I’m sure I speak for most parents when I say COVID-19 and the social lockdown has been a challenge. We’ve had to serve as teachers, chefs, entertainers and housekeepers, all while maintaining our jobs and the most important roles: mom and dad. As a player in the MLS (Major League Soccer) for the Orlando City, I know how critical a team is to success. You must all be on the same page and work together to accomplish goals. The same can be said for our home lives. The past few months haven’t been easy. This time has shown me that supporting my wife Sydney who is also a professional athlete with a busy schedule, is more important than ever.
Throughout the last few months, the support system that my wife and I have developed along with parents in our network has become invaluable. That’s why I joined forces with Abbott’s Similac Promises Project. The effort is to develop inclusive communities that share positivity over judgement and support parents no matter what they are going through.
Unfortunately, the reality is 7 out of 10 parents feel judged by others. We all know that parenting has enough challenges without us challenging each other. The study conducted by Abbott also found that moms have a wide circle of support in the first year after having a baby, but her spouse is her number one source of support for almost all decisions.
Two children is a lot to balance with our training schedules, practice and regular household chores. And spending so much time at home with our kids has reinforced for me how important it is to be a reassuring voice and foundation for my wife when she needs it. As we spend more time together as a family, I have seen how much my support means to Sydney, and vice-versa. We have learned to divide and conquer responsibilities to lessen the burden and build each other up as we navigate the complexity of parenthood.
Sometimes, the most precious gift to give your spouse is alone time. The kids get excited when it comes to outdoor activities, which also gives Sydney time to relax. Here are a few playdate ideas for you and your little ones:
1. Picnic in the Park: With young kids, mealtime can be stressful and a mess. I like to pack a few easy snacks or sandwiches, a soccer ball, and a giant blanket and post up at our neighborhood park for a few hours. Cassius can run around while Roux and I kick back under a tree--everyone’s happy!
2. Backyard Camping: If you’re like us, even a simple activity such as picking up sticks in the backyard can be a fun task that keeps the kids busy. When you’re done, turn those twigs into a camp fire and roast some s’mores.
3. Plan a Daytrip: Cassius and I went to the beach to watch the first attempt of the Space X launch. While the launch didn’t happen that day because of bad weather, he was happy to sit in the car with me and play in the sand for a few hours. A quick trip to a local park or a walk around the block can be a simple way to enjoy the fresh air and change the scenery for yourself and your children.
As I reflect on these activities, I can’t help but feel grateful for the time we’ve spent together as a family this year. This Father’s Day will be one to remember and will serve as an opportunity to celebrate our role and responsibility as fathers. I was especially close with my dad, and it has remained the number one goal in my life to build a similar relationship with Cassius and Roux.
As fathers, we provide support that is vital – for our spouses, our children and fellow parents. Join me and pledge to encourage people to support parents everywhere and spread positivity with #PromisesProject and #TogetherWeCan.