Police spouses all around support their partners in so many ways. Running all aspects of a home and family life while either working full-time or staying home with your children is a lot of work for one person to manage the majority of. Often times these behind the scenes actions go unnoticed.
As a police spouse, you understand that your partner’s career comes with long days and nights, missed holidays and yet an incredible amount of respect and pride. It can be hard to survive the late night shifts, those mis-matched schedules and those feelings of anxiety that can easily creep into your everyday life.
Calgary Beyond the Blue has become a resource and connection for me in so many ways. Since police families face such unique circumstances, not even my closest family members or even my best friends can truly understand my worries, my disappointments or even my proudest moments. This community has linked me with some amazing people that I can truly relate to. Even if I just need to vent about a lonely night shift or another missed holiday, I am surrounded by a bunch of other people that also “get it”. They can offer words of wisdom or even just normalize things when my world feels a little bit crazy.
Feeling that connection as part of a larger community also helps take away those feelings of loneliness that often accompany this line of work. Twelve hour shifts, night shifts, and even over time can often create feelings of isolation and for some, a sense of single parenting. We can choose to either stress and be disappointed with the schedule or we can choose to look for the positives and make the best out of the situation. Some days are easier than others, but if we have an open mind and a supportive relationship with our spouse, and team of BTB community members behind us to feel supported, it can all work out.
Some of the positive things about shift work for our family include; going to Costco on a Wednesday morning with no line ups; taking off a rotation and getting almost two weeks of holidays; triple time for working any stat holidays; having almost 24 hours off in-between the day and night shifts, giving you time to check in with your partner; 4 or 5 days off in a row (so many things you can get done together, around the house, or as a family). The list goes on.
I have personally made the choice to enjoy night shifts. This is the time when we order skip the dishes and watch movies. Once the kids go to bed I can enjoy guilt free, uninterrupted me time. Whether I choose to binge watch recorded TV, participate in hobbies I enjoy doing, or even go to bed early, read a good book and sprawl through the sheets. I choose to do the things that recharge my “batteries”
Like I said at the beginning, being a police spouse can be rewarding as well as stressful. In my opinion it’s all about choice and perspective. I can choose to be bitter about the hours worked or I can choose to see things through a positive lens and make the best out of the situation. Most importantly, we are not alone in this unique way of life. We have our BTB community to fall on and all the incredible people in it.