Let’s all be honest. Police wives are crazy. We aren’t fooling anyone. We are flat-out, undeniably crazy. I’m not talking about the kind of crazy where you break into someone’s home and try on all their clothes. I’m not talking about the kind of crazy where you cut out individual magazine letters to use for a note you intend to mail to an enemy. I’m talking about a raw, unfiltered, and unbridled crazy that surfaces when it comes to defending their loved one or their peers on any platform.
One of my dearest police wife friends, Millie McClean (an admin at Humanizing the Badge and a soon to be co-author of this website), and I were talking today about how we are a very unique breed of people. We aren’t understood by many. In fact, I’d even wager that most non-leo families find us rather peculiar. And, I can’t fault them. I can spot a police wife on social media from a gigabyte away. So let’s just talk about the very conditions that set us apart.
Here are the 13 signs that you are a police wife:
1. Your house is prepared for war….or the Zombie Apocalypse (whichever comes first): You literally have guns strategically placed around your home that enable you to have safe, but easy access to them. Someone breaks into your kitchen? Got it. Oh, someone is coming in through the bedroom window? Not a problem. Someone bursts in on you while using the restroom? Surprise! No big deal. You’ve got it handled.
2. You know your exits. Most normal people do not have their escape routes planned out when they go grocery shopping. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have an exit strategy in mind for any kind of active shooter situation. Being married into the LEO family is a constant reminder that tragedy doesn’t strike when people are expecting it. You have to anticipate it in order to prepare for it.
3. Certain eating establishments are off limits. This isn’t because their food flat out sucks. It’s because your spouse has arrested over half of their staff. Nothing is more awkward and uncomfortable than accepting an already questionable hamburger from someone who was recently arrested for peddling black tar heroin outside of a school zone.
4. You are unable to invite non-LEO families over for dinner without them asking your spouse about the law. This one is pretty self explanatory. I can see it on my husbands face as soon as the conversation starts. He isn’t able to have a couple of beers with people he has just met because the Q & A sessions is undoubtedly right around the corner. “Is it illegal when someone….” Hey, man. Just google it. Our other favorites are the following:
“What is the worst call you have ever experienced?”
“Have you ever killed someone?”
“Have you ever been on COPS?”
Just. Stop. It.
5. Someone you barely know name-drops you at a traffic stop. This one drives me crazy and has happened to me more than once. One lady went as far as even claiming that she loved meeting our new baby in the hospital and how much he looked just like his daddy. The only thing is….I’ve never met her. She definitely hasn’t ever met our child. In fact, I couldn’t even point her out in a crowd. I can, however, delete her cousin off of facebook so she can stop using us by association.
6. Buying a new bag is never easy. You can’t buy a bag unless it has a safe place for your gun. It’s hard to be practical and fashionable at the same time. I want to look classy but I want to be safe doing it.
7. Your spouse has either banned you from commenting on news threads or has accepted that you are a loose cannon that cannot be caged. My husband goes back and forth on this frequently. Sometimes he wants me to keep my mouth shut and other times he sits back in appreciation as I use my skillset to strike down those who do not believe in fact or evidence. My favorite situation was a man who stated that he could handle a SWAT call-up in 3 minutes or less. He was an extremely heavy set man who enjoyed quarterbacking from the basement of his mommy’s house. My response? “By the looks of it, you can’t even get out of your car in three minutes or less.” Call of Duty doesn’t make you a trained professional.
8. Holidays are dumb. Look at all the adorable families spending so much time together around the holidays! That’s neat. I’m sorry your husband had to work on Abraham Lincoln’s birthday. You’re right. It just isn’t fair and this country doesn’t care about family time anymore. My husband worked on Christmas, Christmas Eve, Thanksgiving, 4th of July, our anniversary, my birthday, our kid’s birthday, his birthday, and he always has to arrest some jack waggon dressed up as a lumberjack on Halloween. I’m glad you all got to celebrate the holidays together because people like him keep you safe while doing so. Unless you are a first responder or someone in the medical field, you just don’t get it.
9. The local news is often responsible for telling you how your spouse’s day is going. I can’t even count how many times I’ve found out that my husband was in danger because I’ve seen him broadcasted from a distance by a local news camera. Even more so, sometimes the only way we know our husbands are safe or coming home late is by their (the news) poor and broken reporting of the event.
10. People say the dumbest things. “What is happening on 17th and Frankensteen?” I don’t know. He doesn’t call me or check in before every call. In fact, I don’t know how his day is going until it’s over. Sometimes I don’t even know if he’s alive until I get that phone call 6 hours after something extremely dangerous has happened. When I know something, you’ll likely already know the answer by tuning into social media or your local news.
11. When you hear rattling in your dryer, you automatically assume it is bullets. Please don’t let this be the time that my dryer overheats above 200 degrees. Please just be a toy from my child’s jacket.
12. You have trouble sleeping without them there. I know this is probably only typical for late evening and overnight shifters. It has always been extremely difficult for me to sleep when my husband is on the job. I am always terrified that I am going to miss something by sleeping through it. If I do fall asleep, I always wake up around the time he is suppose to be home. Then I wait. Sometimes I wait for a few minutes and sometimes I wait for a few hours but I won’t rest again until I hear the sound of that garage door opening.
13. You rely heavily on your fellow LEO families. This may not be true for everyone but it most definitely is for me. I know that I wouldn’t be near as sane as I am today if it weren’t for the amazing men and women who reached out to me when I became one of them. I’ve gotten text messages in the middle of the night from my fellow family members that say “I just wanted you to know that I heard from James. Our boys are safe.” I can remember all the nights of us sitting in each other’s living rooms or at restaurants as we wait to hear that our loved one’s call-up is complete and they are all safe and sound. I can think of the times when my family has been hospitalized and we never missed a meal, mowed our own lawn, or had to worry about making ends meet. We are never alone, isolated, or forgotten.
There are so many other things that make us the way that we are. Even though I often feel misunderstood, I wouldn’t trade this family for anything in the world. There will never be a day that I am not standing beside them and supporting them relentlessly. I’ll never forget that each day could be their last. I’ll never allow complacency to deafen my voice or allow myself to take them for granted. I’m proud to be a part of this family. If that makes me crazy, then hand me a marker. I’ll color myself crazy all day long.
Until Next Time –
Elizabeth and Millie