Kristin Armstrong was married to cyclist Lance Armstrong for five years, but these days she identifies more as “Mom” a sentiment echoed in her new book, Heart of My Heart: 365 Reflections on the Magnitude and Meaning of Motherhood. We talked to Kristin about her kids (son Luke is 10, twins Isabelle and Grace are 8), tabloid magazines, and the most unattractive thing she’s ever done. – Andrea Zimmerman
How do you share your faith with your children?
Hopefully all the time, occasionally using words. They’re always watching me, so they’re able to see how I handle myself and my life when everything is going well and when things are challenging. We can’t tell our children to be one kind of person if we’re not living that out for ourselves.
Your book is called 365 Reflections on the Magnitude and Meaning of Motherhood. What does motherhood mean to you?
Living and loving beyond yourself.
If you could teach your children one life lesson, what would that be?
That God loves you and he’ll never leave you.
How do you manage a public tantrum?
One meltdown occured at Target. One of my girls was on the floor, pounding her arms and legs, screaming and twisting. People were walking by looking, thinking what an awful mom I was. So I looked at Grace – and luckily from the beginning she’s had an amazing sense of humor – and I threw my body on the floor and copied her. It was the ugliest, most unattractive thing I think I’ve ever done, but it worked! She looked at me, horrified, and then completely cracked up. Her meltdown was over, and we got busy with our shopping.
What shocked you most about parenting?
The weight of the responsibility settling on my chest. I thought, How have people done this for generations? How has the human race even continued? It was one of those moments where you’re like, okay, this is the path you’ve taken, you cannot turn back now.
What is off-limits in your house for your kids?
Gross tabloid magazines – and the word “fat.” I tell my kids that’s the F-word. I think Luke’s discovered there’s another F-word, but fat is right up there.
What is your favorite meal that you make for your kids?
Breakfast for dinner on Wacky Wednesdays. Sometimes it’s eggs and bacon and pancakes or sometimes we go out to grab something in our pajamas.
What has been your biggest challenge as a parent?
In some ways, being a single mom, because there are a lot of responsibilities that fall on you that normally you’d divvy up, plus you’re navigating two households with kids going back and forth. But in some ways it’s easier [to parent on your own] because you can do what your instinct tells you to do.
What do you do for “me” time?
I have an amazing brother, John, who comes over early in the morning a couple of times a week – and when I say early, I mean the crack of dawn. I meet up with my girlfriends, and we go out running before the kids wake up for school. I fill up my cup at the beginning of the day, and then I’m happy to pour mine out into everybody else’s all day long.