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 real public about, and I definitely haven’t written about it…until now.
This is something that I’m somewhat sensitive about. I hesitate to write about being a police wife because so many people criticize those complaints. “You knew what you were getting into,” “what did you think it was going to be like,” “this is what you signed up for.” Yea, I’m not down with those responses. No one 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 untouched. 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. Joining the police force isn’t like others jobs for that one big reason.
Sure, there are many other vocations that work the same long hours, wear and tear their bodies the same, and require the same amount of commitment. Military wives, for instance – their lives are so similar to ours, and I for one am so thankful for the women who stand behind their soldiers and sustain the home – and finances – while their husbands are gone. But in a lot of other ways, this job stands alone.
These are my 3 reasons why it’s so hard being a police wife today:
- There are a lot of things that aren’t talked about. It’s a unique thing, being married to a police officer. Even though some things are easy to talk about, for the safety of those involved there are a lot of cases that can’t be discussed outside of work. When we do get information, it’s very vague and it sometimes makes it very difficult to feel close to my officer when he isn’t able to divulge much about what he is doing.
- The public nature of this job. In this age of technology, people could argue that every job has a public presence – with Facebook, Yelp, etc. However, if a local electrical company is slammed on Yelp, it doesn’t make the whole world of electricians look bad. The same cannot be said for police officers. 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.
- 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. Just today I read a woman’s comment who was complaining that off-duty officers were allowed to drive their police cars when they are off -duty (within city limits) because they are tax-payer funded vehicles. I immediately wanted to jump on this woman and ask her, “Doesn’t police presence make people feel safe? Don’t you want to see that the police are protecting you even when you’re at the grocery store, or at the gym?” I know it’s not worth getting worked up over…but it’s so hard. I immediately start feeling like she would also criticize my husband about similar things.
This isn’t the hardest job in the world, I can’t claim that. But what I am claiming is that it is hard. 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.
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 figuring out an emergency plan based on what neighbors are home if I was to 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 worry how I will continue on without the help and support of my husband. It’s depressing, maybe, but it’s considered “a hazard of the job,” right?
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.