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Someone online asked me the other day, “What’s a fire wife?” Prior to that, it never crossed my mind that someone might not know what a “fire wife” is. Have people been looking at my logo of a woman and a flame and thinking I am referring to myself as “hot?” The thought made me cringe!
So what exactly is a “fire wife?” Well easy – it’s a firefighter’s wife. I’m not an expert on the matter, I’ve only been one for about 4 months but I can say that it is tough at times.
I know that all women deal with struggles in relationships and I’m not trying to say that spouses of firefighters are the only ones, but I do firmly believe that some people aren’t cut out to be in a relationship with a firefighter. It is just like it would take a special person to handle the hours of a surgeon, the work of a policeman, or deployments with those in the service. Every career has its’ drawbacks and I’m not here to argue that… I’m just here to give you a little look into my life as a fire wife.
A snippet of our life:
Ryan kisses me and heads out the door at 6:30am. This could be on a Sunday or Wednesday.. the day of the week doesn’t matter in the fire life. Now that I am not working full-time, I sometimes sleep a little longer, other times I can’t get back to sleep and am up for the day.
It depends on the day what is on my schedule but it is always the same thing for Ryan and I.. I don’t hear from him all day.
I try and avoid the news but sometimes Facebook sidebars pop up with local news or a local Firewives group I am in has updates about big fires or injuries. If the fire is in his station’s neighborhood, I immediately get butterflies. I try to wait a little while but I text to make sure he is okay. I know he can’t always get to his phone so I wait…
On any given day, I normally text him throughout the day but when I hear about a firefighter getting hurt or a massive fire, I tend to text a little more since reality hits home of the dangers of his job. It was just a couple weeks ago I couldn’t get a hold of him and panicked. It turns out he was just busy on the ambulance responding to the heroin overdoses that are taking over the country. I had the worst running through my head and was checking all the news sites and the TV.
Obviously this isn’t normal for everyone’s spouse, so I go throughout my day trying not to think about how his day is going. Does that make me a terrible person? If I thought about his day and what he was doing, I would probably have a panic attack.
When he gets home, I always know if he had a bad night. I never plan anything for the day after a shift. Just today, he came home and I could see by the look in his tired eyes that it had been a long night. He later told me that he was surprised he even made it home after having no sleep.
He slept for the majority of the day. We ate dinner, watched TV and he went to sleep again. Tomorrow I will get him for a little while but he is also part of the executive board for the union and has a meeting the first half of the day. He will also have to go to bed a little early for work the following day.
I recently read a book geared towards Fire Wives and it brought out a lot more negatives to the job and the life than I had even thought of…
What if he gets hurt and then can’t work? What if he falls for a female firefighter? What if he gets a disease from a call he responds to? What if he gets cancer from the carcinogens he is exposed to in fires? What if he is hit by a car working an accident on the side of the road? What if he is in a gas tank explosion? What if he is caught in a flashover? What if he falls through the floor in a fire? What if he falls off a ladder? What if his fire truck gets in an accident?
AHHH! I think that book did more harm than good for me. It did lead to more conversations with Ryan about his job though! I was very naive and didn’t really know too much about his job and I liked it that way!
I’m 100% sure that life will get harder once we have kids and I will struggle much more when I have to be alone at home. For now it isn’t so bad doing my own thing when he is at work – I feel like I get a lot more done! On his days off, I just enjoy the time I have with him.
What are some of the positives to this crazy life we lead?
- I can tell you with pretty good certainty what days Ryan is working for the next few years!
- We get to go on random dates on weekdays.
- He has amazing benefits.
- Ryan gets 5 days off at a time. They are called Kelly days or earned days off. He lucked out with Saturdays this year… and since we planned our wedding on his shift day. Whoops!
- Trades. If there is a day Ryan needs off but can’t get vacation for it – he can try and trade it with someone else!
So in conclusion, what is a fire wife? Someone who is tough and able to handle all that life and fire life throws at them. Someone who is able to be alone often. Someone who can strong physically, mentally, and emotionally. Someone that is flexible (unplanned overtimes, missed holidays…). Someone who is compassionate and able to trust during all that time apart.
Do you have any questions for me about being a fire wife (all 4 months of it, ha ha!) or the firefighter life?