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Dear Friday Night Wives, You Threw Out a Lifeline and It Changed Me

I didn’t know Coach’s role would change unexpectedly and shake up our lives drastically.   But some of you had experienced that before. 

I didn’t know that we would watch each sport shut down, one-by-one.   But even when the stadiums emptied, there you were.   

Some lost seasons.  Some lost jobs.  Many wrestled with their mental health and moves and the new normal.  But we didn’t face these things alone.  But we figured it out together. 

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To the Young Mama in the Middle of the Season

It’s the middle of the season.

The excitement and novelty of a new season and new team has died down. We’re not yet to the playoffs when the whole town is vibrating with pride and bleeding school colors. District games are underway and tensions are high with so many must-win games up ahead. Your husband’s hours are getting longer, if that’s even possible, and your schedule is filling up now that school is in full swing.

Your evenings consist of taking the biggest to soccer practice and the middle to piano just in time to turn around and head back to soccer practice to pick her up. Then, the baby is crying because apparently she can’t feed herself.

Some days, you manage to make it up to practice so the kids can see their dad, even if it’s only from a distance.

It’s the middle of the season.

Game nights are … difficult. The kids are exhausted from a full week of school. Whether they make it through the whole game is a crap shoot and even if they do, their little sleep deprived souls will be in shambles for the rest of the weekend. You’ll be the only one around to pick up the pieces.

It’s the middle of the season.

The weekend comes. You get the kids ready for all the things: Big Kid’s soccer game (which never fails to be the 8 o’clock game… who schedules this crap?), middle kid’s friend’s birthday party at 10. You know you said you’d help out at that church event, but you realize by noon everyone is DONE. With fingertips full of guilt, you text to let them know you won’t be able to make it. Stop with the guilt. You’re doing the best you can.

Your friend calls you about joining some girls for dinner tomorrow night, but you don’t have money for a babysitter (“Yes, he works Sundays, too”). And even if you did, you’re not sure you’d have the energy to put a bra on, much less makeup.

It’s the middle of the season.

Your husband comes home after all the kids are asleep and tells you about how the staff ate lunch at Pizza Hut and how the team had a ping pong tournament and he and his partner won. He tells you about kicking that one kid out of practice today and letting another cry on his shoulder about stuff that makes your stomach hurt.

Meanwhile, you tell him about how your middle child followed you around the house all the ding dang day and how the baby smeared poop EVERYWHERE and you didn’t throw up cleaning it. #winningatmotherhood. You feel a little silly telling him about your day and wonder silently if he really cares.

Y’all give each other a tight, lingering hug. Then sit down on the couch together, turn on ESPN, and see who falls asleep first.

It’s the middle of the season.

And you’re lonely.

You love this season. But you also feel like your life is put on hold until it’s over because you’re too busy being everything for everyone.

You need help. You need reinforcements. You need friendship and companionship and just to feel less alone.

Oh, mama. You’re not alone.

You. Are. Not. A. Lone.

Coaches wives everywhere are with you. They are cheering you on and standing with you in your loneliness. They feel it too.

It’s the middle of the season.

And you might feel forgotten. You might feel unseen or unimportant.

You aren’t.

That coach, the one who is working so hard and so long, he knows what you’re doing behind the scenes. He might not say it loud enough but he sees you and he’s thankful for you.

And those other coaches’ wives, the ones whose kids are a little bit older, the ones who sit by you on game nights and help you pack up all your stuff afterward, they know how hard and draining it is. They’ll be there for you if you’ll just ask.

And those players, the ones you cook for and clean for, the ones you loan your children’s father to for a few months to love on, they may not have the words to say it but they are so grateful for the way you’re sacrificing for them.

You, sweet mama in the middle of the season, are not forgotten.

By me, by your husband, or by your God.

It’s the middle of the season.

Hang on. We’re halfway there.

You love this season. But you also feel like your life is put on hold until it's over because you're too busy being everything for everyone. You need help. You need reinforcements. You need friendship and companionship and just to feel less alone. Oh, mama. You're not alone. You. Are. Not. A. Lone.

5 Simple and Fast Recipes for When You Want Homemade but Don’t Have Time to Cook

The less planning we need to do during the season, the easier life is for everyone. It doesn’t matter how busy our week is, my kids insist they need dinner every night! I’ve yet to convince them a bowl of popcorn and some apple slices is a well-balanced meal, so instead I’ve learned to keep a few things stashed in the freezer to avoid the drive-thru as often as possible.

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Fall Start: October Violations

It's October. It's football season. It's week 8. It's 90 degrees. I'm pretty sure some penalty flags are in order...

Oh, how I'd love to throw them!

Fragrant foul: Laundry. Unnecessary roughness, nose guard. Offensive violation, tail back. Off putting penalties.

Illegal motion: Away Games. 60-mile penalty. 

Horse collar: twin toddlers. Fifteen-minute time out.  

Personal foul: Halloween. Unsportsmanlike conduct. Fifteen Reese's cups from the time of pillage.

Holding penalty: October. Illegal grasp on summer. 25 degree penalty. Automatic cool down.

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It’s Bandtober: Hug a Band Director’s Spouse

Let me be clear – we are not better off or more saddled than any other organization out there – football, dance, everything in this realm has its own ups and downs. We all deserve the spotlight, and I’m hoping this brings some support to the band family I have come to love very much. Have your team sit through a performance, I challenge them to go to a competition even. Learning how to respect your comrades is just as important as respecting your competition – it’s sportsmanship at its finest.

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To the Coach’s Wife Wondering if It Will Ever Get Easier

I had parked myself right in front of a broken cistern. I'd fill it up, but all my joy and peace and compassion still seeped through the crevices and cracks, until it was once again empty. I would fill my tank up and only get a mile down the road before I was out of gas again. I wasn't filling it with living water; I was filling it with muck, sludge, and junk. It was broken. I was broken.

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4 Practical Ways to Avoid the Midseason Meltdown

I coined a term several years back; I’m not proud to say that the phrase “mid-season meltdown” came about because I noticed for myself that every October I hit a wall. A point of no return would reveal itself again where I just couldn’t tolerate one more team dinner, or one more date night that ended with watching film, or one more night feeling that all my hard work keeping the house organized was about the blow up by 10 am the next morning.

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Happy New Year, From a Band Director’s Wife

There is no greater pride I feel when I see our band family take the field. For seven minutes, after hundreds of hours of work and sweat, I realize what all of the chaos in our household was meant for. Sure, there’s still a stain on my favorite sweater, I cannot seem to locate my son’s purple race car and cereal has replaced my real dinner. Watching my soulmate use his God-given talent along with hundreds of others beside him, makes my job worth it.

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