You never really know a person’s whole story. This holds true for the mama next to you at class, either on screen or in person. This month’s Mom of the Month is the perfect example. Meet Danielle Spalenka! What you know about Danielle is that she tries anything and everything F4M related. She’ll Body Well, Run Club, Sunrise Yoga, LI50, and so on all week long. What you might not know about her is that she has a super unique job and loves the derby (fair warning, I’m not talking horses and twin spires). Congrats Danielle - we’re so glad you’re a part of this village!
Hometown: Warrenville, IL (Chicago Suburbs). I’ve lived in South Bend, IN (where I was born), Washington, DC, Madison, WI, and have called Louisville home for 7 years now.
Tell us about your family: My husband Josef (Joe) and I will be celebrating our 10th wedding anniversary in July! We have two silly, sweet, and amazing kiddos: Graham (6) and Lyra (4).
Current/Previous career: For over 10 years I’ve worked as an archivist in a variety of cultural heritage institutions. For the past 3 years I’ve held the role of Digital & Preservation Archivist at the Filson Historical Society in Old Louisville. And if you have no idea what an archivist does and want to know, please ask me!
What was your childhood ambition? I wanted to be a history teacher. I’ve always had a passion for history, but discovering archives and museums led me down this career path instead.
What does motherhood mean to you? Motherhood to me means strength, resilience, and community. Strong enough to be vulnerable and ask for help. Strong enough to get up 7 times to soothe a crying baby and then be expected to function like a person the next day. Motherhood to me means being capable of more than I could ever have imagined. Capable of so much love and pride for these tiny humans, who will make you laugh one moment but then make you want to go out for milk and never come back like an hour later. And I’ve learned how to be a mom thanks to the communities I’ve found. I’m a better mom when I know I have other moms cheering me on. It really takes a village.
What is the furthest you have been away from home? Vietnam! I got to go for a work trip thanks to a grand-funded project. I taught a week-long workshop on preservation and digitization at a university in Ho Chi Minh City, then spent another week traveling around the country with my husband.
How did you find FIT4MOM? The amazing Bonnie Logdson. She’s my wonderful neighbor and friend, and she just kept talking about this amazing community. Whenever she talked about getting up at 5am to work out I thought “HA! No way.” Cut to a few months later and I find myself carpooling with her to my first round of BW at 5:30am.
How has FIT4MOM changed your life? I did my first round of BW in Summer 2020, when I was not in a good head space from lock downs and the start of the pandemic. BW and FIT4MOM were exactly what I needed. I suddenly had something positive to focus on, and something I could control, when the world felt like it was falling apart. I’m making better choices for myself, I have a new community of amazing moms to lean on, and feel like I’m a better parent thanks to FIT4MOM.
Favorite exercise: Skaters!
Proudest moment: I’d say earning my Masters in Library Science. I worked super hard to get there, and all the hard work and achievements kind of culminated in that moment. And it’s led me on the most amazing career path.
I’d also like to throw in my proudest F4M moment: getting 2nd place in the 2021 F4M bday race. I ran my fastest 5k ever that day, and my trophy sits at my desk at work.
Tell us something about yourself that would surprise us: I used to do roller derby! I skated with a team in Madison, WI and tried out for the team here in Louisville before deciding to retire when I had kids. My derby name was Bearcat. It’s also the reason why skaters are my favorite exercise.
Favorite virtual class: Stretch Sesh
Flowers or sweets? Champagne :)
What would a conversation heart say if you designed it? Choose Kindness.
Best/worst Valentine’s Day moment. The first Valentine’s with my husband was a month after we started dating. We were newly in love and just smitten. Right before Valentine’s Day, he gives me a hand-drawn card modeled after the one Ralph from The Simpsons gave to Lisa that says “I Choo Choo Choose You” with a drawing of a train. It was just so unexpected and sweet and hilarious, and felt really special. I still have it.
Favorite winter Olympic sport? Curling
Ideal Super Bowl halftime show? I’d love to see ABBA do a half-time show.
And most importantly…will the groundhog see his shadow? Let’s hope not so we can have an early spring. But if he does, I’d love more snow.
Quick 5 with the littles:
How old is mommy?
Lyra: 30 years old (I’m 37)
What is something mom always says to you?
Lyra: Clean up
What is mom really good at?
What is mom's favorite thing to do?
Graham: Watch stuff at night
Lyra: Go to sleep
What makes you proud of your mom?
Graham: When you let me play video games
Lyra: Because you love me