I remember I was about 8 months pregnant when it first hit me that I was really, actually about to be responsible for another human being.
I mean, I’m not stupid. I knew I was pregnant, I knew the result was a baby. Duh.
But as I sat in his soon-to-be nursery and looked around, I rubbed my belly and cried. I already felt inadequate and woefully unprepared for the task of raising a child. I remember talking to him for the first time, telling him how badly I wanted to be a good mother for him and how I’d do whatever I could.
“I hope I don’t disappoint you,” I remember telling him through tears.
As it turns out, I was a lot more prepared than I thought I was. It hasn’t always been easy, but from the moment I met him I knew I loved him enough to do what I had to do.
For the most part, I can chalk that up to maternal instincts (and lots of prayer), but surprisingly, there’s a lot about being a police wife that prepared me to be a mom.
5 Reasons Being a Police Wife Made Me a Better Mom
It prepared me to be able to go with the flow.
When my husband worked in the jail, I couldn’t predict anything about his schedule. I could say what shift he was “supposed” to work, but it’s not like he worked at a bank – he might be called in early for an emergency, have to do a prisoner transport (easily an 8-12 hour task) or have to stay late to deal with a riot. Either way, it’s not like he can say, “no, thanks.” He has to go in, and I have to deal.
Likewise, A reminded me he’s not going to stick to a plan, either. I mean, heck, I’d planned for a home birth thinking I was doing everything I could to prevent needing a C-section. He had other plans and had tied himself up in his cord, and even managed to tie a true knot in it (which I say is a testament to how much of a mama’s boy he is – he wasn’t going anywhere without a fight.) So C-section it was.
I struggle with the unknown. I’m type A and I want my plans to go as expected. Fortunately, both police wife life and motherhood have given me the opportunity to improve on this.
It taught me a lot about how wrong I am to judge others.
I think I’ve engaged many a cop hater in the whole, “You don’t know what it’s like to be a cop,” conversation. Granted, I don’t, either, but I think I’m pretty well-acquainted 🙂 But I hate when I hear people judge the actions of law enforcement officers when they don’t have any experience with it.
Now that I’m a mom? It’s just as grating (and sometimes hilarious) when people without kids make assumptions about what it’s like to have kids or be a stay-at-home mom.
But I totally remember doing the same thing, and I’m eating every. Single. One. Of my words.
“My kid will NEVER play with my phone in the grocery store.” Now it’s my go-to bribery tool.
“I’ll make all my own baby food.” I actually did okay with this, but we ended up needing to make use of WIC, and I never went back to making my own. The jars are so darn convenient.
Not to mention the whole, I didn’t think I’d want an epidural or need a C-section, but I could seriously go on forever.
Even now, I’ll catch myself being Mrs. Judgy-Pants when I see other moms doing something questionable – but then I remember all the times I’ve done the same with a perfectly good explanation and I have to remember I don’t know the full story. Like the time I brought my son into a restaurant without pants in the middle of winter. Who knew he’d have blowouts through both pairs of pants I packed for a 3 hour road trip?
I can deal with a lot of gross stuff.
My husband has come home with a lot of disgusting stories… or ones that are just plain weird. Like the guy who had a hard boiled egg in his pocket when he searched him? Weird.
But as far as the disgusting stories go, I hardly even react anymore (usually.) There’s not a lot he can tell me that shocks me anymore.
So while there’s a lot of gross stuff that comes along with motherhood, it’s pretty well put into perspective. I’d totally take cleaning up baby puke over cleaning up drunk grown adult puke, among other things.
I realize what a bad mom actually looks like.
Along with a better perspective on what’s truly disgusting and what’s just an inconvenience, being a police wife has given me a better perspective on what it really takes to be a bad mom.
Sleep training doesn’t make you a bad mom. Formula feeding doesn’t make you a bad mom. Giving your kids some junk food doesn’t make you a bad mom. Your child falling and hurting themselves now and then doesn’t make you a bad mom. Letting them cry alone in a room for 5 minutes so you can re-center yourself doesn’t make you a bad mom.
Leaving your baby in a drug house, on the other hand? Or cooking drugs around them? Or committing crimes using them as cover? Or ignoring them while you get high? Or intentionally causing them harm? Those are some great examples of being an actually bad mom.
Seriously, if you’re a mom who loves her kids and does what she can to make them happy and give them a good life – you’re a good mom. If you ever doubt that, think about the moms your husband encounters regularly and reassess.
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It taught me the importance of being a mother.
Fun fact: I never wanted to be a stay-at-home mom. I thought it would be dull and boring, and, while totally vain, I thought it would make me less interesting.
No, instead, when I was growing up, I wanted to be something important, like a doctor or a lawyer. I wanted to be seen and respected.
Hearing the stories of the people my husband has dealt with makes me realize how important it is for me to raise my son right.
I know the ugliness there is in the world, and I’m the person who’s going to have to break a lot of it down in a way he can understand. It’s up to me to teach him how to love, how to fight, how to be honorable, humble, honest, and righteous. It’s up to me to teach him how to make the world a better place, and nobody else has the same influence that I do.
After all, my husband has seen and had to deal with the consequences of kids when mothers neglect their role.
While there’s a lot to be said about the downsides of police wife life, the challenges definitely have the opportunity to make you better. 🙂