Because when you pray to God, you are also praying to the Holy Spirit who is living inside your husband. I promise, it/he/she/that spirit will do a much better job of leading him than your frustration ever will.
If you are a coach's wife and this is your first time heading to this testosterone festival, here's a behind-the-scenes guide of what to expect.
Yes, football and being a football family requires physical demands and emotional commitments from everyone involved. There are so many lonely dinners and difficult bath times. There are so many rushed labor-day cookouts and daddy-less trick-or-treats. There are so many tears from kids who miss their daddies -- and occasionally from mamas missing them too. Because there may not be crying in baseball, but believe me, there is crying in football. A lot of crying.
But most of those tears are the good kind.
You do not have to do this coaches’ wife thing alone. There are many who have walked before you, and there are many who walk alongside your journey. Embrace your title; it’s part of your calling.
This is part of marriage. It’s not as if one of you is choosing to only be 20% or 50% or whatever percent. The percentage may be dictated by what’s going on with your job, with your children, or with your family.
Most of us know what we want to do: use that big love to defend and protect our coach!
But what does that look like? Should we call out those who are actually at fault? Tell the bleacher coaches they have no idea what they are talking about and to zip it? Highlight the inequalities? Underscore the unfairness?
Most of the time we are silent partners in this deal, but we have to ask ourselves: are there times when enough is enough?
My husband began his career as a large high school’s Athletic Trainer and now serves as a middle school Athletic Coordinator. The high school in his cluster has many responsibilities given to their middle school coaches, including scouting trips, sideline responsibilities, game filming and more.
This year has been particularly challenging as the district opted to start a third football team for middle schools in both grade levels, adding another night when coaches stayed later and away from their families.
There were weeks when he had other responsibilities on top of just football, like PTA meetings and Meet the Teacher night. He tried to go cheer on other students at volleyball games and be a representative at Spirit Night fundraisers at local restaurants.
Sunday nights we usually had a calendar run down so I would know which nights we would even see each other before 9:00 pm.
Football season wears down even the strongest families as the weeks go on.
Months of telling your kids, “Daddy will be home after you go to bed, but you can give him hugs in the morning.” Making dinners while trying to help with homework and not just letting your kids zone out in front of the TV. (Trying, not always succeeding!) Happy conversations when his team wins and frustrated rants when something just isn’t clicking and they lose.
Every once in a blue moon, my husband will call me after an event has ended and just ask if I am okay with him grabbing some food and perhaps an adult beverage with another coach.
Here is where I want to share a magical piece of advice that a friend shared with me. She told me that when her husband would ask to go out with a friend, she would say yes unless there was a really big reason to say no.
“Save your no for when it really matters.”
I do appreciate that my husband is considerate enough to ask, and most of the time, it is already so late that all the kids are already in bed. Sure, I miss him and would appreciate some time for the two of us.
But I can also sense that when he asks for this extra time, it is because he needs to relax or build up a relationship with a fellow coach. Maybe they want to celebrate just making it through another week or maybe they want to talk X’s and O’s. I trust that the men that my husband hangs around are good guys and I don’t worry about what they are up to.
Plus, and here is the surprising best part, sometimes it doesn’t work out. There have been times when he texts me to check in, I say “Go for it,” and then he texts back to say that the other guys couldn’t go after all.
No criticism of their wives, because they may have had an exhausting night and really needed their husbands to get their booty back home. But then guess who still gets Wife Points for saying yes – Me!
My husband has learned that when I say no, it is because I genuinely need backup at home.
Maybe I am frantically trying to finish a school project that is due the next day, or I need him to pick up some groceries on the way home. There are plenty of legitimate reasons why it could be an “All Hands On Deck” evening at our casa.
The point is that we have that understanding between us. We respect that there are times when friends can refill your emotional tank, and as football season comes to an end I will try to schedule more of those opportunities for myself too.
It can be really tempting to be greedy of my husband’s time when I feel like it is already in such short supply this time of year.
However, the years have taught me that a coaching staff with great camaraderie is a special thing that can make the seasons better. If an occasional night out is one way to keep it going, I am going to try to say yes.
I am going to save my “Heck no!” for the night when I am up to my elbows in craziness, and then thank my husband for coming to my rescue.
Are you a coach’s wife? Join our online community and connect with other coaches’ wives in the same season as you.
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.
But nothing and I mean nothing, would get my goat like that handsome, brown-eyed man pointing his finger at me, raising his voice to that disappointed, irritated coach tone and speak condescendingly to me like I just ran the wrong route even after we drilled and drilled it in practice.
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
But then the games stopped. Sports and this lifestyle came to a screeching halt. Suddenly, he was home all the time.
I have loved him through the perfect, undefeated, state championship seasons, the heartbreak of great competitive losses, and the fickleness of high school athletics. After years of learning how to accept that he’s perfectly alright with doing NOTHING for literally H O U R S at a time except watching game after game, he began more than one morning of this holiday break with something like, “Babe, which of your projects would you like me to help you with today?”
In case you are eyeball deep in a playoff run, constantly scrolling Football Scoop, about to start coaching yet another sport, or already looking at next year’s prospects, let me remind you that it is already December. This means your amazing, remarkable, beautiful, intelligent, epic wife/fiance/girlfriend is soon to need some gifts that match her amazing-ness.
The coach’s wife life is this wild dichotomy of having your life (from your daily schedule to your entire future) be dependent upon someone else, their dreams and performance. But at the same time, in order to survive and thrive in it, you must learn to be independent from that person and function solo a large majority of the time.
And then there are the days when I want nothing more than to support you but I have nothing to give. I am physically exhausted, mentally spent, and I think if I hear one more spiel about offensive strategy or next week's opponent I will pull my hair out. Those days are hard.
Maybe changes need to be made. Maybe priorities and boundaries need to be set or straightened or reorganized. But also? Maybe your needs aren't being met by your husband because they were never supposed to be.
I looked up from my phone as the car made one last slow turn to find myself at Fredericksburg High School’s football stadium. It’s the third stadium we have seen on this trip having turned off the highway twice to “check out the facilities.” Romance, ladies, with a capital R.
I hate this feeling of distance, like you're holding me at arms length, even if it's just to protect me. Protect me from issues at work. Protect me from hard stories. Protect me from the anxieties racing through your head.
It is easy to become frustrated with you when you haven’t been home for the 400th meltdown and for the 50th fight requiring a referee. It’s easy to not care about what you’ve been doing while I have been handling the home front, but I do truly care.