If you’ve never heard of Miesha Tate, then chances are, you’re probably not into the MMA scene. But those who are in the know think that Miesha “Cupcake” Tate is one of the greatest female mixed martial artists of all time. Her accolades include UFC World Champion, Strikeforce World Champion, Fighter of the Year award winner and more.
Impressive? Yup, we think so too. And now, she’s taking on the biggest challenge of her life, being a mum to her one-year-old daughter Amaia 0n top of balancing two jobs – a vice-president at ONE Championship and MMA instructor at Evolve MMA Singapore. We speak to Miesha on how she tackles it all, why she loves motherhood, how she wants to inspire her daughter to be strong and capable, and why she finally knows what it’s like to feel truly fulfilled…
Hi Miesha, please tell us more about your daughter, Amaia
Her name is Amaia Nunez; she was born on June 3, 2018. She recently turned one and she’s just starting to walk. I love that she’s so pure and authentic. Every emotion she has, she wears it on her face. I wish adults were more like that, more true in their real self. I love her smile. She can make any day of mine so much better just with her smile.
She’s a funny girl and really knows what she wants. She knows how to shake her head “no” when I try to offer her a baby food she doesn’t like. When she wants me to pick her up, if she’s standing at my legs, she’ll stretch her whole body and just try so hard to magically fly up and get into my arms – it’s so cute!
What’s a typical day for you like?
I wake up at about 7:15 in the morning or whenever Amaia decides to get up . I have about an hour to play with my daughter and feed her – it’s my favourite part of the day! I’ll usually get a workout in then head to the ONE Championship office after. Then I head to Evolve MMA.
What’s your secret to being a successful working mum? How do you manage your time?
Having a good support system is key because when you have balance with everything, you can make time for your family and make time for work as well.
What does being a mum mean to you?
I didn’t know I wanted to be a mum for a long time until I met my partner, Johnny, who wanted to have children at some point. When you fall in love with somebody who you know would be a great partner for you and make a great father, it’s the other half of the equation. That really brought out the maternal instinct in me.
Being a mum is the greatest thing I could ever do. People will say becoming a world champion or different things like that might mean more. But it’s not true – being a mum has been the best thing. For me, it’s the highlight of my life.
How has being a mum changed you?
There’s a lot of things. I’m much better at having a schedule now because I have to with my daughter. She wakes, has to have her naps and eats at certain times. Before that, my schedule was very open and free. I actually feel like I had more time but I got less done. Now that I have a schedule, I have time set aside for work and I work really hard during those times.
Being a mother has also helped me to appreciate all the other mothers in the world, especially my own mother and grandmother. You realise how much they love YOU and how difficult it probably was to let go of you into the world.
Do you consider yourself to be a hands-on mum?
I think I’m very hands-on. I absolutely want to be in charge of raising my daughter. Even with all the help I get, I still want to be the first one she sees in the morning and the last one she sees at night. I put her to sleep every night. I make sure I’m there for that. I make sure I’m there for the really important moments to bond with my daughter. I want to teach her things.
I work with her on her colours every day. Right now she’s starting to walk so we work on walking together. There are things I make sure I do with her every day. I schedule my day around my daughter.
What sets you apart from other mums?
I think the fact that I’m a retired professional athlete. I fought in a man’s sport so I have a different perspective on the strength my daughter has in her. Now I’m already instilling that in her.
In the past, women were taught to be meek, quiet, mild and to do the housework and things like that. But now with my generation and mentality, I know my daughter will grow up to be strong and capable. And that’s something I really want her to understand from day one.
What’s the toughest part about being a mum?
The toughest part is not knowing if you’re doing it right. There’s no real way to know for sure that you’re doing everything correct. You just have to try your best and use your best judgement, but I put a lot of pressure on myself to research and to try to be educated and make the best decisions for my daughter. But I worry about what I don’t know.
What’s the one thing you can’t live without as a mum?
A shhh-er. It’s this thing that makes a ‘shhh’ sound. It does it over and over for 30 minutes. I use it every time Amaia is scheduled for a nap or when it’s time to go to bed. She gets into a rhythm with it. She knows when she hears that, it’s time for naps or sleep. It puts her into a relaxed state.
For me, being able to put her to sleep without a fight is such an important thing. That was a big struggle when we first moved to Singapore – we had to sleep train her and teach her how to go to sleep on her own.
The shh-er has helped a lot, and I can bring it with me if we’re out and about and not going to be home for her nap. I take it with me and I turn it on while we’re walking. It helps her to go to sleep and works pretty much every time.
Will you let your daughter train MMA in the future?
I will let my daughter train martial arts in the future if that’s what she wants to do. My goal as a mother is to give her options and allow her to choose her own destiny. Maybe she could start out at the Children’s Program at Evolve MMA.
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