I have a question from a firewife and I will need help from the rest of you with some answers and suggestions. I've never been to the point where she is, so it's not easy for me to come up with many ideas.
Here's her question:
I admittedly feel resentment at times toward my husband and his job and volunteer efforts as a medic/ff because of the time it takes away from me and our children. There are no boundaries and it affects our lives 24/7, regardless of whether we are out of town or if it's in the middle of the night, employees showing up at our home at all hours, any day to complain about one another, etc. When I reach a breaking point and say anything about it, he spins it and will make me feel guilty for even questioning it by saying, “well remember that if your house ever burns down or your in an accident and need help and no one shows up because their wives complained about them always leaving, too”. Is this common and why should our kids and I always take a backseat to everyone and everything else, regardless of the reason? How far can he use his job and volunteerism as an excuse to leave anytime he wants and of what he wants? I've communicated this endlessly and over 1 0+ years it hasn't changed, at all. Very frustrated and feeling disrespected.
Back when we were volunteer, boundaries were crossed constantly. But, we had them and I just had to remind him strongly he was gone too much and we needed him.
I know there were times I felt less important just from being lonely and raising little kids, but at no time has my FF ever made us feel like we weren't top priority in his life. I do know at breaking points I would have to remind him that our relationship couldn't survive without time together. If we went to dinner or took the kids out, we left the area so there was no chance of going on calls. Pager stayed home.
You shouldn't feel guilty for wanting to spend time with your husband and family. You aren't asking him to give up firefighting, just to balance a little better. Which I hear quite a few firefighters have an issue trying to balance.
I think trying to stay calm during a discussion is the most difficult, but best thing you can do. When he tries to spin it, you have to turn it back to you and your families needs. Explain that you have no problem sharing him with the community, but it has to be shared time, not exclusively the communities time.
Anyone else dealt with this and have some suggestions?