When a coach takes a new job, the headlines always read how a new coach takes over a new program. The average fan, even the most avid fan, reads that literally. They instantly assume the program will change under new leadership. However, being a coaching family, when I see the headline about a new coach taking over a program, I instantly think about the kids.
Coaches move season after season, and with them comes all their baggage, both the good and the bad. Most times, that baggage includes a wife and kids. Like many of you, I have had many conversations with my coach about our next move.
We discuss the job itself, the salary, the school district, and the overall community we are leaving for. Coaches turn down jobs all the time, but when they find the right job for their family, it involves way more than just a headline of "Coach So and So taking over a new team."
In general, a move is a big deal, but as a coaching family, you jump into a new area with both feet and hit the ground running. Often a coach moves before his family because of housing or finishing a school year. In our family, we've agreed it's my job to make the transition on my kids as easy as possible!
After all, I knew this move was coming well before they did. I've had my chance to think and process. They are given information that they never saw coming! Our kids are told their lives will be flipped upside down by moving houses, getting new neighbors, having teachers they have never heard of, and finding new kids to eat lunch with. That's a lot of change!
The decision of "When do we move?" is another thing to consider. As a football family my coach accepted a new job in January and we chose to wait until the end of the school year. However, winter and spring coaches are hired at different times, making it harder to pick up and move because it may be mid-school year.
While my kids have moved a couple of times, our recent move is the only one they truly remember. Tears were shed at the idea of leaving their friends and school, but once we were loading up that moving truck, there was no turning back, and they knew it.
We have moved as a couple, a family with a newborn and toddlers, and school-aged kids. Each move has its challenges but moving with school-aged kids was both the easiest and hardest on me as their mom. It was the easiest because they literally helped with things. They helped pack boxes and could leave me alone while packing and organizing.
However, it was the hardest because I stayed up at night thinking about all the "What ifs…." What if my fifth grader wouldn't have friends to eat lunch with? What if my third-grader couldn't find a dance studio that she loved as much as the one we were leaving? What if my first-grader was behind because she spent half of kindergarten at home with me packing while her new classmates were in school five days of the week?
The What Ifs caused more stress than the actual finding and buying a home during a seller's housing market.
When moving you have a list of all the MUST DO items beyond finding a new house. You need to register your kids for school and research new programs and all their tryout dates or registration deadlines. You need to change your address with many different areas of life.
Emotionally, you also want closure from the home you are leaving. I can't tell you how many times I had my kids' friends over or set up play dates so that they could have one more time with those they spent all their days with. There is so much happy and sad emotion when leaving. I wanted to make sure the community we were leaving knew just how much they meant to us and how hard it was to go, but I wanted our new town to know how excited we were to be part of their community!
Our kids have moved from a large school district to a much smaller one with our most recent move. Of course, every parent hopes to hear the best at parent-teacher conferences. However, the biggest compliment I received on behalf of my kids was when all their teachers told me how well they have transitioned into this new school district. I was told my kids acted as if they have been Pirates their whole lives, and no one would have guessed they were the new kids this year.
For all the coaching families who have a move coming up, nothing in this life is easy, but I wish you all the best! Each experience is different, but my hope for every family is that the kids transition well into their new lives. As coaches' wives, we chose this life. As coaches' kids, they were born into it and usually are stronger than we give them credit!