Babies are an incredible bundle of joy, but not all parents get the luxury (yes, I say luxury since the US is so behind on maternity and paternity leave!) of having one or both parents off for any period of time.
So how do you adjust when you are home as a new mom and your Firefighter has gone back to work? It’s not like it’s a 9-5. Many Firefighters work 24, 48, and 96 hour shifts, military firefighters have some crazy schedules and wildland- well they are gone most of the season!
Then throw in some training, some overtime, a fire that happened at the very end of shift that has your Firefighter staying late or coming in early- it can mean that the new mom is home alone a lot!
And I can resonate. My husband only had 5 days off with our first baby- and I was recovering and our son was sick. It was crazy. but we survived.
Let’s look at some of the best tips from seasoned fire wives about how to handle the Firefighter shifts when you are a new mom!
Is your baby sleeping? Do this
Showering is seriously, one of the MOST important things a new mom can do. She needs to FEEL HUMAN. and taking a shower with some fresh clothes will do wonders for that.
After 3 kids I make it a priority to shower everyday- because otherwise you just start to feel bad!
It’s ok to cry
So many women are concerned about PPD/PPA and that is valid- but don’t NOT cry because you think you are weak.
Crying is pretty normal for several months after birth, you’ve got a new baby that requires a lot of responsibility and things are not as picture perfect as you imagined.
If you can, find a good shoulder to lean on who can reassure you that things are going to work out.
Lower it WAYYYYY down
We tend to have this idea that everything will be blissful after a new baby- especially first time moms that are so focused on the delivery that they ‘forget’ about afterwards.
simply take the time to lower your expectations, use paper plates even if your crunchy AF. Wear those comfy sweats from 10 years ago because they are the only things that fit.
And shamelessly ask your visitors to help you clean the house while you rest.
Don’t put all this unnecessary pressure on you OR your Firefighter. This is a VERY short period of your life, you can make it through, I promise. Survival Mode!
Use a baby carrier, baby swing or whatever other “crutch” you need
Personally, the baby carrier is my life saver. It puts babies to sleep, keeps them entertained if you want to get in the kitchen, and helps with colic. Babies just want to be close to the caregiver!
Use whatever crutch you need (safely, never leave baby unattended, unbuckled or propped up with a bottle EVER) so you can get through the shift!
Use your resources!
Grocery delivery did not exist with my first, but I took full advantage with my second!
Not in the budget? Ask your friends or family if they would pay for it, or make the trip themselves. Those first few months (really the first year!) are so weird and cumbersome when you need to get to the grocery store.
Even just doing grocery pickup and not going inside is a total lifesaver (And walmart and target both have free versions!)
I’ve even had to leave my cart and go to the car before- it happens! Just do your best.
Make stacks of sandwiches, have a basket of snacks, use the instapot or crockpot for quick meals. just remember TO EAT!
You MUST do this
I know this doesnt help when your firefighter is gone on shift- but planning time away when he is home will help you maintain your sanity. Even if you just go and sit in the car for an hour and listen to a podcast.
let me say it again. Momma. Take time for yourself. It is not selfish to fill your cup.
You are mom, but you are also yourself- don’t loose her in the sadness and frustration of being alone while your Firefighter is gone on shift.
Facetime, Skype and Visit
Please, get some adult conversation in, especially if it’s a long shift for your spouse.
Facetiming is great, just pull your hair back and have a solid background and no one can see the mess!
Or talk to your neighbor, or call a friend or family member. Just don’t go the whole time without talking to people, that gets very old (no text messages dont count!)
Above all, remember that it’s going to be ok!
Lastly, just breathe. Things will get better. You will find a new groove and life will work itself out.
Most importantly, just snuggle that baby!
Are you a new mom with questions about how to survive those early Firefighter shifts? Drop me a comment if you need some more suggestions!