Sandy's soapbox: all marriages are stressful sometimes, so why single out FIFO families?
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.
There's never a shortage of negative discussion about FIFO rosters and lifestyles. One of the comments that's getting me on my soapbox at the moment is that the work is really for single guys.
Why should the workplace determine your relationship status? In our house, our relationship is always under the most stress when my husband is working at home - and not doing FIFO. I suppose after 24 years, we just don’t know any different.
Then there's all the talk about FIFO divorce rates - but are the really higher, or is it just easier to get divorced these days, no matter what job you do?
Sure, FIFO has placed some extra pressures on our relationship: single parenting for extended periods; the stress of working in a dangerous job; changing relationship dynamics; unequal parenting.
FIFO partners need to be very flexible - and good at assuming both roles. We are out there fixing leaks or whatever comes our way.
Then again, this lifestyle has meant increased freedom for me. It has made our girls and I more resilient. We are able to cope with most situations.
Our relationship is also stronger because of the time apart. It gives us time to reflect and appreciate what we do have. When we do catch up, communication is clear and concise. There is no chance for boredom. We still enjoy a honeymoon period each time he is home.
Our youngest gets asked all the time, "Are your parents still together?" When we actually sat down and discussed this with her, we realised we're one of few undivorced couples in her circle of friends. Most other parents have regular 9-5 jobs and they're either separated or divorced.
Love, respect and trust is what it's all about. Learning to be effective communicators.
All marriages are stressful sometimes. All marriages are a commitment. And all marriages require work.
More from Auntie Sandy:
- 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!