I have kids. Four of them.
I got two when I married my husband (shout out to all the hardworking, underappreciated stepmoms out there). Then we got a little cocky and had two more like we had our lives in order or something.
I say this next line with bated breath, but now that they are 17, 14, 4, and almost 3, it’s getting easier. The past four years have been…well, I can’t remember it, really.
Between the older kids’ activities—not to mention their back and forth custody arrangement—and babies’ diapers, bottles, and pumping, it’s been wild.
Then there’s the whole full-time job thing where I spend my day raising other people’s kids.
I teach high school students how to not get fired from their future jobs.
And there are other things I do, too. We attend church where I’m a co-social chair for our life group. Every year my husband and I give up a week of summer to work mission trips alongside our oldest two.
My kids have year-round theater, sports, dance, parties, social lives, etc.
I’m also a good friend to a bunch of different people I’ve met over the years and I like to hang out with them. I’m a daughter, granddaughter, sister, in-law…the list goes on.
Oh … wait, did I mention that I’m married to a head football coach?
Yep, there it is. Coach’s wife. Last on my list.
It’s the very last thing and I am UNASHAMED. I’m very proud of his profession, but his job isn’t MY job.
I want to help ALL the kids, and that’s why I work in education (and This Is Us has me seriously considering fostering at some point). It’s why, on a bye week, we all load up and head over to my school’s varsity football game.
Now it’s not like I’m against helping him out if I can.
I commit to leading yoga sessions every Saturday morning in season and make team meals as needed. I don’t love the sacrifices he makes for his job. I understand it, but I don’t love it. The sacrifices directly affect me and my family, so it’s hard to love that.
But can I be honest with you about something? If I didn’t have all this STUFF going on in my life, I would probably be just as involved as a coach’s wife as I am right now. I get involved if it is on my own terms. I am not—and refuse to be—defined by my husband’s job title; only FLOTUS gets that privilege.
Through years of observation, I’ve noticed that most coaches’ wives fall into two camps:
1) those who are devoted to their craft as a coach’s wife
2) those who watch the others from the sidelines. And here we all are, sizing each other up:
“Why don’t they want to participate and help their husbands? I don’t understand.”
“Why are they so devoted to something that isn’t theirs? I don’t understand.”
What I don’t understand is WHY we aren’t trying to accept each other, as is.
I mean, I get it. He’s making sacrifices, I’m making sacrifices, we’re ALL making sacrifices.
Do you know who else is making sacrifices? Literally everyone.
Policemen and their spouses, farmers, firemen, military, and probably the guy that loads my groceries into the car at curbside pickup.
Look, I’m just over here trying to survive the life that chose me, and maybe even have a little fun doing it. Can’t we unite and celebrate the undisputed fact that we have all been given the gift of knowing hard times and finding our way through them somehow, over and over each season?
I mean, who really cares if Cheryl the OC’s wife doesn’t attend games? Does she love her husband less? I don’t know. And Debbie likes to pace the stands, supporting her husband as loud as she can with her bean-filled milk jug, while Carol sits quietly, entertaining her kids, taking them to the bathroom, and looking for that shoe that fell through the bleacher crack.
We’re all in this business together, and though we need support, we have to realize that everyone has different versions of it. Some people need to relate to others in the game; some find solace with friends who are far removed.
I would rather spend my extra time with my family in one room, laughing and watching our kids wrestling each other, than plan a party that coaches and their families feel obligated to attend.
So, find your balance and whatever else it is that keeps you sane. Get out your WWJD bracelet from ‘98 and ask yourself what He wants for you and yours. I’m pretty sure He doesn’t want you all stressed about how “good” a coach’s wife you are.
My fellow Bare Minimum Wives, relax! We are all just as “good” as the “good” ones. Do you, girl!
To be a part of a group of coaches’ wives who support one another, bare-minimum or all-in, check out the Friday Night Wives Facebook group.