To the Wife Taking Care of Every One Else: Stop Dimming Your Light
Now, I know that this is not universal to all coaches’ wives.
I know plenty of wives who never even once thought to turn down a part of themselves in order to make this life easier.
But for me, I was all about doing what I could to make it a little less stressful on the family (but mostly on me). I would like to think it is because I met coach when he was a player and then he went right into coaching, so I didn’t know any other way. If I am being honest, it is because I don’t handle stress well.
So, instead of figuring out healthy ways of coping and navigating stress, I avoid things that would add stress to my life.
Don’t get me wrong, coach never once asked me to dim my light or deny myself something that was important. It is just that time after time of hearing, “I can’t help with that, we’ve got a game” or “you’ll have to get a babysitter; I’ll be out of town” or “sorry, it’s during our practice time and I can’t make it home.” It just became easier to not want for much.
Slowly, one by one, I started to weigh things that were important to me against how much of a disruption it would cause the schedule. More often than not, and mostly because it was something important to me and not the kids or coach, I decided “it wasn’t worth it.”
Well, you can imagine how little I had left for myself after systematically doing this for almost 15 years. It’s almost comical that if it was something for the kids, I figured out how to make it work, but if it was for me, there was no wiggle room.
Of course the kids need to go to the 157th birthday party this week! It helps them forget they haven’t seen their dad for more than an hour total all week.
Of course they need to take a dance class, gymnastics class, join the Lego club and play on the soccer team. If they stay busy, it will get them used to going non-stop the way we do once the season starts.
But, do I really need to go out to dinner and catch up with my closest girlfriends I have not seen in months? No, that would be too much.
Can I really take an hour every other Sunday to volunteer at our church? No way, the wheels would fall off.
You get the picture.
So whether you do it with only the little things or you’re like me and you do it with all the things … stop. I’m not saying it’s going to be easy to start doing things for yourself again. It’s not. I’m just saying you might need to re-evaluate what you think are priorities. There is a reason they tell you to put your oxygen mask on first before helping others in case of an emergency on an airplane. You cannot take care of others if you are not taking care of yourself.
So, go grab dinner with your girls, even if that means that you are gone the only time coach is home that day. It is more than just dinner. It is refilling the little piece in your soul that makes your light shine. And just like if you are stressed, the whole family feels it – if you are dim, they feel that too.
Jess Gilardi is a lacrosse coach’s wife in the Baltimore area and has three kids, ages 6, 4, and 1. She was a mental health therapist in the school system before becoming the full time chaos coordinator for the family (a.k.a. stay at home mom). She does manage to fit in a little work here and there. Outside of lacrosse and family, she loves Jesus, the Tracy Anderson Method, and empowering others. You can follow her crazy adventures on social media: Instagram @jessgilardi and Facebook as Jessica Gilardi.