As I am flying on my way to help my sister with her 3rd round of chemo, I can’t help but have mixed emotions about leaving my children for the next five days. It will be the longest and farthest I have ever been away from them. For those that don’t know my older sister was diagnosed with an aggressive breast cancer called her2. She started treatment almost immediately. Her chemo will be and is very aggressive causing her to have lots of symptoms. She lives a couple states away so I can’t just be there for her whenever I want to be. But I know for those we love we must do whatever is necessary to help them when they are in need.
Sitting here on the plane I began to think about all my fellow fire wives who may be like me and find it so hard to be the parent leaving. I also think about my husband, not really sure how he has the strength to do this every week. I know I couldn’t. As I said my goodbyes to my girls I couldn’t help the tears from falling. It is definitely new territory for me and not one I would normally welcome. My husband also left this morning for his 72hr shift (Lord willing). So, part of it is a little guilt, although I know I shouldn’t feel guilty. I think how they already have one parent who they don’t get to see every day and then, the unwarranted guilt creeps in. But, mostly I will just miss the heck out of them! The only comfort I have is that they are in good hands and know they will be taken good care of while I am gone.
While I am excited to see my sister and spend time with her, I know my sisterly duty is so important right now. To be there for her and help her through this struggle of breast cancer. And hopefully give strength and encouragement while I am there. I hope my husband doesn’t get held on and the girls will at least have a little bit of their normal routine while I am gone. I can’t wait to kiss those cute little faces and see my husband. But until then I will be praying for them. And I will be praying for you fire wives and firefighters who have to spend these days apart. It is not for the faint of heart.
Does your Husband rock a Stache? How about my forest service wives, does your Hubby rock a beard? Then this next featured firefighter owned company is for them.
Griffin is a firefighter in Texas who owns a mustache wax business. Part of his proceeds go to firefighters battling cancer. This is a subject that is also close to my heart. His waxes and beard oil are for the manliest men! Getting to know him through Instagram and his family who promotes health and wellness. They are a solid family who love to help others. Get to know him yourself and his business on Instagram @stache_salt_moustache_wax I also will be posting his website here and on my main home page. On there will be also a giveaway for Father’s Day 2018 so don’t miss out!
My husband has been using this for his own Stache and loves it! Let’s support our brothers and sisters in the fire family and support their awesome Stache! http://www.stachesalt.com
Some things I have accepted that will never become normal when being married to a firefighter. I’ve talked a lot about them on here. The pros and cons of the fire family. Some things are easy to handle and be strong but there’s just always something about that first night.
Full on Insomnia mode almost every time. His first day on shift it’s the adjustment game. But as soon as my head hits that pillow my mind awakens and the very real reality sets in. The comfort of him next to me, the peaceful sleep, knowing he is there to protect his family, is gone. IT IS NOW ALL ON ME. In all honesty I have had nights where I have made action plans if A, B or C happens then this is how I will respond. The full on mental checklist starts with is every door and window locked. The alarm is for sure set. Then I double maybe even triple check it like some paranoid person. I all of sudden have super hearing powers and I hear every single noise. It’s frustrating.
Sometimes this carries on throughout his whole 72 hour shift. But for the most part it seems to be that first night. The next two nights seem to be better like I readjusted and I let go a little more. My mind isn’t on overdrive and sleep graces me with it’s presence. I become a more pleasant person to be around since I am not sleep deprived. And by the last day I am back to being super mom who has her act together. Those lonely nights apart make me so grateful for the days when he comes home. With his job and life full of dangers that’s never a guarantee. I sleep like a baby that first night he is back. But then his shift starts again and we are back to square one. The haunting of the first night.
There are the rare times when I have it together and am able to sleep just fine. I love these times. I wish I could make every shift like this. But it’s not the reality of a fire wife. Or at least this fire wife. Here’s to all you ladies who may be struggling with this first night problem. I pray you get some rest and have peace that surpasses your understanding. And may your coffee be strong.
Sometimes there isn’t enough coffee to help a mama. Life has been a little tiring lately. So please excuse me on this one if my thoughts and grammar are a little all over the place. And since that’s the case I will try to keep this one short and to the point.
Currently my two-year old is on her second day of throwing up. Yesterday we were literally 30 seconds from my driveway before it began. I had a trunk full of groceries for a camping trip we had planned for the weekend. I get home, get my toddler out and take her in to clean her up. I lay her down, get my five-year old situated with lunch cause she is hungry. pull out the bread I had bought earlier that week and it was moldy. Plan B for lunch. Finally her lunch is made, I then hurry and get the groceries I just bought that didn’t include bread, strip the car seat down and start a load of laundry. All this just in time to catch the next rounds of throw up. Of course it gets everywhere because my toddler absolutely hates the bowl. She rather just have it all over her. I am exhausted. She sleeps a little while on me, I manage to get a decent dinner cooked, and wait for my husband to get home and maybe I can catch a break.
During this whole day of crazy my husband is literally two hours away taking his Captain’s test. My husband has been working and studying for this test this whole week and also helping with rehire training. So, when he was home I knew he needed to be studying. So I push through one more day until he gets a few full days off. This is the reality of being a fire wife. It’s the moments of single parenting when things are chaos and digging deep and finding the strength to do so. Sometimes as fire wives we are exhausted. But, find that thing that says to dig deeper. I know I have said it before but for me the strength that comes from God only, it is what will help me push through. Hold down the fort, give it all you have, embrace the hard times cause when you get through them you will only come out stronger for it.
There is nothing like a vacation to make you thankful for the time you have together with your spouse and family. We were recently blessed with a trip to Disneyland. Something we didn’t think would happen for quite sometime because we wanted the girls to be able to ride all the rides. But when my husband received free tickets for us to go, we went. Our normal routine was thrown out the window and vacation mode was in full force. And I was completely fine with that! We got to escape reality and be on our own time and just reset and enjoy our time together. It’s been a little over a week now and we are finally getting back into our routine. Something I rely heavily on as a fire wife.
For me routine is everything. It makes life easier not only for me but for the whole family. And I will admit it wasn’t as established with the first kid until my second child came along. I got more into a groove of setting up those time frames of when things need to happen. Some of you may wonder what exactly I mean by my routines. I feel like every family has some kind of routine. What day you go grocery shopping to what time dinner is or nap time for the kids. That’s what I mean. Having those things established just helps simplify the rest of the day. And my routine may be a little more in-depth and strict then others. Don’t get me wrong though there are times when I make exceptions and allow those routines to be interrupted.
The biggest thing I am a stickler about is bedtime. In our house for my kids it is always at seven. As they get older it will change and that’s okay. But for now this time works. I get asked sometimes if they fall asleep when the sun is still out at that time, and the answer is yes. I teach my girls that it’s not the sun but the time on the clock that sets bedtime. This bedtime is so important for me. It allows me to have some alone time when my husband is gone and do things I normally don’t get to do throughout the day like catch up on shows, eat a piece of chocolate without being bombarded by having to share it. I get to reset and relax. My husband is great about respecting the routines I have set and I try my best to update him if there is any changes. It’s nice when my husband is home and we have enough time to hang out have an uninterrupted conversation. We can plan, or watch a movie together and get alone time.
Giving my kids some kind of stability in a life where everything seems chaotic and a husbands work schedule that is always changing is HUGE! I do not feel bad one bit for having these certain routines established and sticking to them. I also try to leave room for grace on those days when the routine is just thrown out the window. I know every family unit is different as well as every kid and every marriage. This routine thing just happens to work amazing for us and makes our life a little easier. It may be something you relate too and do yourselves. And may be something that’s worth a try to make a routine and stick to it. And like I said before make sure you leave room for grace when things don’t go as planned.
In this blog I write a lot about the things as a fire wife I go through and have touched on some things that firefighters might go through as well. Hearing the things I go through might be relatable to some wives but it also might be helpful for husbands in the fire service to recognize what their wives may be dealing with at home. So, in a way this is for the hubbies. And also a little bit of a shout out to my hubby cause he deserves every bit of praise!
When my husband is at home the thing that definitely helps me the most are honestly, the little things! When there needs to be a diaper changed he does it, when the laundry needs to be switched he does it, same with dishes and all the other house things that need to be done. I love just sitting there watching him read to our girls for bedtime. Or the times when we both know I need to get that shower in and he will turn to me and say, “go for it.” I know it may sound silly but it’s all these small things that he just somehow knows I need. But they make the difference.
Now I’ll be honest a part of me is a control freak, so it has been a learning curb for me. I am beginning to recognize he isn’t doing these things because I am not capable or thinks he can do it better. He isn’t trying to cause some ripple in my routines that I am used to doing. It’s exactly the opposite. At first I would get annoyed cause I cleaned the house so he could come home and relax, then he would start doing things. I would get so annoyed. But after one of those moments of frustration he explained he wasn’t doing it for that reason. He does these things like saying “go take a shower,” not because I stink (which may be true…#momlife) and he is like get away but because he knows those little moments mean a lot. I don’t often get those and all of sudden I have this peaceful moment that normally is rushed to get done. Getting help and working together to get these things done around the house means, we can enjoy more time together.
Like the Brotherhood of fire when you’re all in it together, doing your absolute best it makes the job so much better and a lot more fun. When you have someone who doesn’t want to be in it and hates their job it’s enough to make someone crazy. He and I are a team and we do this life together. All of it from the dusting, laundry, dishes to the dirty diapers, to the chopping wood, and mowing lawns. All of it. Until the day I die.
“You can’t spell brotHERhood without HER” -Unknown
Sometimes as wives and moms we can get a little overwhelmed. This is especially true as a fire wife. The desire to get a moment to yourself or a moment to get something done can be sometimes impossible. There was a time when both my husband and I had long hard days while he was gone on shift. When he got home I began to realize we both had our desire to want to let a load off and just have a moment to relax. When I found myself getting frustrated in those moments where we both needed a break I realized something had to give. This is when I thought up the 24 hour rule.
Now I know every person and relationship is different so I will not pretend this is a fix all. Some things work for some but not others. But this is something I have found to help me and my husband. When he was commuting his long 6 1/2+ hour drive he would come home just wanting to understandably relax and unwind. I found myself wanting his attention because to be honest I had two little girls that 90% of the conversations we had that week was about wiping noses or butts, Barbie’s, animals, who hit who first and the majority was probably about SNACKS. So, I also really wanted a moment to relax and unwind. I knew nagging and getting frustrated at my husband would not get us anywhere but into an unneeded argument. So, instead I began to try something new. For the next “24” hours or so I let him do whatever he needed to do, whether it was sat in the recliner and nap, watch a show, stare at his phone, or whatever. Now to be clear this is something I just did and didn’t ever tell him of my idea. Never said you have this time, I made no expectations or verbal comments about it. And eventually what began to happen was we enjoyed our time together more. We both started getting our breaks. I think for me it was the fact that I just chose to let go of my expectations of what I needed. And I turned my focus into how can I help my husband and figure out what he needed.
This is something I began to realize helped all of my relationships. Whether it be my husband, family or friends. I ask myself how can I show love to them even if I don’t feel like it. And I have seen it work out in some pretty awesome ways. So, I want to encourage my fellow wives fire or not to lay down your expectations of your husband when he gets home and ask yourself how can I love him better. I know there are times when it is SOOOO much easier said then done when we are at our wits end. But just maybe showing love in that moment would be all it takes and don’t be afraid to communicate. And husbands fire or not I also want to encourage you to consider the things your wife has gone through this past week or shift and give her your undivided attention or the much needed break. She goes through a lot and doesn’t have a co-worker ready to help her in those moments of frustration and fatigue. Like I said this may not work well for everyone but find something that does, because I know life and especially the fire life can be hard. But it is so much better when you work together.
“…And in all your getting, get understanding.” Proverbs 4:7
I can’t believe today marks one year of starting this blog! I remember trying to find something as a fire wife to relate to. But I always came up empty-handed. I started to think that either I didn’t know where to look or there really wasn’t much out there. And that’s when it hit me and I felt led to begin this blog. The unsung song of the fire wife. Someone whom other fire wives can relate to or go to. Sometimes it can be a lonely journey and that knowing someone out there is going through the same thing can help. If this blog helps just one person, fire wife or not then I know the purpose of this blog was met.
I also wanted this blog to allow those who don’t understand or wonder about how we as fire wives do what we do. In no way do I ever want to take away from what my husband does. If anything I want to come beside him and all fire families and support them. But when people think of the fireman they think of the man or woman on the fire line, going in the burning building, on a medical aid and being that first responder. For me I think of the family behind that man or the support system. I pray it is strong and it is unwavering in support. I think about all those hard days with the kids or long nights alone. Neither the firefighter or the spouse’s roll is easy.
For me this past year and doing this blog has given me an outlet. It has helped put out there the things as a fire wife I go through. I know everyone’s life is not the same as mine but there are some things that are definitely relatable. And in the past few years I have come to learn the different things other fire families go through. Learning those things has also helped me. And I just want to encourage you right now. You’re not alone. Stay strong and you got this even when you feel you don’t. My prayers and support are here and go out to you.
Thank you everyone for the support and following along. To many more posts!
It’s not a secret that some find first responders or military families to be some of the strongest people they know. But that does not mean there are not moments of weakness. Some of the strongest people I know came from a place where they were weak at a point. This right now is for you as much as it is for me.
This past week was like this crazy emotional roller coaster for me. With my husband coming back home and going straight into his next shift, I found myself so excited and yet so exhausted at the same time. I was trying to wrap my head around all the changes. My two-year old discovered tantrums and lost interest in naps and waking up multiple times at night. My five-year old decided playing with her sister was not fun and didn’t want her to touch anything of hers. I found myself playing referee and constantly feeling like I didn’t know how to handle any of it. I needed a breath a moment to sort through all the emotions and think straight. I needed strength to make it through. I found myself feeling weak and not up to the task of calming the storm of motherhood.
So, I made a choice that flipped that whole day around. One I had been neglecting in all honesty lately. I had the girls lay down and whether they fell asleep or not for a nap was up to them. I needed a moment so I went into the front yard and I stood there and I prayed and gave it all up to God. I prayed. The simplest thing that you would think how as a Christian could I forget to do. It happens, in a life of a mother when your brain is always on and never for yourself. By some miracle both girls fell asleep and I got a much-needed moment to sit there and breathe. I found strength enough to make a plan for the rest of that day. The girls woke up and I planned a picnic in our front yard. I told myself to workout while they ate because maybe it would help alleviate some stress of feeling like I failed. And the most beautiful thing happened during that workout. My girls worked as a team and decided to pick flowers and bring them to me one at a time. Decorating my workout area. I felt so blessed in the middle of my mess of a day. My heart went from not being able to handle that day to overflowing with gratitude for the blessings I had. And that is when I felt strong. Fully relying on God, thankful, I was mentally and physically renewed.
If you’re feeling like you cannot handle the things life is throwing at you little or big, know you’re never alone in the battle of finding strength. When you feel like there’s no one to call at the very moment you feel like throwing in the towel, pray. Sometimes it can turn your whole day around.
“I lift my eyes to the mountains–
where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.
My heart for this blog is to reach others and be an encouragement to others with a focus on fire wives and their families. I know I mentioned in the last blog about something new I was working on so here it is. Over the past few months I have come to realize how many different fire owned businesses there are. My mind was blown at some of the amazing ideas that some of these firefighters have come up with. My hope is to each month incorporate a featured business into my blog. Because by supporting those businesses I support their families and I want to see fire families thrive and be blessed.
For me it was very obvious which one I wanted to feature in my blog first. For some time now I have had it on my heart to write about the mental strain some firefighters go through and how it can take a toll. I never felt that I was knowledgeable enough to do so considering I have had no personal experience with it or education on the subject. But I do know that there needs to be an awareness of it and source for those that are dealing with things, whether it be something small or big. So, with that said it is my privilege to introduce my first featured company Next Rung. I have been following them on Instagram for a little bit now and their hearts for others is undeniable. I encourage you to follow them and support them in any way possible in their mission to help first responders with their mental and physical health. They’re always ready and” available to help others. I will also be including a link for them here and on my home page as. But first please read their mission statement taken directly from their website.
“Our mission is to intertwine physical and mental fitness in the field of First Responders. We believe that both of these are vital to doing our job well. If we can keep ourselves physically healthy it impacts and supports our mental health too. Mental health issues are becoming more of an epidemic among Firefighters, EMS Personnel, and Police Officers. Through peer support and scholarships for licensed counseling, free daily workouts and nutrition advice, we hope to help conquer mental health issues in First Responders. If we can help just a few of our brothers and sisters through the dark and difficult times they may encounter due to the situations they have experienced in their line of work, we’ll consider it a success for the entire First Responder community.”