Sunday, April 18, 2010
Advice For A Future Paramedic's Wife
Here is my advice...
Thank you so much for taking time out of your busy day to write to me. You have truly blessed me and encouraged me today. I am facing another potentially challenging day as my husband goes on yet another 24 hour shift. I am going to be honest with you, it used to be so hard when I had three little ones. My expectations were high, I thought I could do it all. Well, I will share with you a few things I've learned.
1. Schedule appointments, shopping and anything else while he is at home. Basically, I don't want to have to leave the house unless I absolutely have to or want to while he is working his 24+ hours. If he is away at training for a week, again, I schedule everything ahead of time, I also make sure that we have shopped for toilet paper, diapers and milk (life's essentials with little ones!). This works for us, because my husband practically begs to run errands. He just loves staying busy. He enjoys taking the children with him, so it gives me a break at the same time. Not every man is geared this way, though. So be sensitive to it (read the comments for a different perspective).
2. Make simple, easy meals. Mac and cheese, pancakes, sandwiches, and casseroles can all be made up in a jiffy. When I make a casserole, I always make two and freeze the extra. That is my fast food for the night. Also, five minute pizzas are easy. Just take any kind of bread, put some tomato sauce or paste on it (mixed with a little Italian seasoning) and then some grated Mozzarella cheese. Bake at 350 till they are done. Easy, easy, easy!
3. Lower your expectations of your husband. In this line of work, your life will be interrupted constantly. Your husband will not have a 9-5 job. Overtime will come at the most inconvenient of times. You have to be able to roll with the punches. I made myself miserable for years because I was always disappointed when our plans were dashed upon the rocks! I finally decided that I would EXPECT him to be gone, then I wouldn't be disappointed. It gave me a whole new appreciation for when he was able to make it to church, or an event, or help me get the kids somewhere.
4. Expect it to be hard. When I finally buckled down and told myself, "This is going to be more work." I could finally except it and move on. I wasn't boiling in resentment at being left to raise six children by myself. I am by myself most of the time. My hubby is here for maybe 2-3 hours total during waking hours when he is not working. He is busy with overtime and now exercising. He is training for a relay race and jogs every other day. He also does Tae Kwon Do and exercises on those days too. He is trying to lose weight as well. We RARELY have a sit down meal together. Maybe 10 a month (that might be stretching it). He also isn't here most of the time as I'm trying to put the kids down (to me that is the most stressful time of the day). It's just the way it is. Acceptance is the key.
5. Think of his job as a blessing and a sacrifice. Praise the Lord he has a job when so many people don't! But also know that this type of job is a sacrifice for the wife. It is like being a pastor's wife. Her husband is not her own. He must be shared with others in need.
6. Pray for him. It is a tough, worldly environment. It is hard for him to not curse and gossip about others. Pray for wisdom and safety in his job. The things they see are very difficult. Dead babies and children are the worst. Be there for him if he needs to talk. Don't push him, just ask "How was your day. Did you have many calls?" Be available if he needs to talk, even when it is in the middle of the night and you are exhausted. When and if he does open up, don't ask lots of questions or turn away in shock, listen, listen and listen some more.
If any of you have any other ways that you cope, please leave them in the comment section. I know that many of my readers will benefit from this discussion.
Blessings to all of you who make this sacrifice daily! You can read even more suggestions here (A Fireman's Wife) and (14 Years of Being a Firefighter's Wife and the Lessons I've Learned).