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Meet Wholetime Firefighter Debs as she tells us how she balances her work with being a mum

Since joining the Service as an On-Call Firefighter in 2007 (I moved to Wholetime in 2009), I’ve had two children – and am currently 15 weeks pregnant with number 3!

My kids were born in 2013 (little boy - Robby) and 2015 (Little girl - Lia).

I took about nine months maternity with my first, then only around 4/5 with my second due to financial reasons; but, the maternity pay has changed dramatically for the better since then so I intend to take a full year off with this baby.

I had an emergency and planned C-Section with my first two, and didn’t have any problems at all physically returning to work. I did do a ‘return to work’ phase for a couple of weeks, so I could get my skills up to date, re-do any courses where my qualifications had expired, and complete the fitness test to ensure I really was ready for duty. Then it was straight back out without any issues. 

Since returning there has been the odd time where one of the kids has been sent home from school sick, or the school has shut mid-way through for a snow day - my little girl once got rushed to hospital from nursery - but work has always been great, and we’ve got something sorted if I’ve needed to rush off.

On my day shifts the kids go in breakfast and after school club which allows me to take them on my way to work (it opens at 7:30 and I start at 8:00), then my husband gets home at 17:30 and picks them up from after school club. I get home at 19:15 so also get to see them before bedtime for a little while (unless were called out late).

My night shifts are a little harder as my husband has to be at work for 7:00 and I don’t finish until 8:00; but, he either drops them at my mums on the way, or they stay overnight at nanas and she gets them ready for school. I finish at 8:00, pick them up and get them to school for 8.35 - it’s a bit of a rush but it means I get to take them to school every day and they’re into the routine.

Just need to fit baby into the routine when the time comes! 

All in all, it works great as I get lots of time off with the kids. Annual leave is very flexible and we share it out between the watch, so usually get a good mix of time off during school holidays. 

It’s very rare that I end up missing out on any part of the kids’ lives. I get to see the majority of school plays and assemblies, concerts, and school discos etc., as there are options at work such as, annual leave, use of overtime and mutual cover with another watch - we all help each other where we can!

2 children in large toy fire engine playing with inset picture of Debs with her son.