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By Julianne Pepitone

Anthony Morando and Monique Lamoureux-Morando had busy lives even before they became parents. Anthony trains athletic teams and individual athletes, including Olympians like his wife Monique and her identical twin Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson, stars on the U.S. women’s National Hockey team.

And then, baby Mickey arrived in December. Anthony reflected on his first few months of fatherhood in an interview with Know Your Value, sharing how he and Monique learned how to live and work together in their new reality.

“You can’t really prepare for fatherhood,” Anthony said.

Almost as soon as Mickey was born, the couple realized “it was adapt, divide and conquer,” Anthony said. They quickly understood “it’s not meant to be easy. Nothing worthwhile really is.”

‘Understanding her world’

Shortly after Mickey’s arrival, Jocelyne gave birth to her son Nelson the following month. The women, who were pivotal in the team’s bringing Olympic gold home to the U.S. from PyeongChang in 2018, are also Know Your Value contributors.

As the trainer for Monique, Jocelyne and other elite athletes, Anthony understands the pressures his wife faces in a way that “a lot of people don’t,” he said. “Being an athlete is extremely demanding, and a large part of that demanding process is training.”

That understanding creates a “home team” feeling between the Morandos that serves as the foundation of their plans, goals and relationship as a whole.

“It goes back to purpose: I respect her purpose, she respects my purpose,” Anthony said. “And obviously both purposes can coexist. A long time ago, we said to each other, we can both merge our dreams. Why not do it together?”

Anthony Morando and Monique Lamoureux-Morando with baby Mickey.Courtesy of Anthony Morando.

‘Lead with empathy’

That mutual understanding lays the groundwork for empathy — key during hectic times with newborns, which include sleepless nights and challenging days.

“You always have to lead with empathy,” Anthony said. “When she’s home with Mickey and she’s up and she’s nursing, I have to understand that’s not easy for her… I’m a male; there’s some things I can’t do. But I need to understand and support her.”

That support might mean a sympathetic word or hug, or making sure the other person gets at least a few minutes to themselves each day to read, work out, take a bath or just relax, Anthony said, adding that physical and mental wellness go hand in hand.

“[Otherwise] she’s not going to be able to perform not only as an athlete but a mom,” he said. “It all starts with her feeling good about herself.”

As with so many potential relationship roadblocks, Monique said the key is communication.

“We can’t just assume I know what he needs and he knows what I need,” Monique said. In talking about their respective schedules, the couple agreed that Monique would generally take the weekday “night shifts” with Mickey. Anthony wakes up at 4 a.m. for work and Monique needs to nurse the baby anyway, she noted. Then, on the weekends, Anthony is around more often. “It’s ‘let me take a little bit off your plate here and there,’” Monique said. “Just finding that balance, by communicating, is big.”

“We do make a great team,” Anthony said. “We always have, since we started dating.”