Resist the urge to fill every moment of dead week with picture perfect memories. Yes, these are the days that we cherish with Coach, but over planning can make dead week a chore.
I can promise you I will go wherever you go, stay wherever you stay, and your people will be my people. I will put in the extra work to get our family settled and make the new place feel like home. I will be open and flexible to wherever this journey takes us.
I can’t promise you I won’t doubt it, complain about it and/or be about upset it. I can’t promise that the thought of having to start over again won’t frustrate me. I also won’t be able to stay off of Zillow, searching for houses, even with only a mention of a potential job opening.
I can hear my voice calling out to my son playing in the summer heat in the backyard way past his bedtime.
I can feel the rush of excitement when my stepson and stepdaughter run up the brick steps, fling open the front door at Thanksgiving Break, and call out to us, “we’re home!”
And I know because my family will feel at home here, that I will be just fine starting over too.
After two moves and two kids under two, I finally decided that something needed to change. And if it wasn’t going to be his job, and if it wasn’t going to be our marriage, then that left only one thing—me.
These are the things that helped provide that change.
I, Mr. Coach, promise to:
Recognize that this woman is an actual superhero and treat her as such
When she is sad just hold her, don’t coach her
Make a valiant effort to not wait until the last minute to ask for something
Brag about her to my friends
Get her swag asap, especially at a new school
In a spare moment, keep the kids and send her out on her own
Remember that she is the one who is still there when the lights go out and the career is done
Love on my kids after wins AND losses
Consider that your career moves are her moves too
Find her before talking to the media
Recognize that I am a better coach because she is by my side
Great is thy faithfulness...even when I feel alone and unknown.
Great is thy faithfulness...even when the unwanted diagnosis appears.
Great is thy faithfulness...even when Coach’s contract is not renewed.
Great is thy faithfulness...even when there is no heartbeat.
Great is thy faithfulness...even when your closest friend is unfaithful.
Great is thy faithfulness...even when they curse your name from the sidelines.
But as I begin to break down and cry out to my God, I’m reminded of this truth: I am not alone.
And then the games started, and everything intensified. Hours got even longer, game film, practice film, coaches meetings, etc.
It was all so much. I realized my naivety. I really had no idea what went into the sport.
The field house is home. I don’t know why we pay utility bills during the fall, because we are hardly home to use water and electricity. My husband puts more hours in at the field house than I see him in our own home.
Every late-night practice, every phone call and text, every moment he had was going to someone or something else. He was willingly giving everything he had. He was devoted and dedicated to helping others achieve.
The sight that met me inside those doors was one I will never forget—and one I have not stopped loving since. There they were, a sea of men. Old and young, many with excellent beards, all of them wearing football apparel.
I’ve come to the conclusion that coaches' wives who develop 4 characteristics—patience, perspective, perseverance, and peace—end up being able to walk through this life with a little more determination and ease.
My whole family had been sick with a stomach bug. With four kids, this is the only thing they have shared with each other—and finally they shared it with me.
I went to work feeling exceptionally queasy and left my daughter home with Coach. I felt awful until I came to the cafeteria and they were serving chili dogs.
Maybe eating will help it pass.
And it did. This stomach bug is not so bad after all.
When I came home, I found my daughter had not been able to eat all day. And then I began to realize that I didn’t have the same kind of sickness as she did.
I was off to the drug store. Within minutes, I saw two pink lines (and shed a few tears). I broke the news to Coach.
I was pregnant.
Our lives were already full and happy with three rambunctious boys and one sweet and sassy girl. We thought our family was complete. To complicate things, Coach just accepted a new position one week before. We were making the move to a new state.
I was overwhelmed and although I knew that a baby should be a celebration—the timing was very bad. Then Coach asked the all-important question—“When’s the baby due?”
“October,” I replied.
His response was predictable. “DURING FOOTBALL SEASON?!?” I shrugged my shoulders. What could I do about it? This was not part of the plan.
So if you are facing something as beautifully unexpected as I did, here are some thoughts to help along the way.
Expect to go alone at times.
In my first pregnancy, Coach went with me to all the appointments. He was very involved with the process—appointments, ultrasounds and registries. But in spring, it was easy to work around his schedule. Things are different in season. I was 20 weeks along when we came to our new school. I found a new doctor and made every appointment alone. Every. Single. One. I drove Coach by the hospital a week before my due date. He met my doctor just before I delivered. He was largely disconnected to that part of my pregnancy. And I understood. I decided to make the most of it. I used the long drive to listen to my favorite playlists. I enjoyed the changing of the leaves. I treasured that time alone.
Expect to experience your community in a new way.
In the first weeks at our new school, it was difficult to connect with parents and players. A couple of sweet parents decided to welcome our baby in a special way—they threw a “tailgating” baby shower! It broke the ice in such a unique way as they willingly showered us with diapers and gift cards. Babies tend to bring people together.
Expect to make some plans around Coach’s schedule.
Wouldn’t it be nice if we could anticipate exactly when baby will come? I imagined myself going into labor in the middle of a football game. I could visualize the scene: the cart would pick me up and drive me off the field. As they put me into the ambulance, I would give the thumbs up; and Coach would just keep on calling the plays. But that’s not how it went. I had a planned C-Section. Doc gave me a date and it was a Wednesday. It only took a minute to realize that it was the week of our cross-town rival. “No good,” I told her. “My husband’s a football coach. He says I should pick a Monday, and that week will not work.” She gave me a blank stare and put me down for the following Monday. She didn’t understand (most people don’t) and that’s ok. Coach was able to enjoy his newborn so much more when that game was out of the way.
Expect to take your newborn to a few games (if you want to).
Of all the “Baby’s Firsts” this one is my favorite. Most of my babies made their debut at the spring game. But a baby born in season would be more like a new team mascot. She was two weeks old at her first game. I was still dealing with a handful of postpartum issues, but I bundled her up on that chilly night and truly enjoyed the game. She was no trouble—everyone wanted to hold her and she slept through everything. Weeks later, I was holding her as I ran 40 yards down the sideline to see the game winning touchdown of the championship game. So add a onesie in team colors to your registry or find something perfect for baby here, and go to the game! But if you decide it’s too much, don’t feel guilty! You’re the mom.
Expect your life to be imperfect and messy and beautiful.
There will be late nights, early mornings, cluster feedings, tears, hormones, and laundry. So. Much. Laundry. Some days you will be so happy and others you will be so overwhelmed. Ask for help. Reach out to your tribe. Or head on over to Friday Night Wives for advice. Please hear me—we know and we understand. You will adjust to your new normal.
Remember this—God has already had this in his perfect plan for you. Psalm 18:30 and 32 say, “As for God, his way is perfect…and (he) maketh my way perfect.” Whether or not you expected this—God did. So lean on your community, love your Coach, and trust God.
Editor’s Note: This article was originally published on February 3, 2020, and has been updated in February 2021 for freshness, accuracy, and completeness.
Just like our brother Jonah, we go places we're not supposed to go because we're human and want to do our own thing. Discernment and wisdom are of God, and when we feel anxious about a move, it can be fear of the unknown OR it can be divine insight.
My first year as a head coach’s wife was filled with more learning than all the other fifteen years combined. I wasted a lot of time and energy waiting and wishing. I didn’t use the time I was given to make as big a mark as I could and should have because my focus was elsewhere.
“In track, there are all types of runners. There are sprinters. There are middle-distance runners. And, there are long-distance runners. Brother Roger was a middle-distance runner. His job was to do well in the time that he was given. And he did.”
He wants to be able to eat his popcorn and cheer for the team like every other parents gets to do. He wants to be able to silently (obviously in his mind, not loudly of course—after all we are still a coaching family and know how to act in the stands) question the coach’s play call. He wants our kid to learn from other coaches and not just from him.
When your unranked team faces a top ten team—hope sees the underdog come out on top.
When your team has never beaten a certain opponent—hope brings the game to end that losing streak.
When you are facing your cross-town rival in your State Championship—hope makes that unexpected victory so much sweeter.
The behind the scenes is where the nitty-gritty happens. The stuff no one sees is what really matters and the reason these men and women who are coaches do what they do.
What does this kinda-famous-by-proxy leadership mean during a pandemic…in an election year…in a time when civil rights and racial injustices are major societal players as well? Oh, and the hardships and heartaches unique to each community in typical circumstances—those haven’t gone away either.