Amy Clark

A Rare Interview With Debbie Phelps

Johnson’s contacted me to let me know that they had chosen a handful of bloggers to chat with Debbie Phelps and asked if I would like to be included. After I got over my initial squealing and jumping up and down, I calmly replied that I could definitely make myself available for the engagement. After all, who could pass up such an amazing opportunity to speak to the mother of Michael Phelps?

Myself, BooMama, MamaPop, MomLogic, & Better Than a Playdate were chosen to talk to Johnson’s official Mom of the Olympic Games. To see her video tribute to Michael, please head over here.

During our interview, Mrs. Phelps openly discussed everything from her difficulties juggling everything as a single mom, her pride over Michael’s accomplishments, the bullying that Michael endured growing up, and the world’s fascination with her son. In the entire interview, one message rang throughout… her deep pride and love for her family.

Being a single mom was difficult for Debbie, but she attributes her strong support network as the reason she was able to juggle it all. Debbie said, “When all of the three kids were home, they were all swimmers. I couldn’t have done everything without the support of other moms and their children being in the same sport. I relied on my friends. My mother gave me a lot of willpower and determination to believe in myself and I had a strong support system that helped make sure that everything was going well.”

My question for Debbie was how she avoided falling into the stage mom trap and how she would advise other parents to do the same? Debbie said, “I wasn’t a pusher. I just always let the coaches do their jobs. My job was to be Michael’s mom.” She also discussed how she encouraged Michael without pushing him in her own direction, “I couldn’t get caught up in the stage mom junk. I took on the logic of Michael’s coaches- it’s here and then gone tomorrow. ”

As a personal finance blogger, my other questions were on money management and how she has been encouraging her son to manage his money. I asked how she would help Michael stay grounded and manage his new-found wealth and fame? Debbie said, “I watched Michael gain four years of maturity over this Olympics. I am hoping the values that I taught him at home are going to stay with him as he goes on this journey. I feel that Michael will be reaching out to those who supported him as he goes out onto this endeavor.”

When asked if she would like to share a favorite family dish, Debbie let out a chuckle. “I hate to cook. Cooking is not my forte. With the kids growing up, it was easy to just put a pasta dish together. We were carb loading all the time. I had to be economical as a single mom – a lot of cereal and a lot of carbs.” As a budget-minded mommy, I think I would be right at home at Debbie’s table.

A big thank you to Johnson’s for giving us this opportunity and a huge congratulations to the entire Phelps family on all that they have accomplished!

Published September 09, 2008 by:

Amy Clark

Amy Allen Clark is the founder of You can read all about her here.

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