Ruth Guy

Being a Mum and a Firefighter

By Ruth Guy

I joined the fire service in 2003 at the age of 23. My brother was a firefighter at the time & he loved it, so I decided to train hard & apply.

Training school was an experience I will never forget; it was hard work & weekends were crammed with studying which I wasn’t used to but you do it because the opportunity for this job is rare! 

Some managed to fit it in around their family which was impressive. I’m not sure I could have juggled it all then.

My family were obviously very proud, however my mum still worries!

Sixteen years later and I now have two children, 12 & 9 years old, and I’m married to a fellow firefighter.

We work on opposite shifts so one of us is at home for the children. It’s not ideal but it works for childcare.

It is hard leaving your young children for a night shift especially when they are really tiny & it doesn’t get much easier when they are older, they still want you to be at home.

If you have a busy night & then have to look after the children the following day, that can be tough. Toddlers don’t seem to understand how tired Mummy and Daddy are!

To be honest though, I probably get to spend more time with them than parents who work 9-5 Mon-Fri. 

Yes, I miss some weekend time with my family & a lot of social events but on the positive side I’ve been able to help at the school & we can get all the general running of the house bits done while they at school so generally its quality time if not quantity.

My kids are never worried about mum or dad going to work; it’s the norm for them. 

They sometimes ask about fires they see or accidents but they know we will be safe.

Having children however has definitely changed the way I assess things at work. 

Before I was a mum, I would have probably taken more risks, now I’ve made a promise to always get home to my family. You just see things differently.

Getting time off & juggling family life isn’t easy but it’s a job like no other, the good & the bad bits.