Randi Mahomes: “The Work of Parenting is Never Done.” Fate can have an odd way of working out for the best. Consider the current Most Valuable Player of the 2019 Super Bowl. Patrick Mahomes, Jr., quarterback for the Kansas City Chiefs and the 2018 Most Valuable Player for the National Football League, decided that the game was not for him and focused on other sports. As his mother recalls, his disappointment centered on the fact he didn’t get the position he wanted—quarterback. And that was when he was ten years old.
“It was hard for him that he didn’t get the role in football he wanted as quarterback,” shared Randi Mahomes. “I never let him or his brother or sister quit anything, but we hadn’t signed up for the team and he attended only a few practices. I couldn’t get him to all of the practices, and I told him he would have to quit, and, surprisingly, he said yes. But it wasn’t because he wasn’t playing hard. It was because he wasn’t the coaches’ pick to be quarterback.”
With that decision, Patrick focused on baseball and basketball. As Randi describes it, Patrick would put one ball down and then the next day pick up another ball, proficiently gliding from one sport to the next.
Raising Young Men,As a single mother of two boys, Patrick, and now 19-year-old Jackson, Randi worked long hours at two jobs for a sense of financial security and to provide the basics. Both of her boys showed impressive athletic skills and promise at a very young age. “From the beginning, I saw Patrick played better than kids three years older than he was. I went to my niece’s game, and we put Patrick out there. At three, he did better than those older kids. Officials allowed me to have him ‘play up,’ and I put him on teams with older kids. It was always that way. He started with soccer at three and he was good at it, because of his passion for sports. I called him my Energizer Bunny because he would never want to take a nap,” the Tyler, Texas, resident, remembered. “As he got older, I signed him up to play on other teams: T-ball, basketball and baseball, but football didn’t start until much later, in seventh grade. Then he got into tournament ball and on the weekends, we had tournament games.”
Randi was an athlete in her own right, playing softball and basketball and leading her high school band as the majorette. Patrick and Jackson’s father, Pat Mahomes, pitched in Major League Baseball for a number of teams. The genetics and passion for sports flowed from both parents into the superpower that we know today, although Patrick’s adoration for baseball was chief among the sports. “He loved baseball. At five years old, he was catching shag balls at the World Series batting practice because his dad was playing. Being a new mother and first-time mom, I thought I’d let him go with it,” she said. “Major League Baseball superstars would say to me, ‘How did you get him to do this?’ and I would say, ‘How do I not?’”
But it wasn’t only sports for Patrick. In junior high, he needed to pick a creative arts class to study, and his mother pushed for band. But Patrick chose the theater and wound up receiving some of the better parts in a few productions. He was also honored as a scholar-athlete in college. Of all of the awards and trophies that belong to Patrick, this one has the most meaning to Randi and it’s the only one she has in her house.
His high school sports career continued to blossom, although Randi recalls another time that Patrick considered dropping the sport of football. Her counsel to him included her own regrets about giving up a passion. “I quit high school basketball and band as a majorette in my senior year and I still regret that decision. I thought I was too cool to be involved with them. I’ve always told Patrick to do everything because you’re only a kid once. I wanted him to live life to the fullest,” she commented. “In the summer of his sophomore year in high school, he came to me and said he wanted to quit football. I told him he would be bored and to stick it out, and he did. Then in his junior year, it really blossomed for him. He fell in love with football because of the fans.”
The Family Unit
It was during Patrick’s early years of high school that a new member of the family was introduced. Mia, now eight years old, was born and became the darling of her brothers. “Mia is involved with sports as well. Patrick and Mia are very much alike, and I’d see her doing the same things he did at that age because she’s so passionate and determined. Patrick and Mia can be shy; Jackson can be more outgoing,” Randi offered. “When we do come up for the Chiefs’ home games, we’ll come in on Saturday and come back Sunday after the game to get her back in time for school. Patrick asks that his little sister be at the games, and she’s very close to her big brothers.”
Jackson has transferred to UMKC to complete a degree in business marketing. Randi is excited about his future and points to recent success for that enthusiasm. “Jackson always played sports and could have played basketball in college, but he wanted to do marketing and he’ll do well. I love that Jackson is doing his own thing. My proudest moment in the last few weeks is about Jackson. He was doing social media like Snapchat, Twitter, TikTok at the Super Bowl, and it opened some doors and internship offers for him,” she shared. “I love that Patrick won the Super Bowl, but I’m proud that Jackson is finding his way. He’s been in the shadows of Patrick for so long and he’s coming into his own. I couldn’t be happier.”
Even though Patrick has found success on the pro football field, Randi still can’t relax. As the quarterback, he wears a big target for very determined defensive players, one that could lead to injury. Early in the season, a dislocated kneecap threatened his playing time for the remainder of the games. With solid therapy and a good work ethic, Patrick was able to come back and guide his team to the Super Bowl. “When he called right after the injury–being a mom you want to be there for them–it hit me like a train. With football, it’s hard to watch him play because he’s the quarterback. I hope that it gets easier,” she shared. “I have a way of watching the game, and I’m walking around and pacing. I stress out so much yet Patrick’s just so calm on the field. I guess it’s all about being a mom. I worry for all three of my children, but I’m so glad that Patrick’s coach believes in him.”
Even with the accolades and recognitions, Randi says the job of being the mother to one of the top players in the National Football League is never easy. Her once quaint family environment will no longer exist, even after Patrick’s playing career comes to an end. People are always curious, some pushy, asking questions and requesting favors. “The adjustment is a lot for me. It’s a complete blessing to see your child have this kind of success, but still, he’s my son that was with me just five years ago,” she noted. “Now, I not only share him with Jackson, Mia and Brittany, Patrick’s girlfriend, but I also share him with his team, millions of fans and the whole nation. It’s never just us anymore so that’s a lot to adjust to. It used to be every Christmas with the five of us and I don’t ever get that.”
With three children deeply involved with sports and other school activities, Randi struggled with the weight of a full-time job to keep the finances in line. She relied on the goodwill of friends to get Patrick and Jackson to their games because she couldn’t miss a paycheck. There was also the nagging fear of losing her job. However, she advises other parents to do things differently. “Being a single mom was incredibly hard. I started as a receptionist and landed a better position, but I was so nervous about missing work. If the kids had things at school, I wouldn’t go because I felt I couldn’t miss work. And now I realize that this place will still be here.
“I missed so much with Patrick and Jackson because I couldn’t miss work. I would save my vacation days to use if the kids got sick,” Randi added. “But I look back and realize that they needed me to be there for them. I can do that now with Mia because I’m much more confident. But I had to struggle all of those years to be able to pay for Patrick and Jackson to be on teams and have school supplies. They didn’t have the best of everything, but they had something.”
Far too often the headlines share news of pro athletes caught up in illegal activities or illicit behavior, ignoring or forgetting that they are also challenged to be positive role models for young fans. Many times, they’re placed on pedestals by family, friends, community and coaches with no consequences for their poor choices and bad actions. Yet, Randi is managing to raise three well-grounded individuals with an immense respect for authority and family. As she looks back on these decades of parenting to her remarkable children, she realizes her work is never done; it simply switches to a different level of counseling and guiding. She knows she could have done things differently. That’s why they say looking back is always done with 20-20 vision. But she summarizes that her success with her children comes from keeping them engaged and being deeply involved in family and faith.
“Everyone makes mistakes: parents, kids, coaches. I wanted to give my kids the opportunities or the things that I wished I would have been able to do. But then I was so focused on providing those things that I couldn’t make all of their games. Show up for their events and show your support. Some parents have told me, ‘I don’t even know what the game is about. I don’t even think I watched it.’ Showing up is not the same as being involved,” she remarked. “Most importantly, I pray for my children, and Patrick, Jackson and Mia know that. I look at my boys and they’re bigger than me. I can’t physically protect them, so the only thing that I can do is pray for them.” ■