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 One of the weird roles I play as a police wife is that of diplomat.
 
Because of my husband’s work schedule, he misses so many family/church events it’s not even funny.  And even though I’ve just about gotten used to it (for the most part – because it’s just hard no matter what), a lot of our family and friends haven’t.
 
So on the (many) occasions he doesn’t get to be there, I get to answer the question.
 
 “Where’s your husband?”
 
Yeah, yeah.  I know.  My husband is missing another event, I get it.  It must be so annoying for you.  Where do you think he is?
 
But instead, I take a deep breath, smile, and say, “He’s at work.”
 
 I’d love to say our friends and family are always 100% understanding.  Heck, I’d love to say I’m always understanding of why he can’t be around.  But the truth is, his schedule is just hard on everyone.

 
Yes, I spend a lot of time explaining why he can’t be at certain events.  Yes, I spend a lot of time scheduling his appointments and cancelling them when he gets busy and can’t do it himself.  It’s rough… And it’s definitely a bummer when family can’t just buck up and understand.
 
But with that being said, I have to understand that they don’t understand.  If they’ve never been in a situation like ours, there’s no way they really can understand.  So even though it can be frustrating, I have to be patient.
 

In the meantime, there are ways to deal with the question the right way.

Remind them he wants to be there.

Make sure you talk about how much he wishes he could be there – whatever the event is.  How he was looking forward to it, but sends his regards.

Feel free to remind them that criminals don’t take breaks, so he can’t either – but try not to be too grouchy when you do so 🙂  To you, it’s obvious.  It affects everything in your life – not theirs.  So sometimes it pays to remind them of the reality of his job – the fact that he has to be there to help when crime goes down, which means it’s not restricted to banker’s hours.

 

Involve him as much as possible.

My husband is totally not the type to send cards for birthdays or holidays.  It’s hard for him to even remember to call or text on a special day sometimes, especially when he’s on night shifts.  So – for better or worse – the responsibility falls to me.

Again, I don’t always love it – but it’s just part of the deal.

I try to keep my calendar organized – especially so I can get reminders on my phone for birthdays/anniversaries.  That way, when I get a reminder, I can shoot him a quick text to remind him to call or text whoever it is when he gets a chance.

I also try to remember to send cards/letters/artwork from my son to our family members every so often.  If he’s not around to sign them, I just sign off from both of us.  Which is especially easy if I order something online and can have the gift tag written in both our names – no pesky handwriting issues to rat us out 😉

The more involved your husband is when he can be, the less hurt your family and friends will feel when it’s not possible.

 

Make use of technology.

A friend recently introduced me to the Marco Polo app.  She uses it to stay connected with her firefighter/military husband – and I have to say, I wish I’d heard of it before.

It’s like a blend between text messaging and Skype, where you can record a video of yourself for the other person, then they can respond whenever they have a chance.  

It’s a great tool to help your husband feel involved when there’s a family function he can’t be at.  And it’s a great way to show your family what he’s busy doing while they’re partying it up – it might just be enough for them to realize he’s not missing fun events by choice.

 

Realize you don’t have to fix everything.

Seriously, I know how frustrating it is when your family and friends just don’t understand.  I know when you can’t smooth everything over, the feeling that you’re failing at this life might start creeping in.
 
Don’t let it.
 
Acknowledge the fact that you can only do so much.  You can explain your life to them until you’re blue in the face, but when it comes down to it, it’s their choice whether or not to accept it.
 
You don’t always have to play the peacekeeper.  If there’s a friend or family member who refuses to let it go, you can tell them you’re done talking about it.  That’s okay.  You can only be a diplomat as much as they’ll let you.  Beyond that, it’s out of your control.
 
 
Honestly, there’s no perfect way to deal with this situation – or most of the situations you’ll face as a police wife.  We all just do our best – and that has to be enough 🙂
 

How do you help your family and friends understand your husband’s schedule?

Um, YES! It's so hard to make my family understand why my LEO can't be at every single event. I mean I get it, they miss him - but it's seriously annoying when they harp on it.

 

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