Saturday, May 19, 2012

On being married to a Firefighter



Warning: pure whining ahead, proceed with caution.

Did you know that firefighters have a 3 times higher divorce rate than the general population? That it's second only to military statistics? Yeah. (See? It's firefighters who are ruining marriage, not gay people) Well after being married to a firefigher for 10 years, I can see why. There are actually several reasons this is true but the one that is getting to me the most these days is time. Over the last four months we have averaged sleeping in the same place 17 days a month. You know how most folks have all day saturday and sunday and then every night together? We have 1/2 that and usually not the weekends. During the week, I work the days he is off so we end up with about 3 week nights together and  maybe 1 weekend day/night. It makes me feel like I can't go out with my friends because well, he's only home half the time, so I feel like I should be here. Bonding.

And boy am I growing weary of being alone so much. Yes, the kids are older and parenting isn't so intensive. That used to be the thing - I needed help. But now, I'm just tired of taking the kids out to breakfast and having everyone assume I'm a single mom. I'm tired of not having him with me to go through our daughter's first sleepover together. I'm tired of having to constantly manage my patience level because I've been alone with the kids for 2 days and they've been grumpy and I've kind of had it but there is no one else there to step in and give me a break. Of him not being here to hang out with the kids a lot. Next year the kids will be in school full time so Mr. T's time with his dad will be cut. And while I do enjoy having the bed to myself a bit, I'm tired of being married and sleeping alone half the time.

I knew going into our marriage that I would have to be strong and alone a lot. That just comes with the territory. But 10 years in, I'm starting to get sick of it. I dream of taking an every Monday night yoga class. Or having another adult home to eat dinner with us more than half time or going out with my friends without feeling guilty that I'm taking time away from our marriage. Or not already panicking about the kids having soccer practice at the same time at different locations.

Don't get me wrong, I know it's not going to change. He would be so incredibly grumpy to have to work a 40 hour schedule and he earns a decent income and he likes his job a decent amount.  But oh my goodness, I am getting tired of paying the price of admission for being married, and yet not having a husband around.



14 comments:

  1. Sounds like there needs to be a firefighter's family support group and all the wives could take turns helping each other out with kids and giving each other a break.

    Thank you so much for the sacrifices you make so your husband can help people. :)

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  2. I don't have advice, other than I'm sure you know that there are ebbs and flows to it all.

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  3. So true. THis is one of those posts that I wrote at a really low time (4 days alone) and really there are a lot of upsides to the job AND I wouldn't make another choice for our family even if I could. It works and we like it. But dang it, sometimes being alone so much sucks.

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  4. It totally sucks! I hate it too. And even if you did know about the job going into the marriage, no one can ever fully comprehend what it's really like to be a fire wife. I have to work full-time so we can make ends meet (the job also doesn't pay nearly as well as it should for why they do). And sometimes I just sit in my driveway after rushing home to relieve the overpaid sitter (no one else likes his schedule either as you know) and I dread going inside because bedtime is still hours away, and how will I put both babies to bed alone, again? And I wonder in those 5 quiet minutes.. When was the last time I took a shower? Lol! It's a tough job, on all of us, and nobody can understand, but us. My heart goes out to you mama. Hang in there. xo

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  5. After being to a firefighter for several years, I also know how very well what this feeling is. The worst is when they are at the fire dept. and after being alone with children and wanting someone to talk to, but there's no one else there. No one to vent/talk to about the our day, to help us with nightly chores, cleaning up after everyone, to help you get that 5 minutes of "ME" time so we can keep our sanity after dealing with roudy children. LOL! So when you do finally call them...after many hours in the day already having gone by, you talk for maybe 5 minutes and then you hear the sirens and he has to go. That to me is the WORST. It's very tough being a firefighters wife, I dont think anyone else could ever understand what we go through.

    The thing that keeps me strong are those times that he is home. I see how much our daughter LOVES seeing her daddy come through the door, and how grateful we are to have him come home after a 24hr/48hr shift where there was a fatality fire we saw on the news. Our men are SOLDIERS in many ways, fighting to protect those they have never met, and putting their lives on the line daily, when no one else would. I dont know how they do it. But in the end, we have to stay strong. We need to be there by their side when they are home, even though it's SOOO tough when they are gone. These are the moments that count most. I try not to focus on the BAD, but more on being GRATEFUL. I hope this helps you some.

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  6. I completely feel ya! I have been in your shoes many many many times and am currently... I am so tired of being married... yet being so LONELY!

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  7. I understand, I work nights 3 days a week/12hr shifts and my husband is at the fire house 3-4 days a week. That's not also counting overtime he'll sign on or get hooked for, his union meetings for work, and or his bowling league with the work guys. There are times I see him less then 24 hours the for the entire week. It's hard to not get resentful, when you walk into an empty house after a bad day and see all the house hold chores that have your name written all over them because he wont be around to help out. It gets old going everywhere alone like your single when your not. We don't have any kids, and it's not likely we will be able to so this makes for a very lonely home life when he's gone. My cat is a regular "Wilson" stand in for me at times. I feel selfish wanting him home and it seems like there is this ever present portrait of what a "fire wife" is supposed to be like that I find myself in competion with. I feel like I'm supposed to be this needless, stoik, wife bursting with pride in her husband's choice of career, when in reality I often times fight with being lonely, bitter and resentful. This in turn makes me feel like I not only make a crappy cheerleader but a bad wife.

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  8. I am so with you! We were all about supporting my husband in his dream job! Heck! The only thing my son has ever wanted to be is a firefighter! But I often wonder where I fit in. Or my dreams and desires. There is really no such thing as me time, it is the mommy show half the week-when he doesn't pick up or run calls with another department. Sometimes it is 4-5 24 hour shifts. And I'm just supposed to understand and listen. I'm an ER nurse. I don't need to hear about every call or what all the guys think. I love my husband, but I'm not a big fan of the job/ lifestyle!

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  9. I feel your pain, I have 4 children 10 and under that I homeschool all day everyday while my husband is gone. I gave up a 10 year career in the Air Force so he could follow his dream and be a fireman. Well after 11 1/2 years of being married to a firefigher I can say I relate to everything everyone is saying. I go to dance recitals, practices, piano lessons, church functions, ect. alone...all...the...time..so much so that it is awkward when he actually is there. I have spent the last 3 Christmas's, Thanksgivings, 4th of July's alone. I have no family here, I was military so I am 800 miles from any relative. People say it must be nice to have a fireman/paramedic for a husband, you must feel so safe. Yep I do, I feel safe because my next door neighbor - the accountant - is great at helping us out when natural disasters strike because my own husband is out helping random folks and not us. He works a part-time job because his pay is so low we can't live off it, this means that we are apart even more as he is gone working 12 hours shifts as a paramedic every week - and wait for it....still not able to do what we want/need to financially. When he is home he's snoring, or wants to take it easy. While we may not have been taking it easy, we have been at home the whole time so it is hard to spend our time with him just sitting around. Classes are another issue. He just got home from a week out of state a couple weeks ago, and now is leaving for another week on Monday. Being married to a firefighter is not something I would take lightly. The time they spend without you breeds resentment, esp. if you have friends who have husbands with normal jobs. If I knew what I know now, I would have forced him into another career a decade ago, but it's too late for that. I love him, but there are times when this job really is NOT worth the personal sacrifice. For those getting ready to marry firemen, get used to playing second fiddle.

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  10. Thanks for not sugar coating the firefighter family life. I have read so many posts about how its difficult but "we make it work." I call shenanigans. My ff and I have been married almost 13 years. He became a volunteer ff 7 years ago and switched to full time 1.5 years ago. I'd like to strangle the guy that got him interested in this. I have tried so hard to be supportive because that's what you do for family, but I don't know if I can keep living this lifestyle.

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  11. Thanks for not sugar coating the firefighter family life. I have read so many posts about how its difficult but "we make it work." I call shenanigans. My ff and I have been married almost 13 years. He became a volunteer ff 7 years ago and switched to full time 1.5 years ago. I'd like to strangle the guy that got him interested in this. I have tried so hard to be supportive because that's what you do for family, but I don't know if I can keep living this lifestyle.

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  12. Yup, pretty much sucks. My husband had a good paying 8-5 job for the first 4 years of our marriage and then decided to be a fireman. It immediately caused a lot of resentment on my part, that he gave up a huge salary to do this job that paid nothing and required so much of his time. Yey!!! He was recently promoted and now on top of his fireman job (and the other 2 side jobs he works, just to get us by), he has to go through the police academy for 6 months and 2 weeks of out of state training. I cant stand it anymore. We have a special needs son and when my husband comes home, he cant stand the stress and within 5 minutes of walking through the door, either isolates himself or starts screaming and cussing at the kids. I feel like I am on pins and needles when he is home and sometimes prefer him to just be at work. I co-sleep with my children, so my husband and I have not slept in the same bed for the past 5 years. I have no social life outside of volunteering at the kids school because I have no one to watch the kids. We never have date nights because I do not have parents anymore and his will only babysit one child at a time. I am so lonely that I think I am going crazy. I go to most school events, teacher conferences, doctor appointments, holidays, etc. alone with the kids. He feels that because he works three jobs, it is not his job to help out at home, and since I do not work, so I rarely get a break. He is constantly saying, " I am glad you have more patience than I do because I cant deal with "our special needs son" behavior." When he does give me a break away from the house, when I get home, he is so grumpy and stressed that it is not even worth it. I enjoy pinterest projects and decorating but all my projects must be done while entertaining children. If I do take a break from all my chores and the children to work on my projects, I feel guilty that I took time for myself because the house and children fall apart. If I get sick of all the housework and stop doing it, when he comes home, he gets grumpy and starts obsessively cleaning because he cant stand the mess. I feel like a failure as a mother and wife half the time. I know he thinks he is being a good father and husband by working all the time to support his family and I am grateful for that but I need a husband and a father to my kids!!! I am so unhappy and would never wish this lifestyle on anyone. I love him and we will stay married because I refuse to give up, but being married to a firefighter causes a lot of hidden resentment and in my case, is not a very happy life.

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  13. So I've been a paid firefighter in NC for about 12 years now, currently with one of the largest city departments in the state which will remain nameless. Yes Ma'am, marriage is hard and being married to a firefighter is harder..it's all in what you make of it though. I am a statistic, divorced firefighter ( lets blame it on my schedule or whatever you'd like to blame it on ), the truth is we did not want it badly enough to make it work. I love my job, and my fire family..perhaps if our significant others had that same passion for something other than their own concerns about who's doing the dishes, or who's going to take the trash to the road they would be more understanding. Opposites attract, and a fireman by nature is a person so giving of themselves, that they put a stranger before everything else..so if you are the opposite of that, what do you stand for? After reading the comments on here I wonder if I should even consider remarrying again, ever..because the level of resentment on this page makes me feel like a fireman doesn't deserve to be loved by anyone other than a stripper. Which statistically firemen do tend to marry strippers, redheads, and nurses. Thanks for the comments

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    Replies
    1. Wow. Can totally see why you're divorced.

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