A FIFO Wife: Amy’s Story
In the name of full disclosure I have to say that I got to eat the best chocolate slice ever whilst chatting with Amy and learning about her ideas and thoughts on the FIFO life. Yes, it does make everything better to have scrumptious food, however Amy’s FIFO life is much more than her just being an amazing cook (and yes….even the slice was healthy). As I learned, lots of care, positive thinking, hard work and commitment are vital as well.
The FIFO story for Amy, Paul and their boys began when they had to leave Karratha. Paul had been working as a pilot based at Karratha and the whole family had embraced the community in the Pilbara. Paul was the soccer coach and the two boys and Amy were actively involved in the local school. “I think the local community does lose out with FIFO work,” said Amy.
Despite missing the lifestyle, Amy and family are not ones to remain down. Paul loves to fly and it was a case of finding ways to make it work. A new home and new school in Perth were found and Paul started the FIFO life. In the beginning the rosters were not ideal and with Paul away for up to a month it felt hard. Now the roster is much better. Even time with 2 weeks away and 2 weeks home and they have found a FIFO rhythm that suits.
There are some practical things that Amy and Paul have adopted that really work for them. Amy explains that scheduling events and commitments always work around prioritising spending time with Paul when he is home. “Nearly everything else can wait till the two weeks he is away. It’s good to know your boundaries”. Date nights, early morning coffee and hanging with the family all take priority when Paul is home.
The other factor for Amy is that she also works in an administration position fulltime at a primary school. The school has fostered a mentally healthy workplace that has really supported Amy and her family. Her employer has offered staff training in Mindfulness and are understanding about Paul’s roster.
Paul’s employer is also conscious of both the physical and mental health of its employees. Access to a gym as well as after work activities.
There is no doubt that they miss each other when Paul is away. The boys share their dad’s love of sport and cycling and do their best to keep in regular contact with the phone and iPad. When home, Paul is at all the games and is up to date with how the teams are going.
Having to deal with things while Paul is away gives them a new appreciation of each other. “Absence can make the heart grow fonder,” said Amy. It’s easy to take someone for granted when they are there all the time.
Another practical tip that Amy had was that they had a regular 19 year old young man “babysit”. The boys got to share company with someone who could teach guitar and loved sport and provided a positive male role model. For Amy it meant she could still schedule evening commitments on the away weeks if needed and date nights together when Paul was home.
Being positive doesn’t mean there are not challenges. Concern about home security while Paul is away was one issue. First step to the solution is the latest addition to the family, a gorgeous blue heeler puppy. “I’m also thinking about self defense course as well!” said Amy
As Amy points out, in many ways Paul is more involved and gets to spend more time with the boys than if he was working long days from home. Paul works really hard at when at home as well and is enjoying restoring the house. “It’s our choice to work FIFO and we find ways to make it work”.