Today is Sunday, August 28, 2016. Tomorrow is the big day. No, not game day...Tomorrow is the first day that I will return to work after having our baby boy. Like most new mothers returning to work, I have mixed emotions. I'm sad to leave my baby during the day but the thought of having a little "me" time and adult conversation doesn't sound too terrible. I definitely have fears about how our little boy will react to the change and feel guilty that I won't be there every minute of the day to comfort him if he gets scared or upset. I try to tell myself it will be okay and I'm just like every new mom who has ever returned to work after having a baby, except I'm not...So, what's the difference between me and other moms?
The difference is that I'm married to a football coach and it's football season.
We take football season very seriously in our house. It's our livelihood. It's not just a game to us. Football season means a typical day for my husband starts with him leaving the house at 6:45a.m and returning home just before midnight. It means long weekends on the road for away games. It means not only does my husband worry about the well being of his own son, but he worries and looks after all of his football players as his own. Other families have trusted him to take care of their "babies." He owes it to them to stay true to his word, even if it does mean missing time away from his own family.
I'm not writing this for you to feel sorry for me. I definitely don't need pity.
I chose my husband and I chose this football life.
I'm writing this so that you will understand what it's really like being married to a coach and what it's really like to raise a football family. I want to raise awareness for the strong women who support their coaching husbands, work hard for their families and still manage their full-time role as mom.
I want to give encouragement to the new football girlfriend, wife or mom that is wondering how she will ever do it all alone during football season.
Today is Sunday, September 4, 2016. One week ago, I didn't know how I was going to survive my first week back to work with an 8-week-old baby during football season. Not only was it my first week back to work, it was also the first week my husband would leave our family for the first away game of the season, in another state.
Instead of feeing miserable and tired like I imagined, I actually feel like the most empowered woman in the world!
Not only did I survive my first week back to work, I managed to thrive. It's not easy and it may not be pretty, but I really do believe we can "have it all."
Here's is what I learned my first week back to work:
1. Say a Prayer
You've heard the phrase, "God won't give you more than you can handle." It's true! Get to praying Momma! You can do this!
"I can do all this through him who gives me strength."
- Phillippians 4:13
2. Ask for Help
It's okay to not know everything. You are not expected to know it all. The night before I went back to work, I asked other women and mom's on Facebook for some pointers. Everyone was so helpful and encouraging.
Here is what they said:
3. Have a Flexible Plan
Attempt to make a schedule. We all know the day may not go as planned, but having a basic routine and schedule does seem to help make the days go smoother.
4. The Crock-pot is Your New Best Friend
There isn't time to slave over the stove. Five minutes and a few ingredients can keep you from going hungry and it even tastes good! Shredded chicken was my go-to option for lunches and dinner. It's easy to throw on top of a salad, eat alone or in a sandwich/wrap.
5. Sundays are for Laundry
Take the time on Sunday to do laundry and layout your outfits for the week. If you are really ambitious, do the same for your child. This will save you time in the mornings.
6. Don't be Afraid of Dry Shampoo
Not everyone has time to wash, blow dry and style their hair in the morning, especially not every day. Find a dry shampoo you love and use it! Not only will this literally save you hours during the week, your hair won't suffer from as much heat damage.
7. Save Cleaning for the Weekends
Don't stress if the house isn't clean. Pick up here and there during the week and save the big stuff for the weekend. You've worked all day. Give yourself a break!
8. Lean on Other Coaches' Wives
When the going gets tough....lean on your fellow coaches' wives. They are the only ones who truly know what you are going through and they will be there for you if you let them.
9. Don't Resent the Coach
When you're by yourself and you feel like you're doing it all alone, don't resent your husband. Know that your husband is making a difference every day in a child's or young adult's life. Know that it's hard for him to be away from you and your family. He needs support too.
10. Be Proud and Reward Yourself
Give yourself some credit! You are a strong woman and you should be proud of yourself. Take pride in your work and your role as a wife (and/or) mom. It's hard work being a mom and working every day, much less during football season. You deserve that cup of Starbucks, a glass of wine or a mani-pedi.
Do something that makes you happy!
Disclaimer: Cheers to you hard working wives and moms! After I wrote this blog about thriving during my first week back to work, the dog rolled in something dead, the baby had a blow out and I got pink eye.
By Jessica Wilkins
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