Danni Boatwright knows a thing or two about hard work. After all, the Tonganoxie native spent several weeks in the Guatemalan jungle in 2005, eating mostly rice (and the occasional insect) and enduring many physical and mental tests. Mix in sweltering heat, little sleep and 17 other people with very different personalities, and you will see that Danni had her work cut out for her as a contestant on the 11th season of the CBS show Survivor.
Ultimately, her hard work paid off: she became the Sole Survivor and won $1 million.
These days Danni is hard at work here in KC, though under different circumstances. Married to Kansas City Chiefs center Casey Wiegmann and raising two young children, she has traded termites and makeshift huts for a more stable life. Well, as stable as life can be with a 3-year-old and an infant.
Danni took time out of her busy schedule to answer a few questions about her role as a mother and how it compares to her time as a Survivor.
You have said that competing on Survivor is nothing compared to giving birth. So how does Survivor compare to raising two young children?
It's similar because it has its rewards and challenges. And you learn to make everyone happy or else you will get voted off!
As a Survivor, you participated in many challenges. What is the biggest challenge in your life as a mom?
Sleep, or lack of sleep, which is similar to Survivor!
Winning those challenges often resulted in rewards for yourself or for your tribe. What do you consider the most rewarding part of motherhood?
Having a smile from my little baby or hearing from my 3-year-old, "Mommy, you rock!"
Participants on Survivor need endurance, strength, willpower, mental agility and the ability to problem solve -- traits that are also needed in raising children. What do you consider your strengths as a mother?
Definitely patience and the ability to multi-task, which are keys when you have multiple children. Plus, I always try to keep a really positive attitude.
Which transition was bigger: going from zero kids to one, or from one to two?
For sure zero to one, no question!
How do you and Casey balance family time, careers and other demands in your life?
It's tough during football season because Casey is at work all day every day. I have the greatest neighbor ever, Jules, who is a life saver. But from February to July is nothing but family time, which is fantastic!
Parenthood works better when you form an alliance with your partner. How do you and Casey team up to be the best parents you can be?
We tag team! Casey will watch the kids while I run and grab a workout. Or I will feed the baby and Casey will give our 3-year-old a bath. Casey is a wonderful father and that makes teamwork 100 percent easier.
Any advice you want to share with other KC moms who are trying to survive motherhood?
Don't just survive, thrive! As you know, it's the most wonderful experience in this world. It can be challenging; however, the rewards far outweigh any struggles.
Tisha Foley and her tribe live in Belton. Her children use the Survivor motto “Outwit, Outplay, Outlast” when they gang up on their parents.