Thursday 26 June 2014

The FIFO life

FIFO FIFO it's off to work he goes...

The hubs is away again and it's back to a quieter life at home with the littles.

Sometimes I feel like a bit of a sham saying that we are a FIFO family as I often feel like the hubs is home more than he's away (lately he has been) but then B will get sad and moody her daddy is gone and I realise it's all very real.

For those who have thought about it this is what our lives look like.

Whilst our family is extremely fortunate that the hubs has a family friendly roster which is equal time home and away it comes with its own set of challenges. Extracurricular activities like team sports, classes etc that require weekly attendance in the evenings just can't happen. I have had to learn how to get two young children dressed fed and  around each day alone. I have had to get young children bathed and put to bed alone and I have been up all hours of the night with a crying baby and a toddler to manage the next day alone.....

Yep there has been a lot of alone time for me over the years. 

My dear hubs has felt lonely, he had missed his family, he has had to leave his newborn baby daughters and go back to work on 12 hour days. He has worked covered in flies, in heat over 45 degrees Celsius, bunkered down through cyclones....
and in one particularly terrifying moment, been just a few hundred feet from a pipeline explosion. I am grateful everyday he was far enough away to be unhurt, a few minutes earlier could have been an whole different story.

The gas plant where the hubs works, isolated, red dirt and blue skies. IMG source apachecorp

The girls miss their daddy. Ally is too small to understand what is going on although I know she thinks of him she points out his photo on the wall, picks up the phone and says "daddy" and always gives him the longest hug when he comes home. B on the other hand is well aware of how it works, she knows the drill and will happily tell anyone "my daddy will come home in two weeks". She can be clingy and sometimes struggles with just having one parent around but she is completely crazy about her dad and he is her hero.

Then I get the comments from well meaning friends and sometimes strangers about how FIFO marriages often split up, FIFO men often cheat on their partners, how it can get pretty wild up there.... I really appreciate those comments but I think we will take our chances and stick it out.

Why would we? I have just listed a whole bunch of things that make it hard, lonely sometimes dangerous and emotionally distressing for our children (and ourselves). It's not the whole story, not even close.

The most obvious in peoples mind might be the money - yeah it's great we have been able to buy our own home, we live quite comfortably and don't scrape from week to week but that's not all it is for us. We get a lifestyle where our children get to spend days on end with their daddy all day not just at night when they are tired and grumpy. He gets to take B to gymnastics, we take family trips together mid week out to lunch somewhere fun, we share the job of parenting equally. He knows their routine and is competent and confidant caring for them on his own as I am something that many dads can't make claim too.

As for us, we like missing one another. There is nothing like being apart from your loved ones to remind you why you love them. Our time with each other is not taken for granted as it's limited and needs to be enough for the time we are apart. I have grown more independent and the hubs has learnt he functions better when he doesn't have to juggle a work life balance that comes with a Monday to Friday 9-5 job.

We have time to work on our home, being able to owner build and not have to scrape together weekends and late nights to get jobs done means things can move at a much quicker pace. We both have time alone to pursue our own interests.

Will there ever come a time when the hubs packs it in and comes home for good? Possibly, maybe.... We have always said he will come home when B gets a boyfriend (so he can be at the door with the shotgun). For now however, we are happy and doing exactly what works for our little FIFO family and wouldn't change a thing.

Are you are part of a FIFO family? Do you love it or hate it? Or would you just never consider it? I would love to hear from you



If you would like to check out some of the awesome resources now available to FIFO workers in Australia, be sure to check out My FIFO Family for list of organisations that are now supporting those working away and their families.

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