I rarely talk about my life but today I will give you a glimpse of some of the challenges of being a firefighter wife.
When I Grow Up, I Want to Be a Firefighter Wife
Wrong! I’m pretty sure few firefighter wives will say, “I signed up for this.” Truth is, we signed up to love our husbands but we really didn’t understand what being a firefighter wife really meant at that time. Well, 18 years later, I can tell you exactly what that means!
Long Hours and Nights Alone
Let’s just say, when he leaves for work, its several days before we see each other again. Even after all these years, I absolutely hate being home alone. I enjoy his company and wish I could have it daily.
The most common question asked, can he sleep at the fire station. The answer is yes, assuming there are no emergencies through the night. I can always tell when he’s had a busy night because try as he might to act normal, his mood is a bit off when operating on a few hours of sleep. As a firefighter wife, you really have to be understanding in those moments or you could literally lose your cool.
High Divorce Rate
Firefighters have a high divorce rate and it’s no secret why. They are gone more than they are home, or so it feels.
What About Me?
On the days when he’s spread thin at work, he has little time to eat much less tend to what I or we have going on. It’s not intentional; it’s just the nature of the job. Most days I’m fine with it but on the days when I really need his input, it gets really annoying.
Disadvantages of Shift Work
Leaving early or unexpectedly isn’t as easy as it sounds. Those moments are reserved for big deal situations like the time I was in a fender bender. Therefore, if I’m in the middle of a crisis that doesn’t pose harm or danger, I will have to handle it whether I want to or not. Thankfully, I have a lot of practice in this area — he’s prior military.
Weekends and Holidays
Holidays. Weekends. What are those? These don’t exist in firefighting. We have missed so many family events, I can’t even begin to count.
We live in Hurricane Alley and when storms approach, he’s required to stay behind and protect the city while the rest of us evacuate the area. Do you know how hard it is to kiss your spouse, say I Love You and tell him to be careful while you get out of dodge.
Preparing for storms and evacuating the area without him is emotionally draining. After I’m done having a pity party, my inner mean girl kicks in and I become frustrated that my husband is at work while I’m trying to fight the crowd for storm essentials. Of course he feels bad and helpless in these moments. He tries his best to keep the house stocked, the cars filled with gas but sometimes storms are unpredictable leaving limited time for planning.
Gotta Go, I Love You
It is not uncommon for me to arrive to the fire station, sit for dinner, take a few bites and boom, a 911 call comes through. They rush out to the emergency, leaving dinners uneaten and food partially cooked. Just like that, I’m now the only one left behind at the fire station. I cover plates, turn off the oven, gather my things and head home.
Stress and Worry
Now that I’m 18 years in, I try not to think about the what if as much. I don’t ask any questions about the types of calls he’s responded to as I feel it’s best I don’t know. My only request to him is, return home safe.
Date Night at The Fire Station
While you and your dude are cruising the streets having an awesome night out on the town, 9 out of 10, I’m at the fire station hanging with mine. I’m a regular at the fire station and pretty much one of the guys now. Not many wives bother to visit. I mean, I get it. It’s not exactly the most exciting place to be but I’m willing to visit so that I can spend time with my honey.
Adapt and Overcome
Throughout the years, I’ve learned to adapt and overcome challenges. I either attend events alone or miss them totally. I usually opt to miss them because I hate traveling alone. Because weekends and holidays mean nothing in firefighting, I cherish the time when he’s off. A firefighter’s job is to be first in and last out so I thankful for his safety each and every day.
While I’ve told this story from my perspective, it’s not exactly a cake walk for him either. It’s hard being away from his family. It’s emotionally draining for him knowing he cannot be there for me every time I need him when he’s at work. Every time he responds to an emergency, it’s because someone is hurt or in need. He sees things in a run of a day that I hope to never see in this lifetime. He’s a true hero; my hero.
Challenges aside, I love my firefighter and support him in every way possible. This is just a glimpse of my life as a firefighter wife.
What Work Schedule Challenges Does Your Household Have?
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