There is something otherworldly about a woman who is a four-time WNBA All-Star, can play an entire season pregnant, and manages to win an Emmy Award. These are just a few of the things accomplished by WNBA star Skylar Diggins-Smith. Did we mention that she’s also a newly crowned mother of two?
The 32-year old Phoenix Mercury guard was drafted into the WNBA in 2013 and has been on fire ever since. But Diggins-Smith, a South Bend, Ind. native and talented beauty isn’t only about balling—she’s also committed to family. She married former Notre Dame football player Daniel Smith in April 2017. Two years later, in 2019, she gave birth to her son Seven, making her an official member of the mommy club. She also recently gave birth to her daughter, meaning this Mother’s Day she has two blessings to be thankful for.
Motherhood comes with its challenges, especially when you’re juggling that role with a demanding career in the WNBA. However, it can be easier to navigate when you have pillars that are loving women holding you up and guiding you. This is something the mother of two has and is ever grateful for.
“I come from very strong women,” Diggins-Smith says with admiration.
Much of her success can be attributed to her own mother, Renee Scott, who nurtured her love for basketball and created a path for the star to materialize her dreams. She’s also had the unwavering support of her grandmother, Stella, who was a present force during her early years.
“I remember being at games when I was young. They would come and were very, very supportive. I’m blessed to be able to have [them] as examples growing up and just really showing deep rooted values.”
One of those values the star is integrating into her own parenting journey is that of believing in yourself and then working hard to self-actualize.
“My granny always says when I talk to her, she’s 87, but she still tells me to this day, ‘I love you, everything is everything and follow your dreams.’ I guess it created this belief around myself that I really could do anything,” she says.
Like most everyday moms, Diggins-Smith is taking motherhood one day at a time, but she also has a new challenge—balancing two kids. This can be a tedious transition for parents and kids alike.
“[I’m] Just trying to find that balance where both of them are getting the attention that they need, you know? Being able to give my son what he needs as the four-year-old, compared to my daughter who’s a newborn,” she explains.
The balancing act of raising kids and answering to the call for excellence from work is undoubtedly easier with the support of a community. Aside from her mother and extended family, the baller also has support of her husband, her college sweetheart. She affectionately describes him as a team player in their union who is “willing to do half the work.”
This level of support is helpful to Diggins-Smith as the married couple doesn’t have a nanny and do a lot on their own while based in Phoenix.
“My husband [is] the one that takes care of the kids when I’m on the road, when I have to do things. So it’s a blessing having a husband who wants to be so hands on,” she says.
Despite the work it entails, the WNBA star loves being a mom and refers to the job as something she’s “very passionate about” and a role she long desired.
“I always knew that I wanted a kid while I was playing because I want my kids to see me play,” she says. “I think that that stuff is intangible, you know. When they see you really going after your dreams.”
Her favorite part of being a mom is watching her kids grow and helping mold them into the best version of themselves. She is simultaneously still shapeshifting herself into a better version of herself, but taking some pressure off; that includes the pressure to snap back post-baby. While she works hard to stay fit enough to get back on the court, the WNBA star said she experiences post-baby insecurities just like other moms.
“Your body changes and everybody carries differently. You just have to really sit back and realize what you’ve done, what your body has done,” she says. “Give your body time to heal, give your body time to recover, give yourself grace during this time. It’s a process.”
The Phoenix Mercury player still isn’t at the point where she’s in good enough shape to play a game, but she’s taking her time to get back on track. She also had the confidence of a mother who has performed a miracle twice, so she knows eventually she’ll be in optimal shape again.
“I’m not really worried about snapping back,” she shares. “I just want to enjoy this time with my daughter.”
With so many moms longing for quiet time as a Mother’s Day gift, our parting question was about what her ideal gift would be on this holiday.
“I wouldn’t mind a little spa day, I’m not mad at that,” Diggins-Smith says, laughing. “I wouldn’t have to lock out my husband and the kids the whole day.”