Before we had the boys and I was working full time, a pre-season camp was no big deal. Since we ate most meals in the dining commons, it was actually a break. The house stayed spotless because no one was home, we saved a lot of money on food, and I soaked up girl time with the other coach’s wives.
Once the babies started coming and I was home all day I found that pre-season camp was actually something I dread. Although we still ate with the team, that now involved timing naps, hunting for something the boys could eat (food allergies) or packing dinner (which kind of defeated the purpose). I also noticed that emotions were always heightened during this month. Our babies couldn’t understand where their faithful summer playmate had gone, and Mama just wasn’t a good enough sub.
As the boys grew up, we began to live for practice. Rides in the golf cart, filling water bottles, seeing Daddy during drill breaks and of course, ice cream and cereal every night at dinner. In the midst of the craziness of these years, I developed a routine that has served our family well and kept this type A Mama sane 😉
Here are my tried and true tips for “Surviving Pre-Season Camp.”
1) Do NOT refer to yourself as a “widow.” First of all, you aren’t. You may only see your guy for an hour a day, but in a month that will increase to 2-3 hours a day and sometimes lunch dates. Attaching the phrase “football widow” to this month automatically adds a negative connotation that will have you feeling sorry for yourself in no time!
2) Learn something new! The last time we had a head coach (before that being my guy) his wife was great at creating intentional time. We learned how to hand embroider, practiced knitting, sewed tie belts, and experimented with new recipes. I’ve taken that routine to heart and have spent part of August learning a new skill each year. This year, I took a canning class and will be making pickles with my pickle loving 10 years old in a few weeks.
3) Purge!! I discovered early in our marriage that if I got rid of something in August, it wouldn’t be a big deal in December. At first, I used this power to get rid of the annoying bedside light and the extra boxes in storage I didn’t like. As the boys grew, I discovered this was a great month for garage sales. Now days I pull out the clothes bin, and the boys and I go through all the clothes we will wear in the fall purging stained, too small and out of date items. I also make a point of going through closets, drawers, and the boys go through their toys. I keep a bin in the basement and anything we are done with goes in the bin. When garage sale season rolls around, I pull it out, and we are ready to rock. Because I don’t have to worry about hosting anyone or cooking meals, it’s a great time to spread out items and really get a look at them.
4) One last fun thing. When we lived near STL, we would squeeze in one last zoo trip. Last year, we picked blueberries as I had a son begging to do it. This year, we will find something local to do one day while dad is away. We may go to a restaurant they love, go bowling, or roller skating. It doesn’t really matter what it is, it’s more about having a fun day out before school starts up.
5) Hang out at practice. My boys think the football field is just a new playground most days. They have secret areas up the mountain that surrounds the stadium where they play games only they know the rules to. They also spend time watching drills and catching up with their favorite players. Being at practice helps the boys to feel a part of all the chaos, and it helps me begin to connect names and faces. PS-they have also been known to have the occasional light saber war with our President 😉
6) Girls Night! Now that the boys are older the other wives (or wife as it has been the last 3 seasons) and I plan a nice night out. I get a sitter (remember there is extra money since we aren’t buying groceries) and we have a night where eat “girl food” like wood fired pizza, shop as long as we want and try our hardest to not talk about the season. 🙂
7) Freezer cook. This is the month I stock up on breakfast muffins, smoothies, crock pot dinners and load up the freezer. The season is always going to get crazy, and having food prepped keeps us calmer. 🙂