because-I-said-so-tealFootball season is in full swing, which can only mean one thing: I am now a sports widow.

Every Saturday for the foreseeable future, I can plan on my husband being absent for hours, cheering on his beloved team until his voice goes hoarse. If it’s a home game, he’ll be in the stands yelling coaching advice that no one on the sidelines has a hope of hearing. (I’ve never quite figured that out.) If the team is away, he’ll be glued to the TV — in our living room if we have the right channel, or elsewhere if we don’t. In between games, he will be talking and tweeting, hyping and hypothesizing, watching and waiting for the next big matchup.

This abandonment will last until Christmastime or maybe later, depending on how bowl games shake out.

I’m mostly supportive of his football fanaticism … until mid-season. Then I start to resent the fact that my crazy-busy husband is either mentally or physically gone for four hours or more on the one day of the week we can be together in the family.

I don’t want to be bitter or frustrated. My husband deserves the time off, and watching football is pretty wholesome as far as hobbies go. So I’ve developed these seven strategies for coping with football season:

1. Do a reality check.

As soon as possible, get the time for every game of interest for the entire season. Find out if they are home games, away games or just games of interest on television. Then block that time off on your calendar. If you need to negotiate a game for an alternate activity — say, your child’s third birthday — get the agreement in writing before your team goes 5–0 and all bets (and birthday parties) are off. I’m 100 percent serious with the “in writing” bit.

2. Pad kickoff time by a few hours.

Kickoff may be at 3 p.m. but that doesn’t mean your husband will be home for dinner. Games last for three or four hours, but he’ll need to leave in time for parking and tailgating and rushing the field after a big win. Plan on a game taking around six hours, and you’ll be pleasantly surprised when your husband comes home early.

Football-Meme3. Get more than one ticket for home games.

Football tickets can be pricey, but for the sake of your sanity buy more than one. That way you can send one of the kids with your husband to the game, leaving you with one fewer child who is upset that his or her beloved daddy is gone. Again.

4. Go all out.

If the stars align and you make it to a game, go all out. Football is a fantastic spectator sport even when it’s freezing outside. When you do make it to a game, don’t try to nickle and dime your way through the day. Throw caution and calories to the wind and get buttery popcorn, Dippin’ Dots, a giant maple doughnut, massive Diet Coke or whatever other treat tickles your fancy. Wear your team colors, stand and sing the school song on every touchdown and stay to the bitter end no matter what the scoreboard says.

5. Throw a party.

At least once a season, invite family and friends over for a football-watching party. You’ll win major wife points for suggesting it plus enjoy good company and yummy food on an otherwise ho-hum day. Keep it simple with potluck or finger foods that can be easily prepared and feed a crowd.

6. Show at least a little bit of interest.

So what if you aren’t a huge football fan? If football is a big part of your husband’s life, you might as well show some interest in the sport. Read up on stats so you can impress your husband (or at least your kids) with your game-day predictions. You don’t have to take out a subscription to Sports Illustrated; just skim previews and tweets the day before the game and you’re good to go.

7. Save yourself.

The weekend is approaching and you can’t bear the thought of another long solo Saturday. So book a sitter and go on a date with yourself or some girlfriends. Don’t wait for your husband to suggest or sanction this activity. Just do it. You’ll be glad you did.

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