You would think that most seven-year-olds are asleep at 3′ o clock in the morning. But I recently found out that for one particular family, that isn’t the case. There is a little girl that wakes up at 3 am, but it’s not because she can’t sleep. It’s because she is waiting for someone to come home. She wakes up at 3 am waiting for the front door to open, which is her universal sign that her mom is safe. Her mom is a police officer. A police officer that works long hours and odd shifts. However, that doesn’t keep this little girl for wanting to catch up with her mom at 3 am.
In honor of National Law Enforcement Appreciation Week, I had the pleasure of talking to an incredible woman that is not only mom, but also a police officer in our community.
A.H is twenty-eight years old and has been a police officer for over four years. She grew up in Socorro, New Mexico and currently lives in Albuquerque. She has a one daughter who is seven years old. When A.H is not out keeping the city safe, she enjoys spending time with her daughter, watching movies and working out.
Did you always want to be a police officer?
No, I actually wanted to be a marine biologist. But I also wanted something more fulfilling. I wanted to be able to help people and get to know them on a different level. Plus, on the athletic side I figured it would keep me in shape.
What is the hardest part about being a working mom?
The hardest part about being a working mom is not having a lot of time with my daughter. I only get 30 minutes here or 30 minutes there. Sometimes my daughter begs for my attention and I’m not there. She tells me that she doesn’t want me to go to work and wants me to spend time with her.
What is more challenging: being a mom or being a police officer?
Oh, goodness that’s a good one. I would say being a police officer. It’s really stressful. I’m not the same person I was be before I joined, that’s for sure. There is an internal stress that doesn’t go away. I don’t feel like I’m normal anymore if that makes sense. My thinking is different and I’ve become more observant.
Do you have any advice for working moms?
Take time for yourself. That can be hard because you want to please everyone. But sometimes you’ve got to say no. Take a step back and take time time for yourself.
There are a lot of different situations you have to experience as a police officer. What has been the most challenging situation for you?
The one situation that stands out to me is a suicide call. The other officers were able to disconnect, but I was connecting with the situation. I thought, oh my gosh there’s a note. It was planned and there’s people on the other side that are going to be receiving this news. I’ve also had to do death notifications and it’s hard to mentally prepare yourself. I have to be able to tell someone that their loved one has passed away. Most are in disbelief. In those moments I have to take a deep breath and not cry with them. I have to stay professional, but it’s hard to be strong in situations you wouldn’t normally be strong in. I try not to personalize, but being a mom and having to tell someone their daughter died, it’s a hard thing to do.
Does your daughter ask you what you do?
Yes. She’s very aware of what I’m doing and I try to call her twice on shift. She’ll ask about what calls I’m taking and wants to know the details. She always asks what “missions” am I going to. She’ll ask questions like “Am I catching any bad guys?” “Did I arrest anyone?” So she’s very aware of what I do.
They say it takes a village to raise a child. Who is your support system?
My parents, especially my mom. My mom helps a ton. She helps with childcare and helps me with lunches. As for police work my dad helps a lot. He’s a retired police officer, so he has been through it. I go to him for advice. Any questions I have, I go to him. Whether it’s a bad call or if I’m second guessing what I did. He reassures me and helps me get through stuff. I also have good friends in the department that contribute and help too.
How has being a mom changed your life?
Being a mom has made me more selfless. I can’t put myself first anymore. I put my daughter and her interests first. As a mom I have to do what’s best for her and what’s best for us. My thinking all together has changed. If I have time to spend with her, I’m going to spend it with her.
Mother’s Day just passed us. Is there anything you would like to say to your mom?
I would like to tell her that I love her. I’m very appreciative of all the work she does because she’s pretty much my daughter’s mother too. She has a big heart. She’s an AMAZING mom!
Being a mom is tough. However, being a mom and a police officer is another challenge all together. The long hours, odd schedules, and missed holidays come at a sacrifice. A sacrifice that A.H deals with on a daily basis. However, she knows one day her daughter will understand the sacrifice. Police life takes a special people to do the job, and I believe A.H is one of those people. She is a well-rounded person from her athleticism to her caring personality. So to her, thank you for keeping our community safe.