Life in law enforcement creates significant challenges for officers and their families. It’s a career that involves irregular hours, long shifts in the field, and disruptions during the holidays, all of which can take a steep toll. Find out how Rebecca and her husband use Marco Polo when he’s away, both to carve out meaningful time with each other and to create harmony and continuity for their kids.
As a police officer, my husband’s schedule can be unpredictable and completely out of sync with the rest of our family. We can go for days without spending time together.
He and I were high school sweethearts, and we’re grounded by seventeen years of history. So it’s been easier for us than for most to make our way through the challenges of being a law enforcement family. But we still feel the impact that comes with the lifestyle. Every day.
With three kids under the age of seven, it’s really important to have time together as a family. So we tried things like FaceTime and Hangouts. The trouble was that when my husband was on duty, he often couldn’t respond to calls. The kids didn’t understand why they couldn’t talk to their dad.
When we did connect, he’d sometimes have to rush off suddenly. If sirens went off during the call, it was incredibly scary for the kids. They didn’t know what was happening – they only knew that Dad was heading into something dangerous.
The dynamic was tricky at home, too. The kids tended to be less cooperative during those long stretches of his absence. If one of them didn’t feel like they’d had a turn to talk or gotten a chance to say goodbye, it caused all sorts of tears and hurt feelings. For a while, our daughter had a hard time going to sleep without saying goodnight to him.
It was just tough on all of us. Including my husband, who felt like he was missing out on their lives.
Then about a year ago, he convinced me to download Marco Polo. And everything changed. For the first time, the kids could regularly and consistently see their dad’s face, hear his voice, and know firsthand that he was thinking about them. A Polo from Dad would instantly calm them down. I’d go from having three crying kids to a room full of happy campers. It was HUGE.
When they were particularly missing him, I could even show them one of his old Polos. They’re still young enough that they wouldn’t remember watching it last month or even last week. And because I can share Polos of our kids in the midst of special and everyday moments, they become my husband’s memories too, rather than stories I share with him later. In a way, he gets to be in the moment.
Recently, he was having a really bad day. I knew it, and I wanted to comfort him. So I sent him a Polo to say, “I know you’re having a tough time. I want you to know I love you, I miss you, and I know you can’t respond. But we are thinking of you and hope everything is OK.”
I saw that he’d watched it – which gave me peace of mind – and I knew it had made a difference in his day. I loved that. I love that he can always see my face, hear my words, and feel my support even when we’re apart for days.
Our experience prompted me to share what I’ve learned with other law enforcement wives via my blog, Proud Police Wife. I also began the Big-Little Program, which connects veteran wives with newer wives, and organized the First Annual Police Wife Conference to raise wives’ awareness of resources like Marco Polo that can help them successfully navigate police wife life.
Going days without your spouse can take a huge toll on a marriage and make you feel so isolated. Being able to connect face-to-face over Marco Polo can make all the difference – often exactly when you or your spouse needs it most.