Being married to a coach is both an adventure and can, frankly, at times, be a hassle. Do not get me wrong, I love the sports my husband coaches. I have been at this for over 30 years and have put in a lot of time in stands, running concession stands, and keeping a wrestling clock and scorebook. I would not trade it for anything because I see the difference he makes in the lives of his athletes and students.
But folks outside of the coaching life do not always understand the hours required, the family time interrupted, and the missed events because it is “the season.” I am here to offer some support and suggestions to help manage those times when you feel overwhelmed or out of place.
Number 1: Having other coaches’ wives to hang out with is always a good thing. Depending on where you are in life, you may have toddlers to chase, a newborn that takes up time, have kids knee-deep in their own athletics or school events, or perhaps you have moved on to the empty nest stage. Having someone who has walked through the fire, so to speak, is always a good thing because they “get it .”Those of us who have been in “the trenches” for a while can listen, give advice and be a sounding board for you.
Number 2: It is really okay to have friends outside the coaching arena. Do not get me wrong; some of the people I hold dear are other coach’s wives-women who have been there for me in challenging times, in winning and losing seasons. But I also have dear friends who are not knee-deep in this lifestyle, and they keep me grounded in other ways. They also know that sometimes those invitations to join them for things will mean it might just be me showing up. And they are okay with that.
Number 3: Our husbands work together, but we may not be “best friends” with each other, and that is okay too. Granted, no one understands this lifestyle better than another coach’s wife, but we all have different perspectives on life, and just because our husbands work together does not mean we have to be “besties” as well. It is always good to be kind, welcoming, and open to meeting new people, but finding your tribe is not always easy. There are starts, stops, and the dance of building a relationship. Do not feel pressure to be everything to all the other wives. That is too hard on all of us.
Number 4: If you have had a hard week, if the kids are cranky, if someone is sick, if it is one hundred degrees outside, and you do not go to a game, IT’S OKAY. Please understand that I LOVE the sports my husband coaches, and I love supporting the teams and athletes. But in reality, I am going and watching him work. No other profession has people go watch their spouse work except coaching. Yes, he loves looking up in the stands and seeing your smile and the hug after the game, but if you have reached the end of your rope this week and just cannot go, give yourself some grace. Let him know you cannot be there but will be sending good vibes and will be anxious to hear how things went. I had to learn this when I broke my ankle and could not drive, let alone manage the crutches in the stands. I watched online and cheered from the couch. Life gets crazy and complicated, so if you cannot be there, do not let guilt get to you. Others may not know what you are carrying around, so do not let anyone make you feel less than a good wife because you miss a game.
And Number 5: I have reminded you to give yourself grace but give other wives that too. We never truly know what is going on with someone, and they may not feel comfortable opening up about struggles. So, if you don’t see her at the game, check on her, but don’t shame her for not being there. Her plate may be fuller than you realize, and she is doing all she can to keep her head above water. She does not need to feel guilty for not being able to be at every event, sitting with the wives, and chatting away.