The many "oh sh*t" moments of a FIFO wife
Sandy (or 'Auntie', as many people call her) is our FIFO Survivor. Her husband works offshore in oil/gas and they've been together for more than 30 years - many of them as a fly-in, fly-out (FIFO) family. In that time they've raised two beautiful daughters (both now in their 20s) and moved more than 19 times! Sandy wanted to write for Mining Family Matters to show you can survive FIFO.
We all have those "oh sh*t" moments. And for some unapparent reason, when you're a FIFO wife they generally happen when the man of the house is not here.
These are the moments when FIFO wives need the powers of a super hero coated with the skin of an armadillo!
For me, it started way back at the beginning of our FIFO journey. Pregnant with our eldest daughter. Great, no problems! Until it came to full-term date, and the doctor asks (knowing that the man is about to leave for another country) "Do you want to be induced?". Hell no, I’m doing this the natural way! Ha, one of the stupidest decisions I have ever made. The man waited and waited and had to leave after two weeks.
So when did Little Miss appear? After a very long 23 days. But that wasn’t the worst of it. Get to the hospital 40 minutes away, to be told I’m not in labour and no need to ring my support person. Funny, the three-minute contractions were telling me different. So I gave birth with a doctor and nurse and trainee nurse in the room – and no loving support person!
Lesson learnt: always be prepared for the unexpected. You know your body better than anyone and your instinct will generally be right.
The next memorable moment. The first time my daughter comes home blind drunk. And back then Skype was not so easily accessed (for Dad to help with discipline from afar).
Lesson learnt: don't think this won't ever happen to you, because it will! Also the girls learnt a lesson about Newton’s law: for every action there is an opposite or equal reaction – and that there are consequences for your actions and how they affect those around you.
Next memorable event. Moving house by myself for the millionth time. Fully loaded trailer and a flat tyre!
Lesson learnt: ensure the spare tyre has air in it. Also that you know how to change said tyre. Or that you have roadside rescue.
Massive learning curve. Do not assume that all fuels in garden tools are the same. There is a difference and sometimes as it’s a mans department and makes no sense. I discovered the difference between four stroke and two stroke. One dead weed eater at a cost of about $600.
Lesson learnt. Mark all fuels and equipment with the ratio of fuel to oil. Also a laminated copy of instructions is handy to have in the garden shed or a home-made video on your phone with starting instructions.
But hey, here's the good news. They are only mistakes if you don't learn from them!
More from Auntie Sandy:
- Taking stock and cutting back with work dries up
- A FIFO survivor's tips for letting go and learning to enjoy life
- Down time on arrival, no lingering goodbyes and a positive attitude: Sandy's way of making it work
- Getting rid of stuff to remember what's most important
- Coco Pops for dinner: the dietary habits of FIFO partners
- Facebook support group comes to the rescue of sick FIFO mum
- Don't take your health for granted - especially in FIFO marriages
- Sandy's soapbox: all marriages are stressful sometimes, so why single out FIFO families?
- Lessons learnt from a transient FIFO life
- How to be a better listener and friend
- Sure I'm a survivor - but fly-out day can still be tough sometimes
- Cutting the apron strings and learning to find your own way
- How to stay calm and carry on when aliens possess your teenagers
- If FIFO life has taught my daughters one thing, it's resilience
- If you want a job done, give it to a busy mum
- Whatever your reason for choosing FIFO, set realistic goals and stick to them
- Yes I'm FIFO: DON'T JUDGE ME!
- Tough love: how to tempt fussy eaters
- From the Pilbara to Indonesia - how I've learnt to love thy neighbour
- Sandy's Law: things always go wrong when you're on your own
- Even for a FIFO survivor, the shit does hit the fan sometimes!
- To raise great kids today, return to the values of yesteryear
- Looking back on how we prepared the girls for school
- Cocktails at breakfast, waterfights and a house full of people - Sandy's perfect Christmas
- Fifty Shades of Sandy: sex and the "experienced" FIFO couple
- Karratha: a little mining town with a big heart
- Striking the right balance between parent and friend as the kids get older
- Coming out as a Kiwi to offer advice to other NZ mining families
- Even FIFO Supermums do it tough sometimes
- Prepare FIFO kids for change and you'll all have amazing adventures
- Yes, mining life can take a toll on friendships
- How to communicate with tetchy teenagers and a husband working offshore
- Give your kids the blessing of hard work and routines
- Special times are what (and when) you make them
- Keeping your cool when travelling with little people in tow
- Goals, routines and other clever clues for FIFO families
- The memorable meltdown moments of a FIFO mum
- The joys of travelling across Australia to a new mining town
- The pros and cons of boarding schools for FIFO kids
- How to relocate AND save your sanity
- How to be happy with and without your partner
- Meet Auntie Sandy, the FIFO survivor
If you've got a question for 'Auntie' Sandy or would like to make a comment about FIFO living, we'd love to hear from you. Click here!