Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Risks and Reward

I am really proud of my best friend. She spent years being paranoid about what others thought of her, of whether her actions befit a “good mom”, and no amount of “hip mama” talk could break her out of it. A good mom doesn’t go to clubs and dance and stay out ‘til 2am even though the kids are safe and sound at grandma’s house. A good mom doesn’t have a funky haircut or *gasp* hot pink streaks in her hair – what would the other moms at the day care think? These thoughts plagued her, a former goth, and I watched parts of her change dramatically.

Oh, sure, part of it is growing up. At 30 I’m more selective of what I wear on a day-to-day basis than I was at 22, I go with clip-in streaks and tie-on hair falls that can be removed for day at the office, but I’m far from grown up. It wasn’t so much that she changed, though. It was that she wanted to do funky things with her hair, to go out with us to the club, to wear the t-shirts with the double entendres. But her refrain remained “I’m a mom now”.

Her sons are now 5 and 2, she’s now 32, and she just took an amazing risk to do something she’s talked about for years: she just joined a roller derby league. This has been a dream of hers as long as I’ve known her, long before the resurgence of the sport. She thought about derby names – the dirtier, the meaner the better – and she went about designing her derby image. She’s buying the good skates and the good pads and going out there to kick some ass. And while the fear of injury is there—a teammate of a good friend of mine became paralyzed after an accident in Chicago, and other girls have suffered horrific breaks—she’s actually recognizing that while she’s far more likely to seriously injure herself doing derby than in her day-to-day life as a stay-at-home mom, serious injuries in the sport are actually not that common. It’s a risk that’s worth taking.

Additionally, she’s going to be doing a Polar Bear Plunge for the Special Olympics, another thing she always wanted to do (jump into a freezing river for charity) that is unbecoming a proper mom. The best part of all this is that she is so much happier than she's been in years now that she's letting go of her fantasy of what a 'proper mom' is and becoming more confident that the best thing she can do for her kids is just be herself.

To celebrate her newly unburied risk-taking spirit I’m donating 100% of profits from my CafePress Childfree Me Store for the month of December (by far my busiest month of the year) to her to pledge for her Polar Bear Plunge. If you ever thought about getting a Childfree t-shirt or coffeemug for you or a friend, the profit’s going to a great cause. (The store link is now fixed)


Anonymous said...

Oops, I think the link to your store isn't working...

Emily said...

Awesome post -- very inspiring story!

Feh23 said...

As a former roller derby player, I'll just let you know that it IS something many mothers do, hip or not. It's a great form of physical activity that is also an excellent way to release any sort of aggravation that can build up while one is being a "good human" in society. Simply put, it's a great release to knock someone over on the rink, because you can't do that in real life.

It has nothing to do with what color your hair is, how many tattoos you have or what you do in your free time. You can be whatever you want off the rink because as soon as you lace your skates, you are going to be playing roller derby, and you'd better have your derby brain going under your every other woman out there.

Remind her to keep her knees bent, pads tight, and keep skating! She'll do alright!