16 September 2009

Life as a Coach's Wife

I honestly didn’t know what I was getting myself into. I had no clue what it would be like to hold the title of Coach’s Wife. Our first year of marriage was what I like to call the “The Term Major Adjustment is a Huge Understatement” year. I don’t know why, but I thought he’d be around. All the time.


First of all, it’s not like my husband keeps regular hours. He doesn’t go to school at 8am and come home at 5pm. I’ve learned the hard way that it is completely and utterly pointless to complain about his schedule. You either deal with it or you don’t, and if you don’t, then you, your husband and those around you (even the little old lady who lives down the street and knows more about your business than you do) will be miserable. I had to come to terms with the fact that yes, sometimes he has batting practice at 7am, and yes, practice days means he won’t get home until 8:00. Game days mean everything’s up in the air depending on if it’s a home game or if the game is two hours down the road.

We’ve been married almost six years now, and before that dated for almost three. In that time, my husband has held the following positions:

Assistant baseball coach, Morrisville, MO
Head baseball coach, Morrisville MO (state championship!)
Assistant Varsity basketball coach, Morrisville, MO
JV American Legion coach, Hillcrest HS, Springfield, MO
Head baseball coach, Miller, MO
Head American Legion coach, Miller, MO
Head softball coach, Miller, MO (coached softball four years, went to state all four years!)
Assistant Varsity basketball coach, Miller, MO
Head JV basketball coach, Miller, MO
Head Junior High basketball coach, Miller, MO
Head baseball coach, Licking, MO (fall and spring seasons)
Head Summer baseball coach, Licking MO
Head 8th grade basketball coach, Licking, MO

PROUD WIFE MOMENT: In that big list of coaching positions, he’s NEVER had a losing season! Seriously, people. My husband is an amazing coach.

When you’re in a smaller school system, you tend to coach more than one sport. At least that’s what I like to tell myself…the truth is, if my husband’s not coaching something, I think he’d curl up and die. Our first year of marriage, I held huge pity parties for myself the minute he walked out the door.

It was very, very, embarrassingly pathetic.

Now, well into our fifth year of marriage, if he’s home for more than three weeks without coaching or going to a game, I’m literally begging him to go find something to do. A bored husband with nothing to do makes me want to lock myself in the bathroom for an hour with a good book and a large bottle of Warm Vanilla Sugar bubble bath.

It’s pretty amazing to think that with all he’s done and accomplished, we’ve only lived in two places. First in Willard, Missouri – a great little town that served as a halfway point between my job in Springfield and his in Miller in southwest Missouri- to our current location in Licking, a little rural town in south central Missouri.

That being said, it’s always anyone’s guess when you’ll move on to a new town. If the school board doesn’t like my husband or if he has several consecutive losing seasons (like I mentioned, hasn’t happened yet!), he could find himself without a job for the next school year. Then there’s always the possibility that my husband will scout out his options for a new coaching opportunity at a new school.

Sometimes I’m not sure I want to go through the hassle of hanging pictures on the walls.

I found a great quote from an article about being a coach’s wife from the Jacksonville Times (21 November 2004). A couple coach’s wives were interviewed, and I could empathize with what they had to say:

Being a coach's wife also involves some creativity and a lot of sacrifice in terms of fashioning a career for themselves. Most wives find that they need to get into "portable'' professions due to all the moves. Joan Boudreau has a nurse's license that she has always kept current, while Carol Haluchak has been everything from a teacher to a real estate agent amid her husband's myriad job switches. "It's very hard to have a career when you're a coach's wife,'' Carol Haluchak said. "Nobody's going to spend the money to train you when you're going to be gone in a year or two.''

I totally agree. When we moved to this rural area last year, I about had a panic attack looking for a new job. My undergraduate degree is in English and I have a Master’s in Business. I had a fabulous career at an advertising agency in Springfield, MO in Account and Creative Services, mainly writing and producing radio and TV spots and doing graphic design. WHERE, in the farmlands and open spaces of south central Missouri, would I find a great position like that again? God was really helping us make this move easier - Rolla, MO – just a 45 minute drive away and the closest city – had a hospital with a great marketing department, and they just happened to have a position open for a graphic designer. Score.

But I can’t help but think about what will happen if we move again. I try so hard to have faith, that God will provide when the time comes to find a new job. But as the ladies above said, it’s just easier and a lot less stress for a coach’s wife to have a portable profession. Graphic design, while I love it and like think I’m pretty good at it, is not portable. It’s one of those positions where there are a lot of designers out there but not enough jobs to go around.

Earlier this year, my husband and I sat down for a talk about my career choices should we ever move again. After working in a hospital setting for the past year, it opened up some past desires that I had as a teenager. Medical missions. Helping and assisting the elderly. Learning how to not freak out at the sight of a needle. So I’ve started taking the classes I need to get another degree – this time a bachelor’s in Nursing. Very portable, don’t you think?

I’m pretty excited to see what the future holds. I’m always up for change – something I believe a coach’s wife should always be prepared for. Bring it!

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