As coaches’ wives, we joke a lot about the common things about our husband’s jobs. We take bets during the season as to how long after we receive the “on my way home” text it will be before they actually walk in the door. We joke about buying stock in hangers and Tupperware each year as ours seem to disappear into the abyss of the office. One thing we all have in common regardless of where we live is that we live in a fishbowl.
Life in the Public Eye
Military wives, ministry wives, and coaches’ wives all have their inside jokes, However, there are more similarities than you may realize. For one thing, we all have public moments we prefer were private. Military families welcome home loved ones in the middle of a ceremony. They also grieve publically whether their soldier is wounded or worse.
Pastors wives and coaches’ wives deal with public scrutiny within the bubble of the communities they serve. They face criticism for everything from their children’s behavior, whether they work or stay home, to how much they support their spouse.
Life in the public eye creates tight-knit communities in many cases. I’m grateful for my coaches’ wives’ communities. However, I’ve learned a lot from the military wives and ministry wives in my life as well. There are enough similarities in our life experiences that our communities can learn from each other and support each other well.
You May be a Coach’s Wife, Military Wife, or Ministry Wife if…
Your kids aren’t always able to answer the question “Where were you born?”
I asked our boys how they answer this question and one said: “I just say the answer that will get me out of the conversation the quickest.” The other son said, “Well it depends on who I’m talking to, I try to figure out what they are really asking and answer the deeper question.” You can guess who is who on that one.
This article from Military Spouse offers some wise insights into moving a lot. You have to shift your perspective on home. It’s possible with any of these professions your kids weren’t born in the same state, so keep track of those birth certificates!
Our Lives are Slightly Abnormal
We eat dinner on the game field, we move in the middle of the school year, we have whole sections of the calendar year where we will not plan things on the weekends, and we plan vacations around playoffs, deployments, or VBS season.
We don’t have the flexibility that other people seem to have in their days. Yes, everyone is busy, but many people choose their busyness while our’s is assigned to us.
After we live in this rhythm for awhile it’s our normal and it becomes harder to connect with people who have a different life rhythm. There are plenty of suggestions, however I find myself gravitating to those that I don’t have to constantly explain myself to because it’s simply easier.
We Have a Larger World View
This isn’t always the same across the board. However, if you have moved a lot or find yourself in situations where you interact with people from different states and countries you will have personal connections to different parts of the world and you will understand things more intricately. This will often shape your convictions, and if it doesn’t shape yours it will shape your kid’s, so be prepared for them to be upset when their new “friends” speak cruely about the friends they left behind in their last move.
Other Similarities Between Our Lifestyles:
- We know how to live on a shoestring budget
- We’ve lived in some terrible housing at some point
- As our husbands receive promotions we often feel lonelier until we establish new friend groups
- Our community will expect things from us (sometimes that community is our husband’s job, other times it’s the town we live in or both)
- We aren’t always free to share openly, even in private group settings
- We have to learn to do things independently whether it’s our preference or not
I’ve brushed the surface on similarities to help you build bridges in your community. If there is one thing I’ve learned from all our moves it’s that I’m better with a strong support system around me in every community we live in, and I bet the same is true for you.
Have you read Lessons from the Sidelines Yet?
As the wife of a football coach, Beth Walker encourages women whose families are in the public eye to pursue their own callings even as they support their husbands’ careers and ministries. Through her own personal stories as well as interviews with other women who are also living just outside their husbands’ limelight, Beth shows it’s possible to do both.