Top Things to Do When Your Firefighter is on Shift

by | Everyday, Long Hours, Quality Time, Shift Night Chatter, Taking Care of You

Our Time Together is Kind of a Big Deal…

How do you prioritize your schedules when your firefighter is on shift? Do you have certain things that only happen on a shift day/night so you can make the most of every moment when they get home?

On last week’s Shift Night Chatter, the topic was brought up of what we do when our firefighter is on shift.

Our firefighters have seen it all in us. The good, the bad, and the ugly. But our hearts want us to let the good shine through, don’t they?

We can admit that sometimes we do things for ourselves when it is a shift day, but we discovered through this conversation that we also do a lot to make our firefighters more comfortable and happy when they return. Firefighter Dave gave us his input on what he likes his wife to do while he is at the station, I need to tell Diane that, do all the things that annoy me when I’m at the firehouse. That’s a t shirt!

1. We can make dinner casual and fun.

These are the nights we can choose to have more of a laid back, casual dinner. Buffet style anyone? Make it something fun for the kids, like pizza night or everyone cooks together. This can help fill that time apart while still having fun. Psst..make the foods you love and your firefighter doesn’t!

2. We can give all of us to our children, and make it special for them too!

Some of us are in that “needy” season with the kids. They may be in diapers, they may have special needs, they may require just a little more attention from us, they may be getting ready for finals. Whatever the reason, they need us a little more right now and so we take the time to give that to them on shift nights.

Top Things to Do When Your Firefighter is on Shift

We can make it special for our kids, who miss our firefighters just as much as us. We take advantage of the extra snuggle time and let them stay up just a little later like firefighter wife and mom, Jenee, “AHHHH I can’t believe that I missed this! Me and my 3 kiddos have “extra’ 30 mins of snuggle time and read a special book. (a russian fairy tale book from my childhood).” Facetime has been such a huge blessing to us, and a lot of fire families use it for goodnight calls. The littlest ones love seeing their dad’s face one last time before bed.

One thing some fire wives use as a reward system is the sleepover. One (or sometimes more) kiddo gets to climb into bed and have a sleepover with Mom while Dad is at the station. This can get a little tricky when they are in the gymnastic sleep phase where their limbs and tossing bodies dominate the whole bed! Being a daughter of a firefighter, Hannah experienced this in her childhood, “We always slept with mom when dad was on shift and took turns as well. I loved that.”

3. We can have Girl Time and catch up on our favorite girl shows!

For those of you who may not have children in the mix, it is a great time to plan a Girls’ Night and get that time in before your firefighter comes home. Good girlfriends are so important to have in life, and making the time to connect with them is just as important.

If you are like FFW Andi, you take advantage of the time to catch up on your favorite shows (that your firefighter won’t watch with you), “Married 4 years to my firefighter .. He is on shift night and I’m on the couch with my DVR!”

4. We catch up on chores, homework, and work.

We clean the sheets (there is nothing quite like the feeling of an exhausted body slipping into bed and discovering fresh sheets!) and we stay up late finishing chores so we have more time with our firefighters when they are back.

Maybe you are in school and use the extra time for homework. Anessa is working toward a degree, “On shift nights I’m doing homework, finishing my nursing degree.” Or you may be blessed with the opportunity to work from home and you stay up late squeezing in work hours so you can take time for a lunch date when you husband comes home. If you are lucky enough to be able to work from home, and figure out how to manage the balance of all your roles in life, bask in the sweetness of this season!

5. We get lonely.

So after the kids are tucked in, the homework is done, work time is over, and you look around your clean house….loneliness may creep up on you. Thankfully, we have the Fire Wife Sisterhood and Honor Guard. So many times spouses at home will post in these groups to see if anyone else is alone on a shift night, and great conversations start. Having a community, in-person and online, is a great support for those empty shift nights. FFW Karissa knows the need for community, especially during paramedic school, I love this Facebook live! Doesn’t feel so lonely on shift night. Getting through paramedic season makes a girl go insane! Especially for a newly married couple.”

If everyone misses their firefighter as much as I do when he is gone, we try to find ways to stay close when we are apart. Some of us feel comforted sleeping in our husband’s spot in bed, sleeping on his pillow, or (my favorite) sleeping in one of his shirts. Another wife, Renee, is with me on the shirt thing, “Shift nights I am fine all day until bedtime when I miss him most. I also like to sleep in his sweater.”


No matter how we fill our shift nights without our firefighter, we must always remember to let them know how much we missed them when they were gone. Whether you greet them with a hug, a kiss, fresh sheets, breakfast, or any other special routine you have, we can fill up their love tank and ours by never missing a moment we are given together to connect.


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On a mission to be and inspire us all to be better humans, to strengthen fire families & marriages, to nurture and encourage fire wives, do "good business" in all areas of my life and of course, love on my 4 kids.

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1 Comment

  1. Stacey Lobdell

    Thanks for the reminders and great ideas!


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