This is a tough one. If you are newly married to a fire fighter, thinking of marrying one, been married a while and he becomes one, or wondering if you should stick around to even get to know one, well I am not going to tell you that. Lay it at God's feet and pray, and pray hard, because you will need it. You are going to have make that decision on your own. What I can do, is tell you what characteristics you will need to be the wife of a firefighter. Actually, most of these will probably apply if your spouse is in a major leadership role in life. At least from my experiences, I can share what I have seen, been, and needed to be along the way.
|My husband and I dancing our first dance.|
The first personality traits you are going to have to master is patience and flexibility. Patience, when you are waiting till all hours of the night for your FF to come home. Patience, for when you are tired and all you wanna do is throw in the towel for the day. For the days when your four year old stomped a dozen eggs in the carpet, your two year old gets into the powdered chocolate milk while you clean up the eggs, and then said four year old gets into the cake you made for an actual paying customer and you have to refrost the whole front section. When a shower looks like a far away vacation destination to somewhere like Hawaii, and you know there is no tag out for two more days. Flexibility when the dinner you prepared all day, making sure it was a sustainable "fire meal", then timed it perfectly to be hot and ready when he walks in the door goes to waste because there is a call. Or knowing he will only be home for thirty minutes before he has to turn around and go back to the station, for once you are prepared! Only to have your plans thwarted by a family member stopping him in the driveway for twenty of those minutes, and ending up just throwing your masterpiece of a dinner, pretty much cold, on his plate for him to eat on the drive there.
|My hottie red haired husband. Back off girls, he's all mine!|
Single. You may have to be single for awhile. More importantly, you are going to have to be OK with it. Now I know, depending on if you are a volunteer or a full time FF, schedules may look different. I have always envied full timers because they know what there schedules, for the most part, are going to be. If you are going to be gone for two or three days, everyone knows it. You can plan accordingly. Though, I am always grateful I don't have to go nights with out my husband, unless he is away for training. He can pop in here and there. Or just "be on call" that day, which means he has to be home in case a call drops, so he can run there. On the other hand, it would be really easy to worry and fear about his safety on some nights. They can work all day at their normal job, at the station, or doing programs in the community, run home to grab a bite before needing to go back for an officers meeting or a training. Which should end at about nine or ten if they get talking, which they always do. So I figure, eleven if i am lucky right? Well, next thing you know, the kids have been asleep for hours, the laundry is all done, dishes clean, the house tidied up, and it's two o'clock in the morning with no sign of him. Suddenly you hear what you think, and hope, are your hubby's tires pulling in the driveway, only to hear them turn around and speed away. Your heart sinks, deciding to try and hit the hay, and not think about where he is or what call stole him away.
Strong. WE have all heard the phrase "fight like a girl." Well this is our time to fight. Use the tools we have to fight. You can read more about what those tools are in a previous entry titled Guys Need To Do It Like They Need Food. Wise people often say, there are only two things you can control in this world. Unfortunately those two things are not other people, and our circumstances. (Or life happening.) No, that would be way too easy. Rather, they are your attitude and your actions. As a women, we have so many things to be to get through each day. Being a nurturing and soft spoken mom, a helpful daughter, a contributing worker, an understanding wife, a tip top maid, and cook, a sex panther.... Doesn't that just sound exhausting? Then, to basically do it on your own? Well, some days we just have to suck it up and mind over matter it.
What do I mean by that? Realize or remind yourself that it isn't all about you. Remember why you did all this in the first place. Yet at the same time, realize that it couldn't happen without you. That your job is just as important difficult as his, if not more, in my humble opinion. There are days when I just have to fake it till I make it. Actually, there are also weeks when I fake it till I make it. For example, when you realize you only have eight weeks left till your third son is born, school gets out for your first, and your second is turning five, a new season is starting in your summertime business, and your awesome firefighter will be gone seven of those eight weekends. Plus all the normal other stuff he still has to do. AND the weekend he will be here is the weekend the baby is due. As you may or may not know, most babies are not born on the day they are due. Now you may be saying, oh give him a break, at least he got that weekend off, right? Um, no. It is Memorial day weekend! I know, sort of hysterical. Except that we have pretty much nothing set up. That is all OK, though. I know he really doesn't have a choice when they schedule officer training. The way I see it, I could either run off, screaming into the night, scaring all the neighbors, but feel better after. Call all my friends and complain, making my self loath and pout, feeling worse then when I started. Or I could try and stay positive. Use it as an opportunity instead of an excuse. Ya know, eat things only I like. I could take the time with the kids and do things like a pottery class, or something similar I have always wanted to do. Or girl things, like watch cheesy movies, or die my hair without anyone complaining about the smell. I can Zumba without a stalker! I can even treat my self to a hot shower because I will be the first one in!!! Hooray!!!
Even more challenging, I could take it as an opportunity to miss my husband. Not in a sad way, but in order to appreciate him. Instead of being aggravated when he comes home about him not being here, wasting the time that he is actually here, try thinking about what it would be like if he were gone forever? Now don't do this if you are all emotional that day. Use your brain, and understand when too much is to much. If forever is too much to think about, try appreciating the fact he isn't gone for months at a time like our soldiers. that at least you get to see him every night , or every few days. That there are women out there, and babies for that matter, who are born without their daddy even being there to see them into this world. To fight in a war to protect our freedoms. That always turns my thought process right around.
Surrendered. This one wasn't my favorite for a very long time, but now it is. I feel like I am in some secret spy wife club. When most of us hear the word surrendered, we think of war. That is OK, because you either have to run or fight in a war. this is sort of our way of fighting like a girl. We don't have to get our hands dirty, unless we want to that is. The bets way to describe surrendered, is very opposite of weak and turning over your power, or giving up. No. It is getting what you ultimately want, what is best for your family and yourself, and having your spouse think it was all his idea. in my head, I am rolling on the floor laughing, but it is true! This isn't old fashioned Mrs. Cleaver saying, "Yes dear. Here dear. Beaver dear. Yada yada."
No way. It is more like in the movie My Big Fat Greek Wedding, when the mom tells Tula, "The man is the head of the house, and the woman is the neck. The neck can turn the head in any direction it wants to." Go watch the movie. It is awesome.
None the less, the rewards of being a fire wife far out way the cons. I mean, how many people can say their man is a fire fighter. How may of us get to see the pride in even our children's faces when they say, "My daddy is a firefighter!" Or the pride your spouse has in his eyes, when he comes home all fired up at two am, and you get to hear all the fire jabber when you'd rather be sleeping? Though you may feel alone sometimes, you never are. God, of course is helping you through of course, but your fire family is always there for you too. They are going through the same things as you. So reach out if you haven't to someone else in the department. If not there, do it here! Find someone to talk to. It helps to know you aren't the only one out there going through this stuff. So hang in there! If I can do it, seven months pregnant, still having morning sickness daily, with two kids, then so can you! Lots of Love! Lyn aka Cake Girl.