When asked, via text, from friends and family about how my boys and I are doing during this stay at home time, I inevitably respond, “We have each had our meltdowns, but are mostly hanging in there.” This is the truth. Some days are definitely better than others.
I have seen several jokes about the ups and downs of having a “quarenTWEEN” – and I can relate. Having usually active 11 and 13-year old’s that are now doing remote learning, often begrudgingly, while also managing my own full-time work from home has presented a fair share of emotions and drama – from all of us. However, we have also done our best to find moments of gratitude, try to make the most of it, and come up with a loose “quaranROUTINE” that includes drinking more water and getting outside together to move our bodies in some way every day. We are trying to take this “opportunity” of togetherness and no official schedule to work on things that we did not have or find the time for previously.
With no recess, gym, or organized sports, the boys have not had their regular outlets for competition, so one thing we have adopted is (mostly) friendly water challenges. None of us in our household usually drinks enough of this liquid gold – so we are working on creating a new habit while also having fun with it. We sprinkle random water slams and races throughout the day. Any of us can declare one at any time, and when someone makes the call, we all must step up to drink up the H20. Win-win.
My younger, the dog, and I have been running a mile a day. It was exciting to see his progress as I encouraged him the first couple of times, we got out there. Now he is the one asking me, “when are we going to run today, Mom?” After we finish, the three of us join the older, who is at the local park, working on breaking some not-so-positive soccer habits he has developed over time. I have observed him improving areas of his skill game that he had not focused on for years. He uses video on the phone to record himself and see what self-adjustments he can make. Locked ankles. Correct technique. Weak foot. Repeat. Perfect practice makes perfect, as his wise grandfather often reminds him.
Occasionally, we mix it up with mini head juggling or quick passing sessions. Timing each other doing short sprints. Setting personal goals and being able to mark the improvement that continued effort brings. I find I am discovering new things about each of them and their learning styles and observing more about my parenting approach and myself during these moments.
We will try to carry over some of our new daily practices when that time comes to emerge from this stay at home period. My hope is that you have been able to find what works best for your family and circumstances and that amidst the inevitable “meltdowns” that you are also “mostly hanging in there.”
Jemma Merrick is a life-long soccer fan, long-time soccer player and coach, and current soccer mom. After high school, Jemma played both Division I and Division III collegiate soccer, at the University of Virginia and Macalester College, respectively. Jemma coached the women Macalester College Team.