Seasons of the Coaching Life

We all know about the different types of seasons for coaches. They go through their regular season, then (hopefully) playoffs, followed by recruiting season (for college coaches) and off-season…just kidding. We all know “off-season” is just that mythical time when our husbands work from home rather than the office. But that’s a post for another day. Today I want to explore a different topic.

But What About the Seasons of a Coach’s Wife?

There isn’t a single season a coach’s wife experiences when she’s all in and coach’s number one fan. That isn’t physically, emotionally, or mentally possible for even the best of us. Though I haven’t been through them all, I have walked through many of our seasons. And I’ve realized the only thing that matters is that you’re true to the season that you’re in.

The Newbie Coach’s Wife Season:

You have no idea what you’re doing. You’re worried about what everyone thinks about you, like the other coaches’ wives, the parents, the fans, and the athletic director. You worry about saying and doing the wrong thing. You need (and feel obligated) to be at all the games and like you could always be doing more for the team. Team meals, goodie bags, words of encouragement, cleaning the uniforms, and even facilities maintenance, you help with it all. With a fresh heart and pure intentions, you want to help coach make this the best possible experience for the players.

The Building a Family Season:

You’re exhausted. You’re either growing another human, chasing around other tiny humans that have more energy than you, and/or balancing your work and family life. It seems like all you do is nap time, diaper changes, tantrum management, cool, clean, entertain, sleep and repeat. There really isn’t extra time, money or energy to be at all the games or care how you look to other people. You’re surviving but probably not thriving. With a depleted heart and well-meaning intentions, you want to keep up with it all but feel like it’s all one small incident away from falling apart. 

The Kids Have Their Own Stuff Going On Season

You’re a chauffeur. You’ve precisely calculated drop-offs and pick-ups because if you’re even a minute late to one, you’ve messed up everyone’s day. You barely ever sit down, and you’re wondering what you can quickly feed your kids in the car that’s not so messy that you have to clean up after them but can count as a (semi) reasonable dinner. You might be physically at some of the games, but mentally, you’re figuring out a way to make next week’s schedule feasible. It’s hard to focus on the present when you’re the only one responsible for a functional future. With an overwhelmed heart and scattered intentions, you want to have a moment of peace and quiet, maybe an hour of stillness, and then maybe you could recharge enough to finish out this season. 

The “Empty Nest” or Adult Kids Season

I haven’t gotten here yet, but I can imagine you’re a little lost. You now have more time than you’ve ever had before and don’t know how to handle it. That, plus the letting go of the Mom role, might seem too much. You might throw yourself back into the team and do anything and everything you can to be all in. The peace, quiet, and stillness don’t hold the same allure as they used to. Team meals, goodie bags, words of encouragement, cleaning the uniforms, and even facilities maintenance, you are again trying to do it all. With a somber heart and sincere intentions, you want to distract yourself, hoping that the coach’s wife role will fill the void. 

I’ve learned that this life is about constantly readjusting to our own seasons. It’s like a sliding scale. Depending on what season of life, we need to adjust our expectations of ourselves accordingly. There will be days, seasons, and years where you can attend all the games, make all the players treats (and know their names), and be present when coach is trying to talk it over after the game. But there will also be those times where it’s just too stressful to manage little kids in the bleachers, too long of a week to travel an hour and a half on a Friday afternoon to make an away game, or you’re stretched too thin in too many directions to be able to lend a supportive ear. Sprinkled throughout all these seasons, you’ll find some space here and there to be all in. But don’t worry when you can’t. That just means you’re in the not-so-mythical coach’s wife’s “off” season.

Through it all, just remember that you’re doing an awesome job every day you choose to partner with your husband in this crazy coaching life. We’re cheering you on, and we always encourage you to remember to take time to take care of yourself too.

Jess Gilardi

Jess Gilardi is a head lacrosse coach’s wife living on the East Coast. They have three young kids and have been living this life since 2004. 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). Jess started writing, hoping that by sharing her stories and lessons learned, she can help others learn “the easy way.” Connect with Jess on Facebook and Instagram

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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 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.

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