I am completely overwhelmed by marriage lately. I believe I have a husband who suffers from depression and a wife (that’s me) who isn’t handling it well. I feel like I am sinking right down into the blahs with him and I don’t like it there. Not at all. He has been this way the majority, if not all, of our marriage. In the past to survive I have disconnected from my marriage and focused on being good parenting partners and great parents to our kiddos. Now we are in a phase where we want to improve upon our marriage and so I have plugged myself back into this relationship 100% only to find I can’t keep my head above water in this thing. It is such a sad and disappointing realization. Is it me? Him? Both? How do I handle these disconnects without breaking down and crying regularly?

Football–the other religion

My son is a middle schooler and playing football for the first time. We’ve played all the other mainstream sports and within each one, you begin to notice a common personality amongst parents. For instance, soccer parents are my favorite. The majority seem more laid back and their to just enjoy the game and the social atmosphere. Baseball parents are a mix. You’ve got the intense ones who have been pushing their kids since the womb and you have those that embrace the game as a rite of passage and continuing the tradition of spring sport. Basketball is my personal favorite. I love the action and I get loud and rowdy and convince myself that if I scream loud enough it will actually transfer energy, motivation and drive to the team. My voice, while loud, is always encouraging and I try hard not to embarrass my son now that he is of the preteen age.

And then there is football. The other religion in small town USA. Wow. It’s a Thursday afternoon and dads are showing up at 415, palms sweaty, change jingling in pockets as they pace and joke with one another, anxiously awaiting their sons to take their place on the field. Do they miss their own childhood days of football? Are they hoping their sons perform better than they did? I can see these behaviors as endearing for the most part. We all want the best for our children and I definitely want my boys to have even greater success in life than I have experienced.

What about the extreme parents though? You know them. They are the ones who are too intense, who push too hard, who yell out onto the field at their child and at any other child they feel is not performing up to par. The vocalizations rarely positive and the tone of voice and comments reaching a feverish pitch until parents and players alike are uncomfortable and stress begins leaking into an otherwise enjoyable game.

Why is there always one of these parents?

Why do we allow this to happen and why don’t parents speak up and speak against these parents?

During baseball season we had a very personal experience with this type of parent. My son had managed his best baseball season yet. He hit six homeruns, one of which was a game clenching walk off homerun during a game with the rival team. Mid season the coach had moved him to third base and the skills and reaction time needed were new skills for him to learn. Mastering these skills during game time lead to some missed plays and contributed to a dad’s frustration as his son took on the role of pitcher and the number in our wins column failed to continue its upward trend.

As the team struggled, this dad yelled. He chastised when errors were made, he berrated his own son for throwing pitches in the dirt. No one on the team is surprised by this. Parents have been dealing with this dad for years and they know his temper and they know having words with this dad are useless. We are a new family and I have not learned this lesson yet. I had listened to this dad’s rantings and felt the stress he produces through his actions already during basketball season and now I’m enduring him through baseball season. I am not the type to remain quiet to such things and my frustration level grows and I’m hating that a lovely night at the park has turned into something that I dread.

The end of the season nears, exhaustion and a fevered pitch is reached. Loud mouth dad starts up again at the game and this time the grumblings are loud, steady and aimed directly at my son. Oh no he didn’t! Once, twice, three times. I’m bitching to those around me along the fence. The coach turns to me and says, “I’ve dealt with him for years, you’re just gonna have to let it go because it doesn’t help matters.” Ummm. Whatever. He’s yelling at my son. He’s not a coach and he needs to shut the hell up. Words are exchanged, the yelling stops for tonight at least but this will prove to be the beginning of a drama between kids and one between parents that is likely to last the span of their middle school and high school years when we can mercifully cut ties.

Is this a familiar story to anyone? How does one handle this type of parent, knowing the behavior will continue?