the 3 hardest things about being a police wife

I really try not to complain about being a police wife.

Chances are, many of you reading my blog may not have even known until today that my husband is a police officer – it’s not something I’m very public about, and I definitely haven’t written about it…until now.

I hesitate to write about being a police wife because so many people criticize the things I want to complain about.

“You knew what you were getting into,”

“what did you think it was going to be like,”

“this is what you signed up for.”

I reject those responses.

No one really knows what they’re getting into when they become a police wife. Every officer is different after experiencing the variety of horrors they each deal with on a regular basis.

Some officers may visit their first crime scene and seem somewhat unphased. Others will see that first overdose, that first dead body, that first tortured child, and they will develop insomnia, PTSD, anxiety, complacency, or any variety of other issues.

Yes, there are many other jobs that work the same long hours and require the same amount of commitment. Military wives live lives so similar to ours, and I for one am so thankful for the women who stand behind their soldiers and sustain the home while their husbands are gone.

But in a lot of other ways this job stands alone.

There are a lot of things that make it hard to be a police wife, but here are my top 3:

  1. So much can’t/isn’t talked about. For the safety of those involved there are a lot of cases that can’t be discussed outside of work. When I do get information, it’s very vague and it makes it very difficult to feel close to my officer when he isn’t able to divulge much about what he is doing. He will get a SWAT callout, and the only details I’ll know is possibly what part of the city he’s headed to. Is it a bomb threat? Is it a hostage situation? Is there a gunman on the loose? Police wives are accustomed to maintaining some sense of normalcy when there is a large chance that their officer is being placed right in harm’s way – and not being appreciated for it. There is also a huge stigma around officers talking openly about the state of their mental health. There were over 280 police suicides in 2019. That’s an absurd number, one that could have been reduced drastically if there were resources available to these officers. They need a place to feel safe talking about what they’re going through, where they also feel reassured that their job won’t immediately be taken from them for admitting they need help.
  2. Thanks to technology, the general public seems to oppose police. In this age of technology, when one officer screws up, suddenly my officer’s credibility is on the line. It’s not fair, and it’s very unfortunate that this is the current way of the world. People look at my husband a certain way simply because of the uniform he wears – and they think that’s perfectly fair. What do you do for work? Find the laziest, most incompetent person that works with you: how would you feel if everyone looked at you like you were the same as that person? It doesn’t seem fair does it?
  3. Trying not to take everything personally. Because so much about this line of work is being publicly picked apart on the news and on social media, it’s so hard to read the comments online and not take what people say personally. It’s hard to not feel a “them against us” attitude towards most of the community. Police wives need support. Police officers need support. Sadly, most of us have lost friends and family members over the fact that our husband’s enforce the law. Where is our tribe?

I knew that my husband was applying to the police department, but I had no idea what that really meant for our time together, his sleep schedule, his long hours of court and overtime, and how it would affect his state of mind – and even mine.

Shortly after my husband was shot at by a fleeing suspect, my panic attacks returned at an all-time high. Even though my husband seemed emotionally unaffected, those turn of events caused me to really face the fact that my husband could be killed any day he left for work.

I heard it said recently by a female officer who works in Michigan that anyone can be killed at work, but police officers are at risk of being MURDERED. You have to acknowledge that difference.

Someone asked me recently how I keep from worrying all the time, knowing what my husband gets involved in. I told them…I don’t.

I worry all the time.

I go to bed each night thinking through an emergency plan based on what neighbors are home if I was to get that call while my children were sleeping.

If my parents have plans that night, I make a back up plan so that my kids are taken care of until my parents can come over.

I try to predict what it will be like meeting him at the hospital, or having to identify him at the morgue.

I think about how I will continue on without the help and support of my husband.

To all my police wife sisters that might be reading, I pray for you and I see you where you’re at right now. Thank you for all you do in your homes to carry the household while your hubby protects your community.

Thank you for the sacrifices you make in your marriage when you can’t celebrate anniversaries or your own birthday on the actual day.

Thank you for your flexibility, and for the support you give your officer even when it isn’t at all the easy thing to do.

I’ve got YOUR six.

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