Being married to a police officer is different from being married to an average Joe. It is a responsibility, a burden, an honor and a blessing. It is often thankless and throws up many challenges. But it also has its rewards. I often think that it is we who are in the police force, not just him.
1. LEARN HOW TO BE RESILIENT
Especially if you have kids. A LOT of the time you will be solo parenting, and frequently it will be unplanned. The dinner/bath/bed routine that you were counting on him helping you with will have to be done alone. AGAIN. Try not to be resentful. It's hard, but the call-outs outside of scheduled hours are part of the job and you need to expect them and get used to parenting alone. His job involves putting others’ needs ahead of yours. You will most likely be the parent to attend school concerts, sports matches and school assemblies sans spouse, so make sure you explain to the kids about daddy’s job so they understand. Believe me, he would rather be at these events than where he is, too!
2. BE ADAPTABLE
Trust me, that planned weekend sleep-in that you had marked on the calendar for the past month will ALWAYS come after a 2 am call-out and your spouse won’t even be HOME to get up with the kids. The Mother’s Day picnic you had planned will fall on his day off. He will get a call-out to your neighboring town just minutes before you head out the door as a family. Christmas is a tough one. Usually, they are scheduled for at least a few hours during the day, and your day can be planned and executed successfully and call-outs are rare. However, our last Christmas, Mr. Point Five worked and was away unexpectedly from 8 am Christmas Eve until 5:30 pm Christmas night; the kids and I were devastated and it was not my finest moment as a police wife as tears were shed. Again, shelve the resentment, smile and re-plan for the next day or weekend. The last thing our spouses need after an unexpected call-out on what should be a joyous day for them also is to come home to a resentful spouse. Remember, they are disappointed too.
3. CONCERNING POINT 1 AND 2, I HIGHLY RECOMMEND HAVING A ROUTINE
I am up at seven each morning with the kids and I am responsible for getting them ready for school while I leave hubby to his own devices for work. Regardless of his schedule, I prepare dinner for the entire family at 5 pm every night. If he isn’t home then, his gets wrapped. The boys go to bed at 7:30 pm every night. We do this because even if your police spouse SAYS they will be home, you cannot rely on it. Often I get a text when he is already late saying he will be home in 30 minutes and 3 hours later we still haven’t seen him. Have a routine and stick to it because his job is anything but routine. Don’t be tempted to stretch out dinner or the kids’ bedtime on a say-so text.
4. REALIZE THAT YOUR ACTIONS AND OPINIONS ALL AFFECT YOUR SPOUSE BY CONNECTION NOW
I try very hard to monitor what I say in public and on social media concerning any polarizing opinions I may have, as people may assume my opinion as his. Police officers must be impartial in their dealings with the public and I would hate for anything I say on social media to come back and haunt us. My private social media is my own space to be me, but even then I try to be cautious.