I’ll never forget the day my Firefighter (who was just a civilian) told me that he wanted to become a Firefighter.
We had only been married for a few months, and we had not only just found out that we were having our first child, but also that his mother would never walk again.
And I guess what I really wanted to know, besides the cheating statistics and risks of dying was, ‘Will it be hard to be married to a Firefighter’?
Back then, google wasn’t super helpful (remember those days when cell phones weren’t mini computers!?!) and I was really really confused. Everything I found online was straight up awful- from firefighters taking their own lives to widows crying in the streets after a call gone bad.
What was I signing up to become if I was truly going to be married to a firefighter? The truth is, there are several parts of being married to a Firefighter that question my sanity and my patience. Some of those things are really hard to deal with and caused problems for us.
But the other truth is that, there are parts about being a Fire Wife that are actually easy, and we’re going to talk about both of them so you can hopefully have a clear picture about how hard (and easy) it is to be a firefighter wife.
What IS hard about being a Firefighter Wife?
It is really really hard to see your Firefighter after they have had a bad call. Like really hard. They might cry. They might yell. They might be silent. It is SO strange to see the emotions.
What else is hard?
Being alone alot.
And by a lot, I mean like 24-48 hours at a time or more. Most firefighters work a 24 on 48 off schedule, and many work a 48 on 72 off. Then there are firefighters who work even more days than that- or those working special disasters or wildland fires who could be gone for weeks at a time. It’s especially important that your Firefighter has a love token for times like these.
That means the Fire Wife is at home, doing everything solo including solo parenting, and having to hold down the fort without her firefighter. We call this ‘survival mode’
The LODD scares are hard too. It’s one thing to see your firefighter after a bad call, another thing to not see your firefighter for days, but then there’s the close calls.
Those are the calls that stop your heart from beating.
Close calls, or ‘missed’ Line of Duty Deaths, are where your Firefighter just narrowly survived. I’d love to tell you that it shouldn’t even be on your radar, but the truth is that it happens more than anyone would like.
it’s times like these where I lean on my faith, my family and my friends really hard. You can’t survive being a Firefighter Wife without a support system.
And maybe worst of all is finding out about a close call on the news, facebook, or through a friend. It REALLY sucks. There is no award or banner or apology that can make up for learning that your husband almost died and changed your entire world- from a stranger!
And while those are hard things about being a Firefighter Wife, there are so many more good things we are going to talk about below.
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What Isn’t Hard about being a Firefighter Wife?
I hit you with the heavy stuff first, I mean, that’s what you came here looking for! But I hope you’ll stay with me as we talk about the good parts about being a Fire Wife.
So what’s good? Well the time off is fantastic! My Firefighter works 24 on and 48 off, and that means a lot of normal time off. Plus, when he wants to take a vacation, he can take off one 24 hour shift and have 5 days off in a row!
If you are Married to a Volunteer Firefighter, the same kind of principle applies. There will be “off” days where your Firefighter won’t answer calls, and then on days where your Firefighter will end up staying home since there aren’t calls to be answered.
This also gives Firefighters the opportunity to work other jobs, and in our case, helps my husband and I juggle both of us working while homeschooling our kids!
Which leads me to the next point, even though our Firefighter is gone 24 hours at a time, He spends an incredible amount of time with the kids! Way more than He could have spent if he was working 9-6 at an office job! Where else can you work 70+ hours a week and still be home for 5 dinners a week?
We also love that my Firefighter loves being a Firefighter. The kids love that their dad is a Firefighter (and playing in the Fire Truck). That there’s a family vibe at the station that we feel welcome when we visit.
And the Firefighter Wife Tshirts are pretty cute too!
But the best part about being a Firefighter Wife is that I love the man in the gear- not the gear itself. I know that the job, while it influences him, isn’t him!
My firefighter is SO MUCH MORE than the job- and quite frankly, so am I!
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There’s hard stuff about being a Firefighter Wife, and then there’s easy stuff
No sugar coating it here. There’s hard parts about being married to a Firefighter. From dealing with rough calls, to heart stopping close calls, and not seeing him for days at a time- it can all feel too much!
But there’s beauty in His career. He is a helper, and He loves His calling, so we find the good things like the flexible schedule, time at home, and the family theme central to our department!
See Also: Crucial Advice for the New Fire Wife