It’s Monday, which means we’re answering another question in our Veteran Coach’s Wife series.
QUESTION FROM NEWBIE WIFE
I long for a close-knit sisterhood with the other wives on our staff but it’s just not there. We always have beginning-of-the-year get-togethers (with the exception of this year, of course), I have created a private FB group to try and generate a little camaraderie, and I regularly ask about caravaning/carpooling to games. I’m at a loss. We are finishing up our 7th season in our current job, we are quite a bit older than most of the staff, so, I’m not sure if that’s the issue or what?
Longing for Sisterhood
ANSWERS FROM VETERAN COACHES WIVES
Dear Longing for Sisterhood,
Every staff is different from year to year and that includes the wives. Some years are great, others not so much. Two things I want to leave you with first; sometimes people are quietly struggling or missing the mark of connection. I have been burned before by others, pretty badly so when we join a new staff, I get anxiety times 10x. I worry all the time about whether not I fit in or if a person likes me. Because I am struggling, I tend to miss the mark of connection with a person. So, please keep trying. People like me need it.
Second, I want to applaud your effort and encourage you to keep trying. Host a wives only event, my current HFC’s wife did this. We crafted team mascot door hangers. It was so much fun and gave us an opportunity to get to know each other without husbands and kids. One other thing I do to try and ease my anxiety and kindle friendship is I give all the wives a small gift. I am a crafter and make things, this year I made custom team earrings and gave them to each wife. It opened the door to new friendships and made everyone feel welcome.
I hope this encourages you. Please keep trying, I know from experience that there is a person on that staff that needs friendship.
Dear Longing for Sisterhood,
My husband has often said that the loneliest job on a coaching staff is that of a head coach. I believe the loneliest volunteer role is that of the head coach’s wife. The reality is that any way you look at things your husband eventually will determine the future of the rest of the staff. If your husband takes a new job or resigns then the rest of the staff may answer to a new boss, lose their job or get a promotion. If your husband isn’t pleased with someone he may have to fire someone.
It’s a difficult balance with a dynamic where you’re interacting with the boss’s wife in any situation. Coaches’ wives who have been burned by previous coaching staffs are likely to keep their distance.
Another thing to consider is that Facebook may not be the preferred method of communication. Try Voxer, Slack, or even email. It’s important to try to connect with people the way they are most likely to respond. Not everyone loves Facebook.
Finally, it may be that while the wives are comfortable with you, there are some group dynamics within the overall group you aren’t aware of. Try inviting the wives out one on one to get to know them better. You’ll discover the things you have in common with each of them and they will see you genuinely care about them as well.
Your efforts are to be commended, I hope the wives realize not all HCW’s care as much as you do!
PS- Have you read: Being a Head Coach’s Wife is Harder than I’d Ever Thought