Karen Moyer is a woman full of wisdom, still admittedly redefining what success means for her and reaching new goals even 30 years after college. Karen’s words leave a lasting impression, particularly since she knows as well as anyone what this athlete life entails. She’s been surrounded by sports her entire life – often identified as the daughter of Digger Phelps (former college basketball coach and ESPN analyst) and the wife of Jamie Moyer (Retired MLB pitcher). Karen has paved her own path though, using the sports platform to give back and do good – she’s the founder of Sisters in Sports and The Moyer Foundation. WAGS Redefined recently sat down with Karen to discuss baseball, business, philanthropy, and family.
Name: Karen Moyer
Husband: Jamie Moyer
Husband’s Playing Tenure and Teams: 25+ years: Cubs, Rangers, Cardinals, Orioles, Red Sox, Mariners, Phillies, Rockies
Children: 8 children: Dillon (25), Hutton (23), Timoney (21), Duffy (19), McCabe (13), Grady (12), Yenifer (10), Katilina (10)
Most people would be surprised to know that you: Love to box!
Your go-to breakfast: banana & peanut butter
Where are you from originally and how did you get to where you are now?
I was born in Pennsylvania, grew up in South Bend, Indiana and I have no idea how I got where I am now [Smiles]! I actually ended up where I always wanted to live, in Southern California, with 84 moves in between.
How did you meet your husband?
We met when he was playing for the Cubs as a rookie and I was interning for WGN. We met in the dugout where I was setting up for an interview.
Your husband was a pitcher for over 10 years. Wow! In the sports world, that is an eternity. Tell us about being a baseball wife – what you like(d) and what’s most challenging?
Actually for over 25 years! I think that the best part of being married to a professional baseball player is the people you meet who become friends for life (Sisters!). Besides that, the blessing to take our personal resources and connections along with the platform of his job to do good like what we’ve done with the Moyer Foundation. Also, the travel and experiences for our children. That’s all I can say about this!
The top challenges would be – raising a family and finding the balance of reality and sports life. While moving so much makes you adaptable, it’s difficult when it’s time to finally root after being in the game for so long. Other challenges include: giving up my own career to support his dream, and facing the challenge of “self” - what that is, who that is. There’s the challenge of sacrificing and supporting a life that comes down to wins and losses and finding the balance of reality and real issues within that, for example, dealing with crisis and having to handle that alone.
What advice do you have for athlete families, particularly the women, approaching retirement?
Try, as hard as it is, to talk about, think about, and set up something for retirement – what they [husbands] are going to do and how they will transition to being in the family full-time. Also, save money during the career so that retirement isn’t so stressful. And finally, if there is a possible way to have closure in the career, i.e. official retirement, etc., make that happen.
Tell us about Sisters in Sports. What was your inspiration behind the brand?
Someone should have done it a long time ago! It’s so important that any woman in sports, at any level, feels support and knows that there are resources available to them in this unique lifestyle we share. In the past, we connected by phone or email, and I wanted to create one central place online for all to come together to share wisdom and information. And then to build a bigger network of “Sisters”, addressing the issues we experience in this life, and adding Sis Cares to help those of our community in need – this was important to me as well. Our hashtag is #poweredbytogether, meaning that we are stronger together and you can always count on your Sisters to stand by your side as we rely on each other’s unbreakable strength.
Tell us about the Moyer Foundation. Any upcoming events?
The Moyer Foundation was a chance for us to use the platform of Jamie’s job to do good in the lives of children in distress, while also supporting hundreds of different causes. We created two types of camps in 16+ years that are both now nationwide. We are helping kids nationally who grieve the loss of a loved one and who live with family addiction! There is always an opportunity to volunteer or support our camps if anyone is interested. Visit MoyerFoundation.org for more information.
How do you define success?
Success at 25 is different than success at 50, which is very different than success at 75! For some people, success is just getting out of bed, for others it’s about how much money they have. For me personally, I define my success on a daily level because I really look at life as a gift and I try to make the most of everyday – so good or bad, it’s a triumph for individual goals.
What are you most passionate about?
I am passionate about life and all the things that come with it. My strongest passion is for people and children – how to make it a better world everyday!
You have a relatively large family! Talk about your children and how you came to be a mother of eight.
I always knew that I wanted a big family, at least 4 kids. I had #5 & #6 at a point where we were settled - and I couldn't remember much of the early years with the 1st four - so I was thrilled to be able to enjoy motherhood in one place. After that, #7 & #8, who we adopted from Guatemala, were gifts from God!
What's your best organizing hack? Organization is usually a struggle for busy moms.
I moved so many times (84!) because of sports and that trained me to be one who looks at the calendar the night before to figure out the next day, otherwise there is too much un-needed anxiety and stress because it is common for plans to change in this life. With that said, I am also the queen of Plan B! Additionally, I empower my kids to take on responsibility for themselves so that the chaos is more controlled and they own part of it.
What has motherhood taught you?
It can be the most gratifying, yet thankless, job on the planet! That unconditional love, even sometimes tough love, is crucial for a healthy, strong family.
Any tips for the Mompreneur?
Go for it!! No idea is crazy. Use your strengths and surround yourself with good people. Anything is achievable!
What are you most proud of?
I am proud that I am able to make the most and the best of every situation. I am that gal that finds silver linings in every event/happening. I’m proud to inspire and motivate, connect and network, as these are skills and strengths of mine. I accept the challenge to continue such everyday for the rest of my life.
What’s next for you?
At age 51, I find myself redefining bigger than I did when graduating from college. I may not have done my best work yet!
We all know the saying, “Behind every great man is an even better woman” or something to that effect. Any man whose career in professional athletics lasted for over 25 years surely had an amazing woman by his side. I personally want to thank Karen for her ministries and dedication to helping other WAGS. Head on over to Sisters in Sports and Sis Cares to connect with other women living in the sports community and take advantage of all the resources available!
Connect with Sisters in Sports on social media @1sislife.