Coach Trouble in Paradise Ask London A: Does happy wife, happy life apply to me?
Dear London A: Most of my life I have been known as the Athlete. I have played every sport offered to me when I was a kid, but mostly basketball and football were my main loves. Sports has afforded me many opportunities; allowed me to travel in my youth, paid for my college education, and most recently gave me the opportunity to coach a team of talented, high school aged young men. We have practice three nights a week and a game each weekend, either on Saturday or Sunday. Most of the boys I coach are being raised in a single parent household, so I know my job is not only as their coach but as a positive male figure in their life. A role I happily accept and perform with pride. The boys have an open-door policy with me. They can call me whenever; if they’re having problems at home or in school, need a ride to practice, or just to talk about life or sports. Now on to my problem: I am happily married to a wonderful woman and we just had a baby girl last year. Our financial stability allows her to stay at home and do a job much greater than any job I do and that is raising our daughter. The issue I am having is that my wife hates that I spend so much time on ‘other peoples kids’ as she puts it. Every time I leave for practice she instantly gets an attitude and when I return she gives me the silent treatment that sometimes last well into the next day. I have tried explaining to her that coaching is my passion and I love it just as much as I did when I was playing the game myself. This only angers her more because she feels her and my daughter should be my only passion in life. Like I said in the beginning, my wife is a wonderful, beautiful, loving, compassionate person. Then she turns into this evil warden when it’s time for me to go coach my team. I don’t think it is fair that she pressures me to quit coaching when it brings me so much joy. I feel like I am stuck between a rock and a hard place. I LOVE my family and I LOVE being a coach. Other than this issue my family life is great. Am I being stubborn for not quitting? Should I appease my wife and stop coaching? Sincerely – Coach Trouble in Paradise
Dear Coach T.I.P: Let me first give you accolades for being a positive example to the young boys on your team. I am a strong believer in how organized team sports empowers kids to work hard toward goals, work within groups and it encourages them find their own passion. I am a product of this, so I know firsthand how beneficial it is in a kid’s life.
Now back to the messiness in your household. I agree that it is unfair for your wife to ask you to quit something you love. I think it is also unfair of your wife to group your love for coaching in the same category as your love for your family. One doesn’t match the other. Instead of focusing on her Cruella de Vil alter ego, tap into the root of where her disposition comes from. Does she feel lonely because she is at home with the baby all day and you get to go out and have a life? Is she craving more attention from you and it is coming out as anger? Does she have any hobbies of her own beside being a mother and wife? It just sounds like she is using your coaching situation as a cover-up to her own issues within herself. Try allowing her to find her own passion, by giving her some time away from her 24 hour job as mommy and wife. Take the baby out with you for the day or send her away for a day of relaxation. Most importantly, schedule regular date nights and by regular I mean at least bi-weekly. What I am saying is this is the time where your love for your wife needs to double up. Is she being unreasonable? Yes. Is her behavior on the level some may call a little cray cray? Certainly. However, she is your wife and where she is depleted you need to find out how to be her inflation.
Make love not war….Smooches!
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