When The Village Isn’t Blood

Since we’ve had kids, the closest we’ve lived to family is 4 hours. I realize many people live far from family, so this might be something you relate to, but for me, it has been an adjustment.

I didn’t expect to live near family, so this isn’t a “woe is me” post. It’s more of a suggestion for those of you who may find yourself as a part of the village. If you are around a coach’s wife who has children when their husband is in the season, it is likely they are exhausted. Parenting alone all day plus on the weekends while still trying to cheer on the team is a lot to juggle.

Recently, Ordell commented that he doesn’t remember much of our kids when they were babies. Particularly our oldest. My immediate response was that it didn’t surprise me to hear because he wasn’t around. Comparatively, he has always been around more than coaches at different programs (from what we hear), but still, early days and late nights filled with exhaustion blur the memories occasionally.

This gets easier when the kids are old enough to fend for themselves but, weekends are long when your husband travels, regardless of what age your kids are. I think the thing I’m still figuring out is which things are supposed to be handled alone and which things are meant to be handled by a village. Regardless, a village is needed. We were not created to do life alone and, if you are lucky enough to have friends who become family, you will understand the thing I’ve come to learn, that life with a village runs much smoother.

So, if you find yourself as a part of that type of village, here are my top suggestions to best support a coach’s wife.

  1. Be a vault. Life happens and sometimes it’s public. Sometimes it’s private, and your friend needs to process something or ask for perspective. Be the ear she needs without the mouth she cannot trust.
  2. Pitch in. Taking your kids to the park? See if she wants to come along, or better yet, take the kids off her hands for an hour so she can cook dinner! All headed to a birthday party on a Saturday? Offer to bring her kiddo so she can make the game. As much as we want to be there for our kids and let them experience life, we also want to be there for our husbands.
  3. Plan a girl’s night. Know she’s staying home for the big away trip? Invite her and the kids over for dinner or better yet, get a babysitter and head out to dinner. Make sure she knows if errands need to be run on the way home that’s fine, it might be her only moment to do them alone until next Thursday.
  4. Be present. Head to the game, tailgate, or pep rally. Many of my closest friends are those I do all of life with. When football is separate, it becomes too much to keep up with everyone in season. I have found that, unfortunately, I either miss out on 4-5 months of doing life together or drift away from people.
  5. Don’t judge. Life may seem crazy and odd from the outside, but it’s a life she’s chosen and most likely loves. Don’t criticize. What your coach’s wife needs most from her village is to have a place where she looks around and sees people who genuinely want to be friends with her because of who she is, challenges and all.

Buy Your Copy of Lessons from the Sidelines Today!

Lessons from the Sidelines front cover final

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.