Who's more tired? Who cares – just help me out!

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Sarah Long arrived in Australia from the UK in early 2010 and met her Mr Miner soon after. They're based in Sydney and he does drive-in, drive-out (DIDO) to country NSW. Sarah came out to Oz as part of a six-month backpacking trip around the world, and never went home!

I love Friday nights!

I know, who doesn’t love Friday nights? But I particularly love them as it’s always "my night" when Mr Miner’s home on R&R. We alternate cooking from when he gets home on Thursday (my night to cook as he’s tired) and so Friday is my night to be looked after.

Before I start this column, I should say that I only have myself to look after. No kids, just me and sometimes him. So I don’t want to whinge, but being over here on my own, with my family and friends back in the UK, I do sometimes feel like it would be nice to be looked after for an evening. Just Mum’s roast dinner would be fine!

I should also say that Mr Miner has started a new job this year and I really am feeling a bit sorry for him. He now has a seven-hour drive each way, and also has to be up before 5am on day shift. I worry about him driving when he’s tired and I worry about him not getting enough sleep and the effect this has on his health.

But sometimes, I wonder whether I should bother. Does he fret about me in the same way? When I ask him to do things (go to the shop, clean the shower, get off the sofa), his automatic response is that it’s his day off.

Last Friday he hadn’t even been to get groceries, let alone cooked my dinner when I got home from a long day at work!

To avoid arguments, I used to just give in and get on with it myself, all the time thinking 'Yes it is his day off – one of his SEVEN days off compared to my two-day weekend'. But Friday was the last straw. I cracked it, with complete "how dare you say you’re more tired than me" hysterics.

I think it’s a familiar argument: who’s more tired? (Not just in mining, but in many relationships. It sits right alongside who does more around the house? And who works harder?) 

Mr Miner works more hours than me and this is a fact (we’ve counted, believe me, I love to prove a point!) Even though he works an even roster and is therefore off 50 per cent of the time, if you take into account his 12-hour shifts, versus my 9-5 with public holidays off, he’s the hands-down winner.

But, as I said, that’s if you compare it with 9-5, which isn’t always exactly what it says on the box. When we first met I was a temp and worked the hours I needed. Then I was a nanny, which gave me a taste of life with kids. I frequently worked 6am to 7pm, six days a week, but I got a break when they were at school and it’s a lot less stressful when they’re not your own.

However, in my current job, standard hours aren’t always the case. Take today for example, I arrived at the office 30 minutes early (after a 90-minute commute), left one hour late (another 60-minute commute), stopped at the gym and supermarket on the way home, cooked dinner, cleaned up and did another hour of work. No wonder I’m tired!

I’ve joked before that I would love to set up a time lapse video to see what he achieves in one day off, compared to what I get done on a Wednesday night before drive-in day.

Some of my FIFO friends swear by an early night. But I’m a night owl and going to bed on your own is not appealing. And by the time I work, gym, shop, cook, clean and get ready for the next day, it’s usually past 10.30pm already.

I’m not looking for sympathy, most of the time I’m fine with this routine, but when Mr Miner complains he’s too tired or it’s his day off and then I come home to find he’s spent the whole day surfing and playing with his motorbikes, it make me a little angry (OK, hysterical).

And so now I am on to him. It was a good act, but the game’s up. From now on I am not falling for the ‘I’m tired’ line, I will not give in and feel sorry for him. I will draw up a roster of all the things he has to do when he’s home.

But right now he's away again and I've calmed down and I'm worrying about his early shifts and lack of sleep. And I'm day-dreaming about the next Friday night he's home and I'll (fingers crossed) be looked after...

Our Miner's Girl now has her own website: check out her blog here at http://minersgirl.com/

And here's lots more from Sarah on Mining Family Matters:

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