FIFO Life: Why I sent my husband away…

Today Mr Four pointing to our world globe asked me where his daddy was. After a few spins, and a few guesses of here, and here and a few answers of “no son” that’s Russia, or that’s Switzerland, or that’s Ethiopia, we finally found where his daddy was. Placing a gold star over his daddies ‘work place’ he then asked me why daddy had to go away for a long, long, long time?.  I knew he would ask me one day, and I thought It would be a few more months down the track, so that I could think of a more kid friendly, understandable answer. But I told him the truth. Sometimes we have to have a little bit of hard, to have a lot of easy.  I don’t think he really got it, and I don’t think it really altered his day, but it got me thinking. Why did I send your daddy away?

Three months ago, my husband sat quietly in the car staring at his children in the rear view mirror as we took our first long drive to our first airport drop off. We tried to keep the conversation light, and talk to our four year old about all the fun things we would do when daddy got home, but in the end Mr Four and the baby were both fast asleep at the very moment that my husband had to say goodbye.  I watched as he kissed both of their heads with tiny beads of his own tears dropping on their cheeks. At that moment I thought the same thing. Why am I sending your daddy away?

When I married my husband years ago we were over the moon, crazy in love. We only wanted to be with one another, we didn’t care about anything else and only had time for each other. Seven years, two children, a world of responsibilities and a very hectic lifestyle later has meant that has had to change.

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If you had told me on my wedding day all those years ago, that one day I would be living by myself with our two children almost 90% of the time, while my husband worked hundreds of miles away and we would only spend 84days of 365days a year with each other I would have told you where to go.  But that is our reality, and it is the reality for so many other mothers and families that I know – it has some what become a new normal.

I never envisioned this, and I don’t think many other families love the idea either, but sometimes things have to be done. Growing up I watched as my father would come and go due to military deployments and commitments. I remember my mothers loneliness. I remember seeing her hold back tears to be strong for her children while saying goodbye to her husband, knowing the dangers that he was facing, and sometimes not knowing when he would be home. I remember being a child and missing my father more than anything, and not understanding why he couldn’t be home like all the other dads. After all of that, why would I years later send my husband away.

A few weeks ago, I was asked by a group of women, how I was managing this. I was completely honest and told them it was the hardest thing I had ever done in my life. I sat there and listened and talked to them about motherhood, and the challenges it brings. We talked about working and finances, and marriage. We talked about the frustrating things ours husbands do, and also the amazing things they do. And then the night ended; and they all went home to their husbands, while I relieved my babysitter and sat at home and thought, Why did I send my husband away?

The other night, was a particularly busy afternoon and like most mothers will relate too, the hours of 4-7pm are a no go zone. Its hectic, its crazy, its full on. Everyone wants and needs your attention and you can only stretch yourself so far. This night, my husband video called at his usual hour, and realising the craziness of that moment asked what he could do. How could he do anything hundreds of kilometres away?. And then he began to quietly talk and sing and laugh with our children. I placed the iPad and the baby in the cot, while I continued on to run the bath. As I watched our baby through the nursery monitor and listened to my husband sing to our son’s, I thought why did I send him away from his children?

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Then there daddy comes home, and they hug him like there is no tomorrow, and I think to myself Why am I going to send your daddy away.. again?

And the truth of it all is that I don’t have the perfect answer, or not one that would accommodate to every bodies opinion. I can’t explain to everyone why we would choose this, and why it’s right for us. But what I can tell you is this – there is no doubt in my mind of the love my husband has for his children and for me. I know the same goes for so many other families in this situation. Every single day questioning weather or not they have made the right choice. And every single day hoping that great things can come from such a great sacrifice.

This isn’t for everyone, but for some its a lifestyle that works perfectly for them. For some families it brings them closer together, and for some it pulls them apart

All I know is that for us, and for our kids we will make our 84days count. We will fill them with love, and joy and memories.

And on the other 281 days that we spend apart we will make them count.

We will fill those days with love, and joy and memories too. So that hopefully one day our children can say, just like I can say to my dad now.

That they knew that they were loved …. 365 days of the year.

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10 thoughts on “FIFO Life: Why I sent my husband away…

  1. Manda, you are an amazing woman! i am so grateful to call you one of my best friends and know that i am one of yours. I see you as superwoman. I don’t know how you do it but i know that you are one of the strongest people i know. I love you so much lady xox

    1. You are amazing lady! Because I have friends like you is the reason I can keep doing this kind of stuff! Your support is what keeps me chugging along! Love you!!!!!!! Xx

  2. It’s a tough job working away as well, so much happens and you cannot replace the missed birthdays or anniversaries. It takes a special couple for this to work. The strength in the foundation of your marriage along with integrity, humility and responsibility will show the test of time. I’ve been in both pairs of shoes – it is hard but very rewarding when it is successful. All the best to your beautiful family.

  3. I LOVE this! and I can, as you know, relate to it all!!! Oh how I could go on about this topic, but I just want you to know that I think you are amazing, this ‘situation’ really does make you appreciate the little things so much more!!! XOXOX

  4. Funnily enough, your blog came to my attention via my husband, who is a FIFO worker too. I read with interest your articles and while I understand the challenges of being a FIFO wife, we have no children, and we are on a 2 and 1 roster, so I am sure my experience is very much different to yours. However, when I got to the end of this post I felt unsure about this premise of you having “sent” your husband, and your children’s Daddy, away. Did you yourself, in fact, send him? This seems like a lot of “blame” to take on yourself, and to shoulder while you cope with the day-to-day demands of this lifestyle. This is not a criticism, and I thought long and hard about commenting (as a stranger what do I know about your experience), but more a way of looking at the situation. I wish you and your family well as you learn to adjust to your new normal.

    1. Hi roxy, thank you so much for taking the time to read our blog & comment. I am so amazed at how far it has traveled & never imagined it would be read by so many. I appreciate your comment & completely understand where you are coming from. I don’t blame myself for sending away to work as it was completely both of our decision. It’s more of a way of wishing that things could be different. A lot of people have asked me since he left why he had to go & this was our way of addressing that. We know we are blessed for him to have this opportunity as so many other families are out of work. We just have to remind ourselves sometimes of the bigger picture. Again thank you for taking the time to read, I wish you all the best. Xxx

  5. Well said ive been doing this job a long time ive missed so much stuff that hasn’t etched in my memory because I wasn’t there things pass that the brave wife tackles on her own we do what we do only for our familes.which we share when DADS home…..

  6. Loving this blog Manda, my goodness I totally relate to ur situation and agree with everything ur saying. Its just so nice to read about someone elses experience with the fifo lifestyle and not feel so alone at the moment as I always find drop off days so hard and usually busy myself, but reading ur blogs are both a reflection and a saddened reminder of my own situation. But yes hubby definitely does this to help our family get financially ahead and get some financial stability which helps me to get past the sad feelings. Once again keep up the awesome work with both ur blog and raising ur lil family. Much Aroha to u and ur famz xo

  7. Love this one too!! I think ur one of my new fav’s to read!! Keep em coming. From what I got out of this…make the most of your time with those you love. Although my hubby doesnt exactly fly in/out, he too is away a lot;’s tough! Alot of respect to all the mama’s n women out there..

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