Police Wives Share Their Advice on How to Live with the Law
By Ashley Brooks on 09/21/2015
You were a little nervous when your husband first revealed his desire to become a police officer, but you put your fears aside to support him in pursuing his dream. Now that his education is complete and he’s ready to join the police force, the months of worrying are starting to catch up with you.
Not only are you concerned for your husband’s safety, but you aren’t quite sure what to expect as a police wife. What will your life look like when your husband is on duty and you’re wrangling the kids on your own? How can you cope with the stress you’re feeling about your husband’s high-risk job?
You’re not alone
These questions and concerns are completely normal. It may seem like stress and worry will be part of your daily life from now on, but that doesn’t have to be the case. With the right support, you can learn to cope with your stress so you can get back to the important job of managing your family and being there for your husband.
We connected with the wives of first responders who were once in your shoes. Keep reading to learn their top coping strategies for police wives.
5 constructive coping strategies for police wives
1. Make friends
“One of the best ways to handle stress and worry is to link up with other first responder wives,” says Kami Storck, licensed marriage and family therapist and wife of a firefighter. Other police spouses are people who truly understand the range of emotions you’re experiencing as you balance your family life with your husband’s job.
Storck urges you to attend as many department events as you can to meet other police wives and strike up friendships. These women can give you advice and resources when you need them, and they’ll be there to help if your ten-year-old breaks his leg while your husband is on shift. “You have just gained a whole new family,” says Storck.
2. Take some quiet time
It’s easy to let negative emotions get the best of you when your mind is racing 100 miles per hour. Sometimes you just need to slow down and take a deep breath.
"Trust your spouse, trust his training & trust your ability to handle things when he's away."
“One of the best tactics for managing stress is spending fifteen minutes a day staying calm, being mindful of your own stress and planning out your day,” says Nicol Stolar-Peterson, licensed clinical social worker and police wife of seven years.
Taking time away from the busyness of your day will help you reign in stress and alleviate fear. You may also want to try other relaxing practices, like meditation or yoga classes.
3. Find professional help
Going to therapy may seem extreme, but a mental health professional can help you work through work/life balance, anxiety and stress among other relationship issues, according to Storck.
Remember, therapy doesn’t need to be something you go to alone. “Couples work is imperative,” says Stolar-Peterson, especially since the traumas experienced by an officer throughout the day tend to follow him home.
Look for a therapist who has a background in PTSD and secondary or vicarious trauma, recommends Stolar-Peterson. Your department’s Employee Assistance Program should be able to connect you with a qualified therapist in your area.
4. Make the most of online resources & support groups
There are plenty of online resources to help you connect with other law enforcement wives in your area or across the nation. A great starting point is the First Responder Network, according to Stolar-Peterson. The group offers support, services and resources to first responders and their families.
If connecting with other police wives is your goal, Facebook is another great resource. Some of Storck’s favorite Facebook groups are National Police Wives Association, Police Wives Unite and Marital First Responders. She adds there are other groups that are kept private for personal safety reasons, so be sure to reach out to your department’s Employee Assistance Program if you’re having trouble finding the online resources for which you’re looking.
5. Remember why it’s worth it
Being a police wife may never be easy, but remembering why your husband entered the force in the first place makes it all worthwhile. “I’m very proud of the work my spouse does and we enjoy teaching our children to serve, help, protect and stand up for what’s right,” says Stolar-Peterson.
Your spouse has undergone rigorous training so he can spend his days making a positive impact on his community. “Trust your spouse, trust his training and trust your ability to handle things when he’s away. You are now in this amazing journey together,” Storck says.
Living with the law
Any police wife knows her husband’s career is much more than just a job. You are an integral part of helping him achieve his dream and make the world a better place.
These tips for police wives should help you better support him and manage your stress and anxiety. You are now part of a prestigious group of women who band together to support one another. You’ll never be alone when you can turn to these resources for help.
Police wives don’t have to feel afraid and alone. Share this article on social media to spread the word about resources for law enforcement spouses!
Do you have another piece of advice to share with police wives? Add it in the comments below!