny babies need one steady, dependable caregiver to develop psychologically. Dadies and grandmas are great, but mother is indispensible. Let me guess, neither baby is nursing?

Erin on

I am not a mother yet, but I have to disagree with Jenny, Sally, and Roxanne. There is no shame in Kerri continuing to work, even though she has young kids. My mom was gone for a year when I was 3-4yo, and my brothers and I survived. It was not easy, for us kids or for our mom, but she was away serving her country, and we were proud of her. We knew that her work was important to her, but we also knew that it was not as important to her as we were. I’m 22 now, and I look up to and respect my mom for how hard she has worked and all of the things she has accomplished. I have a number of friends whose mothers stayed at home with them when they were kids, and they now have very bad relationships with them. I know that the opposite can also be true, but I just think its important to recognize that what works for one family may not work for another. For the record, my brothers and I all have very close relationships with our mom, and we never felt like she wasn’t there for us, even when she couldn’t be there physically.
I think its wonderful that some women are able to stay home full time, but I admire women who work outside of the home. I think that Kerri’s boys will grow up to be incredibly proud of their hard-working, dedicated mom, and hopefully they will follow her example and grow up to be hard-working, dedicated young men.

E on

Roxanne, please don’t start on the nursing debate. To be perfectly frank, people like to give their 2 cents so often on that issue on this site that it has become rather dull

Mary Beth on

I feel badly for the children of the mother’s that think that only THEY can care for their children– and not the father or grandparents or others. Studies have shown that it is critical for children to have a wide support network of caregivers and people in their lives on which to depend– if it’s only Mom then it is a very tenuous relationship. The most adjusted children are loved and cared for but also independent and flexible. We want the best for our children– and all children. Why degrade someone who obviously loves her children very much and has only their best interests at heart? Mark my words, I have a feeling that Kerri’s kids will become phenomenal people and we should support her in retaining who she is as she raises them. The concept that Mom should turn her back on her passions and identity once she has children is outdated and, frankly, not very good for the children.

Ivonne on

I’m appalled by some of these small-minded comments (Yes you Sally, Jenny, & Roxanne). First of all, I’d like to see your degrees and licenses for all of this high-faluting child-rearing advice you’re giving. I bet you all had stay at home moms, maybe even good ones, but look at the kind of evil wenches they raised. Pitiful.

And Sally, I’m a better mom when I work because it makes ME happy. And I was a human being with interests before I had children and am still one after. I worked very hard for my education and will not put all of my joy and happinessand fulfillment on hold for 18+ years because I have children when they are as smart, healthy, well-mannered, happy, and loving as children with stay at home moms. I think women who feel like being SAHMs is their calling are great. Every mother should do what is best for herself and her children. MY children do better when I am able to provide the things they need and many things they want, AND when I am happy and fulfilled as a person. I have tried both SAHM and WOHM and I am an infinitely better mother when I’m working. I quite frankly don’t care how you feel about it. Jealous much that Kerri is accomplished and a great mom? I thought so.