Tips for happy quarrying and mining town families
By Nicky Way
You're a quarrying worker or you live residentially in a mining town. The whole family is together every night, so life is easy right? Wrong!
If you work really long hours, or rotating day/night shifts, or a weekend roster, or a combination of all three, life at home can be very tricky and sometimes stressful. Especially if you have young children! Below are 10 tips for the partners of quarrying and mining town workers, to ease the pressure and help you all to cope:
1. Plan activities and outings during sleep time
If your miner is working really long shifts, try to plan jobs, social outings and activities for when your partner is sleeping. Grab a coffee, some snacks and head to the park with friends. Pick up the groceries, have a coffee at an indoor play centre or spend the morning at a friend's house. You can return the favour another time. If it's the weekend, plan a trip to the markets or a community event.
2. Look for flexible work days and childcare options
Do you want to work? Could you work part time? Can you find a flexible employer? Talk to your boss or potential employers and see if it’s possible to work the days your partner sleeps. Rather than structured childcare, could you look at family day care where most carers have more flexibility with the days and times they look after the kids. Or could you share care of your kids with another working mining mum? Get creative!
3. Plan get togethers with friends during the week
If your partner is on a day/night rotating roster or a weekend roster, your chances to socialise as a family will be limited. Work around that, plan to catch up with friends for an early dinner during the week, or catch up for a coffee after dinner. Failing that, plan outings for your partner’s rostered weekends off. And don’t forget to organise time for you both as a couple. Shell out the money for a babysitter one or two nights a month, go out to dinner and you’ll be better parents for it.
4. Stay with relatives on school holidays and busy periods
If your partner’s like mine, there will be times of the year when there work is crazy and you never see them. Choose these times to go and stay with parents or friends. Make the most of the time to catch up and maintain relationships. Likewise with school holidays.
5. Get connected to social media
If you don't live close to family or special friends (even the other side of the city) stay connected on social media. Send weekly pics of the family to grandparents and friends. It’s much quicker than taking photos, loading them to the computer and sending them in an email. Get Facebooking, tweet, pinterest ... in this day and age there’s no excuse not to keep in touch.
6. Get involved with your local community
Read the local papers, find out what events are on or coming up, volunteer to help or just go along. Get involved, you’ll meet new people and have a great time.
7. Attend your partner’s work social functions
Many mining and quarrying companies organise family and/or couples' social events. Make the effort to go along and meet other families. Christmas parties, meet and greets and picnic days are all great opportunities to put faces to the names of the people your partner talks about.
8. Volunteer where your kids learn, or just to help others
Do you have kids? Do you have an interest in helping others or maybe you just want to get out of the house? If you're not working while the kids are little, try volunteering at their school, daycare, playgroup or kindergarten. Put your hand up to help at St Vinnies, Meals on Wheels or an old people's home. This will help get you out of the house while your partner sleeps, but more importantly you’ll also be making a valuable contribution to your town.
9. Join a sporting club or special interest group
To stay fit and keep sane, do some exercise! And take the kids to do some exercise at swimming or dancing or things like mini ninjas. Even better, work around your partner's roster so they can take the kids while you get running, or yogaing or gyming!
10. Be flexible
Rosters change, big jobs come in, holidays get cancelled. It can be really frustrating, but try not to let it affect your family too much. It's not personal.
And finally, here's another Nicky Way column on why little (or big) mining towns make great places to live.
Nicky Way is a freelance writer, blogger, mum, dormant yoga teacher and wannabe book writer. Check out her website: www.nickywaywrites.com