The world we live in can be both a beautiful blessing or a scary movie. And first responders have the lens to see both.
People do not often understand the true risks that come with being a first responder. However, the families of those who are have a glimpse into that world and what happens on that job. We know these jobs are hard, and they are not for everyone. The struggles of the job can really impact the family and close relationships of first responders. I’m here to share my experiences as the significant other of a police officer. Here is how we have been able to manage through the challenges of this job.
I learned early on in my partner’s career as a police officer to let him know that he had a safe place to share frustrations about his day and the calls he responded to.
At the same time, I wanted him to know that there was absolutely no pressure to share every detail about what he dealt with that day. Certain calls and situations can be tough to see. And I know he doesn’t like worrying me if he was in an extremely dangerous altercation. To be honest, I really appreciate that about him.
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It can be really challenging for me to not hear from him during the day when he is on a special call that lasts for hours. That can be stressful for me and I worry while he’s away. Communication has been crucial, and he knows that any free moment he has, he checks in to make sure I know that he is doing alright.
Outings look different for us, and he is not always willing or comfortable being in large crowds or big public places.
I have to remember that he sees things on the job that I do not ever have to experience, and there are times that he is not interested in dealing with the public which is 100% okay with me. Don’t get me wrong, we love doing all the things together like grocery shopping, target runs, gym, and date nights . . . you name it. But there are days when he is not in the mood. And there are days he puts on a smile and tags along anyway. It’s all about balance and finding that peace and understanding.
Our family has been able to adjust to the differences in his schedules.
Through each shift change, we have learned the pros and cons of each one. We’ve decided on what is best for our little family and what we is not exactly our favorite. There have been times when we have had to continue with holidays, birthdays, and other celebrations without him. He often misses out on some of the fun things which can be a huge bummer. We have the best circle of family and friends who always understand and who know how his schedule can be. And he has always been very grateful for my flexibility with all of it.
We have had our fair share of struggles. There are times when I am guilty of not seeing things from his perspective, and there are moments when the struggles of the job can make him seem irritable and stressed.
But time has helped me grow into the partner that I needed to become, to stay supportive and honest, and to be a safe place as well as a sounding board. Over the years, we have found our groove. We know what the other needs to feel respected and heard. The job of a first responder is both gratifying and stressful. Our family just wants to have a good place to come home and talk when that day is over.
It won’t always be perfect, but we are always learning and growing.
The opinions expressed in this post are those of the author. They do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of ABQ Mom, its executive team, other contributors to the site, its sponsors or partners, or any organizations the aforementioned might be affiliated with.