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What It’s Like to Be the Wife of a Police Officer

What It’s Like to Be the Wife of a Police Officer


The intense, mixed emotions of being the wife of a police officer.
 

During Spirit Week at my son’s school, students were asked to dress up as what they wanted to be when they grew up. My son chose to be a baseball player, and I figured we would see lots of other ballplayers, along with plenty of doctors and superheroes. But that wasn’t the most popular choice among kids at his school—not even close.  

As we approached the school, I noticed dozens of kids dressed as police officers, which surprised me. Boys and girls, younger as well as older kids, all decked out in navy blue uniforms and badges. I had a sense of pride, and I smiled at the innocence of these kids’ desires to serve and protect. I also got a rush of anxiety because, should these young children still want to be cops when they actually do grow up, they are in for a rough road. It’s a tough life, and police officers and their families need a lot of support—not to mention, it’s scary as all get out.

My husband is a New York City police officer, and he is very dedicated to his job. He takes it seriously; he does it with pride and rarely complains. With two young boys at home and a demanding job with even more demanding hours, the fact that my husband doesn’t complain isn’t just worth mentioning, it’s a feat in itself.

As a cop’s wife who also works, it has been tricky managing our schedules. He works nights, and so, between work and parenting duties, I sometimes go several days without interacting with my husband face to face. This is the norm, and the boys, and I have grown accustomed to missing him and spending weekends without him. We try to capitalize on any time off my husband has by spending quality time together and doing fun things as a family. 

However, with the recent bombings and ever-present threats in New York City, we’ve had even less time together than usual, since he has been working tons of overtime. As for me? I am more anxious than ever about his career given the current climate and recent police shootings.



At home, we talk about these things in private. Our sons are 4 and 1 and best left out of conversations about the dangers of their father’s job, at least for now. However, one day in the near future we will have to sit them down and explain the realty of being a police officer. We will have to tell them that police officers sometimes make the ultimate sacrifice in order to protect the people of their community. And that unfortunately, sometimes officers make mistakes. 

In lieu of those talks, right now we have a strict family rule of saying “I love you” and giving hugs and kisses when Daddy leaves for work. It’s a great tradition that I’m sure many families enjoy, but in our home, as in many law-enforcement families, it is not to be missed, even on the busiest days. That’s the strange reality of living with a police officer. He might not come home after his shift. He might not come home ever again. That truth is something I carry with me always, but am sadly reminded of it more frequently of late.

We live in scary times and part of me just wants to run away from it all and move to a more serene environment—somewhere with a backyard and a garden, where I can give my kids a more innocent upbringing. But that’s out of the question given my husband’s job. Plus, the reality is there are dangers everywhere. I support my husband in his career, just as he supports me in mine. Whatever happens, we will get through it as a family.

With all that being said, life is otherwise great. Our boys are happy and healthy, and I have pretty much adjusted to the demands of being a police officer’s wife. It’s unfortunate that we live with the ever-present knowledge of potential tragedy in our lives, but that just comes with the territory. On the other side of it, we have our own personal hero who protects and serves us daily. My boys and I couldn’t be prouder.


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