By AmericanHurL Doll
Derby attracts many different types of women at different stages in life, regardless of age, and this includes many of us who have children or babies. Roller derby is a world unto itself and can be addicting and time-consuming. We players ask a lot from our spouses, partners, and significant others who may choose to either be supportive of our commitment to derby, or not. As adults, they have the capacity to understand the hours dedicated by us outside of the home in order to excel in this sport. They’ve even earned the endearing name of “Derby Widow” because of all of this newfound “alone time.” But what happens when you add kids and babies into the equation?
For me personally, things are a bit easier as my kids are older -ages 11 and 14. I don’t think any one of my family members thought I would still be doing derby eight months later (and still going strong!) as my children both said, and I quote, “Mom, you’re gonna die.” But once I found derby, or it found me, there was no going back. Corny expression notwithstanding, derby completes me. So life adjustments had to be made. In the beginning, my guilt was the strongest factor with my daughter who would say, “You have practice again?” and then whine or get weepy for me to stay home. My son, the teenager, didn’t mind me being away as long since he was fed and had a ride home from football practice. Boys…
Both kids are active in sports and cheer and I am lucky to have friends willing to lend a hand with rides home from practice when needed. Trying to be in multiple places at once has led me to moments of being torn -should I stay home and make a proper dinner or go to derby? The struggle is real. I’ve felt guilty for leaving my family and guilty for skipping practice, it hits you both ways. Ultimately, I decided that playing derby is healthy for my mind, body, and soul and something I need to stick with for ME. Thankfully, once my children saw my first bout, it all seemed to click for them. They were super excited by what they saw and pretty proud of their mom after all. Now we have settled into a nice routine where they just expect me to have practice nightly (how the kids love to exaggerate) and are pleasantly surprised when I’m home for the whole evening. Imagine that!
I asked some of my derby sisters to share their motherhood experience and here is what Warhawk had to say: “My husband and son are very supportive of me and my derby hobby. My son Anthony (10) runs around with other kids during the bouts, but he does tell me that I do a good job. I just thought he never paid any attention until one night when I was tucking him into bed. I asked him if he thinks I’m going to be a professional derby player and he responded, “Well, you did get MVP two times already!” He was referring to the Freshie bouts and I was so impressed because I didn’t think he would remember that and it made me smile. He plays baseball and now that I play a sport also, we share a bond on that. I think it’s healthy to have a separate hobby. My family is my number one priority, but with derby in my life now, it allows me to do something for me which relieves stress. I get to exercise, and in return, I’m a better wife and mom for it.”
Oxymormon said: “I started playing derby about a year ago and with four kids ranging from 3 to 11, it has taken me longer than most girls to find the time to fit it into my schedule. My kids come first, but I often found myself running them to soccer and art classes, basketball games when I realized they didn’t even enjoy most of it! So I decided we should only do the things we enjoy, including myself. I started with the First Date program at SFV, going to practice twice a week, and the kids would wonder what I was off doing. However, once I played in my first Freshie bout, they were hooked. Now, they wear their SFV shirts to school and love that while other parents wear suits and ties to holiday performances, I walk in wearing my roller derby shirt. It has been a challenge getting to practices with my children’s schedules, school work, and projects; but with the help of my husband, I make it to scrimmage and Sunday night practices. Roller derby is something I encourage any mom to try, just like I ask my children to try this, taste that, etc. We have to practice what we preach! I did and it changed my life.”
For Agony Christie, her family was used to her fitness routine as a runner, but derby took it to a whole other level. She says: “'Mom-as-runner’ was one thing, but ‘Mom-as-derby-girl’ was something else entirely. Derby takes me away from home. It wears me out physically and sometimes emotionally. It puts me at risk of injury and it scares me. My kids do new, scary things every day, but we adults take on fewer and fewer challenges. I’m proud that my daughters see me continuing to push myself. Derby empowers me and it empowers my daughters. Derby has given me a strong body and mental fortitude that I can rely on."
She continues, “It’s definitely hard to balance skating, working a full-time job and obligations at home. I feel guilty when chores are left undone and it’s hard to leave a four-year old who wants an extra-long bedtime story. My husband has to remind me that I am modeling hard work, dedication, and commitment for them. My seven-year old has recently started with the SFV Juniors League. It’s inspiring to watch her push through hard practices and learn to trust her body in ways that many other girls may not have the opportunity. That’s invaluable. My family has become part of the SFV family and skating community.”
The common thread between all of us moms seems to be that roller derby is empowering, rewarding, fun, and worth all the challenges we face to make it happen. The saying “Nothing worth having comes easy” totally applies here. Juggling derby and motherhood can be tricky, but it most definitely can be done if you have the right support on the home front. We hope we inspire some of you other moms to come out to SFVRD and give roller derby a try. You just might love it!
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