This may seem odd coming from the woman who founded a website called FirefighterWife.com but hang with me. Your identity is NOT as a Firefighter Wife. You mean so much more than that and I want every woman to hear this loud and clear. You. Are. More. Way more than a firefighter’s wife. Keep reading.
May 4th we celebrated International Firefighter’s Day and it got a bazillion hits on our Facebook page and website. Hurray. I mean for real, those guys do amazing things. But I personally know about 1000 more amazing things they do than be firefighters. Like how the friendships they form last a lifetime. How they are husbands and fathers. And how they can do what they do because they have wives and mothers who stand in their shadow while the firefighters are called “heroes” (so many of them even dislike this term) and the communities celebrate them with recognition days and events and more.
But let’s talk about the women behind those firefighters. Um, yeah. There’s no “day” for them. (Honestly we don’t need another made up social media share fest. That’s not what I’m pitching here.) I’m talking about the mom’s and wives and mothers of their children that make space in their life to focus on firefighting. Who watch them run out the door at every inconvenient moment for another alarm, another page, another training, another firefighter who needs a hand.
Yes these are firefighter wives. And firefighter mom’s. But this isn’t going to be your normal article about how strong these women are for loving a firefighter. Not at all. Take off that first word. That’s right. Take off the word “firefighter”.
These women are so much more than just a Firefighter’s Wife.
Nurses. Teachers. Lawyers. Administrators. Coaches. Sales Reps. Writers. Designers. Engineers. Volunteers. Trustees. Board members. Neighborhood party coordinators. Entrepreneurs. Personal shoppers. Coupon cutters. Nail polish applicators. Screw driver turners. DIY home repairers. Gardeners. Cooks. Homesteaders. House cleaners. Chaffeurs. Launderers. Forgiveness givers. Compassionate carers. Kind hearted dryers of tears. Boo-boo fixers. Toilet valve replacers. Duct Tape Gurus. (and learners and masters of a million other things that happen in our life times)
To be perfectly honest, I *never* called myself a fire wife and never intended to. I cringed at the ownership of that title all over social media. It felt cheesy and possessive.
I resisted the t-shirts and the virally shared graphics placing that title on a pedestal. I love being his wife and I love that he loves being a firefighter, but I’m not “just” a wife. Let alone a fire wife. When I met him I was 100% capable on my own. Single mom. Career woman. Home owner. And yes, lonely and looking for someone to fill the empty space in my heart and gracious and desiring to add that title wife. But that’s not where it ends or begins.
I shudder a little when I think of what the non-firefighting community must think of all of us running around with “firefighter wife” emblazoned on our t-shirts, hats, coffee mugs, window stickers and even tattoos.
Are we proud? Absolutely. Do I respect his profession choice? There’s no other way. And am I lucky girl to have a big strong husband who will do things that other men won’t? For sure.Are we going to keep selling fire wife t-shirts? YES! Don’t panic. I’m not getting that crazy. They are super cute and a good way to show your man how much you love them.
But don’t get stuck there. It’s not about the t-shirt. And the title “Fire” Wife is just the icing on the cake. Because along with that package comes an amazing competent woman who can handle the 24’s, 48’s and 72’s with grace, courage and creativity.
Do you have a t-shirt that says “Master Chef Mom”? Or “Carpool Queen”? Or “I have a toddler and I got my work out in before 7 am”? Because you are and you did! All while being married to a firefighter. Rock on, sister.
You’re a woman who is probably running off to her job to help makes ends meet in your household. You’re coordinating last minute sitters for those unexpected OTs (or sleepless shift nights). You’re showing up solo at family functions with a little something something you threw together from a pinterest inspiration. You’re being mom, wife, employee and none of those jobs have to start with fire.
You are your own amazing person and today I want to take a gigantic time out from the world of firefighter wife and recognize that.
Thank the Lord for the firefighter in your life. But thank the Lord for the woman first. And the love you have together as husband and wife.
Of course it’s very special to be married to someone who is a firefighter, a person who will do amazing things to help people in need.
But being the wife of a firefighter is not my full identity, nor yours. Please don’t make it that.
I want every “fire wife” reading this to step back and own that. You, are a talented woman. Who’s been given the blessing of walking alongside an amazing man. And perhaps even bearing his children and experiencing the joy of parenthood together. You’ve been given many unique gifts and talents. And if firefighting comes to an end, which it always will, your world does not end and your worth does not stop. There is no end to your gifts to this world and your love together no matter what path you are walking, even if that doesn’t involve the fire department.
My goodness this sounds like sacrilege in some circles. The hoards of people we met at FDIC who live and breath everything related to the fire service. Their family functions are at the fire department. All their volunteer time goes to the fire department. Their clothing is all adorned firefighter. I take nothing away from all of you who give countless thankless hours to keep your community fire department running. And yes we will keep supporting you here at the website through the quirks of the fire life. But sister, you are So. Much. More.
Today I honor the woman. The uniquely talented woman who is reading this. Stop calling yourself a Fire Wife. Or at least don’t make that too much of your identity. Because you are so much more than that.