mom playing with baby on floor of home

It’s important for first responders to stay healthy so they can perform their job, but it’s also vital to remember that, as first responders who are also parents, there is a lot of stress in every part of their life.

Whether you are considering being a first responder like a paramedic or working in the fire service or you are a first responder already, there’s a lot to consider.

What are the things you need to remember about being an effective first responder that does their job well while also being a great parent at the same time?

female firefighter standing on ladder

Prioritizing Your Health

You need to make sure that you are healthy, not just so you can do your job properly, but also you can be an effective parent. The hardest thing for any parent is to catch up on their sleep, and this is why a bit of compromise is crucial, but also ensuring that you are fueling yourself with the right nutrients.

There are many resources that offer supplements for first responders. For example, you can use this link for service discounts on a variety of supplements for your immune system and for building muscle. 

It’s vital that you prioritize your health, not just in terms of the things you eat, but also in terms of your mental health. Ensuring that you learn how to be calm is not just essential for your role as a first responder, but it also means that you won’t feel the stresses that come along with being a parent.

Unwinding in the Right Ways

You need to feel that, after an emotional day in work, you can come home and feel calm. Of course, if your children have other plans in mind, that they want to play with you, you could feel like it’s too much to play with the kids.

Sometimes we’ve got to remember that our children only want to be with us because they have missed us.

Rather than focusing on the fact that you’re exhausted, use this opportunity to spend good quality time with your children, and focus on the benefits of that emotional family connection. 

It can be the perfect thing to help you feel calm after an intense day. You might feel that you’ve got to prop up the household and cook food too, but you can get the balance right here by ensuring that you pre-prepare meals, while also sometimes recognizing that you just need to have takeout!

Having an intense job means that you do need some quality unwinding time.

Helping Your Children Understand

When we tell our children about what we do, it needs to be done in the right way. Telling our kids that we are responsible for saving lives can make our children feel immensely proud of us and we can inspire them, but also we have to remember that there is a point where they could start to worry about us.

We have to manage our children’s expectations here. It can be a very tough day at the office and it could be very easy for us to unload our feelings onto our children, but we’ve got to be age-appropriate.

We don’t want our children to be concerned about us, but we need to ensure that we are offloading in the right way. Your partner or a member of the family could be someone that provides a sympathetic ear. 

However, it’s important to follow the 10-minute rule when it comes to talking about your day. Get everything out of your system for the first 10 minutes, and after that, you don’t speak about it anymore.

This can be difficult, especially after an emotionally-fraught day, but if it becomes very intense, you may want to consider something like therapy as a way for you to work through your thoughts and feelings.

Therapy or counseling is not a stigma anymore and in fact, it can be very beneficial for first responders to get their thoughts out and work through their problems. This could make you a better parent as a result.

Giving Yourself Permission To Step Away

Some days we can feel the pressure to be an amazing parent, especially if we’re working long shifts. But we’ve got to remember that if we feel guilty about the lack of time we give our children, we must focus on providing quality time.

You may need to recover from a particularly long day or you need to sleep in, and this is why you need to focus on giving your children the best of you when you are around.

It’s certainly not an easy thing and can be one of the most difficult things in the world, but you can get the balance right.