The many "oh sh*t" moments of a FIFO wife

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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:

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!