Heidi Kartchner isn't always in the mood to hear her husband's stories — especially the ones he brings home after a full day at the Las Vegas Metro Police Department.
But she knows that a willingness to listen is one of the foundations her family is built upon.
"Sometimes you have to listen to crazy stories and just nod your head," she said. "As much as they go through at work as far as seeing things that are really bad, things that are against their morals, gruesome things — they need to talk it out."
Mothers like Kartcher and Konie Humphreys, whose husband serves with the Logan Fire Department, say that support is one of the greatest things they can give, even if it's just by listening.
But over the years their husbands have spent serving the public while they tackled bedtime duty at home alone, these moms have faced their share of challenges, learned patience and communication, and made sacrifices to raise children as their husbands worked challenging and at-times dangerous jobs.
Married single parents
For the eight years Kolby Kartchner worked on the swing shift, Heidi Kartchner had single-parent status from after-school snack time until bedtime. Kolby worked from 1 p.m. to 1 a.m. The Kartchners had two sons — a 2-year-old and a baby. This sudden thrust into married single parenthood came with its challenges.
“The bulk of raising kids close together was really hard. I was by myself at night,” said Heidi Kartchner, who now has five kids under the age of 11. “I did dinner by myself. When that happens, you don’t make anything nice because the kids don’t eat it. We had a lot of mac and cheese and ramen noodles.”
Life was chaotic, but whether it was taking her boys to sports events by herself or flying solo for bedtime stories, Heidi found her groove.
“You do it because, well, there’s no other choice,” she said.
Kolby Kartchner and Craig Humphreys work jobs that are both busy and dangerous.
The LVMPD, with a force of 2,484, responds to roughly 3,500 calls per day, said LVMPD Public Information Officer Jose Hernandez.
Craig Humphreys serves as assistant fire chief, fire marshal and public information officer for Cache Valley. His wife said she and her children have come to recognize the sound of the tones that call him away.
Heidi Kartchner and Konie Humphreys have been asked for years: “Don’t your worry about your husband’s safety?”
Sure they do. But for these women, the best way of coping with their husband's dangerous job is to simply not dwell on it.
“You get to a point where you just don’t think about it. I’m so busy trying to be a mom,” Heidi Kartchner said. “I have learned that you can’t think about what they could be into our you’ll go crazy and pull your hair.”
Heidi Kartchner and her husband stay in touch throughout the day via text messaging. And when it’s the life you’ve known for the last 13 years, it’s hard to imagine anything different, she said.
But when others fall in the line of duty, Konie Humphreys said it’s hard not to feel sympathy.
“You are always wondering and thinking of families and wives and wondering how they are doing,” Humphreys said. “We pray for families when they are in crisis and when they’ve had tragedy.”
But ultimately, she knows it’s all part of the job.
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