Asking for help is really hard for me. Even accepting help is not easy. I don’t know why us wives and moms think we can do it all. We may appear to be holding down the fort while our spouses are on shift, but I think most of us are just making do with the situation. Truthfully, we are quite stressed and burning the candle at both ends.
I will be the first to admit I wont ask for help. And if you say “call me if you need help” I probably won’t. But in the past week I’ve started saying “yes please, I need help.” And boy does one small act of kindness really make a difference. One friend offered to watch my daughter while I went to Costco. She loves grocery shopping, but she’s 40 lbs more in my cart so I accepted the offer. My fire wife friend up the road met me as I pulled in my driveway from Costco (by the way Costco is 45 minutes away) and unloaded everything up the stairs to my house and noticed I had tossed two bags of chicken feed by the driveway and took them to my chicken coop for me. At 32 weeks pregnant these tasks would have landed me with horrible Braxton hicks and exhaustion.
I was reminded that “accepting gifts of time or talent is actually a blessing for the person offering.” A women commented on my blog post asking what would be the most useful way to help the family of a firefighter. Not knowing how to answer this, I turned to one of my favorite Facebook support groups specifically for CalFire wives & girlfriends.
When wives began answering the questions there seemed to be some reoccurring themes. Below is a list of ways you could bless a fire wife and their family while their other half is on shift.
- Mow the lawn. Just say “what day works best?” Or better yet do it before they even get home from work. I love mowing. But many of us have small children that need to be watched. Just about every wife said this *Hint Hint!
- Provide a meal. Cooking for small humans or for one is not easy or fun. Even before kids, when my husband was on shift, often dinner was a smoothie or cereal. Unfortunately, our family dinners don’t happen as often with dad gone. I usually just eat what they don’t and try to hurry and clean up the kitchen while they are occupied with food.
- Be a listening ear and provide adult conversation. We don’t always get enough time on the short & infrequent phone calls with our husbands to speak our mind, help us with struggles or everyday life. Talking to my children is lovely and I am so thankful to stay home with them, BUT days go by and I have had zero adult interaction!
- Offer to watch the kids for an hour so we can do something like laundry, mow, or run a quick errand. Buckling kids in & out a 5-point harness and packing food just to go to the store for diapers and bananas is quite the ordeal. Or better yet, call or text “I’m heading to the store is there anything you need?” When my husband is home, usually I can run to the store real quick alone for something I forgot on the previous trip. Many of us have been without our other half for weeks or a month.
- Handyman work! Without fail the moment our husbands leave the driveway something breaks. Help fix a sprinkler, dryer, gate latch, hang a shelf, change a light bulb, move something heavy, etc. We are all fully capable strong women, but lets face it my 5’5″ petite build will NEVER be able to do the things my 6’4″ husband does effortlessly. (My ceiling light went out literally 10 min after my husband left for shift July 11th. Today is August 12th. The cover has bugs in it. I need a small ladder that is out in the barn. I’m sure the ladder is filthy & my kids will try to climb it. I’ll make do without a light!)
- Drag our trashcans down our long driveway. Maybe even crush all our Amazon boxes! I still don’t know how my husband fits so many boxes into a can.
- Check in on us. We often feel forgotten. Maybe even show up with a coffee and hug.
- This morning, August 12th, my husband got off shift!! 32 Days away. He will be home later this afternoon. We get to keep him for 3 whole days before he heads back to his station.
Be Wild. Live Naturally. Love Genuinely,