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Author: Jordan Harrell

Jordan acts as editor and founder of Friday Night Wives, which means she sits on her couch in her pajamas a lot. She accidentally became a coach's wife when her husband switched careers while she was pregnant with their second child, and the roller coaster hasn't stopped rolling since. Her favorite things include her husband and three munchkins, chocolate, worship music, and Amazon Prime. And, of course, this lovely spot on the internet.

To the Young Mama in the Middle of the Season

It’s the middle of the season.

The excitement and novelty of a new season and new team has died down. We’re not yet to the playoffs when the whole town is vibrating with pride and bleeding school colors. District games are underway and tensions are high with so many must-win games up ahead. Your husband’s hours are getting longer, if that’s even possible, and your schedule is filling up now that school is in full swing.

Your evenings consist of taking the biggest to soccer practice and the middle to piano just in time to turn around and head back to soccer practice to pick her up. Then, the baby is crying because apparently she can’t feed herself.

Some days, you manage to make it up to practice so the kids can see their dad, even if it’s only from a distance.

It’s the middle of the season.

Game nights are … difficult. The kids are exhausted from a full week of school. Whether they make it through the whole game is a crap shoot and even if they do, their little sleep deprived souls will be in shambles for the rest of the weekend. You’ll be the only one around to pick up the pieces.

It’s the middle of the season.

The weekend comes. You get the kids ready for all the things: Big Kid’s soccer game (which never fails to be the 8 o’clock game… who schedules this crap?), middle kid’s friend’s birthday party at 10. You know you said you’d help out at that church event, but you realize by noon everyone is DONE. With fingertips full of guilt, you text to let them know you won’t be able to make it. Stop with the guilt. You’re doing the best you can.

Your friend calls you about joining some girls for dinner tomorrow night, but you don’t have money for a babysitter (“Yes, he works Sundays, too”). And even if you did, you’re not sure you’d have the energy to put a bra on, much less makeup.

It’s the middle of the season.

Your husband comes home after all the kids are asleep and tells you about how the staff ate lunch at Pizza Hut and how the team had a ping pong tournament and he and his partner won. He tells you about kicking that one kid out of practice today and letting another cry on his shoulder about stuff that makes your stomach hurt.

Meanwhile, you tell him about how your middle child followed you around the house all the ding dang day and how the baby smeared poop EVERYWHERE and you didn’t throw up cleaning it. #winningatmotherhood. You feel a little silly telling him about your day and wonder silently if he really cares.

Y’all give each other a tight, lingering hug. Then sit down on the couch together, turn on ESPN, and see who falls asleep first.

It’s the middle of the season.

And you’re lonely.

You love this season. But you also feel like your life is put on hold until it’s over because you’re too busy being everything for everyone.

You need help. You need reinforcements. You need friendship and companionship and just to feel less alone.

Oh, mama. You’re not alone.

You. Are. Not. A. Lone.

Coaches wives everywhere are with you. They are cheering you on and standing with you in your loneliness. They feel it too.

It’s the middle of the season.

And you might feel forgotten. You might feel unseen or unimportant.

You aren’t.

That coach, the one who is working so hard and so long, he knows what you’re doing behind the scenes. He might not say it loud enough but he sees you and he’s thankful for you.

And those other coaches’ wives, the ones whose kids are a little bit older, the ones who sit by you on game nights and help you pack up all your stuff afterward, they know how hard and draining it is. They’ll be there for you if you’ll just ask.

And those players, the ones you cook for and clean for, the ones you loan your children’s father to for a few months to love on, they may not have the words to say it but they are so grateful for the way you’re sacrificing for them.

You, sweet mama in the middle of the season, are not forgotten.

By me, by your husband, or by your God.

It’s the middle of the season.

Hang on. We’re halfway there.

You love this season. But you also feel like your life is put on hold until it's over because you're too busy being everything for everyone. You need help. You need reinforcements. You need friendship and companionship and just to feel less alone. Oh, mama. You're not alone. You. Are. Not. A. Lone.

15 Ways to Cut Costs on a Coach’s Salary

If you’re like me and have calculated your husband’s hourly rate, you’ve realized coaching must truly be a calling from a higher power. Because ain’t nobody doin’ this gig for the money. You also have had to cut corners and coupons and your own dang hair to figure out how to make it work.

When my coach and I first decided I was going to stay home, he didn’t even have a job yet. He had just graduated from college, and I had been our sole provider for two years. But we were determined to stay debt-free on a single income, so we began trying to figure out how we could financially make that possible.

Here we are many years later. We’re still looking for every way possible to cut costs. So I thought I’d offer you a few creative, but practical, ways we have saved money on his coaching salary.

Let’s start by having a heart-to-heart. I had to come to grips with a few things early on in our marriage (and pretty much every day since), some of which are really hard and some very relieving.

infographic 15 ways to cut costs on a coach's salary

a Few Truths That Make Cutting Costs Easier

  1. I will not have the cutest _______. Fill in the blank. Clothes. House. Kids’ clothes. Decor. Hairstyle. When I feel myself “needing” something that I can’t afford, I have to remind myself, “In this season, I will not have the cutest _____. And that’s okay.” Sometimes it feels really important (because Pinterest) but if staying out of debt is more important, some of those things just can’t be.
  2. I am going to have to make some sacrifices. Not just me, but everyone. I am going to have to cook a lot, paint my own nails, buy fewer presents for Christmas, and cut out some “major wants” from our budget. Everyone will still survive. And, dare I say, learn a few valuable lessons along the way.
  3. In the grand scheme, I am pretty rich. It’s really, really easy to look around and think, EVERYONE HAS SO MUCH MORE THAN US. And lament over all the things we are sacrificing. I mean, let’s be honest. This post could probably be renamed “First World Problems” because the things we are giving up, are usually not, say, food.
  4. This is (most likely) the poorest we will ever be. Barring outliers, most people make more money the older and more experienced they become. You might have to make a few sacrifices right now but it won’t be like this forever.

So now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s get to it. I’m giving you all the ways I’ve cut costs over the years and I’m including a few from other coaches’ wives as well.

15 Tips to Cut Costs on Coach’s Salary

Drink water.

Don’t buy juice, coke, wine, beer, lemonade, tea. I know, I know. It sounds crazy, but this is one of the biggest ways I have saved at the grocery store. Drink water. Not only is it healthy, but it’s also cheap. (Coffee is a non-negotiable, however. Or everyone dies.)

Buy in bulk.

I use Amazon Prime Subscribe and Save. I buy all my non-perishables through them — diapers, wipes, Ziplocs, trash bags, toothbrushes, face wash, shampoo, soap, detergent, etc. — and have them shipped to me whenever I need more. You get 15% off your entire order if you order 5+ items (20% off diapers and wipes). Yes, there is a Prime yearly subscription, but if I cut out cable (we’ll get to that in a minute), the Prime shows and movies and more than make it worth it. Try Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial

Use Grocery Store Apps for the Rest of Your Food Purchases.

Ibotta, Fetch Rewards, Coupons.com, and individual grocery store apps all offer opportunities to use coupons without actually clipping a coupon. Use those store apps y’all! If you need products and you can use a coupon that stretches your budget. Plus, take a few minutes after you complete your purchases to scan your receipt with Fetch Rewards and you’ll have a gift card to buy Christmas presents with by the end of the year.

Use cashback for holidays.

I know Dave Ramsey would not approve, but we buy everything on credit cards that have rewards programs. Two years ago, I didn’t pay for a single Christmas present. We had accrued enough points to cover all of them. Last year, we used them to go on a trip for our anniversary. BUT, that being said…

NEVER pay interest (if at all possible).

We pay cash for everything. Pay your credit cards in full every month. When we remodeled our home, we paid cash. When we bought our cars, we paid cash. When we bought a new couch, we paid cash. If you don’t have enough money to buy something, don’t buy it.

Buy necessities for holidays.

At Christmas, use stocking stuffers to buy things your kids already need — socks, underwear, pacifiers, sippy cups — things you would have bought them anyway. Wam, bam. Two birds. One stone. Merry Christmas.

Create Amazon Wishlists

When you don’t live near family you won’t always see them for holidays and birthdays. It never fails that your mind will go blank when someone calls and asks what the kids want for their birthdays. Keep a running list of wants AND needs of various price ranges. That way whenever someone feels like sending the kids a gift they can ship directly and you know it’s something helpful. 

Use gifted money for splurges.

This is my chance to splurge on myself. Two years ago, I used my Christmas money to restock my closet. Last year, I used it to redecorate my daughters’ room. This way, nobody questions how much money I am spending and whether or not we can afford it. It’s basically free, right?

Do hair care on the cheap.

MasterCuts and Family Cuts, y’all. Haters gonna hate, but they do good work. Also, box color. In 5 years, you can spend $150 on a haircut & color. But today is not that day. I promise you will look stunning with your $15 ‘do. And for the kids, if you feel confident, do it yourself.

Cut the cord.

It didn’t take us long to realize CABLE IS FREAKING EXPENSIVE. Here’s our solution:

– get a streaming device (we have used AppleTV and FireTV and loved both)

– subscribe to Amazon Prime and/or Netflix and/or Hulu and/or SlingTV (we do Prime and Netflix)

– get an antenna for local channels

Get rid of stuff.

I am always amazed at HOW. MUCH. STUFF we have. Every time we move (once a year, duh), I end up with boxes and boxes of giveaway items. I’ve made some pretty good #cashmoney at places like Swap.com, Craigslist, and Facebook, but there are also the VarageSale and LetGo apps where I have bought stuff… and speaking of….

Shop second-hand.

Second-hand shops (specifically the ones mentioned above) are a great place to find home decor. And did you know, a can of spray paint can work WONDERS.

Find a Friend to Swap Kids Clothes With.

You know there is a mom in your MOPS group or Bible study who has kids growing out of clothes just as your kids are needing them. Find a few friends who can trade clothes around and don’t even bother with setting aside time to shop second-hand. If you’re lucky you’ll even avoid shopping for Halloween costumes and Easter dresses.

Keep a budget.

Budget is not a dirty word. It’s actually very freeing. Bought a new shirt? Don’t worry hubs! I have a $25 clothing budget this month so I’m actually UNDER BUDGET. No arguing. No accusing. Everybody wins. AND GUESS WHAT? There’s an app for that. Mint.com is awesome. This website/app will allow you to import all credit cards and bank accounts so that you can see all your expenses in one place. You can then create budgets and categorize each expense so you know how much you are spending on each category each month. It’s also super convenient during tax season to have everything categorized and searchable. If not for any other reason, make a budget so you can see what you spend most of your money on.

Don’t stop giving.

Budget tithing and giving first. There’s no better way to be reminded of how MUCH we actually have and how faithful God is than by giving sacrificially. Buy gifts for needy children before your own for Christmas. Sponsor a Compassion child. It’s amazing how much further your money goes when you steward it well. There is no better way to live by faith, than by trusting that God will take care of you if you take care of his people.

I am by no means an expert. I still spend an exorbitant amount on groceries, and I have JUST GIVEN UP. I don’t understand coupons. They make me feel stupid and angry.

However, I hope these are somewhat helpful. AND PLEASE if you have ways that you save money, I would love to hear them! I am always interested in how other people cut costs!

Happy budgeting!

Need some unique ways to cut costs? Here are 12 ways that I personally save money on one income -- my husband's coaching salary.

When You Suck at Asking for Help

“I don’t want you to help me! NO! NO! Don’t touch it!” she screamed as she aggressively jammed the “outie” part of the zipper against the “innie” part of the zipper over and over and over again to no avail.

“Charlee, we have to go. Let’s make a good choice. Would you rather get frustrated and cry or just ask Mommy for help?”

No response as she repeatedly attempted to “DO IT ALL BY MYSEE–EE–LLLL–FF!”

Five minutes later I gathered her limp body off of the living room floor, exhausted from the sobs and the tireless slamming of the jacket against the wall. She had clearly chosen to “get frustrated and cry” as opposed to the alternative, “ask for help.”

Sadly, she gets this from her mother.

I recalled a few months earlier when I had also had my very own “zipper moment.” I had been checking my watch every 38 seconds to see if Clark’s practice was over yet only to realize he wouldn’t be home for 4 hours and 38, no, 37 minutes. Will we all still be alive by then? I could make no such promise. Hattie was 5-months-old and Charlee was 22-months-old and I was done. Mentally, physically, emotionally, spiritually DONE.

Charlee was in her room throwing a fit while I sat on the foot of the guest bed holding the littlest one. She was crying, yet again. I was bouncing up and down like a rabbit on 5-Hour-Energy, trying breathlessly to control my aggression, hoping not to approach the threshold for Shaken Baby Syndrome. As I bounced, I remember audibly repeating, “Please. Stop. Crying. Please. Stop. Crying.” Maybe one out of the three of us would listen.

Then my phone rang. It was Clark.

“Hey Babe, I’m gonna be late today.”

I couldn’t get a word out of my throat. I felt a huge knot form and before I could stop he could hear the sobs from the other end of the line. “O…. kay….”

“Has it been a bad day?”

Um. No. It’s been fan-freakin-tastic. Can you hear the two of them? They’re screaming because we’re all having so much fun playing Candy Land and creating educational crafts.

“Call your mom. Tell her to come over. She would love to help you.”

“O… kay…”

“No seriously. Call her. I’ll leave as soon as I can.”

“O… kay… Bye.”

Ten minutes later my phone rang. This time it was my mom.

“Hey, how ya doing? Clark called and said you might want some help. I’m on my way over right now.”

My husband knows me way too well. He knows my independent, I-CAN-DO-IT-ALL-BY-MYSELF heart would never surrender and actually ask for help. I don’t need help. I am perfectly capable of handling this motherhood thing on my own, thank you very much. I got myself into this gig and I can get myself through it with my teeth gritted and my fists clenched.

I knew my resistance had a lot more to do with pride than I cared to admit. God began to show me that asking for help isn’t a show of weakness but in fact the ultimate sign of strength and humility, the admission that I am not God and I was not created to do this alone.

It’s okay to need help. It’s okay to admit that today has sucked. Hard. It’s okay to need a second to come up for air every now and then. And it’s even okay to call your mom to rescue you… when you’re a grown woman.

 

In Exodus 17, Moses has just brought the Israelites out of Egypt. But while traveling they are attacked by the Amalekites and forced into battle. Moses, in his old age, heads to the top of the hill with Aaron and Hur while Joshua chooses the strongest men to go down to the battlefield.

Moses raises his staff as his men fight in an appeal to God for help and enablement. “As long as Moses held up his hands, the Israelites were winning, but whenever he lowered his hands, the Amalekites were winning” (Ex. 17:11). Moses is old and tired. An entire battle is a long time to keep your hands raised up in the air. Thankfully, he has help. Verse 12 says, “When Moses’ hands grew tired, they took a stone and put it under him and he sat on it. Aaron and Hur held his hands up — one on one side, one on the other — so that his hands remained steady till sunset.”

I also feel old and tired most days. I also feel like there is a battle raging under my roof most days. And I also, like Moses, can see a difference in the outcome of my battle when I hold up my hands in surrender, in an admission that I can’t do this on my own. Sadly, my arms get tired pretty quickly.

God knew they would. He didn’t create me or Moses or you to hold up our hands on our own. He never expected us to fight our battles in isolation.

But I am not Moses. And I lack the humility to admit that I need someone else to bring me a rock to sit on or someone to prop up my hands. So I just watch my army go down in flames because I am too prideful to admit that I need reinforcements.

I need encouragement.

I need validation.

I need coffee.

I need help.

I have plenty of Aarons and Hurs that are willing to prop up my hands and pull up a rock. And so do you.

It’s just a matter of asking.

Mama, asking for help isn't a sign of weakness, but strength.
Dear Veteran's Coach's Wive Series

Dear Veteran Coach’s Wife: This Move Feels Too Risky

Note to Readers: This post is part of an ongoing series “Dear Veteran Coach’s Wife” and includes one question from a wife submitted anonymously. There are also several responses from veteran wives which offer encouragement, suggestions, and life examples. We can only write from our own personal experiences, but we’re committed to answering honestly and thoroughly to the best of our abilities.

 

Question from a Coach’s Wife

 

Dear Veteran Coach’s Wife,

My husband just got offered a position at his DREAM school. He has talked about this being his ideal situation since we were in college. The issue is it’s several hours from my hometown where I’ve lived my whole life and he’s been for the last 7 years of his. We are heavily involved in our community and our church. Everywhere we go we see people we love.

I love my job and it’s difficult to see how sacrificing moving to a smaller community where the cost of living higher and homes are more expensive is the best decision. While I am so happy for him, I can’t picture leaving our lives.  

Feeling discouraged, distraught, and like I am truly grieving. 

 

Answers from Veteran Coaches Wives

Dear Discouraged and Grieving,

I have been where you are. We had a nice house in an even nicer neighborhood. I had gotten a job less than five minutes away teaching a grade with no testing and at a school with major and administration parental support. Both our families were in the area, and I finally felt content-even-happy- in my job. And then my husband got offered his first head baseball position. Four hours away. We honestly knew it was a God thing as He worked out the details seamlessly, but I did cry the entire way home after seeing the tiny town and having four job interviews in one day. But we had a peace about it so we packed up and moved. It wasn’t easy but God allowed it to happen. This was before kids. 

When we got there, I was in a job that I did not prefer, I got pregnant right away, four hours from anyone we knew, and he started working seven days a week for the first time as assistant football. It was an awful year, I won’t lie. However, a lot of it was my attitude. I was exhausted, pregnant for the first time, hours from friends and family, and almost an hour from civilization [aka Target or Starbucks]. I became very bitter and resentful. This is probably not encouraging you right now but have faith. 

We thought we would be there a year or two but stayed four before the next move. We got plugged into a church that we still miss and made lifelong friendships. We got to live in a wonderful rental house with dreamy views for two of those four years. 

It was hard. I cried a lot. But I know God had his hand in it as well. I would pray about it apart and together. Leaving what you know and love is always hard-and yes, a true grieving process. But God walks next to you, and He sends who and what you need when you need it. I will be praying for guidance and clear direction and also that your heart is softened once you get there. If your husband has been waiting on this and God is opening the door, then it will be worth it. 

Best of luck, 

Been there, done that, and He provided

 

Dear Feeling discouraged, distraught, and truly grieving,

While I cannot guarantee that every coach’s wife’s journey will be the same, I can offer you the benefit of hindsight from 13 years after going through a similar scenario. When I met and married my coach, I swore that I was never, ever, ever leaving my hometown. I agreed to go wherever the job took us, but spent every second praying and plotting how to make it possible for him to move up in his career while staying put.

I too couldn’t see how me sacrificing everything I’ve ever known and pretty much everybody I’ve ever loved for his dream could be a good decision. But, after all these years and all this time, I can see that I wasn’t doing it for him, not really. It was all for me. I’ve met a lot more people in a few new places that I grew to love, found more communities that I could give my heart and support to, and a completely different job that ignited a fire in me that I had no idea was even possible. I am not the same person I was in my hometown, and it’s 100% for the better.

I’m not saying it was without challenges or heartbreak. There were in fact many, many, many of both. But, if I had the option to make the decision to leave all over again, I would go- hands down, without question (this time, the first time involved a lot of hesitation and questioning.) While I’m not saying that moving is necessarily your answer, I’m just offering a few points to ponder. Is it possible that you might not know what’s best for you? Could it be that you are giving up good for great? Would it be possible for your heart to grow bigger and stronger to include new people, new places, and a different life?

Wishing you all the love and clarity needed to make this difficult decision,

Jess Gilardi

 

Dear Discouraged and Grieving,

The best things in life often start out scary! Your situation sounds so familiar to me and to so many others. After living away from my family for so many years we finally moved to the same town as my parents with our first baby. And one year later my husband was offered a job he wanted so badly that was 8 hours away. I did not want to pick up and move again that soon. I was so happy with my job and having my parents close by to babysit but eventually, I let my husband drive me across the state to check it out. I went with every intention of seeing everything in person to convince my husband this wasn’t the right move for us. The joke was on me because we both signed letters of intent less than 24 hours later. Then everything quickly fell into place, our house sold in three days and three weeks later we loaded up and made it to our new community. This move has been our best yet, the school district is the best we’ve ever worked in and we have made some amazing friends. 

This move showed me that you can’t fight God’s plan or his perfect timing. If your husband is being pulled so strongly towards this opportunity, crack your heart open just a little and see where it leads. 

 

Sincerely,

Been There Done That

 

Dear Feeling Discouraged,

Dang, this is hard. Leaving comfort and family is no small consideration. I’ll share what I’ve learned through our experiences. We were in a great situation when my husband was recruited for a coveted job. Leaving our people was awful, and our experience in the new place was…awful. In fact, we eventually got fired. Sounds like it was the wrong decision, right? Except, when I was moved out of my/our comfort zone, I flourished in ways I never expected. It was as though being uncomfortable in our lives made me braver as a person. In fact, it’s how I ever left my comfy profession and became a writer.

Truly, I have no idea if you should move. Coaches tend to have itchy feet so I would wonder if you don’t take this one if he’ll look for others as time goes on that are less “dreamy”? Regardless, whatever you choose, pray that you choose it together and be all in as a couple leaving or all in as a couple staying. And, that you flourish as a person in your current situation, or in the less desirable one. We’ve had awesome situations and sucky situations and God has sustained us in both. He goes (or stays) wherever we are.

I’ll end with this, a blog post I wrote about (yet another move) loving where we were but also missing the last place. I hope my post Learning to Grow Love Plants blesses you. 

Sincerely,

Sister Who Has Been Stretched

 

Do you have a question?

moving family job decision placement

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