'Quality time' is any time we're together

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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've said it before and I'll say it again: we are really lucky to have a 7:7 roster.

We get to split our time 50:50, the time apart isn't too long and the breaks don’t get boring. We love it and generally it really works for us, but sometimes I do wonder whether seven days is long enough to spend 'quality time' together.

When Mr Miner is away, I see other couples everywhere I go, walking hand in hand on the beach, going for coffee together, sitting in restaurants laughing and joking together, or just at the supermarket generally doing smug couple things that make me feel like I am missing out.

So we try to make sure we have one date night a month. A time to put on a nice dress (usually me) and treat each other (usually him) with no distractions like phones and TVs etc, just the two of us. However, sometimes this is easier said than done. Take his last break home as an example:

Thursday night is Mr Miner’s first day back and he is always understandably a bit tired after a seven-hour drive. We know from experience that trying to organise anything for that night will lead to frustration and arguments. Plus getting dressed and putting clothes on is usually the last thing on our minds! So we agree on Friday as date night.

But Sydney traffic has other plans and I sit in traffic getting crankier by the minute at the thought of having to go home and find something to wear that doesn’t require ironing and is clean, have a shower and do my hair.

Just as I am considering whether I can just spray the dress I wore last weekend and hang it in the shower for the creases to drop out and not wash my hair to save time, I get a text from Mr Miner to say "Shall I just order pizza?" and my heart swells with gratitude. Yay.

"Let’s do something tomorrow night," I say as we settle in for the night with pizza, wine and a movie. "Definitely," he says, "except isn't it your friend’s wedding tomorrow night?" Damn it, he’s right!

"Sunday?" he asks. "Monday?" I counter.

I like my Sunday nights to be relaxed and easy so that I can be ready for work on Monday morning. Plus I really don’t want to miss My Kitchen Rules to see if Drasko and Bianca are going out – they’re getting way too big for their boots!

So we agree on Monday. Definitely Monday! We’ll head to our favourite restaurant and have a couple of drinks and a nice meal. Monday it is.

That is until I get to work on Monday and look at my calendar and remember that I have to have a teleconference call with our US office that evening and it’s the only convenient time we could arrange. I text Mr Miner to tell him the bad news. "Ooh does that mean I can watch the Manly game?" he replies, obviously distraught by the cancellation of date night.

Tuesday night I have Book Club (ironically started as something to distract me when he’s away at work) and Wednesday he’s back to work. So that’s it, another month without date night.

"We’ll definitely go on a date next break," he says as I kiss him goodbye. "Definitely," he says and I smile, because although we might, we probably won’t, but does it really matter?

We had pizza and wine and watched movies, went to a wedding and got dressed up and danced with our friends, and he got to watch his beloved football while I didn’t have to.

To me that’s quality time well spent. And I didn’t have to go to the supermarket or pretend to like coffee!

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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