Ahh! A whole six days since my last blog post! Sorry, blog friends. :) I'm baaaaaaack. And I'm loaded with questions for my fellow police wives!
Hubby Blue and I have been working out an issue over the last few days, and I'm curious to hear how other people handle this. When HB works the night shift, his internal clock is (naturally) all kinds of messed up. A lot of the time, even on his days off, he stays up all night and goes to bed right around the time I'm waking up. I hate this, but I also understand how hard it is to be flip-flopping his sleep schedule all the time. On the other hand, when Hubby Blue sleeps through most of the daylight hours of a weekend, that leaves very little time for us to spend together. He says he misses me, and I miss him. I don't want him to be exhausted when he has to go back to work because of the safety factor, but I also want to do things together. I am definitely not looking forward to the inevitable point when he's on nights for 6 months at a time and I'll essentially go 6 months without sleeping at the same time as my husband. So that is the first part of my question to all of you: when your spouse is working the night shift, how does he handle his days off?
Part two: Hubby Blue works an 8-hour shift. We live about 45 minutes from his department, so by the time you add in the travel time in each direction, the time to get dressed and ready at the department, and the actual work time, he works at least 10 hours...and that's probably conservative. Being "on" for that long is understandably draining. So it's felt to me like HB pretty much works and sleeps, and he agrees. However, who wants to live like that? I have been trying to handle most of the household chores myself, but I also work full-time. It's starting to burn me out. For as much time as I spend by myself, I do an awful lot of housework and very little of anything for myself. While other police wives have given me the advice to find things I enjoy doing on my own, it's really not been much of an issue because I'm so busy cleaning and cooking and making lunches and doing laundry. In the past, I've asked Hubby Blue to pitch in, and while he always swore he would, it rarely happened. So, finally, the other day, we got the idea to make him a list. Actually, it was HB's idea. And it worked! Between the time I went to bed and the next night when I got home from work, everything on his list was crossed off, and it was glorious! Later that night, when HB left for his shift, I cleaned bathrooms with absolutely no resentment because HB had already taken care of watering the Christmas tree, paying a bill that was almost late, vacuumed the first floor of our house, unloaded and loaded the dishwasher, and made dinner. Little things really do add up. We did the same thing--made him a list--this morning with the same results. Thank goodness.
This all sort of came about because I finally got the copy of "I Love a Cop" by Ellen Kirschman that I requested from the library. She writes that police spouses can't take on all the responsibilities of running a household or they start feeling like martyrs. Maybe that's common knowledge to a lot of people, but I had been feeling like my hubby is under so much pressure all day long at work that it was my job as his wife to just do it all. Kirschman writes that you have to stand up for yourself and demand that you deserve to have your needs be met.
So that leads me to part two of my question to all of you police wives: is this something you struggle with too? Does your cop help out with the housework, and was it ever an issue? If it was, how did you resolve it? And if it wasn't, why?
...which leads me to part three. Do we live too far from Hubby Blue's department? We live where we live because our jobs are in opposite directions from each other and we split the difference by living in the middle. This is definitely a bigger issue that really deserves a blog post all its own, but I'll just briefly bring it up...you can look forward to this at a later date. :) Anyway, we live about 45 minutes from HB's work, and I fear that is just too far. Like I said, he's "on" for his shift and then has that long ride to get home. After a slow night, HB sometimes comes home pretty sleepy. Also, I am fully aware of how driving can wipe you out. After all, I commuted an hour each way to work for two years myself. Finally, and this is the thing I most dislike talking about, what would I think of living this far if anything tragic ever happened to Hubby Blue while he was working? He has told me how I would be notified, but if I was at work, I think it could take a good hour and a half for me to get to him.
I know these questions all seem pretty disjointed (and that I started this post by saying we had AN issue...as if there's ever only ONE issue, ha. Guess not. :)), but I guess that's just how life is going at this point. Adjusting to being a law enforcement family has me feeling like I'm pulled in ten different directions at once, and it's causing me to reexamine a lot of my priorities. That's probably a good thing, but I never expected that being a cop's wife would be so complicated...I hope someone can tell me it's rewarding too!