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Dear Veteran's Coach's Wive Series

Dear Veteran Coach’s Wife: I feel like I don’t have control over my life

 It’s Monday, and we’re answering another question in our Veteran Coach’s Wife series.

QUESTION FROM NEWBIE WIFE

How do you deal with feeling like your life isn’t your own? I feel like my life is dictated by my husband’s and I have no control. I know I’m supposed to say God is in control no matter what, but I’ve lost my sense of self & identity because even the decisions I make to invest in myself have to be worked around my husband’s schedule.

ANSWERS FROM VETERAN COACHES WIVES

Dear Katie,

The first step is to stop fighting it. Accepting the fact that your life isn’t your own makes it so much easier to move forward, because then you can start to work with it instead of against it. I’ve been there. I wasted so much of my time and energy obsessing over the fact that what I needed or what was important to me was last place for every aspect of my life. It turned into resentment and that was exhausting. I had realized that I slowly chipped away at my things (and therefore my identity), because it was frustrating to hear that either I would have to do it alone or I would have to get a babysitter. I started always planning on having to take care of the house and kid stuff on my own. If coach could help, it felt like a bonus (and a quick vacation.) Then, I found things that were non-threatening to the schedule and I could do whenever I could fit in, like an at-home workout or church group where there was childcare. When I started doing things that might compete with his schedule, coach got involved. There were so many times when I committed to something and okayed with coach in terms of his schedule, only for a last-minute change to occur. Most of the time, before he even clued me in to the issues, he has found a babysitter, a friend, or a family member to watch the kids so I could still do my thing (and the stress of figuring it out was on him, not me). God is in control, but I can promise you that He doesn’t want you to be miserable. For me, I can now see that God had allowed my identity to be stripped, so I could build it back up better and for Him. It’s never going to be headache-free, but you have to find the things that are worth the headache and do them when you can!

Jess Gilardi

 

Dear Katie, 

Try finding something that is just for you; something that is your own that you can separate from your husband and his career that gives you value. We are called to be partners for our husbands, but not to be a servant or to forget ourselves for him. And remember, it isn’t a one-way street…he is your partner, too. Support for a new endeavor for you may look a little different coming from Coach than you expect, but it needs to happen. When he fell in love with you you weren’t a coach wife; you were YOU. It’s important that you stay in touch with YOU so that your marriage stays healthy and resentment doesn’t build up toward Coach. As with everything, pray! Tell God how you feel and try praying for clear answers and a renewal of spirit. You are fearfully and wonderfully made in HIS image, sis. 

Best of luck! 

 

 

 

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Dear Veteran's Coach's Wive Series

Dear Veteran’s Coach’s Wife: Is this Normal First Year Coaching Stress?

It’s Monday, and we’re answering another question in our Veteran Coach’s Wife series.

QUESTION FROM NEWBIE WIFE

Dear Veteran Coach’s Wife,

This is my husband’s first year coaching. I truly think he is having a hard time balancing time with the team & time at home. I am home 9/10 times by myself each night. The nights he is home, he isn’t fully at home. He comes in and lays on the couch, doesn’t help with the household chores, & just complains about being tired. He has no idea how I feel & every time I try to discuss it with him he makes me feel like the bad guy. I am overwhelmed, exhausted, lonely & just depressed. We are a long way from family & every morning I wake up wanting to live near my parents again so I’m not home alone all the time. How can I get him to understand that he needs to learn there is a time for sports and a time for home? And when he’s at home, he needs to be fully there?

Signed, 

Lonely and Exhausted

 

ANSWERS FROM VETERAN COACHES WIVES

Dear Lonely and Exhausted,

I could have written a similar letter a few times in our marriage. Coaching can certainly be an all-consuming profession. Especially if your husband is working with a head coach who requires a lot of hours or is trying to prove themselves as a first-time head coach. I know it’s an odd year and a lot of life is just starting to open back up. That seems to be complicating things in some states. I want to encourage you to try to use your short-term moments of independence to focus on something you’ve been putting off.

If you’ve wanted to explore a new hobby or take a college course now is the time to fill that calendar with things you’re interested in for you! Have you had a chance to explore the community? Are there evening classes through the local Y or park district that seem interesting? Don’t hesitate. There are so many online options these days between Craftys.com and Masterclass.com that you don’t even need to leave your house to dive into a new interest. 

After the season, take time to talk about what did and DID NOT work the previous months. When you both have the emotional and mental bandwidth to talk about solutions to connect during the season you’ll both feel heard. 

You ARE seen and heard,

Beth Walker

 

Dear Lonely and Exhausted,

We fell into the trap that coach always being gone was just part of the job. We both accepted it as gospel and didn’t even think to question it. Coach felt as the new guy or the young one that he had to prove himself, be in before the head coach and not leave until he was gone, and he said yes to anything and everything that was asked of him. And I knew no different. It wasn’t until we started a family that I began to push back, but by then we were set in that difficult to break pattern. Communication was key. While I wasn’t always kind or eloquent about it, once I started asking if it was necessary for the program or just busywork, did it need to get done ASAP or could it wait, change started to happen.

Coach was very defensive in the beginning, but I realized it was out of guilt and not a lack of caring. While it definitely depends on the head coach and time of year, coach learned to work smarter, not harder. With life changes (new baby or job change), we’ve had to continually communicate and adjust. I’ve had to accept that there were just some things he couldn’t get out of and he’s had to learn that there just some things that weren’t a dire priority. Now that he’s a head coach, he extends the courtesy of reasonable flexibility that we wish we had (or at least felt comfortable asking for) to his assistants. 

I’ve also noticed how big of a role nutrition plays in coach’s energy level. There will be no changing the fact that he gives it his all, but for him to have any left over for home life, better nutrition is key. I’m talking a lot less processed foods and more real, whole foods and not necessarily a type of diet. It will be a lot of work initially, but once it becomes a habit, it’s worth every second.

Jess Gilardi 

 

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Dear Veteran's Coach's Wive Series

Dear Veteran Coach’s Wife: How Do You Handle Young Kids During the Season?

It’s Tuesday, and we’re answering another question in our Veteran Coach’s Wife series.

QUESTION FROM NEWBIE WIFE

How do you manage your first football season as a new mom? I know I’ll basically be a single parent, especially with the school he’s at is over an hour away which means at least an extra two hours he’s away. Just feeling anxious about it all. 

ANSWERS FROM VETERAN COACHES WIVES

Dear New Mama,

First of all, you got this. Pioneer women ran a household of kids by themselves with no electricity, indoor plumbing, and God forbid no formula or disposable diapers while their husbands worked 18 hours a day… so in comparison, we got it good!

By no means are coaches’ wives single mothers; we are married to the hardest working men who work their butts off every day to provide for their families. But I think you’re absolutely right to mentally prepare to handle so much of the day-to-day like you’re a single mom because it will make you strong and help you to realize you can tackle anything by yourself. 

Now some coaching mommas will disagree with what I’m about to say & to each his own, you’ll find out what works for your family but for me, I say “load up the kids and go!” We handle football season by attending everything we can: practice, games, social events you name it. The absolute best part of being a coaching family is watching your kids immerse themselves in the program. Your child will live for seeing Dad on the sidelines and the older they get it’s so fun to see them develop relationships with the other coaches and the players. 

The newborn football season is the best, other wives will volunteer to hold your baby while you get to enjoy the game! You’ll spend the second season chasing the baby all around. I would much rather drive two kids all around the state then sit at home for hours waiting on Dad to come home. Plus, kids tend to sleep in a moving car and you’ll appreciate the silence. 

My last piece of advice would be to stay plugged into the community we find in Friday Night Wives. Every day we see thousands of women across the country who are killing it as coaching wives and mommas. If they can do it, so can we!

 

You can do this!

Jessica

 

Dear New Mama,

First, Congratulations! You’re already doing an amazing job. The thing you may already know about kids is that you can’t think and plan too far in advance. If you do, they tend to catch on and try to outmaneuver your plans. 😉  Just kidding….sort of.

In all seriousness, I understand the tension you’re experiencing as you anticipate all that this season might hold. But you don’t know what will happen. You may find that your child is an amazing sleeper and the drive to and from games is the best thing for him or her. You may discover that a routine that really works for everyone most days and the weeks aren’t as stressful as you have heard from other wives they can be. 

On the other hand, you may need to start looking for a mother’s helper in the form of a young teen who can come watch the baby while you get a few things done around the house. 

Remember that the season is only a portion of your calendar and it’s important to take each week independently with little ones regardless of whether your husband is present or working far from home. Kids rapidly change their preferences when they are young and we must stay adaptable as they are growing. 

Bookmark this post, To the Young Mama in the Middle of the Season, and remember you’ve got a whole tribe of women who are ready to cheer you on when you have a bad day. I say when because you will have them. We all do. No one is perfect. But having a bad day doesn’t require you to have a bad season.

From One Whose Been There,

Beth

 

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Dear Veteran's Coach's Wive Series

Dear Veteran Coach’s Wife: How do I Develop Community on Our Staff?

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?

Signed,

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. 

Cheers, 

Stephanie Windon

 

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!

Keep Going!

Beth Walker

PS- Have you read: Being a Head Coach’s Wife is Harder than I’d Ever Thought

 

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Dear Veteran's Coach's Wive Series

Dear Veteran Coach’s Wife: How Do You Deal with Head Coach’s Wife Conflict?

It’s Monday, which means we’re answering another question in our Veteran Coach’s Wife series.

 

QUESTION FROM NEWBIE WIFE

Dear Veteran Coach’s Wife,

How do you deal with a head coach’s wife that is trying to be a wife “leader” but is severely unfair? She and her children are allowed at practices/events but other wives aren’t informed of these opportunities. Parking passes, reserved seatings, event passes, wives get-togethers are all chosen by her and not provided for everyone. Some opportunities are even offered to her friends and family instead of staff wives. What do you do when the head coach’s wife is nice to your face and then talks poorly about you behind your back? Help!

Signed,

Head Coach’s Wife Conflict

ANSWERS FROM VETERAN COACHES WIVEs

Dear Head Coach’s Wife Conflict,

First, let me offer my sincerest apologies to you. I don’t have to imagine how you feel. I have been there. Here are some suggestions for dealing with this:

First, stay calm; easier said than done.

When things happen, take 30 seconds to collect, process, and think; this will keep you from retaliating or saying something you don’t mean at the moment. You are going to have to make a choice here: do you confront the head coach’s wife or not?

Second, you need to discuss this with your husband. If he is adamant that you don’t confront her; respect his decision. I would make it clear that he is expected to help you with parking passes, reserved seating details, and other things related to going to games. It will be hard to go that road (I have done it before with my mother), but I imagine you’re not the only one left out in the cold. Do your best to be positive; take care of your family, your husband’s players, and find a friend outside the wives group that loves your team. When my mother and I were in this situation, we chose not to confront the other wife. My mother explained to me that things would not change, and probably get worse, especially for my dad.

At the time, I wanted my mom and me to stand up for ourselves, but looking back now with more years under my belt, she was right. Whatever you decide, you need to have full support from your husband. That is the relationship you need to protect. 

 

Sincerely, 

Stephanie Windon

 

Dear Head Coach’s Wife Conflict,

Eek, this is a tough one. There are difficult people in every area of life but, when it’s in the coaching sphere it seems extra hard because we’re all supposed to be on the same team, right?! We’ve been at several different schools, some with super supportive wives and some with less-than-supportive. Sadly, I have not found either to change. They have remained in either the supportive or the unsupportive category throughout our time despite efforts to connect, kindness, etc. All that to say, we are called to our own integrity, regardless of how someone else acts.

I’m so bummed that you aren’t getting those choices that you mentioned. If there are wives who are trustworthy, cling to them, but don’t engage in “common enemy intimacy” (kudos to Brene Brown for the term). Y’all can be friends and support one another without bonding over your dislike of her leadership. Make the best of the situation as is and, if anything holds true in coaching, it will change at some point!

Signed,

Sometimes People Disappoint Us