She is the farmer, the jack-of-all-trades, and master of ONE (Yes, ONE and not NONE). She is the mediator of the home; dependant and strong. She would never consider herself a better farmer to the others, but she does recognize she is different. Unlike the other animals, her best friend is her sheepdog. He protects her, and selflessly sends him out to protect the flock. She is The Farmer. She is The Police Wife.
What makes her so different? Well, a lot of things. She has a husband who works odd hours, sleeps odd hours, works holidays, weekends, and misses birthdays. Nearly ninety percent of her friends are accustom to the 9-5 workday, safer work environment, and they don’t lose any sleep worrying why their husband returns home late into the morning. Hell, she has to face it, will he ever return home? And when he does return home, will he mentally be home or just physically present?
While the sheepdog is out in the pasture having fun, and protecting the sheep, the farmer is meddling with unfamiliar tasks she hopes will keep the plantation productive. She tries not to complain, especially when he is home. She is grateful to have him home, safe and sound. She loves him and wants to see him happy; however, sometimes she feels her efforts to do so seem to be failing. In return, she feels like she is failing.
What is so special about being a police wife? She might say “nothing.” However, it’s not always a glamorous “gig.” Sometimes it’s taking on the responsibilities of both mom and dad. She runs kids to and from practices, helps with homework, scheduling and appointments. A typical marriage may feel like there is no “I” in “Team,” but being a police wife, it may seem like there is more “I” than there is a “Team.”
A police wife can spend weeks alone when he’s out of state on a training assignment. She may even attend family dinners and parties alone, but how fun are those without their best friend? Relationships are hard in general, but trying to balance a police lifestyle and marriage is far more complicated. There has to be complete trust and loyalty.
For many veteran police wives, it has become adventurous, spontaneous, and always changing. Some even pride themselves as “the homemaker and rule keeper of the kids.”
What is it like when the sheepdog comes home? Some police wives would say he either brings happiness and joy or depression and discouragement. The farmhouse either feels more relaxed and rose-colored or tense and half-empty. Even so; when he is home, the house has a stronger sense of security and peace.
A word of advice for the younger police wives, RELAX. Live a life that doesn’t crisscross with the tasks of the sheepdog. Be self-reliant. It’s okay to support the sheepdog, but don’t smother him with support. If so, he may bite, become frustrated, or leave. His duties do not always need to include his Farmer. Back off, and see how he responds. The veteran Farmer hasn’t made it all these years without picking up a few tricks along the way.
How has the police wife found balance? With the nauseant schedule, late nights, call-outs, and their husband’s frequent court appearances, she often finds herself multi-tasking. Plans change, vacations cancel, and appointments vary. Adjusting to this lifestyle isn’t an option; it’s a must. As soon as the adjustment is made, the balance begins to set in. The police wife begins to understand her needs and how to deal with undesirable stress. She stays busy and active, working through the day like everyone else. After years of practice, the police wife begins to see herself as “a wife and not a police wife.” It’s a great way of keeping work and home separate. Finding balance as a police wife means being able to adjust, compromise, and then survive!
The biggest fear of a police wife could merely be him never coming home and laying his life down in the line of duty; however, that’s not always true. Many believe that death does not discriminate, and it will come for all. They don’t woe in the thought of their sheepdog never coming home. Fear isn’t allowed to control The Farmer. Police wives rise every morning and engage the day. They take care of their duties, nurture the farm, and most importantly, she maintains her relationship with her best friend, the sheepdog.
Dedicated to my wife, Mekenzi and all the wonderful police wives who stand by our side. A special thank you to all the police wives who contributed their thoughts for this article. Thank you for bringing us in during our strongest storms.