All FIFO workers face unique challenges in maintaining their relationships from a distance. For those of you who are also parents, the pressures of a FIFO roster can often feel overwhelming.
All FIFO workers face unique challenges in maintaining their relationships from a distance. For those of you who are also parents, the pressures of a FIFO roster can often feel overwhelming. We associate paid employment as our work so the mindset of a FIFO worker returning home is that work is over, it is time to relax. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Relationships are work; ongoing commitment is required to make them successful. The good news is there are ways you can ease these pressures, for yourself and your partner.
Rules and Schedules
You should be used to following rules and schedules at work so it won’t be a shock to your system to do a similar thing at home. On the parenting front define house rules that your partner will enforce whilst you are away and you can do the same when you are at home.
If you set the kids computer time as 30 minutes after school you don’t do anyone any favours if you choose not to enforce this whilst the kids are under your guidance.
Undermining your partner will make their life harder when you are at work and you can bet, your life will become harder if you have an unhappy partner.
As far as schedules go, it is to your benefit if the kids schedule is written down and visible. That way you won’t have to guess what should be happening and when. It also gives you parameters for organizing your own personal down time; be it fishing, catching up with mates or going for a run.
When we become parents it is easy to merge our total identity into that role, perhaps more so for the primary caregiver (often Mum) but the non-primary caregiver can feel this way too. Whilst your responsibilities and duties as a parent never stop you are still entitled to “You” time.
In this too you are a role model to your children. When they see you take care of your obligations and also make time for the activities you love they are getting a great foundation in how to be a great adult.
It is ok to have individual time away from the family and it is great if you can help your partner do the same.
Workers have recounted that one of the hardest challenges they face is coming home to an altered household schedule or rule change.
This probably happens more often to those on a 2/1 roster because in the world of parenting a lot can change in two weeks. Communication is key, and a big part of communication is listening. So when your partner is telling you about their day it pays to listen in case vital information is exchanged.
Regular communication, perhaps daily phone calls is the first step to making this happen. You spend so many hours of your lives apart, it is imperative you share them to the best of your ability. Modern conveniences play a massive role in facilitating this, most sites have mobile phone coverage, or internet access so a mobile phone or computer are your tools for communicating.
There is no denying a lot of work is required to successfully switch from away-life to home-life but you’re not afraid of a little work are you?
Let us know any tips you have for successfully managing FIFO family life in the comments below?
This article was written by contributing editor Anna Hill. Any comments or feedback directed to Anna can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.