‘My dad had the audacity to tell me he was tired’ she said.
‘He never asked once how I or the kids were’ she said.
I hummed at her I didn’t know what else to say because FIFO life be it in the mines, offshore, truck driving or defence is often met with resistance, especially from family.
It’s a misunderstood industry. The whys and hows not clear to the outside. Why would you want to be away from your family? They can’t rationalize a little sacrifice now for gain later be it for career or money. Or in many cases quality over quantity.
They don’t understand that the traditional family unit of 9-5 Monday to Saturday no longer exists or they forget this ‘lifestyle’ has been around since merchants ships, traveling sales-man and explorers hit the seas.
We are not the first to live this way and nor are we the last.
Regardless it shouldn’t really matter what the reason is behind your FIFO life but for anyone that has new FIFO family in their lives a few tips for helping them out.
- Don’t question their decision on how they will cope or how will they manage. They will have already done that. No one goes into a lifestyle like this blind. Your questions will create self-doubt the only thing you need to ask is what can I do?
- Don’t assume that it wasn’t a joint effort. Don’t play couple off against each other. Nine times out of ten this is a decision made as a family and one that isn’t shouldn’t be together in the first place.
- Don’t wait for them to call for help with the kids or in general just come. Take them for just a few minutes ask how we are. They will never call.
- Weekends will always be the hardest. Your five-minute pop in will make all the difference in the world. Make them a coffee do their dishes. Smile. Tell them they are amazing.
- When the shit hits the fan because they are tired. They have tried, and they are still slowly sinking don’t say I told you so. You should never have done this or what made you think you can. The only thing you should say is what can I do?
- Ask when those who are working outside the home are home for birthdays, Christmases, anniversaries and parties. We don’t expect your lives to revolve around our rosters but the very thought you have tried your best to include us will go a long way.
- If there are parties family get-togethers, help them get there. Meet them outside there is nothing worse than walking into a gathering solo trying to scan for a familiar face as you wrangle two toddlers and a baby.
- Call, email, Facebook, Instagram this life for both the one at home and one at work can be lonely its part of the territory. The time between the kids going to bed or finishing work and bedtime is the loneliest, fill it with love for the in-between times. It’s the in-between times that are the killers for every one.
- Don’t assume because they signed up for this that they aren’t entitled to support. Everyone is entitled to support. How much they earn or don’t earn isn’t a indicator of that.
- Just be there for them. They are family after all.
And just so you know we don’t want your pity we are a strong breed of family. We do this for our family. To make it better. We don’t need your pity just your understanding that life regardless of how we live it will have its ups and downs and how it turns out is up to us. But wouldn’t it be nice if you could say we helped a little bit in that success of that too.