Firefighter wives know the truth- that this fire life isn’t all sunshine and rainbows. And for some, they’re are more bad days than good days.
And as a firefighter wife, some days you are unhappy with your husband’s choice to be a firefighter.
So when times get hard, how do you stay happy?
Let me tell you a secret for being a happy firefighter wife.
What’s your Story?
Often times, we can tell if we are going to be happy by the things that have happened in the past- and the plans for the future.
When my Husband first talked about the fire service, we were already married. We had been together for years, So I didn’t know what I was getting myself into. I had these dreams of spending days together when he was off, and enjoying the days by myself when he was at work. I thought it would be the perfect amount of together and alone time.
Little did I know that the fire life isn’t quite like everyone on TV portrays it to be.
Its a lot more mess (and a lot more fun) but way more lonely. And at the end of the day, while we love his job, he is so much more than a firefighter. So I knew there had to be more for me as I juggled his (sometimes insane) schedule.
So, The other shift day. It was a whirlwind for me at home with the kids. We attempted to go to target, and yes my three year old had a meltdown over the Tv screens at the back (he wanted the dog to come back on). It was now lunch time (bad planning on my part) and the Chickfila drive thru was packed and the kids were eating through a family sized bag of popcorn. So we tried another restaurant.
This one was a sit down one that was eerily empty. We waited 15 minutes before leaving (it was hibachi style and they wanted more guest to arrive). Finally, we show up at a little sandwich place, absolutely starving and my kids were complete angels! So we had this up and down morning while my husband was on a 24 hour shift, and then boom. Peaceful lunch after trying three different places. It was not my ideal day, but it worked for us.
Some shift days can be much more eventful. Back when my husband was new to his current job, we had just purchased a house. I was pregnant and staying home with our son while my husband was a few hours into his 24 hour shift. We had just laid down for a nap… And the craziest thing happen, a TREE fell on our HOUSE. I literally woke up screaming, grabbed the baby and fled the scene in my underwear at noon. Thankfully, no one was hurt, and we can look back now and laugh about it. But in the moment it felt like a really really really big deal.
So I want to talk about a little secret to enjoy this fire family, particularly enjoying being a fire wife. Because sometimes, I don’t enjoy it. This lifestyle can be a shocker to someone, especially if they never knew anyone who was a firefighter before. It was a shock for me, as my husband enrolled in Fire Standards when our son was barely three months old. From the moment our fire life adventure started, its been an adjustment.
I’m here to tell you that just because its an adjustment, doesn’t mean it cant also be enjoyable.
Do you let Murphy Win?
Have you heard of Murphy’s Law?
It talks about how, when something can go wrong, it does go wrong.
So as an example:
My Husband got a call back for mandatory overtime. That means our plans got changed (again), that means that the treasured alone time we sneak in after the kids are asleep is gone (again) and that also means that the pile of laundry is (probably) not going to get tackled for another day.
But Should I let Murphy win when the plans get changed (AGAIN!)
So you could look at it this way…
My husband got a call back for overtime. Surprise trip to grandmas! I’m going to get coffee while grandma spoils the kiddos. My husband loves his job so he’s excited to go back, and he can make some extra money while he’s at it!
So which one of those ways do you look at your fire life? Is it the day where you regret the fire life because it stole some time from you? Or is it a day where you make lemonade out of lemons and know that you’ll get more time together in the future? Sometimes it can be a combination of both days- because any honest fire wife will tell you that its happened to them, and it wasn’t always glamorous. Every one has a different definition of a bad day, and we all have different ways that we can cope with them.
Do you Enjoy Being a Fire Wife
So I want to ask you, ‘Do you enjoy being a fire wife’? I’m not talking about other parts of your life (although if you hate your job or your house it will absolutely effect the rest of your life). I’m asking if you enjoy your time as a fire wife.
Think long and hard about it. Do you actually enjoy that your husband is a firefighter?
It’s ok if you don’t.
But it is important to realize that if you don’t enjoy it, it will cause lots of tension in your relationship.
You are not forced to enjoyed it, I just want you to realize how your feelings about things effect your actions.
Are there particular things about your husband’s job that he could change? Like if the commute is too far, you could move or change jobs.
If the gear around the house is bothering you (uh cancer risk!) then you need to discuss with your firefighter about making some changes about where the gear is store.
Because if you don’t start looking at the root cause of the problem, it has more to do with how you look at things and your expectations than it has to do with the job itself.
The Secret isn’t hard
In fact, it’s pretty easy if you take the time to really look at it.
The secret to being a Happy Fire Wife is examining the way you look at things and then making the changes so that life can get better.
Simple right? In theory- but not always in application
For example, you may HATE that your spouse is a Firefighter- but he’s not willing to give up his job. So then you have to decide if you want to hold onto that Hate (and let it eat you up every day!) or work through it and try to find the positives.
This in no means suggests that you should settle for something that you don’t want, it simply means that expecting everything to go perfect on shift days and overtime only happening at the perfect time is unreasonable.
Yep. I said it. Expecting everything to go perfect on shift day is unreasonable.
You will drive yourself crazy if you think that.
The good news is that you can learn to make the most of your expectations. You can let go of these harmful beliefs that shift days (and non shift days) will be full of magazine worthy pictures, with behaved children, complete balanced meals and perfect communication with your husband. Even though we might think that going into the fire life (you can send me hate mail if you want, but you know its true!)
I think the biggest thing that keeps us from feeling happy in our lives is comparing our lives to other people. We think that firefighter wife so and so in the department never has bad days. But she does.
She might even have days that look like hurricanes compared to your april shower. We don’t know.
We also think that if we weren’t a firefighter family or if we had different jobs or a different house we would be happy. While those things can make a significant difference, the true test of happiness is how you let yourself feel.
What we do know, is that you can be the one to make YOUR life the very best it can be, and that you can absolutely enjoy being a Fire Wife.
If our husband’s have the very best job in the world- then the fire wife’s should feel the same about their life and their jobs. So take the good with the bad- seriously.
Some days will be absolutely phenomenal (yes, they DO exist! I promise) and other days will be less than we want (it’s ok if you end up eating ice cream and wine for dinner).
The joy in being a Fire Wife is making the most out of our crazy adventure called life! And once the Fire is gone (through job change or retirement) I hope that you can still be happy wherever life takes you.
Tell me, do you enjoy being a Firefighter Wife?