I received compensation for this post from Once a Month Meals. All opinions are honest and my own.
Welcome to the world of police wife life! You may be flooded with emotions right now having just gotten married, in a new relationship or your spouse just entering law enforcement AND trying to juggle living the law enforcement lifestyle. I can promise you, you are not alone.
Sometimes we have so many questions that we don’t know where to start or who to ask. Or we know something feels off or we feel overwhelmed and we wonder if what we are experiencing is “normal”. These are all common experiences as a new (and, sometimes, seasoned) police wife.
But trying to answer every question you have will leave you feeling over saturated with information and wondering why you asked, unfortunately.
Where do you go now? How do you acclimate to this lifestyle?
I am going to tell you what I wish I was told when transitioning into police wife life with these 5 next steps.
Your next steps in police wife life:
1. Find your new normal.
It is important to realize that this is a lifestyle. There will be a lot of adjusting if you are new to the law enforcement lifestyle. Not all is bad, but all takes some getting used to. Boy, do I wish I had someone say that to me 13 years ago! With all the change, realize that your perspective matters. Be open to finding your new normal and embrace the time you have together.
You may feel like you have a lot of time without your officer, so use that time for good. Spend time with family or friends, take up a hobby, do work around your house, exercise, reserve time for self-care. All of these are positives to make time away from your officer go by faster.
But, please remember, this lifestyle does not need to consume you. It does not need to always be about your law enforcement lifestyle. Embrace your officer’s time off and allow him to be off work even if you only have little chunks of time together.
2. Invest time in learning about this lifestyle.
This lifestyle may bring a lot of questions, which is completely normal. Even many years in, I still have questions, too. Recently, my husband and I made a promise to one another to invest in learning more about service (first responder) marriages. It helps me understand what he goes through at his job and it helps him understand how I am feeling regarding his career. While our marriage grows, so does our law enforcement life, so we choose to grow together.
We read books like Emotional Survival for Law Enforcement by Dr. Gilmartin, we have attended a marriage retreat and counseling sessions through the Chris Kyle Frog Foundation, we took the Sheepdog Spouse Training from police officer AND police wife Autumn Clifford and much more.
We do all this to better understand blue life and one another.
3. Find friends that understand this lifestyle or are flexible.
It goes without saying, many non-law enforcement friends and family have no clue what this lifestyle is like. They don’t understand why our plans change suddenly or why we reserve our officer’s days off as family time. Try to help them understand. Talk with them, explain that you are balancing time off as best as you can. If it doesn’t seem that easy, then invest in those friends that do understand or accept the way your life is.
As far as family goes, try your hardest to explain how precious time is with your officer to them and how important it is to spend time together with them. When you are with family, try to focus on just being with family. Let your family know that family time is especially important to you and you will plan as much of it as you possibly can. Just sometimes, you ask for flexibility.
4. Know you are NOT alone.
So many police wives are in your shoes. I remember wondering this FOR SO LONG. Was I the only police wife struggling? The answer was NO. We all have rough transitions at times or harder seasons of life in any capacity and police wife life is no different.
Talking with other wives in your shoes may help. You can try to meet fellow wives in your officer’s department or join our closed group on Facebook for police wife support.
Having people to share stories with, befriend or just bounce off questions with, truly helps.
5. Plan ahead as much as possible.
I am going to be honest and say that your officer’s schedule is going to be somewhat unpredictable. Their days off are not always protected. Their days “off” may really be days scheduled for training, court, the range, or overtime. So having a family calendar or schedule will help you TREMENDOUSLY. Talk to your officer at the beginning of each month or each week about both of your schedules. Write down each of your plans and also try to pencil in some time that you can have together.
Also, plan meals as much as possible, too. So many of my nights alone were spent eating cereal and that can get pretty boring. So we decided to start meal planning a week or two at a time. It helps me on those busy nights when my officer is working AND it ensures my officer has meals while he is on and off duty.
We use Once a Month Meals to help us plan delicious lunch and dinner recipes. I simply go to the website a week or two in advance and find recipes that look easy and yummy! What I like about Once a Month Meals is that you can search for recipe categories. For example, Keto, gluten free, Fall recipes, soups, slow cooker recipes and more. It makes finding recipes super easy!
Each recipe has an option for how to make the recipe ahead of time and freeze it or it tells you how to make it and enjoy now! I simply print out the recipe and write out the ingredients I need on my grocery list then save the printed recipe for when I am ready to make it. I love making the crock-pot freezer meals because they save me SO much time on busy week nights. Bonus: I can leave the meal on warm for when my officer gets home late. We both get a warm, delicious meal: WIN-WIN!
Their Fall recipes and meal menus are my favorite! Check it out here!
I can’t tell you how many times meal planning has saved me! That is why I created the Meal Planning Bundle for Law Enforcement Families– it teaches you AND your officer how to meal plan and save money.
Overall, take it one day at a time. If you are struggling, give yourself some grace. Give yourself permission to focus on one issue at a time- not everything in a day. You got this!!
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