The season is here! It’s that time of year when your coach works all.the.hours for every day! Game day is just around the corner, and if your house is anything like ours, that means you are checking your team spirit wardrobe to make sure you are ready.
With all the excitement and anticipation there is also a lot of expectations to manage. Parents, players, family, friendships, and most importantly our own expectations can all become points of conflict this time of year if we aren’t careful. I coined a term several years back; I’m not proud to say that the phrase “mid-season meltdown” came about because I noticed for myself that every October I hit a wall.
A point of no return would reveal itself again where I just couldn’t tolerate one more team dinner, or one more date night that ended with watching film, or one more night feeling that all my hard work keeping the house organized was about the blow up by 10 am the next morning.
Each time I hit this wall my sweet husband would look at me as if I was crazy, and to be fair, he wasn’t that far off in his thinking. But that only increased the intensity of my frustration because I wanted to feel as if I was seen and heard, not dismissed for having a rough week.
Then one year I decided that this was going to be the year I did everything in my power to avoid the mid-season meltdown and here’s what I figured out along the way:
Life is easier when I divide the calendar into seasons.
With two busy boys 20 months apart in age underfoot and a very unhealthy thyroid, the reality of our lives was that I was going to either cook or get a section of the house cleaned, but not both. So, I looked at the calendar and counted 16-18 weeks from pre-season camp to Thanksgiving and determined that those weeks would be the part of the year where I laid down my expectations around our house and meals.
Instead of picking up the extra things my husband usually does I either found someone else to handle them or ignored them until the season was over. Football players mowed the lawn and cleaned the gutters in exchange for home-cooked meals, we raked the leaves when we got to it, and I prepared a lot in the crock pot, doubling meals, so I only needed to cook three times a week.
I learned to extend grace to myself and my man.
When we are frustrated with something, it’s easy to lose sight of the fact that the people around us are trying as hard as we are and are just as exhausted. I needed to decide to give myself permission as well as my husband permission to rest, and during the in-season, that means having less on our calendar each week and fewer daily tasks.
Lean on your girlfriends.
Your true girlfriends know how hard in-season is because when you do life with someone, you know the stresses they face. Be honest with them that you need a little extra girl time when your husband is traveling, or you need help with your kids. It’s amazing what a walk to the park will do for a dreary Monday morning when you know your kids will burn energy AND you will have time to chat with a friend! Be honest and ask for help. Your true friends will be happy to help because they know you will do the same for them when the time comes.
I cannot say this enough. When life is hard, the first thing I toss off my routine is the first thing I should focus my energy on, which is time with God. When prayer comes first, it’s easier to extend grace. More than that though, my focus stays on the things that matter. Sure, clean clothes and healthy food is important, but when I’m praying as I do those things they aren’t as overwhelming or stressful.
Essentially, when I'm focused on my relationship with God, my relationship with my Coach is always healthier too. This coach's wife life is a constant learning process, and I hope my tips help, but I bet you have some of your own! What are your practical tips for a great season? I’d love to hear!