Our families mean everything to us.
Sometimes being at home while your loved one is on shift at the station may seem overwhelming. Between running between extracurricular, school, work, playdates, doctor appointments, homework help, and anything else that falls into our "job" category of keeping things rolling at home, we may want lights and sirens on our vehicles too. Who do the spouses at home have supporting them while handle juggling everything on their own, and how do the firefighters deal with the exhaustion from the job and still be there for their families at home? The Fire Wife Sisterhood (women)and the Honor Guard (men) communities at 24-7 COMMITMENT have other firefighters and fire wives who connect on the fire life level to support each other, create lifelong friendships, share laughter, and be there when you need someone who understands this crazy life.
Your kids will all be affected in one way or another with a firefighter parent. How does the parent at home address the absence and still let their kid know their parents both love them endlessly? How does the firefighter ensure their children know that they are there for them and they are in their hearts, even when they are at the station? One of our most-read blogs, "Firefighter Dads, Little Girls and Broken Hearts," gives some great tips on how both parents can work through this type of situation in a healthy way.
We all know our schedules can be vastly different than our friends and family who don't work as first responders. It can be difficult to try to get them to understand just how precious our time is when our firefighter is home with the family. But you still want to have friendships and social times. It is a struggle in the fire life to find balance, but it is very important to strive for it everyday. Read "Back Off! That's Our Time - Protecting Your Family Schedule."
We make our own schedules in the fire life. There is no guarantee for any firefighter to be home with their families every holiday. What do we do about? We do what we are best at, adapting! Our calendar does not follow the traditional calendar every day. But that doesn't mean we skip the celebrations! Read "Christmas has Been Rescheduled,"and see how one fire family handles holiday shifts.
There are some holidays that don't necessarily have to be rescheduled. What about a birthday on a shift day? There are definitely ways to make it special! "A Birthday Celebration at the Firehouse" is one example of unique ways to celebrate the special days.
Most parents who need childcare can specifically say, " I need childcare every Monday through Friday from 3:00pm until 6:00pm." Not us! How do you define a need for childcare every 3rd day, or twice a week on different days every week? It is just another challenge we work through in the fire life. Here is one fire wife's take on how to find childcare with a constantly changing schedule, "Finding Childcare for Every 3rd Day (Except Tuesdays)."
What to Do When Your Firefighter is Working
I know when my firefighter is working a 48, I tend to try and find things to do to make the time without him go by faster. Get the kids off to school...check. Work...check. Dishes...check. Laundry...check. Now what can I do for the next 36 hours??? Here are some great ideas, "How to Fill a 48 Hour Shift (in Pictures)"