We are currently eleven months past our latest move and this month is the most consistently I’ve seen the boys smile in over a year. This month also marks a subtle but important change in language. When telling us about their days “, this guy” has been replaced with “my friend.”
I’ve written a good amount about moving. You can read more here, here and here. Every move has brought challenges and celebrations for our family. I’ve learned we all process change and transition differently and in our own time. This can make for a tense household and requires a lot of communication.
As common as moving is for a coaching family, no two moves will look the same. We can gather lists of resources and become the queen of minimalism and organization and still have the move filled with utter chaos. Other times the physical part of moving works perfectly while the emotional destruction of a heart shattered from disappointment is never fully repaired.
Moving is especially trying for us coaches’ wives. Our husbands will have work stress, but they are only trading one stress for another. Their routines and roles are often familiar. For the kids moves are hard. Even though our sons knew this most recent move was for their benefit, they craved familiarity over the loneliness that comes with being the new kid once again. These challenges are important, but a wife carries a much more extensive burden on her shoulders with each move.
Coaches Wives Carry a Heavy Burden with Each Move:
- Often a wife finds housing, organizes the move, and sets up the home with minimal help.
- While Coach heads off to begin his new job, a wife is left to wrap up loose ends and say goodbyes.
- Often wives must also find new employment. While it’s common for coaches to list multiple jobs, many employers see hiring a coach’s wife as risky. She may leave a few months into the job.
- When kids are involved, it is the wife who finds new doctors, new activities, and tracks down all the paperwork and documentation each new school requires.
- The wife is the one who is interacting with the new community the most. The coach is busy on the recruiting trail or practice field, so the wife is the one who will make introductions for the family.
- Finding new stores, new routines, new roles while still working to keep some familiarity present for kids who don’t know how to leave the past behind is most often a balancing act shouldered by a coach’s wife.
This list left alone may make it seem as if moving is always a negative experience. I assure you this is not the case. Many moves are made as coaches receive promotions. Other times staffs move together, so there are wives to figure things out alongside.
Every community is different so when you enter one what welcomes your presence embrace it! You are likely in a place that has many transplants to the area, those who understand the challenges of moving. Listen to their experiences, what they learned from their moves to town, and take note. This doesn’t mean you need to do what others before you have done. It simply means you have an opportunity to learn about your new community from one who was once in your shoes.
Ways to Lighten the Burden:
- Each move includes clearing the calendar. Even when you work remotely, everything else will take time to add back in. This is a great time to evaluate previous commitments and restructure the calendar.
- Take time to get to know the new staff. Go in with an open mind and be yourself.
- Consider speaking with a counselor. This is something that can be accomplished online.
- As you pack you likely purged, don’t be afraid to do this while unpacking too! Less clutter will help you feel calmer.
- Lean into your support network, even if they aren’t physically present. This may mean asking your in-laws to come help you unpack, or reaching out to a trusted coach’s wife who understands your season of life.
- Spend time focusing on yourself. Additional calendar space means you have more time to workout. Find a yoga class or pull up a YouTube video. Take a walk through your new neighborhood, or relax at a local coffee shop.
- Reach out to your network and see if anyone has an acquaintance they can introduce you to early in your transition. This person doesn’t need to become your best friend, but a local community member will have great recommendations on everything from dry cleaners to doctors.
- As your calendar fills up, strive to make every yes an intentional one. This will help you from having to back away from things later.
Moving is a common part of the coaching life, but it doesn’t have to be the thing that defines your experiences. Give yourself the grace to process your emotions. Understand it will take time to feel settled again. Don’t force things; they happen for everyone, it just takes longer with some moves than others.