Real Moms of the Metro—Meet Allyson Reneau: Coach, Harvard Student & Mother of 11
Allyson Reneau is the Executive Director of Victory Athletics and Victory Academy, a private, accredited Christian school that offers both traditional coursework for K-12th Grade and a specialized academic track for competitive athletes. She has been married to her husband Dale for 30 years and is the mother of eleven children, ages six to 29. In her spare time, she attends graduate courses at Harvard (how’s that for a commute?) and was recently featured on NBC’s Today Show. Here is more about how this 50-year-old south OKC mom keeps it all in check.
What’s one thing most people don’t know about you?
I was a 13-time world champion baton twirler and the featured twirler for the University of Oklahoma in years past.
What are you passionate about?
I really like making other people’s dreams come true. I have the pleasure of working with very ambitious and driven children at the gym. It’s a pleasure to invest in those children’s lives and help them turn into great leaders of the future.
How has motherhood changed you?
When you are single, you focus on yourself. When you are a mom, you are focused on your kids and their dreams. You live to give.
How do you banish stress?
I have a daily pattern. I get up at 5:30am, read inspirational material and have an energy drink. As I walk out the front door, I ask myself “Allyson, are you going to be a weenie or a hot dog today?” and I don’t leave until I can say hot dog! Then I go for a long run and I am ready to go.
What inspires you?
Reading biographies of the people in the Bible and great people in history. A lot of those people were wimps that became world changers. It’s fascinating to see what transformed them.
Along with your job as a mom, what do you do?
In 2000, after 20 years of being a stay-at-home mom, I felt compelled to open a competitive gymnastics center (Victory Gymnastics). Then in 2009, I returned to OU to complete my Bachelors in Communication. This year, I found the courage to apply to Harvard’s International Relations Masters program. With three kids in college, I needed a benefactor to help me with tuition and airfare. I made a list of people I could talk to and the first person said yes. I began classes on August 29. Only in America could a 50-year-old woman who lives 2,000 miles away end up at Harvard taking classes once a week!
What do you like most about your job?
At the gym, I love working with the staff and kids. I like the relationships and pulling together as a team to be successful. With school, it is the anticipation of what doors of opportunity are going to open for me after I complete my degree and the freedom it will bring.
What is on your wish list?
My biggest wish is that my kids are all healthy and happy. That’s really it—everything else doesn’t really matter at the end of your life. And with eight drivers in the family, I wish for them to be really safe!
What are you most proud of?
That I was able to complete my degree at OU with a 4.0 GPA. Also, being recently featured on the Today Show. I talked about how if you get your education, you never know what can happen. It was such an incredible moment.
What motivates you?
My relationship with the Lord. He’s the best coach I’ve ever met.
How do you find balance in your life?
You have to take care of yourself and feel good physically, emotionally and spiritually. You can’t give what you don’t have.
Advice for other moms?
To always remember to be grateful, humble, and to never forget who you are.
Where are you from originally?
I am from a small town north of Enid called Kremlin with a population of 250.
What’s the biggest challenge in your life?
Giving my husband the time that he needs. Our relationship is the core of our family, and I can tend to overlook that and only give him the leftovers. I want to continue to improve in that area.
What is your parenting style?
It used to be “I’ll say it one time and you’d better do it now!” As I’ve gotten older, I’ve gotten really soft. My last child has had a completely different experience than the first. I pick my battles and don’t sweat the small stuff.
Favorite quote or advice about motherhood?
I always tell my kids “Be careful whose feet you step on—they might be attached to the booty you need to kiss next week”
Quick Facts About Allyson
- What are 5 words that describe you? Compassionate, driven, inspired, enthusiastic, dreamer
- What can’t you live without? My Bible.
- What’s on your reading list? The new Joel Osteen book—Every Day a Friday: How to Be Happier 7 Days a Week
- What’s your favorite meal to cook for dinner? Spaghetti
- What’s always in your handbag? Lipstick
Brooke Barnett is the Assistant Editor of MetroFamily Magazine.