Live, Love, Blend:
Thanksgiving Woes of a Football Widow

What do you most look forward to at Thanksgiving?  Gathering with family?  Eating turkey and all the fixings?  Or is it the time honored tradition of spending the afternoon watching football?

Couch potato watching television in a family room

In our house football rules… at least for my husband.  I realized quickly when we were dating that he was a fan, but like so many things, you really don’t understand the extent of someone’s obsession until you marry them.  I was totally unprepared for the grief associated with being a football widow.

Here are 3 ways I think football hurts our blended family…



I can understand having a favorite team you love to watch, but my husband follows every team.  Does yours do that fantasy football stuff?  What I’ve learned is that it requires them to follow all their players, and all those players come from different teams.  Hence, my husband wants to watch and/or listen to every game possible.  Did I mention he’s on about 5 different fantasy leagues?!  Yes, I’ll be donning my mourning attire until football season is over.

Oh, and it doesn’t help that listening to sports on the radio makes me want to stick a fork in my eye.  I finally got him to understand this by comparing it to the way he feels when I make the family listen to show tunes during a road trip.

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Wives want to feel like they are their husband’s number one priority.  And wives who have been through a divorce already have baggage from a time when they did not feel like number one.  I’ve told my husband many times that it really hurts my feelings when it appears that football is more important than our time together.  With full time jobs and 5 kids, it’s not like we have a lot of time to spare.

Now,  don’t think I’m saying we need their attention 24/7.  There are ways to work around this.  For example, “sure honey, you watch football while I go shopping.  How long would you like me to shop?”  That will definitely make him more aware of the time he’s planning to spend parked in the recliner.

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Kids in blended families can have a difficult time connecting with their step-parents.  And in our home, football has widened that gap.  My 2 “originals” had virtually no knowledge of sports until I met and married their step-dad.  I thought, being boys, that they would naturally warm up to his love for sports.  So far, though, more often that not, I hear them comment that they have nothing in common with him.  We’ve all tried various ways to remedy this.  My husband coached a YMCA flag football team one season that my younger son played on.  And now my oldest son has started playing football at school, and my husband will volunteer to run chains (whatever that means).  It’s nice to see everybody trying.  I doubt we’ll find our common ground on this particular turf, but we’ll keep trying.

And that’s what you must do – keep trying…

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Whether it’s football or another sport, or any job or hobby…. if there’s one thing that’s pulling the focus of a parent so strongly that the rest of the family starts to resent it, something’s gotta give.  This can be especially challenging in blended families, I think, because the obsession might have started as a welcome distraction in a bad situation.  Perhaps it was a way to avoid a fight during the first marriage, or a way to protect yourself from feeling lonely while you were single.  Now that life has changed and the family dynamic is different, those needs have to be reevaluated.  They may not be necessary any more.  Or perhaps they just need to be brought down to a level everyone can live with.

As for football, I’d be happy if we could just pick one team to follow.  And given where we live, Go COWBOYS!

andi parker

Andi Parker is a sweet but stubborn wife, and a motivated, multitasking mom of five. Kids include two “originals”, boys ages 13 & 9, and three “steps”, boys ages 18 & 14, and a 7-year-old girl. Andi works as a TV Producer for a Christian TV Network and freelances as a Traffic Reporter for an NBC affiliate. Her heart is set on sharing victories and life experiences in order to encourage and inspire other blended family working moms… or any gal who’s ever had to juggle a man, a job, kids, friends, chores, etc. Andi blogs at