3 New Things I’ve Learned from My Daughter During COVID-19
In these last couple of months, I’ve seen a new side of my 14-year old daughter, Arissa. Due to COVID-19, like all other children, she’s been learning from home. She usually tells me that I’m her role model, but recently she has been my role model and inspires me to be a better mom.
Here's what I’ve learned from her:
Family First = Supportive Network
Its been about a month since her grandfather, my father-in-law, has moved in with us. During that time, I was asked to come on full time with my public health job due to the pandemic. Therefore, I’ve not really been at home during the day, but every time I come home in the evening, my father-in-law proudly tells me what she fed him for lunch and how she checked in on him every few hours.
Similarly, she knows I’ve been working hard during this pandemic and spend half my Saturdays coaching clients virtually. On Mother’s Day, she made sure I had the perfect day:
- She created a video of memories – a slide show of my side of the family.
- She got her dad to make me breakfast and grab my fav latte.
- She gave me the most precious gift – a jar of memories and quotes.
She loves spending time with her cousins and family, and doing things for family. She even introduced everyone to Tik Tok dances! Being my only child, I’d worry she’d grow up with a small support system.
My AHA Moment: I’ve realized that when she steps into adulthood and she’s faced with challenges, she has a large supportive network behind her because she has involved herself in our extended family – it’s family that brings us joy and happiness. Furthermore, I’ve reassured myself that if she’s away from home, she has the ability to involve herself in other healthy support systems.
Create a Routine = Coping
When schools shut down, I felt guilty that I couldn’t be home with her to help her transition to online schooling. After a week I was amazed at how quickly she had created a routine.
- She starts online schooling at 9 am and collaborates with her friends via facetime.
- She exercises in our basement gym at 11 am for about 90 minutes.
- She then has lunch with her grandfather and completes any assignments.
- She works on home projects for other family members – creating digital albums, videos, helping her dad with home projects and so on.
Every evening when I come home from my public health job, I look forward to learning about her day during our 1-hour walk. There have been times that I don’t feel like walking, but she’ll push me to get out!
My AHA Moment: These are all choices that she has made on her own without my input. Giving her the autonomy, but yet holding her accountable, has helped her become more independent and she can use these skills to cope when she’s in University or even during her career.
Research has shown that people who have kept up with a routine are able to cope during adversity.
Knowing Yourself = Confidence
During our walks, I’ve learned that she knows what she wants. For example, here’s a conversation we had about her exercise routine:
Arissa: “I’m getting bored with just exercising on the treadmill and weights. I’m worried I’ll give up. I want to change it up. Maybe aerobic videos some days and kickboxing with papa next week?”
Me: “I’m glad you know yourself enough to understand that for you to be motivated, you need variety.”
This past week, someone had asked me if Arissa would be interested in a receptionist job for an out of school care program in the summer. I relayed that information to her and thought she would say, “No, I don’t think I can.”
Instead she replied, “That sounds good, and scary. I wouldn’t mind.”
Later, she also told me that she works best in a busy, high-pressure situation because she’s more creative and she loves solving challenges. I was amazed to hear that because she has it figured it out at 14-years old!
My AHA Moment: When we develop our own confidence (even as an adult), there will be second-guessing our decisions, but if you know yourself well enough and know what you want and how you operate, you’ll find it extremely empowering to be in control of your decisions. You will become more valuable to those around you when you can think and act for yourself.