There are several words to describe blue life, but I would say one of the top ones would be “chaotic”. Am I right?! The ever changing schedule, weird shifts, missed holidays, random weekends…it can feel like life is constantly changing. And it is! Luckily, there’s a lot of resources out there to help get your family organized and keep track of alllllll the important stuff.
One of my favorite resources for this is the Police Wife Resource Binder from Proud Police Wife. Rebecca sent me the printable (it’s a downloadable PDF) and it’s an awesome way to get started if you’re trying to get (and stay) on top of things. Many different things are included-meal planning, important contacts, benefit information, snack ideas, budgeting sheet, a reading list, pass codes…all of the things that are vital to know but can be hard to track down. This goes without saying, but because this binder is full of extremely personal information, it’s best to keep it locked in your safe or wherever else you keep important documents. Rebecca was nice enough to give us a code to use-look at the bottom of this post for a discount!
If you haven’t already, it’s also really important that you create and maintain a monthly budget for your family. I’ve always used Excel spreadsheets to keep track of our finances, but there’s plenty other apps and resources out there. A hard copy is included in the PPW binder, and you can also find cute ones all over Pinterest. We also use Mint to keep track of our spending-it allows you to categorize each purchase you make in order to see where each dollar is going. In one quick look I can see if we’ve got enough left in our eating out budget to order teriyaki for the night, or if we need to cut back at the coffee shop (…guilty, always).
One of the ickier things to take care of is to make sure that your officer’s wishes are discussed in the worst case scenario-he gets injured or killed. When my officer first started it was mandatory that he completed this packet from his department. It contained things like desired church or pastor, burial or cremation wishes, who should speak at the funeral, who he wanted as pall bearers, where his will is kept, who his beneficiaries are…all of the stuff that can be a bummer to talk about, but is important to do before it’s needed. The PPW binder also has a page containing most of this-it’s important to think it through before it’s needed. We chased the sad conversation with a fun date night out after-it’s a good excuse to go eat some comfort carbs in my book!
Something I wanted to be better about in 2019 was meal planning. I’ve always been one of those people that goes to the grocery store like every other day, and I realized that we just didn’t have the time for that anymore. I also felt bad about all of the food (and money!) we seemed to be wasting every week. Now once every week or two (usually Sundays, but really it could be any day of the week) I sit down with a sticky note and plan out dinners. I look at my schedule and my officer’s to see what makes the most sense that day-a cooked meal, using the Instantpot or Crockpot, eating leftovers, or eating out for date night. I then compile a grocery list (including lunch items and snacks) and try to stick to that list. On the weeks that we stick to this system I’ve noticed a lot of things-I’m less stressed, we eat more meals together, we don’t throw away as much food, and we spend way less on groceries AND eating out. It’s also helpful to use a grocery pick up or delivery system-depending on where you live there’s all kinds of options these days, many of which are free or super cheap!
I’ve talked about it before (like in this post about blue life hacks) but I am OBSESSED with our Google Calendar. I use a paper schedule and Outlook calendar for work but also but important stuff in our shared Google Calendar. I love that it updates us both, and the nerd in me loves being able to color code our events. I also keep a running “to do” list in the notes of my phone-things like schedule oil change, call mom, get class a’s dry cleaned, or check PO box. Sometimes they’re tiny things that don’t take long-but if they’re written down, I know I won’t forget!
This isn’t a resource, but one of the biggest ways we handle the chaos of blue life is through laughter and Jesus. Earlier this week I talked about the importance of filling your marriage with light (you can read that post here) and I stand by that 110%. Blue life is hard, marriage is hard, life is hard-but with laughter and faith it is doable.
What are some other ways that you use to keep your blue life organized?
Bonus! You can use code “FRIEND” for a substantial discount off the PPW binder! You can find it here.