Things Would Still Be Hard Even If You Weren’t a Coaching Family. Because Life is Hard.
After almost two decades in the world of coaching, I am keenly aware that I will have at least one solid meltdown in the coming months. However, I am pleased to say that early on in our marriage I had at least one steady cry per week so we are down significantly from that special insanity. Thank goodness!
This past year I had my coach around more than any other time in our marriage. We moved to a new school and he is “only” the head football coach as his other usual positions in track and/or basketball were already filled. Being a one-sport family has been an eye opening experience.
While it is still a busy lifestyle, the increase in our time together as a family has been significant. He is home so much more, around for more family events, and has more time to help me around the house and play with the kids.
And you know what girls? As wonderful as that has been, sometimes things still suck.
This past year has given our family more time together and it has opened my eyes to the fact that some of what I was attributing to the stress of being a coaching family was actually just…life.
On days when my kids were in a “special” place of neediness it wouldn’t have mattered if my husband was home or not. That day was still hard.
When the schedule was busy and didn’t go as planned, it was still stressful and he was with me!
When I encountered something disappointing, sad, or challenging it was still disappointing, sad, or challenging even though he was around. Because that’s just how life is sometimes whether your husband is around or not.
As we head into the coming school year, some of our days are going to be extremely challenging. What I’m offering is the option to consider that some of that stress would exist whether you were a coaching family or not. We need a way to let the burden of life’s difficulties fall where it belongs rather than automatically pointing to coaching.
Children have hard days and occasions of poor behavior whether or not they are coach’s kids. Ours just work out theirs out on the way to a game or in the stands. Other kids do the same thing, they just happen to be somewhere else.
Every woman has times where the schedule and demands feel like too much. Sometimes our schedule and demands are too much due to coaching. But, sometimes it is just because we have said yes to too many things.
Every house and car has things that go wrong and are a pain to deal with. And every family has to rearrange their schedules and make the phone calls to get those things taken care of. We just have to work ours around coaching.
Everyone has hard stuff. And not all our hard stuff is due to coaching.
I’m not minimizing the stressors of the coaching life. They are real and they can be unique and overwhelming. What I am saying is that pointing at coaching as the blanket scapegoat for everything challenging that happens during the season can put our hearts in a dangerous spot. It’s a dangerous spot that can add bitterness toward the job, unfair pressure on ourselves, and unhelpful expectations and anger toward our coach. It’s a spot that works against our effectiveness for our family, our marriage, and our team.
So, let’s give credit where credit is due. Coaching is hard. It has unique and challenging expectations that can create a great deal of stress for our families. However, life is also hard. When the season hits and the going gets tough, let’s pause and breathe in the middle of it and consider whether coaching is the culprit or if it is just life happening.
No matter what, as the summer winds down and those fall schedules kick in, I just want you to know you are not alone. You are not alone as a coach’s wife and you are not alone as a woman. We are in this thing together.
Anne is an author, speaker, professional counselor, marriage and family therapist and veteran coaches wife. She and her husband Tim have two children and they have been a coaching family through a state championship run and very difficult losing seasons. They are passionate about encouraging coaching families both in and out of season.