Originally from New York, Jennifer Sharpe completed her graduate work in athletic training in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Providing emergency, preventative and rehabilitative care, she became a collegiate athletic trainer for the University of Connecticut. There she met her husband Joe, also an athletic trainer, and the two fell in love.
Once they married, Jennifer says, “It became obvious that we both would not be able to be athletic trainers, because our work hours would conflict.” Her husband’s career took them on a journey across many states before they finally found themselves residing—and thriving—in Oklahoma.
The Sharpe family moved to Oklahoma five years ago, when Jennifer’s husband Joe was named as the head athletic trainer for the Oklahoma City Thunder. He also serves as the head athletic trainer for the USA Basketball Men’s Senior National Team and his schedule requires a lot of travel and dedication. After having lived in Connecticut, Minnesota and North Carolina, the Sharpes found that adjusting to life in Oklahoma has been easy. “I like all of the people in Oklahoma that I have met through my husband’s job,” Jennifer explains. “Everyone here is so nice, they are all really good people. Our children have been blessed with the opportunity to have many adventures, including fun travel and meeting many interesting people.”
Since moving to Oklahoma, Jennifer has become an active volunteer. She volunteers as part of a group affiliated with the Thunder that does charitable work in the community, coaches her daughter Jayme’s (age 5) soccer team and serves as the homeroom mom in her son Joseph’s (age 8) second grade class. At Crossings Community Church, Jennifer volunteers in the coffee shop and leads a women’s Bible study group. She says this has stretched her out of her comfort zone and that she enjoys spending time with women from all different places and different life experiences.
On the professional front, Jennifer is a contributing writer for MetroFamily and often takes her kids with her on assignments to explore local venues, saying “kids are the best critics out there!” Jennifer adds that most of her time is spent coordinating the logistics of her husband’s travel schedule and their busy family life. “Weekends are the hardest because Joe is working on most Saturdays and Sundays, so even if he is in town, he isn’t necessarily home at times when most kids have both parents around,” she explains. “My kids can be sensitive to Joe’s absences, and it hurts me to see them upset when their dad is away. I am always accessible for my children. I am able to drop anything for my kids if I have to and that is the way it has always been. “
With the kids now both in school, Jennifer says it has also been a year of self-discovery. “When you have kids, you lose your identity in a huge way,” she points out. “I think I am at a phase where I am trying to reclaim what my identity is.” Lately she has been contemplating her career with her combined role as mother and core of her family. “Right now, my goal is just to stay put and give my kids stability while they’re in school,” she explains.
And she finds that to be a winning combination. “With motherhood, having my identity change to ‘mom’ has had a large personal impact. For a long time, I felt like I had forgotten who the real person was underneath the spit up, dirty diapers, and baby babble. I finally feel like now, with my children growing older, I am re-claiming who I was to some extent but also moving forward creating a new identity as a mom of older children. This is an interesting and exciting time in my life.”
Here’s more about how this 37-year-old mom manages the home court:
What’s one thing most people don’t know about you?
I played NCAA Division I volleyball in college.
How do you banish stress?
I run a lot! I completed my first full marathon last year (the OKC Memorial Marathon) and I am currently planning to run it again this year.
What inspires you?
My husband’s commitment to his job and his professional accomplishments is a huge inspiration for me. Since we both have similar degrees, certifications and educational backgrounds, I find it awesome that he has been able to stick with the profession and rise to the top of his field.
What is the biggest challenge in your life?
Making sure our kids are happy and taken care of.
What is on your wish list?
More travel. More golf. More date nights. Less clutter.
What are you most proud of?
Graduating Summa Cum Laude from college and receiving a full scholarship to graduate school, where I wrote an award-winning Master’s thesis.
What motivates you?
Deadlines! I hate to admit it but I am at my best under pressure. I love to cross things off a to-do list.
How do you find balance in your life?
I’m still looking for it! Mainly with exercise and spending time with friends when I can. Reading and cooking also help me unwind.
Advice for other moms?
It’s cliche but the time goes by so fast! I always tell moms to network with other moms, especially in the baby years when it’s easy to become isolated. I always felt re-assured knowing that I wasn’t alone and so I try to encourage other moms to find that peer support as well.
What is your parenting style?
I try my best to use the principles of the “Love and Logic” philosophy as much as possible. We talk a lot about the importance of respecting adults, treating others as we would like to be treated and having good manners.
Favorite advice about motherhood?
Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it. (Proverbs 22:6)
Quick Facts about Jennifer:
- What are five words that describe you? Mother, athletic, busy, motivated, tired.
- What is your favorite indulgence? Dessert (which I indulge in all the time)
- What can’t you live without? My sunglasses. I can’t survive the Oklahoma sun without them.
- What’s your favorite family outing? We love the beach.
- What’s your guilty pleasure? Pedicures.