It’s hard being an EMT’s wife

by Erika Torres


Pity, party of one? Pity, party of one??

Yes, that’s me! Right here!

If I haven’t made it clear enough, I hate Eric’s job as an EMT. Hate, detest, abhor it. I make no attempts at hiding this fact, but I do try and be supportive and keep the bitching to a minimum.

But seriously, what is there to like about 24-hour shifts? Mostly on the weekends? And add in studying for firefighter examinations , flying to firefighter tests, and any other extra training or assignments he has to do, and all I get left at the end of the month is the possibility of maybe one whole day together if I’m lucky.

It’s not a like doctor’s or a lawyer’s wife where at least I’d have the cushy income to console me for the fact that I never get to see my husband for more than 4 hours at a time.

For example, this past weekend, I had a whole four days off. Four WHOLE days! I work a 9/80 schedule so I had Friday off, and so did Eric, and for over three weeks I had a Husband Wife Day planned. And what ended up happening? Well, of course Eric waited till the very last day of his five days off in a row to do some fire-related thing, which ended up taking up all of Husband Wife Day. We didn’t get to do anything couple-related.

Then he had to work Saturday and Sunday. Luckily (and I say luckily in the most sarcastic way possible), he had Monday off so we were able to enjoy a BBQ with friends before he began working another 48-hour shift Tuesday and Wednesday. And yes, he works this Saturday, next Saturday…the list goes on and on. In the whole month of June, there is about 2 days we may get to spend together and that’s only because we haven’t gotten his work schedule yet.

And before you all start pitying him and forgetting that this is a pity party for me, let me just point out that he did have 5 days off in a row just last week (on all the days I worked) and he wasn’t even supposed to work on Sunday but ended up switching with a co-worker who had asked to trade and didn’t even ask me about it beforehand (because he knew I would have said no)! So there!

It gets tiring sometimes of having to be supportive all the time. Of having to say “it’s okay you can’t go with me to this or that,” of spending all your weekends on your own, and sleeping in bed with your dog instead of your husband. And sure, I have family and friends, and I run a ton of errands on weekends, but that doesn’t make up for the fact that I get sick of being virtually alone all the time. All by myself. Just lil’ ole me. *sniff*

Sometimes I just want to scream out “What about me?! When is it going to by my turn, huh?” “I miss you” texts and goodnight phone calls can only go so far…

And then I recall the wives of the men serving in the armed forces–the reason we even have a memorial Day to begin with. And there really is just no comparison. I don’t know how they do it, and I’m grateful that I’ll never have to find out because they make the sacrifices for us. I know the ones serving are the ones who are doing the “real job” but I think the wives (and some husbands too, of course), are the ones who sacrifice the most.

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Donna Hinton May 14, 2018 - 11:07 pm

OMG get a job and your own life. My husband is a paramedic. I make 150k a year as a national sales manager in tech, so he has no worries about money whatsoever. I fly on lear jets, drive an Audi that I paid for myself. I learned how to be alone and take of myself from a young age from when my dad was constantly deployed and my mom would rather drink than take care of us. I enjoy being alone and I feel his love from afar when he is working. When we come together it’s one of the best things in the world. Learn how to stand on your own, get hobbies (I started messing about with clay 10 years ago and now make a side business of it) and stop living through your man. As a paramedic, a man has enough on his plate and then when he comes home he now has to worry about some misguided woman longing for him and being grilled and bitched at when he is finally gets home to relax. When my guy comes home he gets embraced with loving, nonjudgmental open arms.

C Lewis July 15, 2016 - 5:22 am

Soldiers are the ones doing the “real job”? Give me a break, woman. There are countless emergency calls every day; gunshots, heart attacks, strokes, car accidents, fires, etc., and you’re going to say EMTs don’t do the “real jobs”? Being a medic is more dangerous than being a police officer. Your husband is saving lives and you’re just complaining that he doesn’t have tons of time to see you. I hope my fiance doesn’t turn out to be like this.

Michael April 9, 2016 - 10:16 am

Thank you for posting this story. I am an EMT myself and sometimes i get caught up with how much overtime is available and do not take the time to consider the effect I might be having on those that care about me. I can count a few times when I put work ahead of family. They always understood I needed the money. However, there were a few times when I picked up a shift just because i wanted more money. Before you know it, family time just doesn’t happen. While I know I have to pick up shifts to get by there are times I could go without one and spend some time with the family. Once again thanks for the post. Gave me something to think about.

Taylor January 19, 2016 - 7:28 pm

I’m not even married to my emt yet, we are engaged but we live together, being alone every third day get so hard because the days he is off I go to work and school and it’s so hard to be motivated to go to work whenever your emt who you barely see is at home waiting on you, maybe this sounds selfish to certain people but even though we are all very appreciative of what our men do it’s hard to cope with.

Anne Marie June 20, 2015 - 5:02 pm

OMG! LET ME JOIN THE PITY PARTY. my emt is currently working full time while in paramedic school and worried about how he is going to fit in his clinicals. I am on 9/80 as well and having 3 days off without SO is sad and I hang with my parents ( I’m 25 it’s pathetic ) thanks for the article, and thanks for letting me know I’m not alone.

Mrs. Frye May 23, 2015 - 2:45 am

This is seriously the most selfish thing I’ve heard. My husband is an EMT working 65-70 hours a week and goingv to school to get his paramedic,i don’t even get one day with him ever. I barely see him for an hour a day. Do i complain? No! Because i know and love the fact that he is a hero! The best damn hero ever. YoyYou should have known what yoy were getting into already.

katelyn June 18, 2015 - 11:22 pm

Who ever you guys are trying to make them stop make army wives stop. Do you know why army wives to me is how I want to be. Have a big family have fun live in post. I want them to keep making army wives season is is like the best thing to me and do you know what if it gouse down I am going to cry.

Reply June 18, 2015 - 11:28 pm

I want to be a aemy wife what I am trying to say severing this country by staying at gome and watching my kids is severing my country I my be only 11 but the peace well a lmoust peace I love so keep play army wives it would mean so much to me. I may join the army I dont know I am a girl name katelyn this what I think you may not care because i am a kid but some times you jave to listen to kid they some times know what they are talking about just listen KEEP PLAYING ARMY WIVES. PlEASE if you do this a lot I am katelyn and this is what I think.

Mrs Y October 28, 2015 - 9:02 am

Good for you for being perfect. I have 3 small kids and get to to do it all myself. Everything while working full time as well. I didn’t sign up for this. I married a man who had an 8-4:30 job, who had every holiday and weekend off. Now I spend every holiday and weekend by myself with the kids. It sucks. All because he was part of a reduction in force and this is the field he chose. Do I support him? Yes. Do I have to be happy? No, I am lonely and depressed. I don’t have time to have a social life while taking care of babies and working a full time job. Now I feel like a single parent. So take your high horse somewhere else Mrs. Frye.

sandra May 30, 2014 - 10:10 pm

I know exactly how you feel me an my husband have been married for almost 6 years and he is a emt and I hate it I know he is helping people and I do my best to be as supportive as I can but we just had a baby he is now 7 weeks old and he hardly knows who his daddy is πŸ™ and my 10 and 8 year old feels like he doesn’t care because he is never there and I do my best to explain to them that what he does is important I don’t never bad mouth him to them or anything like that but it sucks and its hard being the wife doing everything and feeling like a single mom and I don’t have family or friends where we live so being home all the time and only getting out to run errands and go to the doctor sucks I love my kids and my husband but I honestly don’t think they realize what we go through at home and I honestly think that if they had to be in our shoes they would understand

Tracy August 2, 2013 - 6:22 am

This just made me cry. I get tired of the 12 and 24 hour shifts too, the missed birthdays, the crazy schedules. I love him no matter how many hours he works… but damn.

PVS May 5, 2013 - 3:58 pm

I dated an emt for two years and married him, while going to school to be an emt and have been one for 1.5 years now.
I think you are selfish and needy and if my husband acted as you do I’d leave him. If I acted like you, my husband would have left a long time ago.
A wise man once told me three important words. “Suck. It. Up.”

newlywedsonabudget October 28, 2015 - 11:28 am

If I had such an “understanding” wife like you, I’d leave you too.

EMTsWIFE February 10, 2013 - 4:03 pm

Honestly I think you people are acting selfish. EMTs/Paramedics/FF are very important people and for you all to complain about the time they have to put in to save someones life is just awful. I know it is a hard thing to see your spouse once in awhile but be thankful for the time you do have together even if it is doing something for his job that he didnt get finished. The men and women that do these jobs are HERO’s and honestly you should be thanking them. I have 4 children and my husband does have a CRAZY schedule but we all make it work and when we are all together we dot complain about anything just have fun.

fireman/emt December 28, 2012 - 9:12 pm

wow you are crazy. sorry but if my wife was like you we would be divorced or never have gotten married in the first place. his job is stressful enough w/o you naging him about it. ive gone through countless girlfriends over this and found my wife who supports and understands my job. maybe you should do the same. hes doing what his dream is. this isnt a job you can just do. you have to want to do it. im also in the army national guard and my wife undersood when i had to go to afgan as a medic. his job is the “real job” your belittling his job doesnt help either. just know once he gets a fire job you will be fine and probably be on a 24/48 work schedule. but until then suck it up you loved him for a reason and knew this before hand.

newlywedsonabudget December 3, 2013 - 1:54 pm

yes he may have the “real job” of saving lives as an EMT but I have the job that pays the bills–so he wouldn’t be able to do his job if it weren’t for my job.

When did marriage become being only about one person? Why does one person, usually the wife, have to sacrifice everything for the husband’s career? Marriage is about finding solutions together and if one spouse is being hurt because of the other’s job then there should be a compromise introduced rather than quickly pointing to divorce as a solution.

If I were your wife, I would have never married you in the first place because I wouldn’t want to be married to a man who looks as divorce as the only option.

Lindsay March 26, 2014 - 12:53 pm

Right on sista!!!

My husband is a working paramedic but a trained firefighter as well. We only started his journey to become a super hero after we got married. We have 3 children- young children and I feel like a single mother 50% of the time. This is not an easy life.

These jerks who have posted incredibly inappropriate crap about how they would divorce their wife if they acted this way are completely misdirected on who is selfish in their relationship. The fact that they cannot recognize beyond their ego that there is more to the world than just their chosen profession makes me feel incredibly bad for their spouse. At least my husband recognizes that this is incredibly difficult on me and he can at least give me some emotional support (especially when the day feels like it will never end and somehow the house is covered in chocolate pudding and all I want to do is hide under the covers and wonder how on earth we got here!)

Us wives need to support each other! I realize that you last responded to this message in 2013 and we are now in 2014, but please feel free to e-mail me whenever you are ever in need of a friend who gets it! You can also find me on facebook πŸ™‚

April toornstra July 24, 2014 - 7:09 pm

I completely agree! My husband decided to dramatically change jobs when I was 7 months pregnant with our second child. I had absolutely no say in the career change and I have no say in his current job either. I am tired of always being supportive….please tell me when do I get support? And honestly most medics don’t spend all day saving lives. They spend all day taking idiots to the hospital for stupid complaints. My jobs as a mother, teacher and physical therapist is no less important than his and I’m tired of people saying different.

Mia October 26, 2012 - 8:25 am

I am engaged to an EMT in training. He and I both know that this is a hard job. I personally think it’s harder on the family. I’ve talked to a EMT who is now going through the training to counsel EMT’s and their family. He has explained a lot to me and so has my fiance. I already know from experience the scheduling of time is hard. Before this job he worked just night shifts and we didn’t see each other ever. I was busy working and going to school during the day and too tired to go visit him at night.

Basically, my point is, I know it sucks to be an EMT’s wife, but unless you divorce him then I don’t think things are going to change. Telling him how much you hate his job does not help at all, in fact it’s a bit selfish. If you want a happy marriage it isn’t going to happen by just arguing or yelling about his job or those cute women he works with. I get jealous easily, but I know from experience that accusing him will not help at all. If you want a happy marriage and family you have to create it. Which means loving your kids, husband, and the life you have together. If sit down and tell yourself that your life sucks then you have no one to blame but yourself. To be happy you have to decide to be happy.

I know that this sounds harsh. I’m just so tired of hearing so many women complain about how horrible their life is because of their husbands job. This is your husband, your best friend, and the man you’re going to die with. No one takes their vows seriously anymore. I think women have the hardest jobs out there, but no one really does their job anymore. I believe that as a woman I was created to love and care for the family I’m given.

Sarah Grace December 3, 2013 - 12:49 pm


i came across this site while searching for how to make it through being marreid to an EMT/Fire figher. I recently got engaged. Our wedding isnt until 2015 and I consider myself lucky to be with him He was in the military for 9 years, did 3 tours and works full time in the EMS and is a volunteer fire fighter. He’s my best friend and I hope to make things work. I read what you wrote and I liked what you had to say, becasue its hard to go through. I personally have had a hard time. We’ve had plans with friends or supposidly date nights and hes been late. Or ive needed to get a hold of him and I cant. I think it can be hard on the family also and I was wonderinf if you had any ways of how you deal with it? Or any suggestions? We’ve had our crazy moments. ive called constantly and we have yelled and I pretty much have been jealous or upset. I want to make it work, because i found the love of my life. Recently Ive gotten more mad when we had plans on thanksgiving eve and he was late and then had to work 4 hours on thanksgiving. I even got mad at his partner for taking too long becsue he said he was waiting on her and here i am like hello im waiting on you “john” that’s his name; which is very embarassing. And I honestly feel that John or the people in his industory dont understand as much, because that is their job. But we have a hard time sometimes. I want to get married and have a family with this man. So if you have any suggestions or helpful words I’d like to hear. Ive often prayed as well to god for advice..
Thank You,

angrywife August 20, 2011 - 5:26 pm

I am the wife of a full-time ff and he works per diem as an EMT for a private ambulance company. I am having a tremendously hard time right now with him working long hours as an EMT with girls half his age every single shift. These girls are cute and they share a bond working in this field. Its in a very dangerous part of the state and my husband loves to feel he can rescue girls. Ive heard tons of stories from both men and women about how much they all screw around and to be honest…I think its the one job that is the easiest to do that and not get caught. Its literally just the two of you in a van with a freakin BED already and many times they sit on the side of the road at a halfway point waiting for a call. I too hate the 24’s and the 5 day off bs. Everyone thinks he is just the greatest thing because he is a firefighter. Well, in my eyes, its just a career he chose and I dont think any more or less of him for what he does. Its a job! It pays CRAP and most of the time at the station he works at they are sitting around playing ps3! In the 7 years Ive been with him he has been to maybe 3 fires. Yes he has had his share of horrible accidents but hey, thats the job he chose! I refuse to bow down to these guys so they can grow an ego even bigger than the one they already have. Needless to say, If given the chance I would NEVER marry a firefighter/EMT again. Highest rate of divorce and they all have mental issues from the crap they see at mva’s. Not a fan:)

City Girl July 10, 2011 - 6:29 pm

We all deserve a pity party now and then. (And, yes, it can always be worse, but it can definitely be better, too.) I hope that he’s able to find the right balance with his days off and firefighting tests so that you can enjoy more time together. xoxo

Lindy Mint June 5, 2011 - 10:01 am

My life is very similar to yours. My musician husband not only has to work long hours to make ends meet, but they are often “musician” hours. Rehearsals that go to midnight on weekdays, night classes, gigs on weekends. I go to parties alone, school functions alone. It sucks.

But then I’m reminded of my friend who has four kids and her husband is in Iraq for an entire year. Or her friend who’s son was born after her husband died in Afghanistan. It truly is an amazing sacrifice.

Cat@BudgetBlonde June 2, 2011 - 6:07 pm

Like many of the postings, I also had a very similar situation, where my husband was a tissue procurement tech. On call 5 days a week! Just sitting around waiting for the phone to ring – could not plan anything except on a Sunday and even then they’d still call him bc he was short staffed. Now, he just started med school which is a lot better schedule but I still hear from him zilch. Hang in there girl. An EMT is a very very very noble profession. He is saving lives!!!! I feel ya.

p.s. I’m adding you to my blog roll on my website – long overdue!

STR from NZ June 1, 2011 - 11:53 pm

Hi, my husband and I are in a very similar situation, we got married on the 1st of April 2010. He is a police officer and his hand was broken by an offender five nights before our wedding. He works a six on four off roster, which usually means two shifts of 7am-5pm, two shifts of 1pm-11pm and then two shifts of 10.30pm-7am and then four days off. He works in a small rural station so his roster changes often. The majority of the time I am really happy with how we juggle our time with each other and try really hard to spend quality time together. However, as much as I believe I am a supportie wife and relish quiet time by myself, sometimes I don’t want to be the married women at the party without her husband or not have him there for Saturday morning brunch or a Sunday night roast dinner. I too take comfort from the militray wives who spend long periods of time without their loved ones. Be strong and remember the fun times together or when he cleans the house while he is waiting for you to come home from work on his days off. Best wishes from NZ.

Dynasti June 1, 2011 - 8:13 pm

It takes a strong woman to be the wife of a firefighter or emt I know this for a fact because my husband is a firefighter/paramedic (we live in Alaska and our city has a combined department). I can tell you however that it gets better. Is your husband just an EMT? That could make things more difficult because bring on a medic rig is a tough job because you can run calls literally ALL DAY. I know sometimes my guy come home after running 15 calls a day, each call taking an hour all back to back and he is NOT easy to deal with.
It might be easier if you think of it as your time to do what you really want to do. I took up quilting, I’m a runner, I’m in a book club. Keeping yourself busy is a great way, meet other wives so then you have friends to hangout with who understand the schedule because they too are living it. I also work full time.

Its not a lifestyle for everyone

Teacher Girl June 1, 2011 - 7:02 pm

My 4 year college relationship was with a musician and his schedule was similarly horrible. When we were in college it was no big deal, but once we graduated I would be getting up at 5:30AM to go to work and he would be coming home. We literally never saw each other because he worked gigs every weekend and every holiday. I understand your pain girl. Is his schedule going to be any better once he is an actual firefighter??

Mrs. Pancakes June 1, 2011 - 3:21 pm

That sounds rough and i can relate because Mr. Pancakes works most weekends so im usually on my own. also he works in shifts so i get loads of free time but perspective is so important and it seems like you have about wives of men in the armed forces. hope it gets better! maybe weekly date nights when you can.

eemusings May 31, 2011 - 6:04 pm

Even though I am sometimes frustrated with the fact my fiance has no clear direction, I am glad he left the army (do I even need to explain?) I’m also a little relieved he didn’t get into the police – although maybe he’ll try again later; I think it’s a job he’d enjoy and excel at – because despite the benefits, the hours and the risks are shite. The shifts are pretty much what you and Eric have to deal with as an EMT.

theMRS. May 31, 2011 - 10:10 am

I start to feel the same way too.

theMR. closes several nights a week and gets home late like 2am when I am already in bed. Usually works all day Saturday He has church responsibilities that eat away at his Sunday 7am-6pm. Oh and he is starting Grad School Prereqs this fall at night.

I will literally see him never.

but My brother is a former Marine and one of my good friends has a husband in the Navy- currently away from home for the next 9 months.

Its rough.
For everyone.

I just keep telling myself, sacrifice now for more later right?


– Celina

Good luck friend!

The Coach's Wife May 31, 2011 - 7:27 am

You know I totally understand! πŸ™‚ I feel bad complaining about how little I see my husband too, when I stop and think about what military wives go thru.. but any situation where you are by yourself a lot is hard. During baseball season, we are lucky if we get one day a month together too… just try and remember part of his crazy schedule (studying) won’t be forever!
If I lived closer I’d come hang out with you and we could bitch together. πŸ™‚

A Super Girl May 31, 2011 - 6:29 am

I hear you. While the fiance has a nice, safe desk job, he works a lot and will allegedly travel a lot with his new job. He typically works until 8 or 9 on weeknights and he’s been traveling for the last 3 weeks. At least he’s home on weekends (though he’ll occasionally work one day), but it gets frustrating to not be able to make plans with other couples. I enjoy the fact that I don’t have to worry about cooking dinner and that I can make my own plans and live by my own schedule, but damn it if there are times when I wish we could go out to dinner with friends on a Thursday night.

But you are right, that military wives make a much, much bigger sacrifice. And I suppose, in the end, if our men are happy doing what they’re doing and it’s fulfilling some lifelong passion, we should be happy for them. I guess πŸ™‚

EM June 1, 2011 - 8:17 pm

I think the risk of an military husband, firefighter or EMT are the same. EMT deal with sick pick everyday, firefighters die everyday we just had a firefighter die of cancer that was caused by a fire he was involved in 5 years ago. These public service jobs are all a sacrifice be it war, fires, police or health.

jobo May 31, 2011 - 6:27 am

I hope getting this out helped you feel a little better and I of course love the bit of perspective at the end of your post…but I give YOU credit for being so supportive 99% of the time…you are fully allowed to hate it and wish it were different etc, and I am sure Eric appreciates your support even when you just wanna whine and scream and jump up and down. This would frustrate the hell out of me too, and I hope these shifts end soon and Eric gets the gig he most wants. A gig that I also truly admire, putting himself out there for those in danger. It’s really admirable. You two are so strong, you totally can handle this, (I know you know that!) but I know sometimes it sucks. Wish I was around more to hang out!! We sure can the week I am there πŸ™‚ June 17-June 23!! πŸ™‚

Kim May 31, 2011 - 6:23 am

That is so tough. Sometimes hubs talks about taking a job that would have him out of town Mon – Thurs and I think about everything I would get done! At least I would have him on the weekends, so I would get to spend my quality time with him. But then I start to think, I would just miss him. I hate going to be when he’s not there and all I have is the pups to cuddle.

Hang in there. As he progresses his career in firefighting, the hours have to get better as he moves up in the ranks? Right? You are such a good, supportive wife. He’s so lucky to have you by his side.

Niki May 31, 2011 - 5:45 am

I hear you, It is hard being away from your husband so much. Especially because they have dangerous jobs. I think you can be allowed a pity party every once in a while.

Right now my husband is home every night but soon he will be back on a ship and going out to sea for six months at a time. It is rough, but we make it work.


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