Good Day

Today, I received the biggest news since finding out we were pregnant over two years ago. I know many of the LEO wives out there will understand this one.

My husband is moving to day shift.

Having a one-year-old and a husband on nights has been miserable for the last year and some change. For me, but mostly for our son. He has been to young to understand, and he spends most of his time alone with me frustrated, pointing at pictures of his Dad, and trying to run up and hug every police officer we pass. My husband and I saw each other an average of one hour a day, and for my son, sometimes less when he goes to bed early. While I have dealt with the night shift thing (sometimes not as well as I could have), I have been praying for the longest time for God–if it was in His will–to bring my husband to days, somehow. Night shift has grown on me in that I’ve learned to handle the chaos and have found some pros that day shift doesn’t have, but ultimately, our family was suffering.

I can’t imagine how hard of a decision it was for my husband to request days. Coming out of a deployment, he craves the action of nights. He has awesome stats–some of the best in the department, and he’s only been there 13 months. He’s also so close to most of the officers on his shift. I know that my husband will be a little less enthused with day shift calls versus the crazy night shift ones. Ultimately, though, we have to put family first, and I guess that finally clicked. I’m so very thankful that he made this sacrifice for our family. Though the action may be less, the love and joy of our family will be more, and I hope that makes this all worth it for him.

I’m sure I’ll post about the being a night shift wife versus day shift wife come switch time (which isn’t until January), so look out for that!

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I Hate Night Shift

It’s not easy to pretend otherwise. This morning, I lashed out at my husband for not cutting the grass on his two days off. While that did irritate me, it wasn’t about the grass. It was about the fact that he is about to be gone for three days (three more days the grass won’t get cut because I can’t cut the grass with a one-year-old alone in the house or running around a yard five feet from the road). The only time we’ll see him is the two hours or so that our waking/sleeping hours overlap.

I try really hard to be supportive of my husband’s job as a cop, but that involves a lot of pretending, and it eventually bubbles over. It’s so hard to pretend that it’s all good when I have to drag a crying one-year-old away from the door when his dad leaves for work. I have to pretend that it’s okay that I literally have to lock my son outside of our bedroom because he knows his dad is in there and wants in. I have to pretend that I enjoy tip-toeing around…and trying to make my one-year-old tip-toe. Ha. I have to pretend that I just love all the extra bed space to stretch out when I sleep alone. Really I still sleep on my side of the bed and feel every chill on my side where he would be. I have to pretend that I like going to functions without you and hear people ask, “David has to work tonight again?” Thanks for the reminder that my husband has been at 1 of the last 5 family parties or get-togethers. I have to pretend that I don’t mind taking on the entire house, our child, and everything else all on my own. Or at least 90% of the time. I have to pretend that I’m okay with the fact that I’m about to have to pack our entire house and move us on my own. I have to pretend that it’s okay every time I have to throw his dinner in the trash because he can’t stop by home and get it, and instead blows money on fast food all night. I have to pretend that I’m okay not being able to go to the gym or for a run when I want to because there’s no one to be home with M.

All that pretending is dangerous in a person. Lashing out over the grass is probably the best case scenario. The truth is, I don’t think a man with a young child should be working night shift. I think he should be there with his young family as much as possible during those hectic years, years when his child can’t understand why he’s gone. When M is 9…10…11, he’ll understand, and he’ll also be able to take care of himself, and night shift would be much easier on us. But right now, it just sucks.

Maybe the worst part of it is that my husband wants to work nights and has turned down day-shift offers. I’ll just keep pretending. Sigh.

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ASU Professor and Excessive Force: Media’s Portrayal of Cops

I am so sick and tired of police officers being targeted and bashed for using so-called “excessive force” on absolute morons who deserve the force they received. I was just finished up another post while watching Inside Edition Weekend when I saw this story about an ASU professor who was slammed to the ground by a police officer after she was found guilty of jaywalking. I immediately became annoyed with the “news” source after they basically said that the force was ridiculous because it was just jaywalking. What these ignorant news sources don’t get is that she wasn’t slammed to the ground because of jaywalking. She was slammed because she was resisting arrest and refusing to identify herself, as the dashcam audio clearly shows. As they say in the article:

Shocking, just-released police dashcam video has surfaced as a University professor is slammed to the ground, and you won’t believe why.

Police say she was jaywalking.

They are clueless. They are simply harboring more and more hate for police officers, not realizing the effects this has on America’s law enforcement families.

The article discusses how the officer didn’t care about her dress riding up, and infers how disrespectful this is of the woman.

The dashcam video then shows the cop trying to handcuff her, while she tells him her short dress is riding up and exposing her.  

Cop: “Put your hand behind your back right now.  I’m gonna slam you on this car. Put your hand behind your back.”

Ore: “You really want to do that? Do you see what I’m wearing?”

Cop: “I don’t care what you’re wearing. Put your hand behind your back right now!”

Do you realize how many cops would be dead right now if they stopped attempting to arrest wrong-doers because of wardrobe malfunctions? There’s no way for a cop to know whether the person is planning to harm them via that distraction, or whether they really just want their clothes adjusted. I’d prefer my husband preserve a female’s decency and modesty during an arrest, but if something slips while she’s acting like a moron, so be it.

Then there’s this idea that because she’s a professor, she should be treated differently.

Ore: “Don’t talk to me like this. This entire thing has been about your lack of respect for me, for me as a citizen, as a professor of the University of Arizona State!”

When you break the law, regardless of the charge, you are subject to the same punishment as everyone else. Professors, doctors, lawyers, teachers–they can be just as crazy and dangerous as a gang member.

In 99% of these cases, the situations would have been prevented if the suspect simply complied with the handcuff restraint. The article says this:

Professor Ore faces charges of assaulting a police officer and resisting arrest, all from a simple case of jaywalking.

“It got real scary really quick,” Ore told INSIDE EDITION.

But what the article fails to make clear is that the resisting arrest is what caused ALL of this. If she would have stopped running her mouth and swinging her arms in the air while he was trying to cuff her, this never would have happened.

But instead, we have ignorant news sources reporting these stories about horrendous police officers who use “excessive force” against “respectable” citizens. Instead of police officers being seen as a source of safety and trust, they are seen as evil, manipulative, forceful men (and sometimes women). So, people like myself have to watch my back when I come home every night. I have to worry about people keying my car because it has a police sticker on it. I have to worry about people committing random harmful acts against my husband or family members (or myself), just because my husband is a cop. I have to worry about my son being ostracized when he goes to school one day–because his dad is a bad guy. When in reality, he is a HERO.

Police officers are heroes. There are a few that need their badges stripped of them, but the rest of them–heroes. They sacrifice sleep, time with family, health, and so many other things to protect people they don’t even know. More often than taking down a rude jaywalker, they are talking down suicidal jumpers, comforting families after the death of a 95-year-old at his home, finding a boy’s stolen Playstation, saving women from domestic abuse, saving your children from drunk drivers…I could go on.

I refuse to continue to watch any news source that keeps enforcing the idea that police officers are crooked, evil people. I refuse to watch a news source that furthers the risk we already feel as the law enforcement family of America. See ya later, Inside Edition.

Truths and Myths of the LEO Wife

I’ve learned that being the wife of a law enforcement officer is anything but easy and normal. If it says anything, being an Army wife with a husband who frequently deployed or was gone for training was easier than being a cop’s wife. I’ve been through so many stages of feelings and emotions when it comes to my husband’s career, and I’m still figuring things out. If you’re doing what I did a year ago and Googling how to survive or how to make your marriage survive when your spouse is a cop, I hope this helps you.

MYTH: You will always feel safe because your spouse is a cop.

Every time I pull in my driveway, I check my rear-view mirror ten times before even turning on my blinker. If there’s a car behind me, I drive around until they’re gone. When someone glances at me too long (someone who just looks criminal to me), it scares me. I think they know who I am and they’re planning retaliation. If you live in the city where your spouse is a cop (like I currently do), it’s even worse. However, as I tell my husband, “I refuse to live in fear.” It is especially important that our son does not learn to live in fear. Although these fears often cross my mind, and I’m extra careful in public, I never let these fears control me.

FACT: The profession is terrible for marriages. Terrible.

Between cops of the opposite sex, firefighters of the opposite sex, speeders trying to get out of tickets, dispatchers, and “badge bunnies”, temptation in the LEO line of work is intense. Even other cops will try to hit on their colleagues wives. I constantly am fending off other women and hearing stories about officers cheating. Female cops have been some of the worst. When your spouse first becomes an officer, they will enjoy the attention. I had to tell my husband that I no longer wanted to hear the shift stories about women coming on to him. That honest discussion made him stop bringing it up, and that made me feel better. It’s worth the talk; if it doesn’t happen, jealousy will grow, and jealousy destroys marriages just as bad as another woman does. The only way to get around this fact is trust. If you let the temptations and jealousy eat at you, things will not end well. Make your marriage a fortress, and remove any temptation. You nor your spouse should ever put yourself in a situation that could lead to infidelity–whether it’s a text message sent, a winky-face Emoji, or riding in a car with a co-worker of the opposite sex (alone, of course).

MYTH: Night shift is 100% awful.

This has been an on-going battle for me. I started off in a dream-like state of being the LEO wife that was 100% behind her husband and supported him working nights. Then he started working nights. I lost it. Now I’m in the acceptance phase where I try my best to make it work. Often, it actually works better for our family that he works nights. When it comes to doctor’s appointments and the fact that I am a teacher, he is often available to take our son when I can’t (although he has to lose a couple hours of sleep). If the sitter falls through and I can’t take off (which is pretty much always as a teacher), he can sacrifice sleep versus taking a day off to watch him.

FACT: Cops need support from their spouses–not complaining.

This was my biggest mistake as an LEO wife. Although I still slip on occasion, I have gotten so much better at this. When my husband started night shift, it was tough on our family. I was just coming out of post-partum depression and was starting my first year of teaching. The last thing I needed was for my husband to be gone all of the time. But the last thing my husband needed was to feel guilty for saving lives, protecting citizens, and supporting his family. Men feel so much pressure to support their families, and even though being an LEO is more than just a paycheck for my husband, it’s still inevitably a paycheck. The last thing any man needs–in any line of work–is his wife complaining about him doing his job. Instead of continuing to complain or take little jabs at night shift, my husband and I had a serious conversation about how to make night shift work for our family. That involved him watching our son once a week or so while I was at work, me making dinner earlier so he could eat at home, and so forth. When your husband works night shift, you will feel like you live in two different worlds (because in a way you do), so communication is important to maintain a connection. Most importantly, support your LEO. They need to step foot onto the battlefield that is their jurisdiction knowing they have the full support and faith from their loved ones. One day, that support and motivation may be the difference between life and death.

MYTH: Police departments are a tight family.

At least not ours. I remember watching the movie “Courageous” (a fantastic movie about being in an LEO family) when my husband was still in the military. We knew he was going to the police academy when he ETS’d, so I soaked in all of the ins and outs via this movie, especially its tips for keeping faith as an LEO couple. In the movie (and in countless other television PD families), the department is cooking out together and all of the wives are BFF’s. We’ve been to two functions where much of the department was there, and at both of them, most of the officers were drowning in beer and acting like morons. The cops actually got called on the cops at the last one. Now that’s just plain ridiculous. And at the others we’ve been to, there was a sense of tension and competition in the room. At retirement parties we’ve been to, most of the cops don’t even acknowledge me. I also don’t talk to many of the cops wives–not because I don’t like them–but because cop wives don’t actually hang out as much as they do on TV. If you are a Christian, you will find it especially hard to make close friends within the department. The alcohol, infidelity, vulgarity, foul mouths–it’s unavoidable. The best thing you can do is be a light in the darkness…be an example of an LEO couple that can have fun but maintain morals and a strong marriage.

FACT: Your spouse probably won’t want to tell you everything, and probably shouldn’t.

I began this realization during my husband’s deployment to Afghanistan, but his nights as a cop have rendered the same. When he was deployed, I thought that asking how he was doing and how he was feeling was helpful. It often ended with him being irritated with me. I learned that my husband didn’t keep things from me to be secretive, but he kept them from me to protect me–a civilian who should never have to experience what he experienced. The cop world is very similar. While they may not be faced with IED’s or RPG’s (my least two favorite military acronyms), they still experience so much violence, danger, and negativity. When my husband wants to talk, I’m always there to actively listen and support him, but I learned to not force his work experiences out of him. I don’t even ask about calls from the night unless he initiates the discussion.

FACT: Your children will idolize their hero, and it’s the cutest thing ever.

It began with my son loving the shiny badge at a few months old, and went to him trying to put his work boots on and wearing his “thin blue line” bracelet. I have been able to watch my one-year-old already look up to his Dad and love his cop gear. He is mesmerized by the blue lights and sirens that my husband lights up in front of the house when he stops by. He rocks his “Future Sheepdog” shirt (from LEOW Clothing on Etsy), and it’s precious. Although I honestly wish for my son to grow up and go to college and work a normal, safe, 9-5 job, I love watching him look up to his father and wish to be just like him.

The life is not easy, and it requires sacrifice on so many ends. I grew up not having to sacrifice much, and I never had to go without or live according to someone else’s wants and needs, so it was a wake-up call for me. Even though I pray for the day my husband can work days, and I pray my son doesn’t decide to take on such a dangerous career, my experience as an LEO wife has been life-changing. It has shown me how I tough I am, how tough my husband is, and how tough our bond is, and I could never be more thankful for that.