I get a fair amount of emails and questions about the ups and downs of being married to a big hunky hero, so today I’m chatting about life as a firefighter’s wife. I’m also sorry if you just vomited a little, the words “big hunky hero” were mine, not so much theirs.
*** Quick disclaimer here – our life is good. Being married to a firefighter does not make me a martyr, or even particularly brave. All professions come with their own challenges, whether you’re married to a doctor, a lawyer, or a professional polo player. I just want to take a quick second and say that the “challenges” we’ve encountered are absolutely nothing compared to what others go through. Families of those serving and protecting our country and our communities – you people are amazing and brave and strong and inspiring and seriously do you want to be my best friend? Email me.***
If I’m going to talk honestly about what this life is like, I feel like it’s important to want to first start off by saying – this is still very new to us. Taylor and I have only been married for a year and a half. For the first 9 months of our marriage, Taylor was in full-time fire academy. That meant he was in “fire school” Monday through Friday, from about 6am to 4pm. Ish. That scheduled varied slightly, depending on what stage of training he was in, but that was basically the schedule. The first few months of his training was very physically grueling. He would come home sore, exhausted, and reeking of smoke. This meant those precious first few months as newlyweds consisted of 8pm bedtimes and 4am wake up calls. Romance to the max.
Then when he graduated in early December, we dove straight into shift life. I’m not 100% comfortable sharing what his exact schedule is (cause stalkers, etc.) but I’ll just say, when he’s gone, he’s gone for over 24 hours. This alone has the potential to make life…interesting.
I know that every fire department is different. Some firefighters work shorter shifts, and some work longer. So I’m just going to share a few main points about how I’ve adjusted to life with a firefighter. First off…
This life is all we know. Since we didn’t live together before we were married, this oddball schedule is really all we know. Taylor went through the academy with about 30 other guys (and one awesome girl!). Some had been firefighters at other departments for years, and some were brand new (like Taylor). Some were younger than Taylor, some were older, many of whom had not only wives, but kids, too. So many times during those 9 months of training, I’d catch myself about to gripe at Taylor (about something very important and not at all petty) and I’d remind myself how easy I really do have it. Can you imagine being a wife with kids who are used to having dad home for bedtime every night, and all of a sudden, he’s gone? Talk about an adjustment. So we really do consider ourselves lucky that this life is all we know.
His schedule works well for our relationship. We’re lucky in that we’ve been together for almost 7 years. I love Taylor to death, but let’s be honest – he’s old news. And so am I! This means if he’s gone for a day or two…I don’t miss him. I just don’t. Is that weird? I mean, yeah, maybe. And maybe that’s not something I’m supposed to admit to? I DON’T KNOW I’M NEW HERE. But honestly, if he’s gone today, all that means is that he’ll be here tomorrow. It’s fine. I’m fine. We’re FINE. I don’t get lonely. And even if I do, I’ve got a dog, Netflix, and about a dozen girl friends to entertain me on any given day.
And here’s another secret – I like being alone. Alone time is the best. I love having multiple days a week that I don’t have to put on pants and can have wine and takeout for dinner while binge watching Gilmore Girls. Those are my favorite days. They’re precious and I LOVE them. I’m also lucky that I’m not really a fearful or paranoid person. I feel safe in my neighborhood, I sleep just fine alone, I even (reluctantly) kill my own bugs. I also have a local father-in-law on speed dial just in case.
We actually see each other all the time. Sure, when Taylor is gone, he’s gone for longer than most husbands. But on the flip side, when he’s here – he’s here. Usually laying on the couch, making a mess of my kitchen, and generally GETTING IN MY WAY. I’m kidding (maybe).
Really though, this whole working from home gig means that when Taylor is home, we spend the entire day together. We get to enjoy 3 meals, run errands, take naps, and have NCIS marathons – all together! How many people can say they spend that much time with their spouse?
His typical work day isn’t all that scary. I don’t want to diminish what firefighters do – at all. His job is hard. Really hard. His hours are crazy. He deals with the public. And he runs directly into burning buildings for pete’s sake. BUT, his typical day is more of the former than the latter. Generally speaking, he usually has more EMS calls than big scary fires. And as a result, I don’t spend my time worrying about him.
That being said, of course there are days when he’ll take a little too long to respond to a text, and my mind starts to wander. The life of a first responder is unpredictable and dangerous, and it’s natural to worry. But ultimately, I just have to remind myself that he’s good at his job. Really good. He’s safe and capable and very well trained, and spending my time worrying about him is really just fruitless.
It still sucks sometimes. Spending our first Christmas alone? Not my favorite. Doing the same again on New Years Eve? Sure, that blew. And yeah, I may kill my own bugs, but I scream and cry and curse Taylor’s name and chosen profession the whole freaking time. And then I leave them for him to clean up.
Of course, being married to a firefighter comes with its own unique set of challenges. But so does being married to an accountant. Or a jazz musician. Or a lion tamer. Relationships are tough, regardless of your chosen career path.
So many people today are stuck with jobs they hate. But Taylor is living his dream. He’s happy and fulfilled and he loves his job. And in turn, I love it too. So we enjoy our time together. We focus on the pros rather than the cons. We savor the holidays we do get to spend together. And we count our blessings.