I have been a police officer for 18 years and a mom for 21 years. If I’m honest, being a mom is the harder of the two jobs. Raising kids to be successful, confident adults is a pretty big task. There are so many joys and challenges of being a police mom.
The Work Schedule
Having worked about every shift brings some unique challenges. I spend much of my time sleep deprived and can get so exhausted, I barely know my own name. My four kids have grown up knowing their mom may not make every event because I work quirky hours and on the weekends. I have had many opportunities afforded to me by working those hours, but I have missed a lot too. I have worked on Christmas, birthdays, and during sporting events. My kids are very understanding, but it is still difficult to say “I can’t make it, because I have to work.”
The nice thing about my current schedule is that I can get away from the job for 3 consecutive days. I can attend school functions and am able to visit their classrooms to explain the tools on my belt. On my days off, my girls do not have to go to daycare and we can do family activities that a normal 9-5 job would not allow. I think it is so important to be able to walk away from my job and be there for my family a few days a week.
It is impossible to turn off my cop mindset. I have done many investigations and interrogations in homes that are impossible to forget about. Like most moms, I worry about my children. The difference, though, is that I see and experience the dangers kids are facing on a daily basis. It makes me fearful for my own children. To help combat this, I regularly talk with them about body safety, the dangers of drugs and alcohol, and bullying.
I have educated my kids on the many dangers in the world and that it might happen right in front of us. My kids know that I will react appropriately and they are to run away and get help. I am scared that if I react to a situation, my girls won’t want to leave my side during the encounter. You can talk to kids, but no one knows how they will react until faced with it.
When I have a difficult situation at work, I know it affects me when I get home. I share those situations with my kids because it is important for them to know the reason behind my emotions. I love to share funny and good stories as well because I want them to know that everything we do isn’t all bad. My oldest is 21 years old and understands the dangers of the job. It brought tears to my eyes to get a text from him saying he was thinking of me and wondering what other job I could do that wasn’t so dangerous.
Stress and Rewards
The most stressful thing about being a police officer is the anticipation of what the next call will be. I instantly start thinking about how I will handle it. In addition, the anticipation of the next emergency call stresses me out! The most stressful thing about being a mom is the constant worry that my kids are safe. Even though my two oldest children are out of the house and living at their respective schools, I worry about them on a daily basis. Relying on my faith helps calm me, but there is still a sense of worry.
The most rewarding part of being a police officer is knowing that I have an opportunity to make a difference in someone’s life. I work hard to help the victims I come in contact with. The most rewarding part of being a mom is seeing my children succeed in whatever they set out to do. I must say I love their hugs more than anything. I tell them I love them every chance I get.
Once I was asked what was more stressful…a subject with a weapon or a public meltdown of my child. I’ll admit that public meltdowns make me sweat and really test my patience. Over the years I have learned that the more I show my stress, the more those little tyrants act up, so I have learned to ignore it. I have tools that I can use on the job to handle calls, but these can’t be used on my child!
Proud to Be a Police Mom
Being a police officer has made me a better mom because both jobs require a ton of patience. I would like to think of myself as a great mom with everything together, but some days this can’t be farther from the truth. To be honest, I try my best and sometimes I fall short of perfect. They also know that when I am not home it’s because I care for other people. too, and I need to put on a uniform and go help them.
At the end of the day, my kids know I love them.
Advice I have for other mothers, is relax. It is important to surround yourself with people with the same values, have good friends you can call on if you need some help, and enjoy some “me” time now and then. You just do the best you can do and teach your children to be good people, treat others with respect and value themselves.
This post is one of our 5-part Police Week series. Be sure to check out the others here:
The Police Rookie’s Wife: Our First Year as a Blue Family
Police Week: I am Happy I was Pulled Over With My Kids
My Police Dad: Life After the Badge
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