For quite some time now, I’ve wanted to do some kind of get together for the wives and girlfriends in JD’s department. I know some of them from his academy and some of them from his squad, but we very rarely see each other, and when we do, it’s at some kind of squad get together, kids birthday party, etc. While I love spending time with the officers and their families, I crave girl time. No kiddos, no men, just some girl chat and sangria (sitting at home alone with sangria just isn’t the same… and is also borderline alcoholic).
The problem is, for the longest time all I really did was think about it. I wish I got together with the police wives more. It would be nice to see them. It would be nice to sit and chat with a group of ladies who can relate. But the idea of coordinating that many people, all with different schedules, who are located all over the city, was daunting. Plus, I was afraid people would think my idea was stupid (which was stupid in itself, anyone who feels that way simply doesn’t have to attend). So I continued to think about it, but never took action.
Then, one of the wives reached out to me on Facebook. She mentioned that she reads my blog (hey girl!) and enjoyed being able to relate to someone who “gets it.” We chatted a bit on messenger, and I realized that the time for me to take action was long overdue.
I created a Facebook event and sent it to the wives I was friends with, and encouraged them to forward to anyone else who may be interested. As suspected, nailing down a date that worked for everyone was difficult, but I eventually picked 4 dates and told everyone to comment with the dates that absolutely did not work for them. Somehow, I ended up with a date that seemed to work for everyone.
Location was another thing. My original idea was to meet out at a restaurant in a central location, but one of the wives offered to host at her house, so we decided on a potluck where everyone brings an appetizer or drink. The location isn’t convenient for everyone, but my hope is that this will become a regular thing, so maybe we can rotate location.
Right now, we have about a dozen ladies who are planning to attend, which I think will be a great number to start. If we can continue doing this monthly or bi-monthly, maybe we’ll see more. But growth really isn’t my goal- there could be 3 ladies or 30- what I really want to accomplish is reaching out to other wives who are craving that same kind of connection I am. I want to develop a network of women who are there to support each other, because we definitely all need it to survive the crazy LEO life.
As I was doing the planning for our Ladies Night, I posted about it on Twitter, and I was surprised by the feedback I got from fellow LEO wives and girlfriends (in other areas) who said they felt really disconnected from the families in their departments. Isn’t one of the advantages of being a LEOW the camaraderie? Then, it hit me that maybe spouses/significant others get left out of this aspect because we’re not on the line doing the work every day- we’re at home playing the supporting role. It’s easy to connect with someone who you’re working with day in and day out, but it takes more effort to reach out to people you don’t know.
For fellow LEOW, Wives Behind the Badge is an awesome organization. They have local auxiliary groups popping up all over the country that plan events and would be a great place to meet LEOW near you. If there isn’t one by you, see if you can get one started! Or, hop on their forum to chat with LEOW from all over.
While those tools are great, nothing beats a little face time. I’d like to encourage anyone reading this (and it doesn’t necessarily have to be a LEOW- reach out to fellow moms in the area or carve out time to meet up with some girlfriends once a month, whatever it is YOU need) to take that first step and get something going. Go to a wine tasting, meet up for a movie (one that’s rated OVER PG!), or have a game night (and by games, I mean drinks and gossip).