You've heard the phrases a thousand times before--"She changed" or
"He changed." These phrases are known for being used to explain why a relationship ended--whether it be a friendship, dating relationship or marriage. Why are we so quick to give up on each other just because we change? Do we really expect a person to stay the same forever?
I do not claim to be an expert on relationships. I've always had the attitude that people shouldn't try to analyze relationships that aren't their own because there are too many missing pieces--usually only shared between the two parties involved. I do however claim to be a self-certified expert on change.
As an adult I have relocated or changed jobs every couple of years. I'm married to a football coach--so it's a given that eventually there will be more new cities, new jobs and hopefully new friends. I really pride myself on accepting and embracing change and I have always considered these changes to be positive experiences that have helped me grow as a person. However, the one change I do not think anyone can fully prepare a person for is parenthood. Being a new mom or dad changes everything, including your relationship with your spouse.
I can honestly say that my husband isn't the same guy I married. I knew he was forever changed the moment I saw him hold our son for the first time....and my husband agrees that I'm not the same girl he married. When my husband and I started dating, I was a young twenty-one year-old with a lot to learn. I was driven and focused on beginning a new career and when I wasn't working, I was traveling the world and seeking out my next great adventure. Now, I'm a new working mom and my only planned "vacations" are trips to the grocery store alone. Like any new mom, I am always tired and always in a rush.
For example, yesterday was Valentine's Day and my sweet husband literally tossed my Valentine's Day card in front of me as I was dressing our son on the changing table before we both rushed out the door to work. A year ago, this probably wasn't the romantic gesture I have wished for...but yesterday, it was just perfect. I actually appreciated the quick toss of the card and that my husband wanted me to read what he wrote before I rushed off to work. I also appreciated his genuine laugh and raised eyebrows when I told him he would be getting his card later that evening because I hadn't made it to the store yet.
Days like yesterday remind me how much we've both changed since becoming parents--but when we both use the common phrases "She changed" or "He changed", it's because we are referring to the new people we've become as parents--something that should be celebrated.
So, instead of getting dressed up to go out to a "fancy" Valentine's Day dinner, we put on our sweats, ordered pizza, spent time as a new family of three and celebrated how we've changed.
We celebrated the new love and connection we have for each other and our son.
We celebrated a new understanding and the ability to forgive each other for our imperfections.
We celebrated a new appreciation for life and each other.
Watching your spouse grow into their role as a mother or father to your child is something that should be cherished. It's a different kind of love--a new love that should be celebrated.
What the first Wednesday in February really means for football coaches and their families
The first Wednesday in February is circled in the shape of a heart on our calendar, but not for the reason you may think. It's not one of our birthdays or a special anniversary--it's National Signing Day. It's a day celebrated by thousands of families and sports fans across the country as high school recruits proudly commit to a college's football program. If your child's dream is to play football at the collegiate level and they are planning to sign a Letter of Intent, then you probably have this day marked on your calendar too...But as the wife of a college football coach, I will tell you that our family will be celebrating Signing Day for different reasons.
Top 5 Reasons the Coach's Wife Celebrates Signing Day
1. The Athletes
First and foremost, we will celebrate the amazing young men who have made a decision and commitment to be a part of our football family. The look of excitement in their eyes on this day reminds us that the sacrifices we continue to make as a coaching family will make a positive impact in a child's life and on their future.
2. Her Husband
Coaches' wives see firsthand the amount of hard work and dedication their husbands put into recruiting. We see the relationships they build with student athletes and their families while sacrificing time away from their own families. We know how much it means to them for a recruit to say
"I choose you as my coach."
3. Help at Home
You know that tired mom you see carrying the crying baby with one arm and desperately trying not to drop all of the groceries dangling from her other hand? I'm sure you're probably wondering where her husband is or if she even has one. She might be a coach's wife. I've been that mom for months now and I'm excited to finally have my husband back at home.
4. Dinner as a Family
I can't imagine what my neighbors must think. I'm sure they are curious to know where my husband is and whose car is parked at my house in the evenings. They probably don't realize that it's just another coach's wife bringing over dinner. This is how we keep each other company while our husbands are away--And trust me, I always enjoy a fun girl's night...But I'm looking forward to dinners at home with my husband and son, as a family.
5. Quality Time Together
I finally stopped counting the times I've been asked "Where is your husband?" or "But isn't football season over?" Most people assume once football season is over that our lives go back to normal. The truth is that between football season, recruiting and spring practice...football never stops. Our family spends less time together than the average family and that's okay--our motto is "quality over quantity." I can't wait for us to be able to spend more quality time together.
So, this week as you celebrate National Signing Day and analyze the outcome for college football programs across the country, don't underestimate what the first Wednesday in February really means for the coaches and their families.
Under ten minutes and less than $10
If you're a new parent like me, then you probably don't have a lot of extra time for arts and crafts...Aren't we all just trying to keep the baby alive?! And, if you are on a tight budget...because let's face it, kids are expensive--this is the perfect Valentine's craft for you and your baby. You can even gift it to that special someone.
By Jessica Wilkins
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