I’m not new to the fire service, I’ve been co-existing with it (or trying to) for nearly 7 years now. I started out a volunteer girlfriend and fast forward to now…I am a career fireman’s wife. I’m a quick learner and I’d venture to say I’m seasoned by now. That doesn’t mean I have all of the answers, it means I’ve managed to survive this long and I don’t hate it [the fire service]! The fire service is one that is forever changing for our firefighters. Throw in medical certifications, higher ranks and additional titles and there will always be something new and evolving for them to learn, relearn and implement. Being a firefighter’s wife is the SAME way. It feels like there is always room for improvement, always something changing to adapt to and always something new being thrown into the mix. Can you imagine if we kept up with OUR “continuing education” hours? What if we got credit for new skills? How about if our ranks and titles changed with our husband’s? What would you call yourself? I’m calling myself Mrs. Nearlycrazy but that’s ok too. There are several things I have learned this year alone, there is always something new to learn. Some things I have learned by the sharing of hardships by others, some by being proactive and some I have learned the same way most of us learn everything, the hardest way possible. I recently saw a quote on Pinterest that said something that referred to life lessons as being “Blessons”. Blessed to have learned a lesson. That is so true!
•It is ok to tell people no. Just because someone asks you to do something, doesn’t mean you have to say yes. Do not overload yourself and don’t offer excuses. Say no if that is what you want to say and move along.
•You need to know how to change a tire, turn the water main and electric mains off and how to improvise when things go wrong. They will go wrong. At least have a list of people you can call if you have a problem and he can’t come home.
•That it is ok to let the house be messy. You LIVE in your house, it doesn’t have to look picture perfect.
•48s, 72s, 96s, 120s SUCK. (even longer stretches for contractors and wildland firefighters) If you know it is coming, PLAN. Plan out your days and fill them with distractions and fun. Idle time lets the mind wander way too much.
•*blushes* Don’t fall into a sex “routine”. It doesn’t have to be at the same time, in the same place, in the same way. We have our very own forum for that type of talk called “Fire Up Your Love Life with Heather Isaacs” in our Fire Wife Sisterhood. Routine is a NO NO.
•Sometimes you have to be the one who gives first. Marriage is a life-long give and take and sometimes you have to make the first move.
•Just.Be.Open. There should not be a thing on earth that you two couldn’t talk about if you needed to but you must also be open to hear what he has to say also.
•Plan, plan, plan! Sync calendars. It may take a few tries to get something that works for the whole family to keep up with who works when, what functions there are going on, kids activities… You need to know what YOUR schedule is.
•People will never get why I don’t want to do things without my husband on his off days. There are plenty of days he is working that we can schedule for. Have a set answer and you do not have to explain yourself!
•Life is short and our firefighters see a lot of death. Live. If you need to take a break and just be upset, do it. Get it out of your system, then just breathe. Just live, worry and stress hinder living!
There were so many bits of things they have learned this year, here are a few of them…
• That I really need to take care of myself so that I can take care of everyone else. Hard lesson that ended in hand surgery. -Rhonda, Arizona
• To not make them feel guilty about missing things – like Easter, parties, dates, etc. Usually, they feel just as bad about missing it too but they made a commitment to aide others in need despite what is going on in their life. – Bethany, Ohio.
• Patience when he brings his work home with him. It is not me, it’s the station.- Laura, Texas
• This year I have learned that I am not alone, this group has provided me with an insight I never could have imagined. My patience, appreciation, love and respect has grown for my husband in leaps and bounds. – Robyn, Vermont
• This year I have learned the deeper meaning of the fire service. I have learned that my husband is not choosing something over me and the kids, he is choosing a life’s calling to help and protect. I have learned to overcome my fears of what can happen and instead send him out the door with the confidence that God and his Brother’s will return him home to me. Lastly, I’ve learned that there is an entire group of women who understand me, my fears and help me work through them so it’s not put at his feet when that is the last thing he needs to be focusing on. – Lisa, New York
• I learned that it’s ok to ask for help and that I don’t need the hubs around for everything. I can fix stuff too!! –Bethany, Colorado
• I have learned that the more understanding I have of his calling, the easier it is for me to eliminate worry. The extensive training they go through and the trust they have in one another puts my mind at ease. – Heather, Florida
• I re-learned patience and acceptance of newer, younger female members and re-establishing TRUST in my FF knowing that he always comes home to me and our daughter without passing a look their way! –Heather, New Hampshire
• This year I learned that I am not always the reason for his mood. However I do have the power to change them in a positive way. This group has given me the strength, patience, and compassion to be a better wife and to fight not only for our marriage but for myself. – Erin, Nebraska
• To be the best wife I can be and allow him to be the best husband he can be. To stop fighting so much because we are on the same team!-Danielle, New Jersey
• I learned to bite my tongue no matter how many times he repeats the same shift/call story! -Shay, Georgia
• I learned that sometimes no matter what the circumstance is that sometimes we can’t take away the hurt and make things better. All we can do is be there, be patient, and hope that our FF gets the help that they need. -Andrea, Vermont
• That I am not alone. -Casey, Georgia
• I have learned that there is an amazing group of women who understand. They are so welcoming and loving and are a safe place when you need somewhere to turn. -Tracie, Utah
It’s easy to read all of these and think of a time I could have applied it to my own life. I have a feeling that most of you will too. Let us all carry these lessons learned into the new year and be open to even more lessons to come. Tracie from Utah mentions “an amazing group of women” and if you want more information on the Fire Wife Sisterhood of FirefighterWife.com to see for yourself, CLICK HERE.
Looking back on this year, what have YOU learned? Share with us in the comments below.
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