What’s the cold hard truth about being a Firefighter Wife?
Some day’s it’s easy, and some day’s it hard!
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 and what I can do as his wife to help him succeed. He is a helper, and He loves His calling, so we find the good things like the flexible schedule, time at home, and perks of driving a fire truck when the bad stuff comes up!
Being a Firefighter Wife comes with a lot of ups and downs. There are many perks to the job, but there’s also a lot of risks involved with the career. When you are a Firefighter Wife you deal with questions from the public, loneliness from the schedule and worry about accidents. These are balanced with a lot of time off, a family of firefighters, and your firefighter experiencing a high level of job satisfaction.
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For one, Being Married to a Firefighter means lots of changed plans, odd vacations and weird schedules
I know, you know, we all know… first responders (and many others!) work on holidays, special events, and unplanned times. Accident’s don’t have a set time, so our Firefighters are needed at all hours of the night and day.
But here’s what they don’t tell you… it’s lonely. It’s lonely for you, and it deeply impacts your Firefighter. They’ll see a stranger’s house burned down on Christmas eve, and then come home to you on Christmas day with no christmas spirit. Or your Firefighter will end up doing CPR in a stranger’s family dining room, with 15 close relatives nearby, as the Grandpa of the family codes on Thanksgiving day.
Those kinds of events, coupled with special days or holidays, can make things hard on your firefighter and you.
It’s not all bad though. Most Firefighters work a 24 on and 48 off shift (though it’s common to see 48/72) and that means more time at home! It also means that one vacation day will net you 5 days off with your firefighter!
And leave for childbirth and care is relatively straight forward… which is good when you compare to other careers (like how many in the military are unable to be home or even attend the birth!)
On the other hand, Station visits can be so much fun! There’s lots of times we’ve popped over with the family to say goodnight, or bring by some distant family to see the trucks.
But what no one tells you is that its stressful! Especially when you are solo parenting and then you have to get the kids back to the car and back home.
Too many times (including one station thanksgiving!) the tones have dropped and my Firefighter has had to jump in the truck. This happened when his mom and sister visited, when we stopped by for my son’s birthday, and one Sunday when we brought lunch by.
Learning to not be disappointed has been hard- but it’s a part of the job and something we have to anticipate!
For two, Firefighter Marriage also involves Murphy
Several years ago, in an older facebook group, I would first learn about Murphy.
Well, I take that back, because I learned about it by experience long before then.
It started that morning when, first thing after waking up, I stepped in dog vomit.
Glorious right? It just gets better and better because that same damn dog ran away from me… and while super pregnant, I had to jump in my car to chase her down the neighborhood since we had just moved and I was petrified she wouldn’t know how to get home (well I didn’t have to, but I did…)
As things would have it, there was a minor gas leak that required a service technician, a missing toy that resulted in an epic meltdown (my toddler, not me, but I wanted to cry too) and a card I needed to drop in the mail for a special occasion that was very overdue but I simply couldn’t find it anywhere in the house!
Meanwhile, my husband was on shift at the firehouse, and I felt all the emotions as I tried to keep it together at home.
That, my friends, is Murphy.
Murphy’s law actually states that anything that can go wrong, will go wrong.
So on shift days, that means that some things will seemingly go afoul when your Firefighter isn’t there to help. For me, that looks like dead car batteries, a dead cat and a giant tree falling on my house. (thankfully not all in the same day)
For you, it might look like a leaky faucet, a broken phone and the light fixture busting in 1000 pieces. And before you can even take another step forward, something else goes wrong.
Imagine your firefighter walks out the door with a kiss goodbye, and something decides that today, of all days, is the day to break, the day to quit, the day that most things will go ridiculously wrong.
Ready to beat murphy? We’ve got just the thing to help you through those rough days!
And Lastly, Firefighter Marriages come packed with LODD awareness
Ready for a wild statistic? If you include all the deaths related to the career, that includes cancr, suicid (intentionally mispelled), heart disease, accidents and on the job deaths… Firefighting is in the top 5 most dangerous jobs in the USA. (and Side note, the NFPA does not record Cancer and has a dismal suicid recording. Thankfully Firefighter Behavioral Health Alliance has the most accurate suicid reporting. Firefighter deaths are drastically underrecorded!
It’s not like your Firefighter signed up for the job saying, ” I love fires so much I want to go out young” or something crazy like that!
Because I know they didn’t, I know mine didn’t. They signed up for the job because the love people and they have a servant’s heart. That is an amazing quality! And rarely do they cover all these extra things in their long list of training…
But we HAVE to be honest that it’s a risk. For the PG versions, check out these guide to decon for firefighters, and this post about LODD awareness for fire wives. For the exclusive stuff, check out these ebooks full of case studies, real life examples, and actionable content to preserve your health and marriage in this career!
Wrapping it up
So what’s it really like to be a Fire Wife? It’s both equal parts amazing and hard. You get to be there for your Fireman to see how He is able to help the community, and you also get to see the good, bad and ugly tolls that this career takes.