If you know me, I am not one who writes or likes expressing my personal business to the public. However, I do feel like there are families or dads out there who this might help. Maybe even a fellow brother or sister in the fire service who is contemplating making a lifestyle change but doesn't know where to start. First off, you can do it! With planning and making a few sacrifices, this can be accomplished!! Trust me, my family and I are living proof. You just have to WANT IT and STOP MAKING EXCUSES like, “this is not the right time”. Wake-up call, no time will ever be the right time. You just have to want it!
Just over two months after hanging up my bunker gear to become a full-time father/ family and I still don’t regret the decision for one second.
My wife already worked remote and part-time, so being a full-time family was possible. Don’t get me wrong, I had mixed emotions after handing in my resignation letter. Becoming a firefighter was something I had to work hard for. Late night studying, 24 hour shifts and missing time away from the family during the holidays. This was my life for the last ten years when you include schooling and volunteer time. I do miss the job but not the politics that came with it. The problem at the department I worked at was leadership or lack there of. This was a huge factor on why this decision came easy to turn in my bunker gear and exchange it for being a full-time dad. Don’t get me wrong, I saw enough horrific things in my short-time as a firefighter that will last me a lifetime. I would be ok if I don’t ever have to see or smell those things ever again. Anybody who is a first responder understands what I am talking about.
So how does it feel going from being gone every third day for twenty-four hours to being home full-time? Let’s just say there are trial and tribulations each day but who wouldn’t have these problems being home with a 9-month-old and a 3-year-old (who is potty training now)? The hardest part of all of this is that I used to have an escape with my job to be around the fire house and BS with the guys. Now being home with a house full of girls and being out numbered has its challenges, as one could image. All of this on top of being technically homeless, staying with friends and family until we find our downsized home. Don’t get me wrong, people would kill to be in my situation and to be able to get away from their 9-5 job or shift work to spend more time with their family. I am sure that I drive my wife insane more times than not since I am home more often now. If you’re reading this babe, I love you! 😊 So, please understand that I am not complaining about everything. I am just being honest and human.
On to the positive stuff now! The most important part now is being home and spending time with the family. Getting the opportunity to be the best husband and father each day is a true blessing. No more being on shift while missing holidays and birthdays. Those moments you can never get back with your kids. You do get a guilty feeling in your gut during those times you are away. Now being able to travel and spend quality time with my family has been priceless. Watching the kids develop each day and reach new milestones is a very proud and humbling experience that makes our family’s decision to downsize/upsize life worth every second so far.
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