Parents: Do you need the Urban Meyer work/life contract?

ESPN.com has posted an extremely long, yet fascinating article looking at Urban Meyer’s journey to be an engaged family man while coaching at big-time college football program.

You may remember that the dad of three quit as the head coach of the Florida Gators in 2010 saying he needed to spend more time with his family. But about a year later he accepted the head coach position at Ohio State University.

I couldn’t figure out what happened? Had he spent enough time with his family? Was he bored at home?

(This is a pretty snarky blog written when Urban Meyer signed with Ohio State saying he had resigned from his family).

ESPN.com writes that during that year he was on a quest of self-discovery. He wanted to remember why he started coaching and how he could pull back from perfection in football to be a coach, dad and husband.

The story explains that before signing his contract with Ohio State, he had to sign a contract with his family.

And here is is the official family contract:

“Framed above his desk hung the contract he signed with his kids, written on pink notebook paper.

1. My family will always come first.

2. I will take care of myself and maintain good health.

3. I will go on a trip once a year with Nicki — MINIMUM.

4. I will not go more than nine hours a day at the office.

5. I will sleep with my cellphone on silent.

6. I will continue to communicate daily with my kids.

7. I will trust God’s plan and not be overanxious.

8. I will keep the lake house.

9. I will find a way to watch Nicki and Gigi play volleyball.

10. I will eat three meals a day.”

Does a parent in your family need a work/life family contract? Do you think it would help? How can parents with stressful jobs be present in their home life as well as their jobs? Do dads have a different struggle than moms for work/life balance or is it essentially the same?

Do you think Urban Meyer can really do it? Can he pull back enough to be present at home but still maintain the intensity and focus the job calls for?

33 comments Add your comment

KJ

August 13th, 2012
12:27 am

“I couldn’t figure out what happened? Had he spent enough time with his family? Was he bored at home?”

“What happened” was, he’s a shameless attention whore who says and does what he wants, when he wants. He lied in Utah, he lied in Gainesville, and he’ll lie again, when it suits his needs. Likely a perfect fit with Ohio State; they have the most delusional fanbase in the country anyway.

K's Mom

August 13th, 2012
12:56 am

Urban Meyer is a jerk in my opinion and if he were all that interested in being a fabulous family man, why did he publicize this? If you have a work life contract with your family, then keep it between you and your family. This strikes me as a publicity stunt because he has gotten a lot of bad press about his recruiting practices being less than ethical.

My husband is a UGA grad/fan and thinks Richt is a less than stellar coach, but a wonderful person. I do not hear of him advertising what a great family person he is or what an honorable man he is. He just is and it shows. Maybe Urban Meyer should just work to be a good person and not draw up contracts.

Another thought, this seems to be in line with the vow that the men took in the movie “Courageous.” I thought that movie was pretty good in its message, but I do not think it advocated giving yourself a pat on the back and tell everyone of your vow to your family. It was more of a just do it sort of thing.

Maybe I am being negative, but I just do not like this guy at all.

Sluggo

August 13th, 2012
3:09 am

4. I will not go more than nine hours a day at the office

5. I will sleep with my cellphone on silent.

These two rules disqualified me for his program.

DB

August 13th, 2012
7:17 am

Sounds like his wife got fed up and laid down the law, so to speak. As with everything, it is a matter of balance and priorities. I suspect that his limit of 9 hours a day at the office is going to come directly out of the asses of the people that work for him, especially during the season. Or else he plans to work at home . . .

His family cannot always come first. Sometimes it has to be second. That’s part of being a family —supporting each other in their dreams and goals. But again — balance. It cannot ALWAYS be second. Findng that balance is the challenge we all face every day.

Augusta

August 13th, 2012
7:45 am

What man has ever worried about balancing career and family?

catlady

August 13th, 2012
7:51 am

“the contract he signed WITH HIS KIDS”–what, no wifey?

A

August 13th, 2012
7:56 am

I’m not a football fan so have no idea who this guy is, but he sounds like an arrogant jerk to me. So many of us moms and dads are balancing work and family, but I’m sure most of us haven’t drawn up a contract and certainly haven’t publicized one if we have.

I am a football fan...

August 13th, 2012
8:28 am

…and I do know who this guy is, and I think he is an arrogant jerk, too, but he is one heck of a football coach – and, still, this is way over the top. I iapgree with K’s mom about the public acknowledgment of this.

And, Augusta, there are MANY men who value balancing career and family…..sorry you did not get one…

Jeff

August 13th, 2012
8:32 am

I’m curious what many of you would think if this were done by a successful woman who is at the very top of her chosen profession?

Would you bring out the “you go girl” cheerleading squad?
Would you ask her why she feels the need to say it publicly (or would you click “like” on her minute by minute facebook posts?
Would you ask why she talked about her children, but not her family (children means excluding the spouse, family means including the spouse)?

I’m a little disappointed in you all so far this morning. I expect this kind of response from the group down the page, but you all are normally so much more mature about things than they are.

Class of 1990

August 13th, 2012
8:35 am

Yawn… just dull….. really dull blog. ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ

Kyoto Whale & Tuna

August 13th, 2012
8:45 am

7. I will trust God’s plan and not be overanxious.

Yeah…..Lost me on this one. What is it with humans and their insane adherence to this made up god and his arbitrary rules?

iheartcoachtaylor

August 13th, 2012
8:55 am

@K’s Mom- I echo your sentiments. I can’t stand this guy and I don’t give a hoot about his “family contract.”

K's Mom

August 13th, 2012
9:01 am

Jeff, I would say the same thing about a woman. Do what you need to with regards to balancing your homelife. It is between you and your family. When you go to ESPN that screams publicity stunt to me.

The last big news story on Mr. Meyer was regarding some very questionable ethics while he was at UF. I think he did this interview and brought this contract up to try to make himself look more humble and like a changed man.

Bobby Petrino came out with an interview too, complete with tears and regret for cheating on his wife and it becoming public. Total publicity stunt, in my opinion, for a man wanting a $2MM+/year job. Chuck Oliver on CSS said “Bobby Petrino is a liar and liars LIE.” Pretty well summed it up to me.

I tutored footlball players when I was in college at Auburn. There was a coaching change just before I started, Dye to Bowden. Dye was certainly no Sunday School teacher, but his recruits were far more respectful of me, went to class and did their own work. Bowden’s not so much. Not one of these athleted was dumb or incapable, some had just been allowed to be lazy and it continued into college under some of the coaches. These coaches are more than just a father to their own children. They are in the village of raising about 80 young men also and when you are only out for yourself, as we see a lot these coaches doing, you are simply not doing your job.

Become a good man/woman for yourself and your family. Not for the media!

Voice of Reason

August 13th, 2012
9:20 am

Family SHOULD always come first, no matter what.

My cellphone goes upstairs on my nightstand and I only check it every now and then when I am home.

If work related items can wait, then they will wait. My time is MY time.

Because without your family, what the hell are you working so hard for?

Nobody laying on their deathbed has EVER looked back on their life and said, “You know? I wish I had worked harder.” You will hear them reflect on their life and wish they had spent more and better quality time with their family though.

Tom

August 13th, 2012
9:23 am

Well, he has made it to see Nicki play some volleyball matches at GT, where she’s a senior.

K's Mom

August 13th, 2012
9:25 am

@iheartcoachtaylor, thanks. I heart Coach and Mrs. Coach Taylor. The hubs got me the box set of that show for my last birthday! Maybe Mr. Meyer should watch it since he not at the office for more than 9 hours each day :o)!

Augusta

August 13th, 2012
9:28 am

@I Am a Football fan – if you were a regular in this blog you would know that my husband is a family man. He is home every night no later than 6:00, 6:30. He is a very hands on father of 4, and treats me like a queen.

Techmom

August 13th, 2012
9:56 am

I do think certain careers make it more difficult to be an involved parent. Coaching is time consuming on most any level but certainly in the high-stakes of college football. My BIL is a high school football coach and for basically 4 1/2 months out of the year, my SIL barely sees her husband. He loves football and he was a coach going into their relationship so it’s not surprising to her but it makes for a long football season. He does try to make up for the “lost” time during the summer when he’s off and can spend more time with his family though.

While it’s not an easy task to maintain a good work-life balance while coaching, it obviously happens for a lot of coaches and needs to applause from the general public. I agree that it’s a publicity stunt.

Techmom

August 13th, 2012
10:09 am

Oops – needs NO applause

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

August 13th, 2012
11:23 am

There’s video of his mentioning the contract on the link. watch the video and see if you think a stunt. The contract was mentioned months ago in an interview. This just happens to be a big takeout on him before the college football season begins. I think the contract is sincere. Read the lead to the story — his daughter was signing a letter of intent for a college team and when he showed up she thanked her mother for all her support and told her father, you were never there. I think he needed a Come to Jesus but I’m not sure if he’ll be able to stick with it. Just not sure that’s his personality.

oneofeach4me

August 13th, 2012
11:30 am

Does a parent in your family need a work/life family contract? ~ Not as of yet. However, I am finishing my AA and will be in law school next year. So whenever I change up careers, I am not sure just how demanding the job will be. Right now though, I have it handled. I also don’t think contracts are a bad idea, some people need them as it helps them. However, I am not so sure they have to be publicized. If we end up with one in our house… I am not even going to announce it to our family!

How can parents with stressful jobs be present in their home life as well as their jobs? ~ That’s easy (in my opinion), you leave work.. at work.

Do dads have a different struggle than moms for work/life balance or is it essentially the same? ~ Honestly I would say it’s more difficult, but not because the men don’t want to. For instance, even though me and my hubby both work full time professional jobs, if one of the kids is out sick, or there is a meeting or a school function, if he asks to take off they all look at him like “why can’t your wife do it”?. Actually, someone asked him that before and he had to explain that we both work and therefore we take turns as far as taking time off work. If it was just me all the time, I wouldn’t even have vacation time left for an actual vacation!!

mom2alex&max

August 13th, 2012
11:37 am

I particularly LOLed at #8. Ah to have such luxuries!!! I think money covers a multitude of sins. When my husband worked for himself, we saw him more frequently than we do now that he went corporate. We also had no insurance, no stability, and no steady paycheck.

I’m guessing being a football coach during the season you can’t expect to see your husband a whole lot. Goes with the territory and I’m sure the money and perks (i.e. lake house) make up for it.

Denise

August 13th, 2012
11:55 am

It’s sad when this is actually necessary. I honestly wonder (since I am not married this is an actual question, not a snark) whether people go into a relationship with an honest understanding of what they are getting themselves into. I know folks talk about habits, values, etc. but it would seem to me that work-life balance would also be something to consider beforehand. This is not something just limited to coaches or high-profile jobs. For example, accountants seem to be busier during tax season. My friend who works in the state legislature in Louisiana cannot plan anything during session. Some jobs are not flexible and it would seem that the family would be understanding of that IF during the “off times” the parent/spouse was fully present. This goes out the window if the coach, accountant, and person supporting the legislature is still absent in the off season. At that point, it’s like giving the family the middle finger.

An issue I have with the contract….what happens when you break the contract? Again…the middle finger to the family.

So, Augusta...

August 13th, 2012
12:23 pm

…if your husband is as you say, just where does your previous comment of “What man has ever worried about balancing career and family?” relate to him? That is all I was pointing out in my 8:28am comment, and thanks for making my point –

And,by the way, I am a regular on this blog…

Jeff

August 13th, 2012
12:29 pm

The thing that I notice alot of people do (men and women) in relationships is that they seem to forget that they KNEW all of this going into it.

Example: Katie Holmes KNEW Tom was nuts about his religion before she married him. Coaches wives (spouses of legslature people, accountants, etc) KNOW what the deal is before they bought into it.

Denise

August 13th, 2012
12:47 pm

@Jeff – do you think it’s a matter of “I thought he/she was going to change once we got married”? I know I have done it in some of my relationships and have gotten the “shock” (yeah right, shock) that it didn’t happen as I had hoped (dreamed!). Seeing as I’m still single, it clearly didn’t work out…and that’s good in most, if not all, of the cases. “When someone shows you who they are, believe them”

Voice of Reason

August 13th, 2012
12:53 pm

@Jeff

Excellent point!

I tend to wonder if a lot of people who follow this pattern immediately think, “Challenge Accepted!”

mom2alex&max

August 13th, 2012
1:06 pm

Jeff, like some others have mentioned, I think part of it is the hoping they will change thing. But I think more likely is that they are blinded by the glamour. In a college town, being the wife of the football coach is like being the 1st lady. There is a lot of prestige and perks associated with it. And then I’m guessing it gets old.

Also, probably the money.

Augusta

August 13th, 2012
1:10 pm

@So, Augusta, if you are a regular here, why aren’t you using your REAL anonymous name? I’ve not seen this one before…..

K's Mom

August 13th, 2012
2:38 pm

@jeff, I think that is a good point too about thinking you can change someone you can’t.

I also look at the work life balance things for dads differently. My dad traveled 3-4 nights a week growing up and summer time was his busiest time of year because he works in agriculture. Our summer vacations were always either industry meetings where families were invited or long weekends at the beach where we stopped along the way for him to call on farmers. Yes, my dad missed a few school things and was gone some, but when he was home he was present. He played with us each night when he was home and bathed us and read stories. He spent all weekend doing stuff with us. He used to take me to work with him one day every summer when he was in field sales to teach me about working but also about agriculture. I picked cotton, fed horses, ate fresh watermelon, played in the dirt and milked a cow. I think some women have decided they want husbands who make tons of money and they feel slighted when that means long work hours. I think men are innately programmed to work and provide, but in your marriage you have to develop a system that works for you and part of that is teaching kids that mommies and daddies have to work and sometimes so that they are taken care of financially that means that their desires cannot totally be met. Missing the signing day for his daughter is inexcusable on Meyer’s part, but in my opinion, not being at each game is understandable.

K's Mom

August 13th, 2012
2:44 pm

I don’t think I completely made my point…I have been sick all weekend. I guess my bottom line is parents can work long hours and still be completely tuned in at home and I think being attached to a laptop or blackberry every minute while at home makes the problem worse. And I also think we as a society have asked men to wear too many hats in some cases, but there are also a lot of men that take advantage of long work hours so that they can shirk responsibilities at home.

I still think Meyer is a jerk, but he would likely be a jerk if he worked 20 hours a week…

Geez, Augusta...

August 13th, 2012
2:52 pm

…this is my real anonymous name…

Jeff

August 13th, 2012
4:05 pm

Thanks for the input K I agree.