By Melissa Littles, PoliceOne Contributor
Shift schedules, call-outs, last minute changes in plans, wonky holidays, breakfast at 3:00pm, do these sound familiar? Being a police spouse makes life unique, to say the least.
As spouses, we settle in and those peculiarities become our norm, but we are often reminded by those outside of law enforcement that our lives are unique. The looks and comments that come our way in the midst of “our normal” can sometimes leave us thinking, “Was it something I said?”
Most law enforcement spouses have an inner circle primarily comprised of other LEO families. But it’s the following types of awkward situations that lead LEO spouses to distance themselves from non-LEO families.
1. Our conversations are not meant for the salon. We’ve all been there – your LEO is actually off-duty on a Saturday and a few of the girls from the office or the kid’s gymnastics class decide to do mani/pedis. You hesitantly decide to go, after all, you haven’t spent money on yourself or had time to yourself in months. As you all settle into your warm massage chairs and the relaxation takes over, your LEO calls. As you hang up you are met with the bug-eyed glares from your co-workers, and everyone in earshot in the salon. It is then you realize you just asked your LEO “Was the same prostitute who tipped him off to the best meth dealer on the block a few months ago?” Awkward… Not salon talk.
2. A kid’s invitation to a birthday party will require investigation. It seems that an invitation to a birthday party comes home in your kid’s backpack at least once a week. And you are once again faced with your own form of background check and clearance mission. If the party is at a public place, your LEO still wants the last name and home address of the family. If the party is at a residence, well you know a special kind of clearance must occur.
3. We might need a convincing backstory for the neighborhood BBQ. This is where you learn to get your story straight first. Will you say that your husband is in “sanitation” or does he specialize in “community beautification committees” or “recycling” or do you choose to reveal that he’s an LEO and not eat the burgers, just in case? After all, you never know what their true feelings are about police.
I usually go with something vague, and leave feeling slightly paranoid that the couple from the cul-de-sac suspects we’re a family of international spies. I’m actually okay with that.
4. Our husband’s text messages won’t go over well during a business meeting. Why does it always seem to happen at the most inopportune times? You are all at the conference table; it’s a casual meeting, then you notice your co-worker is glancing down at your phone on the table. The text message still lit up like a bomb in the night sky:
“Whoo-hoo! I GOT METH!! Biggest score in months!”
You slowly reach and turn your phone over and bury your head in your spreadsheet knowing watercooler talk just got interesting.
5. In the aftermath of on-duty injury what we say may leave people scratching their heads. You’re just thankful your LEO isn’t more seriously injured. That call still has your heart racing. You don’t think twice when you run out of the office, or grocery store, or playdate saying, “I gotta go, my husband was just exposed to a meth lab” or “Shit! My husband just got pricked with a dirty needle again!” The blank stares never even register on your radar.
6. We’ll probably never fit in with that moms’ group. Police wives (specifically) choose to distance themselves from certain circles — especially the “Social Moms’ Club.” You know, the ones that leave you feeling broke, lacking style, judged and as if your marriage is somehow subpar? And you know, without a doubt, you’ll never be invited to that botox party…and frankly, you’re just fine with that.
You have actually learned to enjoy their catty smirks when you state things like, “Sorry, sounds great, but we’re not into that kind of thing. We’ll be headed to the gun range to squeeze off a few rounds, and then my hubby is taking me shopping for a concealed carry corset for my new baby Glock.”
Somehow, after a while in this life, all those eyebrow-raising moments from anyone outside law enforcement don’t phase us anymore. It all becomes part of our daily routine. It can even provide us a few laughs, reminding us that “our own club” is a pretty kick ass club to be a part of.
Personally, I think it’s pretty amazing to know I have thousands of sisters and blue family members all across this country that would do anything they could for me if my family was in need — all that without meeting me or judging me, simply because they too live it, and get it.
That’s what Blue Family is all about.
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