Like many children, 8-year-old Adele Chullis—daughter of Matt Chullis, associate head coach of men’s soccer at the University of Virginia—has taken an unexpectedly close look at her parents’ working lives over the past year.
Obviously, she was paying attention.
Earlier this week, a video of the Albemarle County elementary school student went viral as viewers broke down about her impressions of her mother, Colleen, working from home. When Colleen Chulis posted the video on her LinkedIn account, it quickly garnered nearly 400,000 comments and 14 million views. By the next day, local news stations were interviewing Adele.
There’s plenty of pointing and picking — the familiar gestures of parents and kids everywhere — some Zoom references, quick keyboard taps, stage whispers, and lots of laughter.
It’s off,” said Matt Chullis, who played football for UVI from 1995 to 1998 before playing professionally, eventually returning to his alma mater.
“I love it,” he said, “and I think it’s a very positive thing for people to see.” “My wife works so hard, she’s a great mom, she’s great at her job, and my daughter knows that and sees that every day. It’s something a lot of people can relate to.”
Colin Chullis is the regional vice president of sales for the HR software company, SAP SuccessFactors. Usually, she would travel a lot for work. However, like many office jobs, she has been working from home since the COVID-19 pandemic last March, and was initially joined by Matt and their three children, Luke, Adele and Declan.
“Early early, I was at home, Colin was at home, and the kids were learning remotely…it was stressful for everyone,” Matt Chullis recalls. He started returning to his office at UVA occasionally as his players returned in the fall. However, for Colleen, balancing her role at work and her role as a mother remained an everyday juggling, especially until the children went back to school in person. So far, they come home from school around 3 p.m., several hours before Colleen wraps up her work day.
“Someone always needs a snack, or has a question,” Cholis said.
It’s an issue many working parents can deal with, and the family was thrilled with the video’s response.
“We were really stunned,” Cholis said. “It’s getting more and more pageviews, every time we check it out.”
They’ve tried to protect Adelle from some huge numbers, but her dad said she’s excited about it – and that he’s quite a character.
“She always impersonates people and makes us laugh,” he said. “She’s happy that people can laugh about it, and see the positive in difficult situations.”
Regardless of the viral videos, the Chullis family’s life is getting something close to normal.
Matt Schulis just turned 15y In the regular season on the coaching staff of the men’s soccer program, including his ninth as an associate coach. The Cavaliers were 7-8-1 this year – and it’s been an exceptionally tough year.
“Everything with the pandemic has been really difficult for the team,” Chullis said. “We were very strict in our protocols – we didn’t meet in the locker room, we did a lot of testing, we even watched videos outside to avoid being indoors together.” He said the lack of social activity was difficult, especially for first-year student athletes.
Despite this, next year looks much brighter. Chulis and his fellow coaches are planning to hold some summer soccer camps for young players, and they just received a message from the NCAA that they can begin recruiting in person on June 1.
“We haven’t been able to do that for over a year, which is really difficult,” he said. “I am excited to be back in it. I enjoy finding new talent, meeting the kids and seeing them play.”
For Adelle, Chulis said he was grateful that the end of the school year was more natural and positive than its beginning.
“Our children have been lucky, and we are very fortunate that they personally went to a school with great protocols, where we feel safe,” he said. “They’ve grown up as people and as students this year, and I’m grateful for that, although I worry about a lot of other kids who haven’t had these opportunities and who could be affected by this for a while.”