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.
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.
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.
I have friends who are athletes. They participate in marathons, half-marathons, triathlons, and duathlons. While training and on the actual race day, they carry gel packs or some other form of nutrition to give them energy because when you’re exerting your body for two to four hours without stopping, you need the calories to keep you going. Fueling your body is an important part of endurance sports.
On an early Saturday morning this past August I found myself at the Brampton Farmer’s Market watching a bicycle being put together.
My kids have always had bikes and cycling is something we enjoy doing together as a family. We are extremely lucky because my father-in-law is a handy man. He visits garage sales, buys old bikes, fixes them up, and gives them to my boys.
There are some pretty kick-ass people in my boot camp, and I always partner up with them even though I know it’s going to hurt like hell and I might not be able to keep up. Why? Because surrounding yourself with people who are above your skill level makes you push yourself harder. You may not be able to achieve what they do, but it will make you better. And who knows? You may even surprise yourself in the process.
Winters are busy for me. My hockey-playing son is at the arena twice a week while my speed-skating guy is on the ice three days a week. If you include my own speed skating and on-ice coaching, I spent approximately 12 hours a week at an arena this past winter not including driving to and from the arena, and the amount of time I spend in the changerooms helping my kids get in and out of equipment.
Then the end of March arrives and *record needle across an album* SCREECH… everything comes to a complete halt.
A few days ago my husband took my son to the skateboard park. When they got home, my youngest said to me, “When dad and I were coming back from the skate park some guy was texting and driving and almost ran into us.”
My son got more homework in grade one than he did in grade seven.
He, in fact, got so much homework in grade one that it made him hate school. For seven months we would sit together and do math, spelling, writing, and whatever else was sent home. Sometimes those "ten minutes" of assigned homework translated into sitting at the kitchen table for HOURS. Oftentimes there were tears—mostly mine. It's all a bit of a blur as I took a liking to absinthe that year.
People are always writing letters to their 60-year-old self, or things they would tell their 16-year-old self. But you know what? 60-year-old me would be very pissed off that she had to wait 16 years for information she could utilize in her life right now. 60-year-old me doesn’t need that many regrets, 46-year-old me already knows about regret and it involves a bottle of wine, a forehead pimple, scissors, and a new set of bangs. And quite frankly, 16-year-old me is never coming back, nor is her purple eyeliner.
Now that my kids are older, I have the ability to look back and realize there are a few things I completely stressed out about when they were younger that, in retrospect, I probably shouldn't have. These are the things that pretty much every new parent stresses about. Things that you may be stressing about right this very second.
Once you make the leap from regular to competitive sports there is a greater obligation for both you and your child.
Your child could go from one or two practices a week to three or four. There are more games/competitions, more travel is involved, and overall there is a greater commitment to the team and/or club. The pressure on your child to do well may also be greater but ultimately your goal is to help your child have fun and continue to love what he or she started.
Make sure you yell at your kids to play/work harder. Like, really loud. Also, be sure to yell at them when they make a bad play or aren’t doing something properly. They probably don’t realize they’ve made a mistake, so it’s up to you to point it out. Loudly.
Note: Sometimes your kids are working so hard they can’t hear you, so it’s important you yell louder.