Friday Night Wife of the Week – Rachel Jones Brown of Florham Park, New Jersey
Each week, “Friday Night Wives” recognizes a coach’s wife by asking her the same five questions. We go through lots of submissions to find entries we think are especially encouraging or insightful. We hope this gives our readers a chance to connect with others’ through their struggles and hardships, as well as learn from someone who has come out on the other side.
1) Tell us a little bit about yourself. Who are you and what do you do?
I was born and raised in Sumter, South Carolina. Robby and I married in 2004, and now live in Florham Park, New Jersey with our two little girls. Over our 14 years in the coaching profession we have moved to 8 different cities and lived in six states. Before our girls were born I did many different jobs including, but certainly not limited to, teaching. I am currently homeschooling our oldest who is a kindergartener. I really love doing creative projects and being a part of our church and women’s ministry.
2) How many years have you been a coach’s wife and what schools have you been to?
I have been a coach’s wife for fourteen years. We began our journey at Ga Tech where Robby volunteered under Chan Gailey. From there we were hired at Troy University, Henderson State University, Valdosta State University, Northwestern State University, and The University of South Alabama we are currently in our 4th season with the New York Jets.
3) If you could go back in time and have a conversation with yourself as a first year coach’s wife, what’s one thing you would tell yourself?
Pray for wisdom, listen to your heart, be gracious, and trust your gut. It takes you a year to really feel connected in your new town…that’s ok. Usually three years makes a house feel like a home. Never criticize someone else’s town. Pray for a heart for where you live. You are where you are because you need that place and its people, and they need you. Underestimate no-one. Live within your means. Relieve yourself of the pressure that you need to understand the depth and breadth of the game of football. Make your home a place to re-charge and be honest. This football life will shape your schedule, your time, and your location, but it does not define you.
4) How do you find balance between supporting your spouse and supporting yourself so that you don’t lose your mind?
This is something that is constantly evolving for us. Currently, life with two young children makes hearing my own thoughts pretty difficult, so I’m thankful the Lord has provided babysitters for our family. These scheduled breaks allow me to take a break and clear my head. Not so long ago this daily break wasn’t an option for us. I would stay up late just to hear the “quiet” in the house.
Having a routine has always helped me keep my sanity. It also helps me bring shape to this time of year. I make sure we have traditions like when we go out for “Game Day Donuts,” and we get excited about “Sleepover Night” in my room on away game weekends. On my husband’s “early” night we have “Taco/Movie Night,” and we’ve started trying to surprise my husband when he comes home in time for bedtime. The girls get into it. Supper time during football season can be so quiet and sad to me so we’ve started playing their favorite music while we eat, and this lifts the mood.
Football. Who even knew it was such a thing? I grew up on baseball and literally took magazines to some of my first D1 football experiences. This game has grown on me. I have noticed that when my husband is out of town I have been known to turn on a game just to have it on. I do not pride myself in knowing all the plays, or calls, or rules, but I tell you, I love a game day. I have cheered, jumped, screamed, and made my share of trips to concessions stands across this country. Through this game I have seen huge victories and gut-wrenching losses that bring on sleepless nights. I have prayed over plays and asked the Lord to keep a player, or eleven, healthy. I have fed players tall and short and been scared my tiny apartment floor was going to cave in from the number of them. I have watched my husband teach a group of players how to make their first fireside s’mores, and I have watched my husband light up just starting preseason. Football is a teacher. It draws men, women, and children together. This game is not only our livelihood, but it is a calling. That is why it’s hard somedays and effortless and exciting the next. Step into it, however you can.
5) What encouragement do you have for a fellow coach’s wife who currently finds herself in a difficult season and doesn’t feel like she’s measuring up?
REST. TAKE A WALK. REPLENISH YOURSELF. Make friends in your community that may or may not know what “first down” even means. Let neighbors, family, and friends help you, and pray for you. Pray for and write down specific needs and even dreams and watch the Lord guide and deliver. In doing this I even began making a list of things that exhausted me about the season, and then tried making solutions for each tiresome task. It’s amazing what will happen when you identify stressors and the simple things that come to mind eliminating that stress!
** If you have a wife you’d like to nominate as our FNW Wife of the Week, please email Lindsey at firstname.lastname@example.org **
Lindsey has been a football wife for 12 years. Her husband, Josh is currently Director of Football Ops at Appalachian State University. She and Josh have one 10 year old son, Jacob.