Have you heard the phrase, “there is nothing like a man in uniform”? I am sure everyone has, but we spouses know all that goes into that uniform, beyond the view. And now I see two views, as I am the wife of an Army National Guard soldier and Law Enforcement Officer (LEO). I never thought of our lives as dual serving until six months ago when my husband announced he would hang up his medic scrubs for a law enforcement uniform.
Our 11 years of marriage have always revolved around the constant transition from his civilian career to his career in the Army National Guard. What many don’t realize is that the Guard soldiers who don’t serve full time still have civilian careers–which means added responsibility and challenges of managing both roles.
But this has all recently changed for us.
I am not going to lie, I liked the idea of my husband coming home and taking off the military uniform until it was time to serve again. Now, as the wife of a LEO, I have the daily constant worry, the worry that the world we live in today isn’t kind to police officers. It is a dual worry, present no matter which uniform he puts on. When my husband’s military uniform comes off, I am thrown into the reality of the next role. In some respects the world of law enforcement is not very different from the military world, the lifestyle can be night and day. We have our moments in which we need to step back, take a deep breath and realize that the two don’t go together. My husband doesn’t have the same unit working with him; the missions are very different. I don’t participate in the same spouse support groups; I live near almost every LEO spouse as opposed to my military friends that are scattered across the country. So alike and yet so different.
Since becoming a LEO spouse, I have gone through many stages of adjustment. Before, I had to learn to accept and embrace the change when my husband deployed, now I am learning to embrace that same change when he is home. I am the same person: military spouse, LEO spouse, mom, daughter, friend and so much more. But yet, there is no normal.
So how do we balance both work roles? If this is something you and your spouse are considering, read ahead.