This season, I have been a terrible coach’s wife.
My husband and I got married eight years ago and this is my ninth football season with him.
When we were dating and first married I went to all the games. I sat in my “special coaches’ wives section” wearing my emblazoned shirt and cheering my heart out. I went to all the road games even though they were two hours away and usually in the middle of nowhere. I was all in; I rode the emotions of winning, losing, and making the playoffs. I was a coach’s wife.
After a few years we had our daughter. By this time we were at a new school and a new town and I didn’t have my family as close by to go with me. But I still went. I lugged her car seat up the bleachers to sit at the very top and rock her while I tried to watch the game. As she got a little older we got a new coach and he designated an area on the track for coach’s families. It was great; we brought our camping chairs and our backpacks full of provisions (candy, toys, snacks, etc) and we settled in for a night of football while the kids ran around and had the time of their lives.
Then the 2018 football season started and I just couldn’t muster up the energy or the spirit. You see, the season before my husband and I had started the adoption process and I was interviewing for a new job at my church. Attending the games was still exciting as I socialized and talked about all the new things hopefully coming our way.
Fast forward to this season and, though I got the job, we are still in the adoption process with no baby in our home. After a year of heartbreak, I went into this season emotionally and physically drained. I was working full time and trying to expand our family and I had reached my limit. I had nothing to give to football season. I did not want to socialize or cheer; I didn’t want to answer questions about how we were doing because, honestly, it wasn’t good.
Our first home game was looming and I was dreading it, for the first time in years. And “mom guilt” kept telling me that it wasn’t fair to make my daughter sit at home and suffer just because I was going through something and couldn’t find the energy to get us to the game. The morning of the game, as I sat on the couch drinking my coffee, my daughter said to me, “Mommy, I really just want to stay home and watch a movie tonight.” I felt like a weight had been lifted. I asked her repeatedly if she was sure that’s what she wanted to do because that meant she would miss the game. She stood firm. And a tradition began.
So the 2018 Football Season has been Movie Night Season for us. I wouldn’t trade this time with my daughter for anything. The one on one time we’ve been able to have is worth to me than any amount of wins on the football field. In a time when I’ve felt like I’ve neglected her because I’ve been so consumed with the adoption, I’ve been able to sit with her and play and have bonding time that we have treasured.
It was as if God was using her to let me know, “It’s ok. I know what you need right now. You don’t have to do it all.” Sometimes life gets in the way of football but we still feel like we have to be there, we have to be seen and heard but sometimes we need to take care of our own team: ourselves and our families because they have to come first. We can’t pour into others if we are empty and nothing has filled us up.
The best part is that my husband has supported me throughout all this. In a time when I should be supporting him he has flipped the script and carried more than he should on his shoulders. He knows I can’t be a football wife right now, at least not in the way I have been before, and he understands. There has been no guilt or shame and he has not once gotten mad or upset that I haven’t been there.
As coaches’ wives, we give up a lot. Time with our husbands, the ability to take vacations, help with kids in the evenings. But we can’t give up ourselves or our sanity trying to be the “model coach’s wife” we think we should be. Because then no one wins.