Happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers in the world! Today we want to give a special shout-out to those who juggle the responsibilities of being a parent, with the commitment of joining a roller derby league. We wanted to find out how the mums of KRG find time to fit in those off skates workouts, find babysitters for short notice games, cope with missing bedtimes and still manage to be a bad-ass role model for their kids!
First up is a family with two derby mums who want to show their kids that anything is possible with skates on your feet!
Lucy (Luce Cannon) and Michelle
My whole family loves skating. What started out as something for me to escape to, has become something that my family has discovered they can enjoy for their own reasons. I love to skate with the boys, my oldest son and I have enjoyed artistic skating together, my littlest son is desperate to be able to do a spin on skates and wants Spiderman skates immediately. Now my partner has taken up skating, although it is limited due to disability, and she now knows the rules of roller derby far better than I do.
Therefore together we skate, united in fun and the freedom of 8 wheels!
The KRG family allows that. The freedom to learn skills not just on skates but off skates too, so that everyone, no matter what, can be included. It’s meant that as mums we can learn and teach together with the boys. KRG also provides a space where our non-traditional family can be open and free, without the fear of judgement. I’ve found that KRG is made up of a diverse group of accepting people, and this makes life so much easier for me. It’s a great place that sets the stage for acceptance so when the time comes for my kids to come and watch their Mum in games, there is just the great family atmosphere where all walks of life are celebrated as being part of this amazing team.
KRG gives me a space where I don’t have to be ‘just’ a mum. I can be me, without the homework checking, laundry folding and routines that make up my everyday life. KRG allows me to be powerful, independent and free from worries. To challenge who I am and be better, even if that’s just being better at falling over!
This Mother’s Day we celebrate two mummies, who both get something from skating at KRG that we get no where else; to be adults again and a little time of from paw-patrol. But even better, it gives us time together so that when we get back home to the kids, sweaty and most of the time sporting a new bruise, we are ready. Ready to be the best mums we can be and give them our all. Plus teach them a new trick or two on skates!
Our next derby mum found the confidence to go from being a spectator to joining in at rec league, with a little support from her family and teammates.
Melissa (Kill Skatespeare)
Having been a mum for five years, when I gave up a lot of things for myself, it was time to get a new hobby and my husband pushed me towards derby. I loved watching it, but didn’t think I’d have any chance of doing it. I found the wonderful family of KRG and they give me the support and confidence I need to make progress. Mostly, though, the chance to get away and just be me rather than “Mummy” was irresistible.
However, six months in to my roller adventure, my four year old said she wished skating could be her hobby and we started taking them to lessons. They are thriving. My husband is already capable and I love the idea of us being a family on wheels. Isla says skating is “200 good!” and likes that I go and do it to see my friends. Sophie is finding learning more challenging, but isn’t giving up, and thinks the fact that I roll around is “Brilliant!”
We watched the Roller Derby World Cup together on the TV and the girls were hooked. I can’t wait to take them to see some live games and indoctrinate them fully. The chance to share a sport together and show my girls, who have to learn skills every day, that I am learning and persevering too means I get to be the kind of role model I want to be. Caring about sport doesn’t come naturally so derby gives me a way of connecting with my girls in another way and encouraging them to develop fully-rounded. Derby is making me a better mum.
Allyson and her daughter Emily both come to our rec league and it’s so much fun to see them training together, we’re not sure which one is more competitive! I bet not many roller derby leagues have a mother and daughter playing in the same team!
Allyson (Ink-redible Hulk)
Nothing deep here sorry, I came along to a rec league session as I used to skate as a teenager and fancied putting wheels on again, without looking like some sort of ageing creep at the local skate park! My daughter skated aggressive inlines for years so comes along when work allows for a potter about. We tend to ignore each other at sessions as we make each other laugh and get nothing done!
Derby mum Abi has already shared some of her experiences in her great article Do You Just Want Your Body Back? Now she wants to explain how derby has become a therapeutic experience for her, enabling her let go of everyday stress.
Abi (Abi Obourne)
When I first showed up to roller derby, unable to actually skate at all and pretty unfit, I thought I would probably be the only Mum there. I’m not sure why I thought that. I guess because I imagined most people involved in derby would be mainly between the ages of 18-25. I was relieved when I found that actually plenty of mums and other women in their thirties were also getting involved and learning to skate. It made me feel like I wasn’t totally out of place.
Once I passed mins and moved up to main league training I did worry about how I was going to manage fitting in all the necessary training, scrims and rookie games that I would need to progress in the sport. I also felt guilty that for at least two nights of the week I would not be around for the kids bedtime. I think that this is still a struggle and I do feel guilty when I leave them, but I think that guilt is an unavoidable part of being a mum. I know that they are just fine when my partner puts them to bed instead of me.
There are times when I have to miss a training session due to one of my children being ill or needing me to stay with them, but my teammates have been nothing but understanding and supportive about this.
When it comes to off skates training, I can’t take anymore time out of family life to spend hours in a gym so I have an exercise bike in the lounge and weights to use at home so that I can do a bit of a work out while the kids are watching telly before teatime. A lot of the time they then stop watching tv and try and join in or climb on my back when I’m doing press ups. There’s a lot you can do at home without spending lots of time or money going to a gym.
Sometimes I still look at the people on my team who are much younger than me and have much more free time to dedicate to the sport and I think, ‘why am I doing this?’ But, I think that weirdly, if I hadn’t become a mum I probably wouldn’t have found my way to roller derby in the first place.
Becoming a mum and the early years of caring for my children while they have been so little is one of the most challenging things I have ever done in my life. Motherhood is amazing but it is also a battle. Not so much with the kids themselves, but with sleep deprivation, isolation and with still trying to keep a sense of self. Maybe in some weird way, it’s a battle I needed to act out. And at the end of a difficult day with the kids, which let’s face it, is always much harder than a difficult day at work, getting together and training hard as a team is a therapeutic experience for me. When you’re on track it’s not all on you. You support and encourage each other and I always leave training feeling better than when I arrived.
Mama is an integral part of KRG; head of rec league, A team skater and a fabulous coach. It must be all those years on skates and her dedication to teaching her whole family to skate!
Elaine (Mama MoHito)
I spent my childhood on skates, throwing myself down hills and racing friends down the middle of the street. (Less cars in the early 80’s!) Kinda stopped during the teenage years but got another pair of skates when I went to University. I used to skate all round Southampton – back from the student bar too!
Fast forward 20 years and 2 children later, I was looking for something we could all do as a family that was fun but active. I dug out my old skates and we took off to Herne Bay. It was great to teach the kids to roll and over the course of a couple of months teach them things I’d done on skates at their age. (Hubby is still a work in progress… LOOK UP, NOT AT YOUR FEET!) We all have our own skates now and take them wherever we go on holidays.
I believe it’s been hugely beneficial to have taught my children to skate. At the same time I started roller derby my husband took up bike riding so the children have seen us become active and enjoy sport. They are both active although in very different disciplines Rugby and Irish dancing!
They are very supportive of me playing roller derby and enjoy hip checking me too. Although I can get a dramatic eye roll if I talk about it too much. I’m not really one for guilt so I don’t feel bad about leaving the family for derby training and games. I believe everyone needs their own ‘Me Time’, if you like relaxing in a bath, great….so do I, just after I’ve bashed some derby players!
Roller Derby keeps me young and a bit of a role model amongst my kids peers. Their friends look at me differently when they find out what sport I do and I’m sure I’ve got my kids respect too (albeit grudgingly I’m sure!) It’s fantastic to see so many mum’s in our league now. When I started in early 2014 I was the only Mum in our Rec League and about 20 years older than everyone else. But that just made me more determined to make it into our Main League and also inspired my derby name and number. I’m proud to be a roller derby Mum and how old I am, oh and Mojito is my favourite cocktail!
This mum got fed up of giving up on exercise classes because she couldn’t commit to them with so many uncertainties associated with family life. Roller derby just clicked for her and fit into her busy life. If you want to join us like Kimm did, our recreational league trains every Sunday at 4pm and we can teach you everything you need to know.
Kimm (Skrimm Wilde)
I started roller derby in Jan 17 after one of the school mum’s flagged up a local class. At the time I was 43 with boys of 3 and 5 years. The main reason I decided to join derby last year was the timing. As a mum, who works, has a partner who does long hours and no family around, 7.30pm exercise classes don’t work for me! 4-6pm on a Sunday is such a great time! I had attempted a few mid week classes but kiddie sickness or partner regularly late back just meant more failed juggling and the feeling of letting down children, partner, class instructor or yourself so I would give up after a few months.
After the first few weeks of training with KRG I realised that there was no mention of pucks or sticks so it couldn’t be a roller hockey class, but whatever roller derby was, I loved it.
The training sessions were fun, hard work, and with an amazing group of ladies of all shapes, sizes and abilities who laughed together. The three things I loved most about going to derby rec league are: 1. You came away sweating; I was finally burning off those leftover children’s dinners and sneaky haribos I’d been having for breakfast! 2. Every week I felt like I had achieved something and was just getting a little bit better at a highly competitive, athletic sport. 3. Probably most importantly, the skills, teaching and support of the main leaguers who volunteer to teach the rec league is quite incredible. They give up their time to make the rec league fun while offering endless encouragement and advice, making each person who goes believe that they can tick off all of the skills in the handbook to be considered to join the main league. Having done regular sport for over a year, I have to say that it has taken a lot of adjusting to take that time for me.
In December I was invited to start training with main league. This involves 2 training sessions a week and should see me doing more off skates training to increase strength and stamina and practice footwork. I struggle to put in the extra hours but have no doubt that working towards increased fitness, to participate in a team sport, that invigorates me, is one of the best reasons to grab back that time for me and I am inspired to get better, a little bit, week by week.
Our next derby mum also came to a rec league session with no idea what she was getting into! Now she’s fallen in love with the sport.
Karen (Hit and Rum)
As far as I remember I was born with skates on my feet. I lived on a steep hill in Brazil and used to challenge myself to go all the way down the street without swerving or breaking, but only jumping the speed bumps… there were numerous times that I crashed on the floor and that was when my passion for adventures and bruises started.
At the very young age of 4 or 5 my mum used to leave us with some awful ballerina clothes in the ice rink in a shopping centre to have fun and all I can remember is me and my twin sister hand in hand passing through people and running wildly, it was such fun!
Sports were always part of my life. I was part of the basketball, volleyball and handball teams in my school. I had all the time and energy in the world and all that kept me busy and active. As I grew up I started going to the gym, I moved to secondary school and then the team sports were gone so I started playing tennis and kept going to a skate park called “Bad Wolf” in São Paulo during the weekends. It was just like a roller disco but with ramps, competitions and groups of people dancing together.
When I was 17 I went to LA and bought an amazing new pair of skates and a handheld camera and rolled down the hills of West Hollywood filming my trip on skates and it looked proper awesome! I was young and felt great doing what I most loved, travelling and skating free like a bird with no worries in life.
After I became a mum at 23 years old I tried to keep exercising as much as I could and managed well until when I was around 27 years old. Life was hard with a little one and being a single mum then suddenly a busy life took over me and I stopped doing everything. When I was 29 years old I decided to move to the UK and my body began to feel the difference of being away from an active life. Being here without knowing anyone, no parents to help with childcare and everything new meant no time for myself or to do any sports. I left my skates behind and I was starting a whole new life.
Fortunately in December 2011 I had a party in a Roller disco in Southampton and I could barely believe I was going to skate again. That was the best thing that happened to me – I was still in shock trying to adapt to my new life. It took me another 5 years and another baby to get back on track with my life and with who I was. I desperately needed to find my inner self again, but I didn’t know how.
I Googled roller skates, I never heard of roller derby before, didn’t even know it was a sport. That’s when I found KRG in 2016. I was excited and had no idea what I was going for. After my first contact, it took me another year to actually go to the Bay and see what it was all about. One Sunday I went and I had no chance to escape. The girls were so welcoming and nice that all they said was: “There you go, get some skates, get some pads, start to fall on your knees”! I am forever thankful for that. I found my essence again.
I believe that I still can be the sporty active woman that I used to be when I was younger. I love having time for my self and I feel no guilt having to go out for training on Sundays. It’s been 1 year that I have been training now and I am still on Rec league but have almost all my minimum skills ticked off. I taught my eldest about sports and how great it is for your body and soul when you engage on something you love doing. Unfortunately he’s never been sporty like me, apart from swimming, but now he is starting to be interested in gyms, weights and healthy eating. I hope that although his competitive inner soul hasn’t emerged yet, that he becomes someone that loves sports like me.
My little boy enjoys my skates and has his own kit now and whenever I can I take him to a roller disco. All I can say is that it is never too late to start again. That the problems that I thought I had about my weight or my stubborn middle section after becoming a mum is also not a problem with roller derby but a strength that helps me to bash my teammates harder!
Being a mum and a sports woman is amazing. My family still don’t have too much idea of what I do and what it means to me. They think it is still just a hobby that I go to keep active but for me is much more than that. Roller derby is another whole new world for me. It is a passion I was born with, it is my second family, it is something that makes me feel alive again. It is when I become that young, free, powerful teenager I once was and it is not about appearances but about how you feel when you are training and on the tracks.
We are mums with superpowers on skates!
If you want to come and see these super-mums in action, Kent Roller Girls’ next game is at our home venue, The Bay Sports Arena on 31st March. Get your tickets now!