Everyone’s life is complicated. Everyone runs a gamut of emotions, cancels plans, and wishes that others could just understand. In a law enforcement family, things can get complicated and it’s hard to explain that to people who aren’t living a similar life. Sometimes, we can even explain it and people still don’t understand. So, here in writing, are 5 things police spouses wish their non-police friends understood:
1. It’s really hard for us to make plans. We really want to be able to go out and do things with our friends, but our schedules are NEVER the same. They change weekly as is, but they change daily as well. We never know when our officer might be held over, called in, or have court scheduled. With children, we have a whole new can of worms. We’re playing that single parent game. We may be able to make plans with some of our parent friends: think, play dates. However, those plans can change for the same reasons mentioned above. It’s hard to schedule a dinner date for just us and our officer let alone planning a get together with more than two people.
Here’s an actual example of trying to make dinner plans with another couple after J was born in December:
Friend: (In January) Hope you had a great holiday- we would love to do our annual restaurant week date if you guys are up for it! It’s the last week in February. When does Mr. Troop work?
Me: He has to work that whole week, but he has Sunday off.
*Makes reservations for that Sunday in Feb.
*Date approaches and everyone is excited.
*Massive blizzard hits Saturday night so we decide to reschedule.
*We’re able to reschedule for the last Saturday in March.
2. Stop asking us for details about events. Our spouses don’t go to every single call that is in the news. Yes, they work a lot. No, they don’t go to every call, every day. And, if they do go to a call, they’re not
likely going to give you many details, and it’s not like we can give you all of the gory details because a) we might not have any details and/or b) we have been sworn to secrecy, so you’ll just have to wait until the article comes out or the court case is closed! In the meantime, please stop asking if our spouses were at such and such the other night. If there’s something we can talk to you about and we want to talk to you about it, we will.
3. We are aware that many people do not like police. We are aware that officers are being shot during routine traffic stops. And, yes, we are scared. You bringing it up every time you talk to us is not beneficial. It makes us not want to have conversations with you. It also makes us wonder what you do with your free time because you’ve really gotten into scouring the web for Doomsday news, Karen; pick a new hobby!
And, to the in-laws that are joining in on this: You are allowed to be scared, too. But,
you’re not allowed to overshadow our feelings and our relationship by projecting your negative news on us every time we get together. Stop making us feel like we’re not being supportive of our officers just because we don’t seem phased by the hundredth “cop death” story you’re telling us. When you constantly text updates and it’s all you talk about at get- togethers, it drags us down. This may be how you handle your fear, but we can’t spend all of our time in this aspect of the job. We hear you. We’re scared. And, we’ve moved on, so please stop reminding us.
4. Everyone has ‘a friend’ and it’s annoying to all of us. Our spouses don’t want to talk to you about “your friend” who may or may not have gotten into some trouble. Everyone has a friend who has done something, we get it. But, when they’re ‘off duty’ and trying to enjoy themselves, they don’t want to recite laws to you. So, please stop ruining their time
off asking for legal advice for you Aunt’s brother’s cousin’s best friend!
- If it’s really important, they will talk to you. And, most of the time, they’ll have the conversation with you. But, it really puts a damper on their day. So, please, be cautious and think before you ask.
Aside from that, we don’t know all of the laws and can’t answer all of your questions either. So, stop plaguing us with your stories! This is one of the big reasons I don’t flaunt Mr. Troop’s job around. (And, if you’d like to support your police officer without flaunting it to the world, check out my article here.)
5. We have ’emergency plans’ for everything we do. We don’t hate everything you suggest, we’re just skeptical of everyone and everything, and we actually wish you were more aware of your surroundings. It looks weird to non-police friends. At first, it looks weird to us as the spouse, but we just roll with it and eventually it becomes our new normal. We back into parking spots. We know that when we’re out to eat, our officer sits in whatever seat they can have a clear view of the door from. And, when our officer isn’t with us, we sit in the seat that has a clear view of the door. We’ve had many
conversations that sound something like, “If I say get the kids and get under the table, you just do it and you do it as fast as you can.” Why is it that non-police friends find this conversation odd?! Why doesn’t everyone have some sort of plan for every place they go? It’s not that we hate people or judge them based off of their looks. It’s that we know what people are capable of and everyone is guilty until proven innocent!
6. We need your support. We might not ask for it. We might seem like we have it all together. In reality, we’re just surviving. We’re sleep deprived from worrying all night. We watch the news and try not to let it get to us. We go to work and focus on what needs to be accomplished, but in the back of our minds, there’s only one thing that matters. On the outside, we look like we know what we’re doing, but on the inside, we have no idea. Our days consist of working, or taking care of the family, or prepping dinner all while we’re waiting for the sweet sound of Velcro to reassure us that our family has survived another day. So make sure, if you’re part of someone’s support system, you check in on them often.