When I was a rookie, one of my training officers told me that I wouldn't 'qualify' as a firefighter until I'd been 'shit on, pissed on, and puked on'. Uh... then I guess anyone with children automatically qualifies as a firefighter. Crude quotes aside, I know without a doubt that motherhood has made me a better and stronger firefighter. It all comes from the mental stamina developed from raising children. Climbing stairs in full gear while carrying equipment seems easier now after natural childbirth. Facing a raging house fire isn't as taxing as taming a toddler in the throes of a tantrum. Getting woken in the middle of the night for an alarm is child's play compared to being woken up by your child with an ear infection or a night terror. Firefighting and parenting are similar in the sense that you get better and more confident with experience and although you never ever quite master either, you certainly can get really good at it. It's all what you put into it. Neither is predictable. Both are extremely fun in the challenges that you face. The biggest and most obvious difference is that in a fire there is the potential that you could die. Although I feel like I'm gonna die some days when I am home by myself with both children and they are non-stop with their demands and I haven't slept nor showered in days and it's 4 pm and I'm surviving on a slice of cold toast and tea.
So my dear training officer, I've met your strange criteria on becoming a firefighter through the years at medical calls. But I send you an open invitation to my home when Jacob hasn't had his nap and decides that he wants only strawberry ice cream for dinner and there isn't any. Or when he is covered head to toe in dirt and mud and refuses to get in the tub. Or when Maiya has a poo explosion so big it's halfway up her back and there are no wipes in the house. Bring your earplugs and a box of Kleenex for you may shed a tear of frustration or two. You may even want to bring some Jack Daniels to take the edge off. We'll see then who the tougher firefighter is now. ;)