Roller Derby skaters come in many forms, ages and genders… and that includes Mum’s!
So this Mother’s Day we’ve asked some of the mums on our team to tell us about how Roller Derby fits in to their family lives:
My girls are still very young (2 and 4 years). I remember the first day I tried on skates and staggered across the room, my 4 year old gasped and told me she was really proud of me! Both my girls are very eager to try it for themselves and I often find them wearing my stinky pads around the house. We were quite an active family already but derby has definitely given me the drive to get fitter and value the importance of fitness. This has obviously rubbed off on my girls. Although we don’t go on family muscle building trips to the gym, our day is full of movement and exercise. I thought being a mum would mean I was unfit and out of shape but I think it’s been the opposite, I think mum’s are far more active than they realise! It is sometimes hard and frustrating when I can’t make a session or even a few sessions because of various child related reasons, but I’ve had to accept the fact that everyone has their own pace, like with anything in life. I just have to fit things in when I can and there’s nothing like doing squats and planks with a 4 year old clinging to your back! They’ve even helped me do press ups by laying beneath me and giving me a kiss on the nose each time
I love having derby as my time too, it’s my 2 hours a week where I am me. Not teacher or mum, just Natalie.
The kids think Derby is great, especially my 7 year old daughter. I think she quite enjoyed a time when we went to our local roller rink in the half term and her friends from school were there, all their mums were sat on the side and they were like “Maisy’s mum has her OWN skates! Maisy’s mum can skate!”. She felt like the coolest kid, I got a taste of what it felt like to be a main leaguer
We aren’t a typical sporty family, my husband doesn’t like football, he rides a BMX, I guess you could say alternative sports are our thing?!. My daughter has her own skates, so we go to family skate sessions together, she loves it. I was never really into going to the gym, it didn’t appeal to me to work out for aesthetic gain, but I want to be strong for derby so it motivates me to pick up the weights and balance on one foot while ironing! Like Nat said it can be frustrating when you can’t fit Derby in due to family commitments, my husband works away quite a bit too so the childcare just isn’t there. I think it is really important when you are a mum to have something just for you, and it is so easy to allow yourself to feel guilty for taking those few hours out but it really does de-stress me and give me a bit of respite. Derby has had a huge influence on the kids. Maisy really enjoys coming to help at the games on the merch stand, or help sell raffle tickets. They see me trying to collect items to for our charities, they see the hard work that everybody puts in for zero financial gain, they see the good that comes of it though. Both the kids have their favourite skater on our team, they both love Jigglytough! I think Maisy really looks up to the team; she has all their line up posters on her wall. I feel really lucky that she has access to such a diverse group of women to influence her, The kids see me come home from practice and I might be a bit frustrated that I felt I didn’t manage to do something, but then a few weeks later the small victory might happen and I get in and I’ll say “I did it!” and we all have a little cheer! So it teaches them that even I am still learning things that are hard, but not to give up and work through it. I’d like to take Doug, who’s 12, to a mens game, but it might be a little loud and crowded for him due to his autism, but I think the men’s team will have a similar impact on him as the ladies have on Maisy.
ELAINE (aka Mama MoHito)
I was forever on my skates as a child in the 1970’s and at university in the 1990’s and I decided in the spring of 2013 that I wanted to teach my children (Oscar now 14 and Jenty now 9). We went to Herne Bay open skate and I began to teach them. Soon after we all bought skates and would attend open skate sessions on the weekends. They are both now excellent skaters and we often skate outside as a family. We have skated in this country, France, Belgium and Croatia. In fact Oscar skated a marathon alongside the team at Goodwood’s Southcoast Roll in 2014.
I saw a poster for Kent Roller Girls and soon googled Roller Derby. I joined KRG Recreational League in November 2013. My family was very encouraging and would listen with delight when I came home pumped from a training session.
Both my children think Roller Derby is amazing and were so pleased for me when I made the Main League. They have attended all my games and wear their KRG T-shirts with pride! Jenty’s favourite player (besides me obviously!) is Rosa Lethal [ed: see image above], she has a cute girl crush on her, making her presents and cards.
Roller Derby has had a positive effect on my family. My husband got into bike riding at the same time I got into Derby and this has fostered a healthy respect in both children for exercise and healthy eating. They also understand a lot about hit and shoulder checks and we can sometimes be seen all doing some moves whilst walking down the street! Oscar has also joined several rugby teams and is very tall and strong so he is an ideal training partner for me.
My family understands the importance of each of us having the right to individual time and hobbies so it has not really impacted upon our family life in that way. I think they probably occasionally get bored of hearing me talk about derby though.
One of the wonderful things about roller derby is that it has taught my children about the diversity of the human race. In particular it has allowed them to understand and appreciate different types of gender identification and human relationships as well as providing my daughter with positive strong role models.
They both understand that Derby is my time and makes me happy so I couldn’t wish for more!
My son saw me on skates at centreparcs and wanted to skate too so I got him some adjustable SFR boots and now we often skate at Bay Arena on Saturdays. He puts on his pads and helmets like me and we skate together. I tell him that when I skate I try really hard but sometimes I fall down, but I get up and try again. He relates to that and I think it sets a good example not to give up when things are tough, and also that girls are fit and strong.
He has also been very active and bounces off the walls if we try and stay at home, so skating together has been a new fun way to be active together. I think it is good for him to know I have my own interests and things I do on my own, and we talk about eating healthily and what foods help our bodies be strong and give us energy to do all the things we want to do.
Being a single parent and working full time I find it very difficult to carve out a few hours a week for me that doesn’t involve endless laundry, checking work emails or taking care of my little person; I find its my biggest challenge. When I get onto the track all of that vanishes and I get to be me just for a tiny bit, concentrating on what I’m doing without a constant clamour of mama-mama-mama-look-mama. I love it but I also find it hard to watch others put more hours in between practice and spending their evening stretching and weight lifting and all manner of things when I don’t have the energy to boil the kettle to make tea.
My son has a set of strong female role models away from bloody Anna in Frozen (not that we’ve ever seen it but still he is obsessed) & dressing up as princesses at nursery. We watch clips of roller derby (Scald Eagle!) and talk about how girls are strong and can jump high, be fast and do anything they set their mind to. And that girls and boys can both skate, can be anything they want to be. He is self confident and won’t be put down. I am worried that come school time this will be lost – and the derbyverse I hope will act as a great counterbalance to stereotyping he might find at school
It’s a huge challenge for me to skate both in terms of fitness and time commitments but it is all worth it the second I get on track and feel the world glide by under my skates. I love Derby and the people I’ve met and I will always try my hardest to carve out that tiny little piece of time for Derby-me to come out to play