Struggling with the unpredictability of police wife life? Here are some tips on the best ways to bounce back from ruined plans.
One of the hardest parts of police wife life is when you make super awesome fun plans and you’re all ready to go, but then… the call comes.
Maybe it means an extra shift, maybe it’s just a slightly extended shift, maybe you don’t see him for a few days because it’s an “all hands on deck” emergency.
Regardless of the reason, it’s hard.
And trust me, I know. I’ve honestly never been the most flexible person. I’ve been known to get super attached to firm plans, then freak out a little when they don’t work out. Trust me when I say law enforcement life (well, and parenthood) helped me make huge strides in this area.
That being said, it’s still not necessarily easy. It’s still disappointing when things don’t work out the way I’d like it to.
The difference is I’ve developed coping strategies to become more flexible and deal with it better when the situation comes up, and that’s what I’m going to share today.
How To Be More Flexible When An Unexpected Call Ruins Your Plans
Take a deep breath.
Okay, seriously, just take a breath first and foremost. Take a minute to collect yourself. Allow yourself to mourn the loss of the plans you really wanted to keep, because there’s nothing wrong with feeling upset. You’re allowed to feel however you feel when disappointment arises.
Sometimes, and this might sound silly, I have to talk to myself like I’d talk to a child. I have to say to myself, “This is frustrating. It’s okay to feel frustrated.”
It seems like a simple thing, but just acknowledging your feelings and allowing yourself to feel them is incredibly helpful. It means you don’t have to pile guilty and self-loathing on top of the disappointment.
Don’t be embarrassed or ashamed because you’re disappointed. It doesn’t mean you’re not a good wife or that you’re not cut out for police wife life. That’s not the case at all!
You’re a real person, with real feelings. No matter how many people tell you, “good police wives don’t complain”, doesn’t make it true (because it’s really really not.) You’re allowed to feel upset and that’s okay.
When you’re ready to move along, try to think of a way to revise your plans so they’re not altogether ruined. This might be easier said than done, but it’s necessary if you want to still have a good time.
Maybe it means calling up a girlfriend and having a girl’s night instead. Maybe you just go for a walk or a run by yourself and enjoy being outdoors (and make good use of the natural endorphins that come with exercise!). Maybe you rent a movie or binge watch Netflix with some take-out or ice cream – I mean, maybe you just have ice cream for dinner. No judgment here, girl.
The more often it happens, the better you’ll get at regrouping – whether you consider that a positive thing or not 🙂
But seriously, you’ll eventually develop a nice running list of alternate plans you like to do in your head, and the ruined plans won’t necessarily mean your night has to be completely ruined.
You might even secretly hope for a little alone time pampering instead sometimes. It’s okay, I won’t tell 🙂
Make backup plans ahead of time.
If possible, try to make a plan A and a plan B at the same time that you make plans with your husband.
That means, have Plan A – dinner tonight plus a movie, and if it gets cancelled, Plan B – doing it a different day, moving it a few hours later, or having an alternate date night whenever he gets off shift.
Naturally, there always needs to be secret Plan C, because, well, he is a police officer – but the more predictable you can make things for yourself, the more level-headed you’re gonna stay.
Basically, while you’re hoping for the best, make sure you’re prepared for the worst.
Focus on the benefits.
One of the best ways to reduce the disappointment of a failed date night is to focus on the benefits that come from it.
For me, when my husband would be called in on a prisoner transport (an 8-9 hour ordeal at best where we lived), it sucked – but it also meant a good chunk of overtime pay that we could use when we finally did have time together. Or a way to get ahead on bills, or to save for something we really wanted to buy together. That positive helped me overcome the feelings of annoyance and disappointment I felt when things didn’t go my way.
Whatever silver lining you can find to the crappy gray cloud of ruined plans, take it and hold on tight to it.
Try not to take it personally.
Again, I know these things are easier said than done, but it’s easy to feel offended and think your husband values his job more than you. I get it.
Do your best to get that thought out of your mind. The unpredictability is just the nature of the job he feels called to, not a reflection on how fast he wants to drop plans with you. He loves you!
But as with anything, if you’re struggling with this, talk to your husband. He might be taking up extra shifts because he’s stressed about money and you don’t realize it. Maybe he’s just as disappointed as you are.
Keeping those lines of communication open will help you make decisions together, be more of a team, and have a happier marriage overall.
As much as the unpredictability of police wife life can suck, take heart and know that you can totally make it through. Becoming more flexible is largely a choice, so take a deep breath and make your night awesome, regardless of the turns it takes 🙂
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