Body clocks and DIDO rosters: a rather stressful combination

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


Mr Miner's brother recently told his girlfriend they can have a baby when she's saved $50,000.

Now, don't ask me how he came up with this figure - perhaps he thinks it's an unobtainable sum for her to reach any time soon! Despite being 32 years old, he and his brothers all feel they're not yet ready for this responsibility in their lives.

It's all well and good for them, and actually not too bad for her. She's only 25 you see, with a bit of time on her side, and her boyfriend doesn't realise that half the amount is already in the bank! 

I, however, find myself suddenly speeding towards my 30s with no plan or purpose ... let alone savings!

Until now I have always reasoned things would just happen at the right time. I believed that women who worried about the whole 'marriage and babies thing' were crazy control freaks. When I was 25 I split up with my boyfriend of two years, quit my job and bought a round-the-world plane ticket – hardly the kind of person who's desperate to settle down.

But now I can't help reading articles about 'selfish' women spending too much time on their careers and themselves, and postponing babies until later in life.

I am honestly not a 'crazy control freak' stressing out about reaching the end of my 20s. (At least I don’t think I am!) I'm only slightly aware of which way up to hold a baby, and I am still not too sure about being around children who aren't directly related to me.

But because of mining rosters, I find myself slightly panicked.

When your partner works in the mines you don't live in real time. Months rush by at a rate of knots and suddenly it's July and you’ve only managed two date nights this year because that's how many 'free' weekends you've had at home together.

So, what if we put this in terms of real-life events such as marriage and babies?

Well, a friend helpfully pointed out that it sometimes takes two years to conceive. If your partner spends 50 per cent of the time away, surely that would take it up to four years? Similarly, if he is only home for 50 per cent of weekends, how much harder will it be to plan a wedding?

Both Mr Miner and I are one of four children. We both love having three siblings, so naturally I would want this for my own children. That would mean starting now, surely? Otherwise I might be a just another selfish career woman...

Combine this naval-gazing with endless Facebook posts from friends and acquaintances who are getting married and having babies, and I start to spiral into despair! If I wasn't neurotic before, I'm now worrying whether my unborn children will resent me for not having enough siblings.

So I've come up with my own plan in case Mr Miner decides he likes his brother's money saving idea. I'm not 25 anymore, which means I'm obviously at a disadvantage when it comes to saving the full $50,000. I've therefore suggested that for every year over 25, the amount should be reduced by $10,000.

"Great idea," they all said - failing to realise that in two years time I will be 30, my debt will be zero and I can plan marriage and babies to my heart's content.

And with that in mind, a wave of sheer panic hits me, along with the urge to go out and drink shots of tequila with my girlfriends. Maybe marriage and babies can wait for a bit...


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