In the college coaching world, Christmas break is a relative term. Most coaches are coming off of a few weeks of travel recruiting and so there is plenty of office work that has been ignored for the month. I’ve compared notes with several coach’s wives on what breaks look like and it seems we all have the same story. Our husbands spend the time checking emails, returning phone calls, catching up on “dropped balls” from the last month. For some, this means calling current players to talk about eligibility issues that have arisen due to not finishing well, for some it means squeezing in a few recruit visits on the road. For many, it means sending out hundreds of resumes hoping Athletic Directors across the country are checking email and trying to schedule interviews.
This is one of those times when if you grew up with Christmas traditions you may need to adjust some expectations. Here are a few things we have discovered works for our family.
Coaching Families Don’t Get a Christmas Break
1) Because we travel to see family at Christmas (we do not go for other holidays) we choose a particular morning for our kiddos to open gifts at home. We learned the hard way waiting until right before we left doesn’t work as kids are excited to play with their new toys and don’t want to leave them.
We take some time to have a special meal, open gifts, and read through What God Wants for Christmas.
2) When we travel, I try to make sure that I have specific days and times of events we are expected or would like to attend. For example, what time is the Christmas Eve service? Coach and I talk through all the different events of the week, and then he figures out from there the times he will need to work. Sometimes this means heading to Panera at 5 am or working for a few hours after we have all headed to bed. Our families are aware he’s not able to let up for the whole week, and we appreciate their understanding.
3) QUALITY of QUANTITY. When we are at a family event, I expect Coach to be fully engaged. This doesn’t always happen, but we are working on it.
4) Cutting break short. Our kids are in public school and get a nice 2-week break. We have learned that although we could be on the road the full 2 weeks, heading to our house and making sure we have a little downtime before the kiddos head back to school is really helpful. For one of their Christmas gifts, we have gifted them an activity that will create a local “family day” and will be something to look forward to upon returning to our town.
5) Take advantage of the free babysitting! This is the time to squeeze in a late night movie, extra shopping (if your trunk space will allow), and grab a date with your coach. Sure, the family wants to see you all, but they will be happy to have the kiddos to themselves for a few hours and remember, signing date is just around the corner, so come January he’s likely on the road again or at least will have some late nights ahead!!!