Blogathon entry – Amanda Starling “Hard Love”

When my husband and I met he was a FIFO worker. Eight years ago it was great. It was good for our relationship, the time away allowed us to miss each other and the time we had together was well spent. The pick-up was my favourite part of the FIFO life, I would get dressed up just for the drive to the airport, sometimes even buy a new outfit I was that excited he was coming home. Looking back, I shouldn’t have set the bar so high, as now my poor husband gets greeted by a grouch wearing house clothes, a frizzy bun and a sleep deprived face that is craving for “me” time. On the plus side he gets bombarded by the girls who demand immediate attention as soon as he walks through door, the three year old will wave around two weeks’ worth of crafts ready to get some praise and recognition from her Daddy. Standing back and watching this is simply beautiful, the excitement and sheer delight on the girls’ face is priceless. For me personally that is my favourite part now, standing back and watching the girls get so excited to see their Daddy.

The part I don’t like is when I can see my girls are missing their Daddy. When his away it’s hard, it’s that simple to construct one word to make someone understand the FIFO life, HARD. Sitting at the dinner table and my three year old asks “When will Daddy be visiting again?” such simple words yet so powerful, not grasping the fact Daddy lives with us was a little heart breaking. I guess I’m not a huge fan of the life as we didn’t exactly choose it as such. In my husband’s field he has been made redundant, had contract work and had the decision to be unemployed or FIFO. Having a taste of having him home makes it harder to accept his away and missing the girls grow up. In my opinion Skype doesn’t quiet cut it. The three year old will talk pharmacy without prescriptions only if she’s in the mood and the twenty month old will find more pleasure in banging on my laptop and disconnecting Daddy. I do find comfort in knowing I can get in contact with him at any time I like, this is a real treat. Well, one time he won’t answer is when he’s at the pub. The positive thing about Skype was that it gave me a clear insight of how my husband lives, honestly I would get a little shitty when he was spending a lot of time at the pub, then he gave me a tour of his room by moving his laptop around and I got it. I understood why my husband needed to go to the pub and keep busy every night.

I believe FIFO can make you or break you as a family; it will challenge your relationship and test your patience as a mother. After a swing my husband and I are both tired, after flying home its routine for him to fall asleep snoring on the couch as I continue with the house hold duties. This can be when we can argue out of exhaustion, I don’t even know if you can call it arguing, perhaps I’ll rephrase it to friendly banter, ok who am I kidding? It’s bickering, we bicker, sometimes a lot and sometimes a little. And, it’s always over those stupid things. We can “bicker” over him not rinsing out his cereal bowl and I then crack the shits because weet-bix is hard to get off when it isn’t rinsed out first. Don’t you agree? It’s these little things, I irritate him the way I pack the freezer after shopping, it’s all these little things that mean absolutely nothing. Luckily, we can get to a point where we can laugh about it because we both realise how hard it is on the both of us and our family.

The truth of the matter is we love each other and everything we are doing is for our family, our little empire.