Family, Journal, Marriage

Practical Advice for a Teacher Married to a Coach (Who’s Married to the Game)

You may have gotten married knowing you would both be in the field of education. You imagined you would be shaping lives, changing the world, have all of the laundry done, and a hot dinner on the table when Coach came home.

Or one or both of you may have made a career change later in life when your kids were grown.

Or if you are lucky like I am, your husband decided to become a teacher and a coach while you were moving to a new school, teaching two grade levels for the first time, were knee deep in grad school, and trying to keep two toddlers alive.

Here are a few things that I have learned during this new phase in our lives that have helped me to stay somewhat sane.    

PLAN: If you aren’t a planner, become one. I have a paper planner I keep with me at all times. It includes a monthly calendar spread, a daily spread broken down into hourly blocks, and a to-do list section for each day. I color code our lives to help me stay on track. These colors are consistent on the calendar and on the to-do list. The list is broken down into manageable sections, no more than four items per day for work, home, grad school, etc. If your list is too long, you will always feel like you are falling short. We also have a calendar and weekly schedule on the refrigerator for quick reference.

BUDGET: We are poor, ya’ll. Teachers obviously don’t make much money, and it has been an adjustment to learn to live on less. Budgeting and paying bills as soon as we get paid helps us to be wise with our money. When you are paid once a month, you learn quickly that you need a system to make it last.  

MEAL PLAN: This helps with the budget and your sanity. Make a list of three or four meals to make per week, grocery shop for the items you need (with the money you already budgeted), and strategically plan which nights which meals will be served. When report cards are due on Thursday and game day is Friday, ain’t nobody got time to cook. Frozen pizza or McDonald’s it is. There is no shame in my chicken nugget game.

COMMUNICATE: Coach cannot read your mind. If you need something to be done, ask for it. Don’t have unrealistic expectations during busy seasons. Keep in mind that you are on the same team.

DITCH SCHOOL: Don’t really skip school (unless you really need a mental health day). Make a solid effort, though, not to talk about school or the team all the time. Your brains need a break, and your marriage will be much better for it.  

BACKUP: Get your reinforcements in the game when you need them. Ask for help. You cannot do it all alone. Don’t even try.

SCHEDULE: Teachers and coaches both work at home. It’s the nature of the job. Designate times for both of you to work from home, especially if you have small children. Figure out a cut off time so work does not take over home.  

PRIORITIZE: Use your time wisely. It is your most valuable asset. If you are not traveling for Friday’s away game, grade papers after the kids are in bed. If you have ten minutes to play on Facebook while your class is in the library, do next week’s lesson plans instead.

ROUTINE: Pick up on the patterns on the week and make it work. If you have duty every Monday, have Coach drop off the kids. If Tuesday will be a late practice every week, try to make that a crock pot meal day. Thursday nights can be breakfast for supper if Coach cooks with the team. Life will run much more smoothly if some things are predictable for you and your kids. If Coach pops up unexpectedly, it is just a happy surprise. Use Sunday to reset and get ready for the next week.

Most importantly, pray and try to keep things in perspective. Know that things will not be perfect, and you will have to learn to let go. In the middle of a busy season, things can get real really quickly. You may have to dig in the clean laundry pile for underwear, and your kid may go to the sitter in his pajamas for three days a week. Keep in mind that you and your husband have both chosen professions that inherently serve others and do good. Do the best you can and let God handle the rest.

Also, remember that summer break is a thing.