I’m sure everyone has heard the perils of being a FIFO family..missing out on events, missing important milestones of children, missing family, missing sleeping under your own roof…it can be pretty miserable for the worker and their family. But you rarely hear the positives. Admittedly the pros list is a bit shorter than the cons but it sometimes isn’t all that bad. I guess I’ve had time to learn to embrace it and there are good days and bad especially now that we have our beautifully exhausting daughter. I really don’t think the one working away from their family would have as many pros as below but these are just a few things that sometimes makes it bearable in my eyes.
Money: well that’s obvious and probably the reason the large majority of families make the decision to do FIFO. Granted the economy of late isn’t exactly booming as it once was so rates aren’t nearly as competitive as a few years ago and if you looked around you could probably find something local at a similar pay rate. But it can be hard to break away from the decent dosh you can bring in when working away. And yeah, cheers government for making the cost of living near impossible for families with 1 income to survive..nice job dickheads.
Off swing: yes this is the time of relaxation and recuperate for the worker but after a day or two catching up on sleep it’s on to uninterrupted time with the fam and friends (with the exception of both parents working and school aged kiddies). My sister made an interesting point in relation to this, her partner works overseas on a 4:4 roster. They have 3 children aged 7, 5 and 3. That is 6 months of the year, 24 hours a day 7 days a week he is able to be at home with the kids and my sister. Let’s look at a local worker who say works 9-5, has a 30 minute commute to and from work, works 6 days a week. So that’s 9 hours a day they are away from home at work for 6 days of the week. They might get a an hour in the morning to help with the kids before they head off through morning traffic to do a full day’s work. They get home maybe an hour before the bedtime rush starts, probably in the midst of witching hour so mum is stressed, children are feral and dinner, which good chances is beans on toast, is probably stone cold. Then Sunday comes round, the only day off so worker wants to spend some quality time with the fa..farcking cold stubby kicked back on the couch watching the footy. Deserved after a long work week. So all up the local worker gets 1 full day and possibly a couple of hectic hours each morning and/or evening with the fam a week so let’s just round it up to 2 full days a week. So roughly 3 months a year is spent at home with the family and half that time isn’t necessarily ‘quality’ family time. And that’s if your lucky enough to nab a 9-5 job, most now days are 10-12 hour days and with traffic as shocking as it is the commute will likely be over 30 minutes. Thanks sis for that logic, top stuff.
A bit of independence from the relationship: now this one may be a negative for some, I think it’s kind of a good thing at times. It’s sweet for someone like me who loves affection but not all the time and I don’t have to clean up after the child AND a man child all the time. I don’t want to seem heartless, I love my husband and I love spending time with him but lets be honest, us ladies love our ‘me-time’ (or broken me-time in between baby naps and housekeeping #mumlife) so it’s nice to get into some kind of routine and be in control to some degree (you know, the boss is generally the baby and that control freak loves to mess up the schedule with teething and what not). Distance is also known to make the heart grow fonder so the time spent together on off swing is that much more cherished. Plus, who doesn’t love having the entire bed to themselves without being woken by snoring or being savaged by a stray toenail several times a night.
Parenting differences: a delightfully small period of time to argue about parenting style differences. Fellow FIFO wives will know that as soon as d.a.d.d.y gets home shit hits the fan and the kids turn feral giving dad the impression that life without him is total chaos and that maybe he should be a stay-at-home dad to get things in order. Don’t worry mummas, your fellow motheren know that you have that ship as tight as a breastfeeding brassiere when dad is away (I cringed a few times at this expression when proof reading but eh, no fucks given). They are home just long enough for you to let them think life is near unbearable without them to give their ego a little boost then off to work they go and you can get everything back into that ‘somewhat of a routine’.
You can live on Easy Mac without judgement: I’ve never been much of a wiz in the kitchen so I got no complaints with not having to cook full meals each night of the week. Chloe is at an age where she really doesn’t consume a large quantity of food (the floor ends up with more than her) so she can happily nibble on my meal plus a couple of slices of mandarins or cheese and she’s pretty content. Of course I eat nutritional meals (for the most part) and I feed Chloe a good variety of foods that are nutritionally diverse for her. But I won’t lie, I frequently dish up Chloe some pre-steamed vege and chicken whilst I feast on 2 minute noodles with a bacon, egg, cheese and tomato omelette to top it off. Only having to meal plan for grownup meals once every few weeks is pretty convenient for this culinary challenged mumma.
As I said, the cons are a lot greater for the most part – my husband just missed our wedding anniversary for the 3rd year is a row and probably the most unfortunate of all he missed the birth of our daughter (she was a wee bit early). And it breaks my heart telling him that Chloe has just cut her first tooth or started crawling from the other end of the phone over 1000km away. Not to mention how hard it is parenting alone a lot of the time. But it’s a life we have chosen and although it won’t be forever we are thankful for our lives at present and we are making it work. The thing is, you do what ever you need to do to make things work and provide the best life possible for your children. One day Brett will be home with us every night and Chloe will never know all those nights we were alone, and I’m sure I will miss my independence and space I currently have. We all make sacrifices for the ones we love so it’s important to find the positives in your situation and embrace it. Look at me, being all positive and whatnot.