Published on July 27th, 2011 | by Ms D'fiant0
Traveling Tips for the Derby Mom & Family
Tip #1: Reconsider the Decision
I’m not exactly sure what I was thinking when I invited my mother and sister to take the trip up to San Jose with me and my “spirited” 16-month-old son to play a game that would almost definitely decide if my team made it in to 2011 Western Regionals. Perhaps it was the side of me that felt guilty leaving my son and husband twice on three-day roller derby weekends in the past two months. Maybe it was the side of me that lives for a challenge. Whichever it was, I look back now and realize the plan was flawed from the start. I should’ve left the baby, my mother, and sister in Los Angeles and used the weekend to escape with my man (and do that thing with the skates that takes all my time).
Tip #2: Distractions!
“Spirited” is what the textbooks call a high-needs child to make you feel like your kid doesn’t need medication “He’s just energetic!” Energetic = complete meltdown when you take the CHOOS off his feet at the end of the evening. Spirited = thrusting a cell phone into your sleeping face at 6 am; which spirited babies find hilarious, in case you were wondering. And yet somehow, by the grace of god and the iPad, he was the best-behaved participant all weekend. I credit this entirely to the Muppet Show which played constantly on the iPad – with the case rigged over the passenger side headrest, slung by jagged holes cut by a steak knife stolen from Harris Ranch – that kept both son and (my 40-year-old) sister amused for hours. Sometimes you need to be creative when it’s time to start the music and light the lights.
Tip #3: Reconsider the Decision Again. Be realistic this time.
Google Maps will tell you the trip from LA to San Jose is 5 ½ hours. Google Maps lies. The trip was easily 8 hours each way. I hear the team vans managed the trip in less time, but perhaps they weren’t plagued by passengers complaining that 80 mph was speeding (regardless of whether it was the speed of traffic). This information was alternated with complaints that hips were hurting, the car was too small, and the road trip classic, how much farther is it?
Tip #4: Check accommodations
One thing I did not consider in my trip preparations – and I considered EVERYTHING: milk, snacks, spoons, diapers, carriers, toys, iPad, laptop, movies, white noise generator, etc. – was to check with the hotel on the accommodations. Full-size beds are really small when grown adults are trying to sleep. Upon this realization, mother and sister stressfully argued about renting another room but only a single king was available. I, selflessly, offer to take the single king room with the baby because the indecision is worse than the possibility of sleeping in a tiny bed with my Mom. By the time we make a decision, the last room has been taken. Flash forward two hours and enjoy the picture of our bed: my Mom sleeping soundly, my son (who is NOT happy with the hotel porta-crib) is now sleeping between us lengthwise and kicking, and me – lying painfully awake on the smallest possible slice of bed, kicking myself for putting myself in this situation before my most important game of the season.
Tip #5: Avoid drama. Preferably by napping or leaving.
The next morning after breakfast, I somehow convince my son to sleep. He is clearly exhausted, because despite our shared blood, he hates napping .We nap, in crib and bed respectively, for an unprecedented two hours. My sister joins in on the adjacent bed. During this time, my mother sneaks out of our room and moves in to a new room by herself. Upon awaking and realizing the change of events, my sister immediately finagles her way in to this new room and my mom moves back. [Wait, what? I don’t know and I don’t care. I have a game to play and can not deal with musical rooms or whatever is really happening under the surface. I have a team to pivot and the good lord did not give me the emotional skates to pivot my family.] At this point, I calmly hand my family adequate food for my son, take my skates, and leave. Know when it’s time to nap and when it’s time to leave.
Tip #6: MODERATION
My last tip for the traveling Derby Mom is to realize that you are not the woman you used to be. No, really. It doesn’t matter if you can polish off a bottle of wine after the li’l one goes to bed on non-practice nights, you really can’t drink anymore. Maybe it was the high from the win, the shots, or the cheap beer. Maybe it was the half-remembered champagne and the hot tub. What I’m saying is this – learn to say Enough! and get to bed early. Or don’t let your sister drive back because family is NOT kind or sympathetic when you ask them to pull the car over so you can evacuate your churning stomach. Just sayin’.