Friday, July 17, 2009

first impressions

Are first impressions everything?

While I usually try to look my best, I admit that when people see me, I more than likely am sporting the busy mom look. Pony tail, minimal makeup (if any at all), t-shirts, flip flops, etc. I met HF's FTO today. I packed a picnic dinner and took the kids to a park that has a duck pond. I called HF to tell him where we were. A few minutes later, he rolled up with his FTO (Luke shouted, "Daddy's home!" when he saw HF). As they were approaching, my smile momentarily faded as I thought, "Crap! What do I look like right now?!" I quickly did a mental checklist. Makeup? Check. Cute outfit? Check. Shaved legs since I'm wearing a short skirt? Check- thank goodness. I didn't want to have the tired and no-time-for-a-shower-mom look when first meeting his FTO.

This probably wouldn't be such an issue to me right now if it weren't for two things:
  1. I am a tired mom that usually doesn't have time to take a shower and usually my t-shirts are adorned with applesauce and squash by the middle of the day!
  2. HF is in the middle of FTO and I know it's important to him right now thateverything be perfect with his appearance and performance. I mean, the guy gets his hair cut every Tuesday at an old school barbershop for crying out loud.
And, of course, what's important to HF is important to me as well. I desire to help him succeed, but I've felt pretty helpless as far as what I can do for him other than make him food, do his laundry, and give him back and neck massages when he gets home at night. So I'm always trying to think of ways I can help him while he's in FTO. Other than holding down the fort, the least I could do is ensure that I, along with the children, don't look like hobos, right? While I know he's proud of me no matter what I'm wearing or looking like, if he's presenting a next to perfect package to the department, I feel like I should be too. If I showed up looking like a bag lady, would it have an affect on his overall impression? I tend to think so.

When he's done with FTO, hopefully I can go back to my usual sweats, greasy hair, and other nasty habits.

Just kidding.

Kind of.

Sometimes I have the overwhelming urge to embarrass him by wearing something like this when we go out, but I think I'll save that for the privacy of our own home. I do think this shirt is funny though.Do you think it matters what the officer's family looks like during and/or after FTO?


Tara said...

that shirt is hilarious but i wouldnt wanna draw the attention of any other cops so one for the house it would definately be! hi, i am new police wife- well not even yet, my husband is half way through his academy time but loves it. What is FTO? terminology might be different in Australia or we might just not be aware of it until after his academy time.

Tara said...

oh that was meant to say...i am a new police wife too...just read it back and it sounded funny

Anonymous said...

It may just be semantics, but I'd say how an officer presents themselves, the complete package, is important when it comes to how they are viewed professionally, and their family is part of that complete package. It becomes more important as they move higher through the ranks. I've seen over the years that a chief with a supportive spouse who can interact well with the chief's officers is a big political advantage. And the head of an agency who has a spouse who is a goof can be their downfall. But none of what I've mentioned concerns looks, but behaviors and attitudes.

I don't think how a spouse looks on any given day is important at all. HF's FTO, off duty, spots you shopping in Wal-mart, kids in tow. What's wrong with a tired mom looking like a tired mom? Authenticity is more attractive than the best made facade.

Meadowlark said...

Well, Husband's department puts up with his hippie-milkmaid braid wearing-nose pierced wife and he seems to do OK. ;)

I think they'd rather see you looking like crap and DELIGHTED to see you husband than all 'perfect' and somewhat distant. A happy husband is a happy(er) cop.

mrs. fuzz said...

Hi Tara! FTO stands for Field Training Officer. It's also used to refer to the training period itself. At least it is here in HF's department.

Wpoets-It was good to hear your perspective. I agree completely.

Geez, I hope I don't sound like a Stepford Wife. That's the last thing I am, but while I don't worry about people seeing me as I am, it's the first impression I wonder about. And by first impressions I don't mean looking like and presenting something that I'm not, just a more cleaned up and polished me.

Meadowlark-You know, I've always wanted a teensy little diamond stud in my nose. Ever since I was 16. And almost 15 years later I still kind of want one.

And, who wouldn't love you and your pierced nose and braids. You are cute as crap! :)

HF is serious by nature and will probably be his entire career/life. He takes himself a little too seriously too, that's why he has me. I help him loosen up quite a bit.

The crazy Shaw Family said...

My DH was the same. Luckily during his FTO, we lived in a different county, so no one from his job ever saw me. (oh, trust me, that's a good thing, with our four kids!!)
Now that he has been on the job over a year on his own, it is really no longer a issue, and he is a little less hard on himself. (He still puts out the effort, but it is not such a panic factor if his boots aren't perfect after a really hard shift)
I think that as long as you aren't doing anything to embarass the department, then you are pretty much good to go! Sometimes we joke about how I need to be the perfect trophy wife (NEVER gonna happen, lol) but he is more concerned I be the kind of woman that has his back, and doesn't do stupid crap like call the TV station when there was an officer involved shooting and announce that everyone needed to get into work, when no one knew any details, and only the evening shift was called in early! This actually happened, last month, (not me, lol) and the Sheriff was in a frickin' tizzy trying to find out who it was! I have a feeling that if they do find out whoevers wife it is, the husband may be in a lot of trouble!
Even though I haven't been a LEO wife for very long, I have learned that if you keep you husband happy, and he can focus on his job, it doesn't matter how "high maintenance" you are. His superiors will appreciate a smart, witty woman in jeans and a T-shirt before they will want anything to do with a dimbulb Barbie replica that stands in front of them snapping her gum while applying her lipgloss. It almost seems like if they can't take YOU seriously, why should they take your DH seriously.
(Ack, this is long, sorry!)

Meadowlark said...

One more thing...
Husband got major points to getting this job when the Chief called the 5 finalists for the Chief's interview and our 10-year old son happened to answer the phone "LastName Residence, how may I help you". The Chief later said that with a kid THAT polite we must be doing something right!

OrdinaryLife said...

I would have to say that appearance does matter a little...but there is nothing wrong with the jeans and decent shirt look most days. Of course, if you are stopping by the agency, take some time to clean up. I have seen wives/girlfriends show up at agency events, FOP events, or even just stopping by the agency to say hi who are dressed to plow a field. Definately not a good impression to make. Your husband is judged on the "whole package" meaning you & your kids too. Of course, your behavior (and theirs) in public is more important than the appearance.

Momma Val said...

Huh? Uh, well, I think it's important if you are about to stop at the pd or some special pd function BUTTTTTTTT, we live over 20 miles away so I never go there. If we lived in town, what you see is what you get. Some of the wives get all sluttied er I mean gussied up and go to have dinner with their man in the lunch room at the PD. Puh-leaze!!! Of course you want to look nice if you are headed there but he was hired not me. I have had to drop everything in the middle of the night and yank a baby out of bed to bring him his vest, or boots, or baton and well I pretty much just drive up and he runs out for it. My hubby also gets his hair cut biweekly at an old school barber. I'm sure you looked fine but us plain pd wives find the sluttying up for dinner at the pd HILARIOUS!!! So obvious. Be yourself :)

Paula said...

I laughed when I read about your hubby getting his hair cut every week. My son has been a cop for about 9 years now and he still irons his uniforms, spit shines his shoes and gets his weekly haircut. Appearance is very important to him and that is how I raised him. Love your blog

Mama's Ramblings said...

I JUST LOVE SOME OF THE RANDOM STUFF that you put on your blog. This shirt is one of my fav. and I would TOTALLY be "sporting" it around town. I think that all of the Capts. and Sgt. would get a kick out of it. I think that our hubby's need to losin up sometimes. :-) WE ARE ALL JUST HUMAN AND CAN'T LOOK PERFECT ALL OF THE TIME!!

Second City Wifey said...

I really don't think so. I think it just matters that they see the real you. Now if you were only going to see them one time then maybe but I think the best thing for me is the what you see is what you get-and most times it's me being a simpleton. The police wife life is hard enough without having to look presentable all of the time. It's very hard with all of the crazy schedules and all. A good time for them is NEVER a good time for me is what I have come to realize. Cute shirt!

Slamdunk said...

Appearance does count in the political arena, but I have found that what one says can be equally positive or negative.

With the three little ones here, we could use some more sleep and soap time as well.

Angela Holland said...

Too cute!! I enjoy reading your blog. I have married to my police officer for 8 years and he was a correctional officer for 6 years and has been on the streets for 2 years.

Stephanie said...

At least you looked cute! A few times Josh and I have run into other officers that he knows and I have looked horrible! (One Saturday at a park with me in the "mommy clothes". Once at the pool (HELLO! IN A SWIM SUIT!)And he has brought officers over to the house a few times. Once was right after my accident when I looked really bad. (Face all messed up, hadn't showered or got dressed in days, etc...) Horrible!

Kimber said...

And now I must own that shirt. And make my husband wear it.

You know, we are in a small town and I frequently walk it with at least one child tied to my back and occasionally a second child tied to the front... my hair is whatever color my hairstylist (or husband) was in the mood to color it so we are a sight to see. The chief has called our family "crazy hippies" more than once.
But we are happy so who cares.

PS. I never wear makeup either and only shave my legs when dh either cuts himself on my legs or when dd asks if all mommy's are "hairy yettis" (I think dh taught her that) and then I am shamed into it.
So there. I bet you look like Miss America most days compared to me, lol.

mrs. fuzz said...

Welcome Angela! nice to *meet* you.

All interesting comments. I'm coming to find out that perhaps it is the town/city one lives in, the size of the agency, and perhaps the overall attitude of the department.

Erin said...

I think it matters in that you should present your best self—the self you're most comfortable with—whenever possible. But I think that's a good thing to do in life in general.

That said, I also find that t-shirt hilarious.

Also, I also consider Meadowlark to be a bit of an inspiration. She's making me reconsider the idea of getting a nose ring too!

Meadowlark said...

I actually wore the jeweled nose stud to today's interview and they didn't bat an eye. I even told them that I knew it wasn't necessarily OK, but did they want an actor or the real person? We'll see if I get the job ;) And I did remove the hoop, just wore the stud.

I say go for it, girls!

Natalie said...

I believe that because FH has a public image to uphold, so do I. I just try to be myself and wear what I normally wear, but he married a girly-girl and I feel naked without accessorizing, even if it's in the form of t-shirt and yoga pants ensemble.

I agree with Warriorpoet that it's the behavior and attitude of the LEO family and not image that leaves the most lasting impression.

I'm glad you posted this!

firefighter / paramedic said...

I think it was real nice for your hubby that you made an effort. I would think it was more important to him than to his fto. $0.02