“I think you have to kinda let go of the life that you thought you were gonna have when you marry an officer. I really do. I think you have to realize that you are in a new life now. And it’s gonna throw you curves. It’s different than any other job there is out there.” Jenny, former dispatcher and CHP wife
“True contentment is a real, even and active virtue—not only affirmative but creative. It is the power of getting out of any situation all there is in it.” G. K. Chesterton
There is no normal. Not really. Gone are the days where we compare ourselves to the Cleavers or the Joneses. We are a creative people collectively. If you took a survey of the households on your street, you might find that someone comes or goes all twenty-four hours of the day. Living in the city, I am always amazed how many people are out and about at four in the morning.
We create our own normal. My normal may be vastly different from your normal. The challenge comes when we try to make plans with others or even those within our own household. With three teenagers in our home, dinners around the table with everyone present are rare. Sports and work schedules prohibit many nights together. When they were smaller, the kids and I had dinner together every night, and normal was either Brent was there, or we kept a plate heated for later. In both situations everyone appreciates when we do have everyone present, and it’s usually a really fun night.
Before Brent and I had children, he worked swings (1400 to 2300, military time), and I worked at an office (0800 to 1700). We each were alone for several hours—he in the morning, I in the evening. We chose to look at it positively; we got to see each other at least four days a week. And we took advantage of those moments together and apart. We created our own normal.
DeAnn and Shawn both work and have two busy children. Their lives are very full with so many schedules to juggle. It was quickly becoming unmanageable, so DeAnn bought a whiteboard to put on the wall in the kitchen. Everyone’s schedule was placed on the calendar. It was Shawn’s responsibility to get his work schedule on the whiteboard in a timely manner. From then on, she was able to be organized and keep the details of the family straight.
I keep two calendars. A large desktop calendar works the best for me; the kids can write in their events and check on dates themselves. Brent, however, uses his Blackberry for his schedule. After several conflicts in communication, Brent asked if I could sync our computers by inputting events on his Gmail calendar. It works perfectly as long as I input things in a timely manner!