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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've all come across those mums in Wisteria Lane. You know the ones: they judge and can do no wrong; the soccer mums driving their Klugers and dressed in their label gym gear.

You do the school run and discover the little group having a chat at the gate. Friendly as you are, you can’t break through the hard exterior of the group. The chatter dies down as you approach. They pass judgment without ever saying a word.

When you're part of a FIFO family, these judgments are common. How can you fit in, when sometimes you're a "traditional family unit" and sometimes you're a "single parent"? 

I once heard someone whisper: "Her husband works away, he must be playing around." Another time I heard: "She is so annoying her husband has to work away." I've even had people think I didn’t have a husband.

Luckily in Western Australia there is more acceptance - but it still hurts sometimes.

So how do I deal with those mums - and women in general who are snooty and judgmental?

Well, I take no nonsense. I try to break through the hard exterior, but if it doesn’t work I let it be. I don't need to feel like I'm back in high school and not part of the "in group".

I surround myself with genuine people who take me for who I am - we all get along together and have a laugh.

From my experience, judgmental mums are often unhappy, trying to hide their own insecurities. So I'm always polite as I pass by with my head held high.

My message is simple: stop judging others. Support them instead. Let's try to go back to the old days of swapping recipes at the school gate, not swapping criticism!

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!