I have been going to arenas to watch my boys participate in cold sports for seven years and for the past two years I’ve spent, on average, approximately eight hours a week in a cold arena. This makes me somewhat of an expert on how to stay warm and comfortable in the cold harsh climate known as the Canadian arena.
If you have an arena mom in your life, skip the jewelry and spa gift certificates this year* these are the gifts she’s going to want this holiday season.
*Actually don’t skip those things. If she spends that much time at an arena she deserves some pampering.
The LavaSeat Heated Seat Cushion is by far the best gift I have ever been given. My husband surprised it with me last year and it made me love him all that much more because it meant he knew I was freezing my a** off – literally - and he wanted to put an end to my discomfort. Thanks to a microwavable pack this little beauty stays warm for hours.
A reviewer in Calgary hit the nail on the head when she said the cons of the LavaSeat were: “Everyone wants to borrow it.”
Stuff her stocking with Little Hotties. I put them in my shoes, gloves, pockets, and one weekend at a particularly cold arena, I taped two to my body. When my husband told me I was hot, I don’t think he was referring to how I looked.
Pro Tip: Don’t use duct tape.
I bought these Reflective Shell Mitts as a gift to myself and they are the best arena mitts ever. Why? Because they are gloves and mitts in one - it’s multi-tasking JUST LIKE YOU. Plus, there’s a zipper pocket for your Little Hotties, and they have phone touch-friendly fingers so you can still play Candy Crush when your kid isn’t on the ice.
What? You know you do.
I don’t actually have a favourite travel coffee mug. I have about five. Cold arena + hot drink = she’ll love you for getting her one.
Get her a blanket she can keep in your vehicle so she can wrap up her legs. Most arena blankets are wool but wool is itchy and she deserves better than that. Buy something that’s soft to the touch but low to mid-range in price. It’s going to be dragged on the ground and stored in the trunk so you don’t want to throw away a lot of cash on a throw.
So your kid has joined the big leagues and you now find yourself spending entire weekends at arenas both near and far. Invest in a cooler to carry all your drinks/snacks. I purchased this Coleman Collapsible Cooler. It’s big enough to fit food for two days and has mesh pockets both inside and out. It apparently also fits 50 cans so.... you know, you'll get good use out of it in the summer as well.
And that, my friends, is how you keep an arena mom feeling hot while she's braving the cold. What are your must-haves when you go to the arena?
Now that you're warm here are some Essential Tips To Help Hockey Moms Survive The Season.
And can we please stop with the snack insanity?
The other day I was cursing not having an extra index finger as I struggled to tie a bow on a birthday present. While the bow ended up looking like a 3-year-old’s first attempt at tying a shoe, it got me thinking about this amazing digit and all it can do. Also known as the pointer finger, this leader of the hand is, dare I say, the most amazing finger you own. Nope, this finger is not a one-hit wonder like its aggressive, road-ragey neighbor. No other finger can both communicate and help facilitate as many of your daily duties as the pointed perfection that is the index finger.
So let’s celebrate this remarkable digit and all the things it can do.
It’s grocery time but your kids got stalled at the toy display and are now transfixed by the enticing wares. Sadly you didn't notice until you were ten feet ahead and realized there was no pitter patter of little feet behind you. You don't need to raise your voice to get those kiddos up and moving again. Thanks to your handy dandy index finger you don’t even need to say one word. Just catch their eye, curl up that finger and motion them to come to you. The groceries await.
It’s been ages since you’ve met up. You’ve driven over to her house, walked up to the door, and now you’re seconds away from what could potentially be the most epic girl’s night out ever. Take that hand out of your pocket, bring Pointy Pointerson up to doorbell height, press, and let the good times roll.
You stayed up late every night, ignored phone calls from your friends, and have eaten popcorn for dinner seven days in a row. With one page left to go in the book you couldn't put down it’s finally truth time. Take a deep breath, lick that finger and flip the page to find out how your story ends.
Why is the sky blue? How do you potty train your toddler? Where can I find the closest pizza palace? No longer do you have to pull out dusty encyclopedias or crumpled Yellow Pages to find the answers to all your questions. Just type those words into the search engine on your computer, then relish the mystic moment when your index finger clicks on the mouse and in less time than it takes to blink, your answers await. Information in nano-seconds. You're practically brandishing a magic wand right on your hand.
You worked hard baking all your holiday treats, and now it’s golden time. But to make this moment absolute perfection it's important to send those kids out of the kitchen. Point them off in a different direction, relish the silence, then dip that finger in the icing bowl and go to town. You deserve it.
You can see your kids across the park trying to bury your pet pooch in the sand. You don’t even need to get off the bench to convey the amount of trouble they’ll be in if your pup is put in the ground. Simply frown those eyebrows, stick your hero finger straight out and wag it up and down. Shovels will be dropped and the only thing left wagging will be your dog’s tail.
There is an infamous story in our house about an epic meltdown by my youngest son because I made him walk home from school in a snow storm. In all fairness, it was an unusually bad storm with the snow two-feet deep by the time school ended for the day. And to be fair, the snow was more like ice pellet shots to the face than gentle flakes. Plus, he was little –in Senior Kindergarten at the time – which made it hard to walk in all his snow gear; sort of like a miniature Stay Puft Marshmallow Man, minus the smiling face but with all the anger and destruction.
After he threw himself down on the ground for the third time, and refused to get up, I grabbed him by one arm and got him home by half dragging/half walking him through snowbanks as he screamed “I hate you!”
The arm dragging scream-a-thon took place in front of my other son and the two boys I took care of after-school twice a week who were also trying to get through snow banks while enduring an ice pellet exfoliation.
They looked on at the snowstorm-meltdown in wide-eyed disbelief as I reassured them everything was A-okay. With a grimacing smile I also let them know I would make hot chocolate and marshmallows as soon as we got home and also pleasedonttellyourmotheraboutthis.
Note: If you have kids or are going to have kids, you need to develop a thick skin because there will be times when they embarrass the crap out of you and there is absolutely nothing you can do about it. When my younger son was 18 months old I was carrying him on my hip at the grocery store and in the middle of the produce section he pulled down both my shirt and bra in one fell swoop. Fellow produce purchasers saw more than honeydew melons that day.
Unless one of my boys is sick, I make them walk to school every day no matter the weather. In their 11 and 8 year school careers, I can count the times I’ve driven them to school on one hand. The school is only a few blocks away and in a phrase I swore I would never say when I became a parent - but clearly lied because there is a reason we all say this stuff - I tell them “When I was a kid I walked to and from school every single day, four times a day–one kilometer there, one kilometre back home for lunch, one kilometre back from lunch, and one kilometre home again.”
Wearing high tops and a lumber jacket while carrying my Adidas bag.
But no hat because I didn’t want to wreck my feathered hair held in place with 3/4 of a can of Aquanet.
The point is, walking to and from school was just a part of my life back then, as was riding my bike with friends, running around the neighbourhood playing hide and seek, or spending hours at the park. Scheduled activities simply weren't a big part of my childhood.
I love that my boys take part in sports and activities but I also think being active shouldn’t be relegated to paid activities a few times a week.
Sitting still is killing us. If you sit for 11 or more hours a day (which many of us are) even three times a week at the gym won’t save you. When all the activity our kids get on a day-to-day basis is because it’s paid for and scheduled or incorporated into the school day, it’s sending the wrong message. Being active should be a part of our everyday lives and I feel like we’re missing out on it more and more.
How many of us are guilty of this? We sit on our commute to work, we work at a job where we sit all day, then we sit again on the commute home, and finally we crash on the couch in front of the television and/or computer after dinner and all of our kids' activities are done.
I’ll be the first to raise my hand. My commute is a slipper shuffle from my bedroom to my kitchen and my day is spent McCauley Culkin it in front of my computer. After a full day of working, making meals, shuttling the kids to and from activities (and sitting and waiting while they're there), and doing all the other shit we parents have to do, I’m exhausted. Just like you.
I work out almost every single day but the "Pooch Purse: Just Add A Zipper and Go!" known as the ten pounds I've gained in my lower belly over the past year has made it clear it’s not enough.
It’s why our family no longer has tech or television Monday to Thursday and I will randomly kick them out of the house with the orders to “go play” and “don’t come back in until dinner.” Or when I’m on a phone call of any kind, I now use that time to also dust my house or simply walk around while I talk. Contrary to the popular belief that I do it to irritate them, it’s also the reason why when we do drive somewhere I always park in the back of the parking lot so we'll walk more.
It’s most definitely the reason I make them walk to school no matter what the weather and how I got my ass kicked in a 300m race with my boys.
Listen, I'm just going to end this with the bad news none of us wants to hear. It's up to us to set the example so our kids won’t grow up thinking an hour at the gym or 30 minutes of running are the only way to stay active because our lives have become increasingly sedentary and those 30 minutes, three times a week just aren't cutting it. So, suck it up buttercups. We all need to start moving more. And if it's a big shift in lifestyle for your family, no, your kids probably aren't going to be happy when you implement it. In fact, grab the rubber gloves and bleach because there will most likely be shit hitting fans all over the place.
But just think of the huge favour you're doing them. It's a lesson they'll carry with them throughout life. Plus they're going to have the most awesome stories to tell their kids about how they had to walk home from school during the great ice pellet storm of 2008.
How do you ensure your kids are staying active? Do you make your kids walk to school?