The Mommy Track: Keeping Things in Czech

by Hip Czech

Hip Czech blocking

I thought about trying out for The Chicago Outfit for over a year before finally deciding to do it. As a mom of two kids working full time as a librarian, it seemed daunting to add the commitment a roller derby team requires (including several practices a week, and hours running and promoting the league) on top of my already packed schedule. Would I have enough time for my kids? My husband? Would I have enough time to kick back, or even enjoy a glass of wine every now and then?

Last Fall however I finally decided: this was it! I didn’t want to have any regrets or grow old wondering “what if…?” I signed up for the Chicago Outfit tryouts in December 2012. Luckily, I passed and started attending practices at the beginning of this year, not knowing really what to expect or whether I’ll be able to balance everything. Or if my life would slide into complete chaos…

Six months in however, I am loving every minute! This is probably cliché, but since much of my time is spent putting others needs above my own, in my job as a librarian, but particularly as a mom, I find that roller derby provides a space where I can’t think about my other responsibilities, or really on anything else outside of just focusing on skating: improving my push outs, executing more effective hits, improving my endurance, communication and learning strategy. It feels really good. Even therapeutic! Plus, it’s one of the most motivating ways I have ever found to exercise. I’m not dragging my tired body to practice, or doing the push-ups, crunches, planks, squats, plyometrics, and all the other stuff because I want to fit into a hot bikini. I found that I actually enjoy pushing myself physically, and want to get stronger and quicker in order to kill on the track. To win! Which is really amazing because I’ve never been particularly athletic or competitive. So I guess you can say that roller derby has allowed me to find a part of myself that I didn’t know was there.

Hip Czech, hanging out with the Little Czechs....

And my worries about having time to balance motherhood, family, work and derby? I’ll be honest, it’s not always easy, and sometimes I feel like I fail. For example, my daughter still really enjoys snuggling up at bedtime and having me read to her, and so on some occasions there were tears when I had to run off to practice. There are times when I skip practice because my kids really need me, or it’s been an especially stressful and busy week. And there are nights when I’m just completely exhausted, and the healthy, nutritious meal I had planned turns out to be delivery pizza, or worse. It’s always a balancing act, and sometimes it’s just chaotic and unbalanced.

Overall though, I’d say it’s working out better than I expected. It really helps to have a supportive partner. I’m not sure if I could do this without my husband, who does whatever needs to get done so I can do derby. He seriously gets the husband and father of the year award for everything he does. And my kids, for the most part anyway, are supportive of me, too. I feel like even though I have to run off to practice and miss bedtime, I’m also setting a positive example for my kids. They are learning that to get good at something, you need to practice, and practice and practice. That it takes commitment to follow your dreams. And finally, although it takes some effort, it helps when you can use any free time to the best advantage... which still allows for a little time to relax with that glass of wine every now and then!