When my husband first joined the RCMP there was very little information about what life was like as a local LEO’s (Law Enforcement Officer) wife. Facebook had just barely started and blogging did not exist. Likewise, Facebook groups and pages weren’t around. There were no forums and chat rooms to post questions in or follow discussion threads. Computers were used to type documents and play Tetris. The only way to connect with someone over the internet was through an email. There was no newsletter addressing the lifestyle that goes along with being the spouse of a RCMP member.
Finding Advice on What RCMP Family Life was REALLY Like
There were very few ways to connect with other spouses except through detachment parties or cold calling another wife. Basically that was a call that went something like, “Hey there! you don’t know me but our husbands work together. We just moved here and I’m looking for intel on the area. Want to get together for coffee?” The underlying message being “Help! My husband works long obnoxious hours, I’m lonely and looking for a friend.”
I was never brave enough to cold call another spouse like that. Usually I relied on my husband to set up get togethers with other members and their families. I was lucky because in those first years there were a handful of other RCMP wives who took me under their wing, showed me the ropes and gave me advice. It was comforting to hear the experiences and issues we were going through were actually pretty common but, being the type A personality that I am, I still wish I had known what I was getting into before he joined.
Joining the Family
LEO’s spouses are a typically close knit group. We have each others backs. The only way to gain admittance into this group is if you hear velcro at the door and see a duty belt hanging in your closet. We have concerns that our closest family and friends can not understand because they are not living the life. We connect because we face issues that only we as LEO’s spouses face on a daily basis.
Lately though, in an attempt to help friends, family and the public at large understand, many LEO’s wives have begun publicly sharing their experiences about being a LEO’s spouse. With technology taking over our lives we automatically turn to the internet when we want to find a group of people with like minded interests so Here are a few “must read” articles for every new, and experienced, LEO’s spouse. These authors tell it like it is and offer hints and advice for any wife or husband backing the blue line.
- The Police Wife Life: Selfish is Not an Option. This article is probably my absolute favourite! While it’s not Canadian it is highly relatable. It is a must read for everyone who wants to learn more about the “joys and jitters of being a LEO’s wife.”
- “Surviving Average: Scarlet Fever Can Be Dangerous… the RCMP ‘Life’. This mother and RCMP wife shares positive thoughts on launching a life as a spouse to a RCMP member.
- Lessons Learned by an RCMP Spouse. In a heart wrenching emotional account this experienced RCMP spouse shares some hard lessons learned over 20 years of marriage to a member.
- Wanted: RCMP with Employable Wife author Janice Salkeld shares her experience about how transfers to isolated postings have affected her career. This story shares an experience from the 1970’s and it sounds like not much has changed over the last 50 years. The emotions she deals with and concerns she has are still the same for many RCMP spouses today.
- 5 Elements of a Bulletproof Law Enforcement Marriage. Purportedly criminal justice workers have the highest divorce rate. Some say as high as 80% while others cite as low as 14%. I was unable to find any data on divorce rates specific to the RCMP. Either way, the challenges of being married to a member will put a significant strain on your relationship. This article considers 5 aspects you should focus on to improve your marriage.
- How to Cope With the War on Cops as a Police Wife. As spouses we accept that every day our partners put their lives on the line to ensure the safety of others. Criminals, media, terrorists, anarchists and general police haters target their anger at members. This author shares her way of dealing with this agenda.
- Recognizing the Signs of Post-Traumatic Stress. I’ve included this article because first responders are among the most common to experience PTSD. The longer your member is on the job the more likely he or she is to be affected by the violence they deal with every day. “Post-trauma reactions occur after exposure to traumatic events such as motor vehicle accidents, sexual assault, terrorist attacks, natural disasters, and many other tragedies.” RCMP officers insert themselves into these situations every single day. Be on the lookout for these signs so you can seek the help you need if the time ever comes.
- 10 Realities Of Being Married To A Police Officer. One wife’s take on common realities of life as a LEO’s spouse.
- 7 Things Law Enforcement Wives Know. This wife examines “ways police spouses deal with the police lifestyle and navigate their relationship with a law enforcer.”
- 10 Police Wife Blogs to Help you Support Your Spouse & Yourself. This list is all American but it’s a great place to start if you are looking for general information and advice about being a LEO’s spouse.
Stay Strong Everyone!
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