My Blog

Posts Tagged FIFO life

FIFO Workers: Healthy Eating On-Site

The mining industry was number one on the list, at 78.2%, when Chris Jager from Lifehacker asked, “Are these the ten fattest professions in Australia?”

Source: Pixabay

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A snapshot study of 35 men at a mine site in WA’s northwest found 83 percent were overweight or obese. Edith Cowan University lecturer, Gemma Quayle, documented the sample groups eating habits, and found they consumed excessive levels of sodium and saturated fat in their diet and had higher rates of obesity than the national average. Furthermore, over 80 percent had an increased risk of developing Type 2 diabetes or heart disease. Quayle reported the workers ate less fruit, vegetables, dairy and grain foods than recommended while consuming lots of meat and unhealthy discretionary foods.

Source: Pixabay

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Australasian Mine Safety Journal suggests poor health outcomes for on-site workers could be due to, “Work stress, fatigue and having easy access to high fat and high sugar foods when at camp can lead to poor eating habits.” Numerous factors within a mining site environment affect weight gain including shift work, camp food, high alcohol consumption, and lack of exercise. Subsequently, the strain put on the body from these factors become mental stress and can contribute to illness.

Source: Pixabay

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I understand It is challenging to begin a complete revamp of your eating and lifestyle habits. Therefore, I suggest two areas you can act on today:

Get off junk food

Junk food has no nutritional value, other than satisfying an energy slump or covering up feelings of loneliness. Junk food decays teeth, lowers self-image and impacts heart health. The sugar in junk food does terrible things to the brain, such as impairing memory and learning skills and contributing to anxiety and depression.

Source: Pixabay

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Drink more water.

Staying hydrated is a useful habit to improve your inner and skin health, energy and mood regulation.

A nutritionist explained what happens when you don’t drink enough water. “When dehydrated, your cells become more like sultanas than plump, healthy grapes and consequently that’s how you think and feel. Blood flow to your brain is reduced, which limits the amount of oxygen reaching your brain cells and slows it down. Therefore, you feel tired and lack energy. When our cells are like shrivelled-up sultanas, the process of nutrients flowing in and out of the cells is hugely decreased, and this has ramifications throughout our entire body – our health, our moods, our thoughts, our appearance, our vitality are all below par.”

Source: Pixabay

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Drinking enough water each day is easier when it’s readily on hand, so a must-have is a refillable environmentally-friendly water bottle, that many sites and workplaces provide in abundance.

A 2016 study found that mining employees are open to health-promoting programs and weight management assistance on-site. In my book Separated by Work I share various strategies to help FIFO workers and their families. I believe that with employer and family support, combined with the worker’s eating and exercise plan, the mining profession can be removed from the number one spot of ‘The ten fattest professions in Australian’ list.

Source: Pixabay

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What do you think about the on-site health of workers? Please share your tips on how you and your family member stay healthy on-site and at home.

 

Posted in: Mindfulness, Resilience, Separated by Work

Leave a Comment (0) →

Collaborating to Help Others Thrive

DSC_2218I recently had the amazing pleasure of working together with Sophee of Sophee Smiles to create a blog to support couples in any type of long distance relationship – whether married to an adventurous jet-setter like Sophee, in love with a FIFO worker like me, struggling with your partner’s deployments, living in a different city to your loved one, travelling regularly yourself or anything in between, this blog post is filled with guidance, support, tips and understanding.

I adore collaborating, and my business has grown dramatically over the years due to these partnerships.  Whether it be recommendations, working together on projects, getting help, linking people together or sourcing experts to contribute to my publications and referral lists – collaborating is an essential for all business people.  It is also a must for volunteers, friends, people who are separated by work, and within the community – how else can a joint effort and better results be realised?

Charlie ‘Tremendous’ Jones said, “You will be the same person in five years time as you are now, if not for the books you read and the people you meet.” I am certainly blessed to meet and work with many amazing people, which in turn allows me to have more, be more and do more.

So I encourage you to embrace collaborative partnerships and create new opportunities for yourself and others this week.  What have you got to loose? What could you have to gain?

Here are some tips to help keep your long-distance relationship happy and healthy, by Sophee and me.

Kirsty 🙂

Posted in: Business

Leave a Comment (0) →

Making Mothers Day Special – Even When Separated By Work

Life doesn't comewith a manual,it comes with a Mother-3How Fly-In-Fly-Out workers can make Mother’s Day special for their Mum or partners from afar.

Kirsty shares her tips on how your Mum or partner can still feel spoilt, valued and special even if you are away for Mothers Day.

When she was interviewing people to share their stories in her book, she came across a particularly thoughtful FIFO worker –

“My closest friend Gail works with a lady whose partner works two weeks away and one week home. During one of his swings away, her daughter became ill and was hospitalised for a few days.
One morning after a very stressful week, she was talking to her partner on Skype and he asked if there was anything he could do, anything at all. She jokingly said, “you can cook dinner tonight.” They both laughed.
That night after she got home from work, there was a knock at the door at 6 p.m. She walked to the door wondering who would be there at that time of the evening. She opened the door, and to her surprise, there stood the Domino’s pizza delivery boy with dinner—organised by her partner.
We can all think outside of the box, listen to our partner’s needs and not be limited by FIFO.”

Excerpt From: “SEPARATED BY WORK.”

Take a moment to think about what your partner or Mum really likes. What is happening when you notice that they are feeling the most loved and appreciated? Is it flowers, is it things done for them, is it thoughtful gifts, is it giving freely of your time and attention, or is it just taking time to affirm how grateful you are for all they do? Is it a couple or all of these?

When you identify those, you have discovered the most meaningful way to say ‘I love and appreciate you’ to your parenter or Mum.

Kirsty’s top tips on giving from afar –

– Make it meaningful to your partner.
– Remember that this is all about them.
– Be original and thoughtful.
– Be prepared – don’t leave it till the last minute.

Mix it up. For example: call or Skype in the morning whilst you are holding a plate of eggs on toast and a flower as if you were serving her breakfast, have a gift arriving pre-organised with a friend, and get dinner delivered, or have a special container pre-frozen in the freezer that you cooked that wasn’t to be touched until Mother’s day evening.

Happy Mothers Day to all you amazing Mums. “Love is not limited by distance or miles – Love is enhanced by connection and smiles.” – Kirsty O’Callaghan

 

 

Posted in: Parenting, Separated by Work

Leave a Comment (0) →

FIFO Life – Insight from the kids

FIFO Life Insight from the kids

This is one of my favourite chapters from my book – Separated by Work. I wanted to share it with you all.

…Excerpt from Separated by Work  – Kirsty O’Callaghan – Chapter 18

Among FIFO families who are coping well, there are some common themes—resilience, happiness, satisfaction, and a sense of purpose about the experience. Their children, as a direct result, seem more adaptable and calm. I frequently ask my children how they are doing with Dad working away. It gives me a starting point to see if Paddy and I can be doing anything more to support them or answering any questions or concerns they may have. One question I had to answer once was when Joseph asked me why the people Dad worked for were so mean and wouldn’t let him work for one week and be home for three. It was tricky to reach a point where he was satisfied with the answer, yet I am pleased he asked.

“Your child might say, “I wish we didn’t read that book today because it really made me think about the sadness at home.”

When children have the opportunity to share their feelings, the joy and excitement, as well as the anxiety and sadness… They are developing the ability to identify the range of feelings that we all have and to learn the ways in which to respond. They are also learning that everyone might not respond like them and this will help them to get along with others.

When we limit what children can talk about and how they might respond to the world we deny them the opportunity to engage with the full range of human feelings. Everyone experiences highs and lows and sometimes we just need to know that someone is listening. How could we provide more opportunities for children to share their feelings?”– Suzette Holm

After getting permission from their FIFO parents, I invited a number of children of differing ages to share their thoughts and experiences as a member of a FIFO family. The insights are overwhelmingly impressive and allow us to take a breath and not feel that we are necessarily doing a dis-service to our children by choosing this work situation. Whether a parent works away or is home every night is not an indicator of a happier child. When reading I suggest that you do not view the child’s opinion and thoughts as good or bad—it is just how that child was feeling at the time. Children are generally quite frank.

I have used each child’s first initial and age. I have also used Mr or Miss to signify boy or girl.

Mr J—8

“My Dad works away for three weeks and is home for seven days—that is a week. I think it is good most of the time, but I miss him. I get excited when he comes home because I miss him for three weeks. I am used to it now that I am eight, I wasn’t used to it when I was three. It felt longer then, like even three months. When Dad is home, he is fun and funny. We do lots of stuff together. When he is away for three weeks I don’t like it because I can’t see him, and sometimes I get bored and miss him. I know Dad works away so we get lots of money and he can buy stuff for all of us. When he is away, it helps if I just don’t think about it or him being away. I like to talk to him on the phone, and doing my homework with Dad on Skype two times a week. When I was about four I liked Skyping Dad all the time.”

Miss M—21

“I can safely say that over the duration of Dad’s career doing FIFO my opinion and view have changed drastically. When I was old enough to understand the concept that Dad went away regularly to go to work I wasn’t too pleased with the idea. To put it in comparison to people who have not experienced growing up with your father there only half the time—it felt like my parents were divorced. We’d only see Dad every so often and when we did it would take a few days for him to adjust back to home life, he’d get the things done that he needed to get done (i.e. banking, jobs around the house, spending time with Mum etc. etc.) and then he would have time for me. I loathed my father and blamed him for a lot of things in my life because of FIFO until I was 18.

It struck me only a few years ago when, I myself, moved away from home for a period of nine months and worked in a mining town—that my Dad never did this because he loved to—he did it so that I could attend private schools, have caviar on my plate and Louis Vuitton on my back. I now appreciate how hard my father worked for me to have one of the best up-bringings you could give a child. I still struggle internally whether the sacrifice of not seeing your child grow up every day, attend birthdays and Christmas every year, is really worth the money and material things my father has given me. I sure as hell love him and appreciate him for it, because without it I wouldn’t be where I am today, but at the same time—where would I be if my father never took the FIFO job? Would it have been worth the sacrifice of money to have a better quality family life together?”

Miss D—18

“As I got older Dad working away didn’t affect me as much. I think this is because I have my own routine and it is easier to adapt. One thing that did get harder as I got older was that Dad missed some of the important stuff, like formals, graduation, birthdays, and things like that. Overall, I am ok with him working away, he has a good job and earns good money, and he has been doing it for so long it is hard to remember what it was like having him home everyday. I have a good relationship with Dad and we keep in touch by texting and phone calls. I know he is always there if I need him and Mum lets him know what is going on here. I just accept it is the way it is. I enjoy it when he is home, not so much that we do a lot together, just knowing that he is here is cool.”

Mr A—15

“For me Dad was working away quite some bit, and at first I wasn’t really used to it because with him here he manages the household and without him here it felt like something was missing. The way I coped with it was just not thinking about it, I would have the occasional moment where I needed Dad, but it doesn’t really bother me now because I’m focused on so many things, like school and my friends and hobbies have me occupied. Probably the positive of Dad working away is that we get some peace and quiet, because he would be there always and it would be annoying, but that rarely happens. Negatives are he would manage the family, without him he would assist me with things I do with him on a daily basis, I don’t get to hangout with him much and we don’t get time to spend with each other.”

Miss M—15

“For the last few years my Dad has only been home for Saturday and leaving again Sunday for work. This has impacted our family in both positive and negative ways because he is missed very much during the week but we know he does it because he loves us. It is mostly positive because not seeing him makes our time together more meaningful so it is nicer for everyone. When I was younger having both my parents around every day was great because I didn’t know any different but also because the small things that I cared about, like getting an award at school, I always had a parent there to see it happen. That doesn’t happen so much anymore because my mum is usually busy working and being a mum to three kids, but now that I’m older I understand that she does her best to be a good mum and wife for our family.”

Miss P—11

“PROS – Some positive reasons I don’t mind my Dad being away as when he comes home I am really excited to see him. When Dad is away it can also be good because Mum and Dad don’t fight during the week so I am not stressed because my parents have been fighting. It is also good because when he is not home the household is all girls so we can do the girly things that we like to do. Dad is also a lot happier when he comes home he gets to relax and he has missed his family. Dad is also more appreciative of what he has at home such as the house and his family.

“CONS – Some negative reasons I dislike my Dad being away from home all week is that I miss him a lot. He also is really good at math so he can help me with my math homework and he can’t help me when he is away. Not only does he help me with math he also helps me with my gymnastics tricks and strength but, again he can’t help me because he is away. Another con is that when we go out as a family he often doesn’t come because he is getting ready to leave again so we don’t spend a lot of time with him. I also don’t like him being away because at school everyone talks about cool things they have done with their Dad but I don’t get to spend a lot of quality time with my Dad so I am always left out of the conversation. I also don’t like to go and have sleepovers with my friends on the weekends or go to parties because I want to spend some time with my Dad and I miss out on a lot.”

Mr D—8

“When my Dad was away I felt really sad and bored because he does all the fun things with me like quad bike riding. He is my best friend. It felt really different not to be near him. It made me feel very sad and I wished he would come home soon. The only thing good about Dad not being home was him not yelling at me when I did the wrong thing.

I felt like something was missing. It felt a bit strange because you usually have a Dad and a Mum, but for one month and a half, I only had a Mum. I kept wishing he would come home. He is home now, so everything is back the way it was. I love you Dad, with all my heart.”

Miss E—14

“When my Dad was away I felt that it was a good thing, but also a bad thing. With Dad being away, Mum was struggling to keep up with everything, and she spent most of her time at work. My sister and I were finding ourselves having to look after our younger brother a lot. But there was a bright side to having Dad away, me and my sister started to get much closer in our relationship and sometimes after school, Mum would have already picked my brother up and she would take us to Redcliffe to have an afternoon snack.

When Dad came back late on Friday nights there was always a good vibe around the house. On Saturday morning, the family would have breakfast and depending on how Dad felt, we would go out on a road trip not knowing where we were going to go, but driving to a small town to have lunch and then driving to a waterfall or rainforest to stretch our legs.

Although Dad spent most of his time away, there was still such a rush of excitement when he got home. And it was always so good to see him on those early Saturday mornings.”

I also got the point of view of a now adult who reflected on her experiences and thoughts of her Dad working away when she was a child –

Mrs H—37

“Growing up with a father who worked away for months at a time was not unusual for me, because that was my reality from a very young age. Sure, there was an awareness that our household was a bit different to most, but I never considered it to be a worse-off situation in comparison to a normal household.

On reflection, I think I have benefited greatly from having a strong role model in my mother and watching her raise two children while her husband was working away for extended periods. It’s certainly instilled in me the importance of being independent and capable, and not to become reliant on another person to do the basic tasks around the house. I hope to pass these same traits on to my children.

When Dad returned home for leave, there was always a period of adjustment in the house, particularly for Mum who had to reassign some of the household responsibilities, and for Dad who was keen to get involved in everything and contribute as much as he could while he was there. It was wonderful to have a Dad who, unlike many of my friend’s fathers, when he was home was really involved in the day-to-day; dropping us to school, taking us shopping, arranging play dates and getting involved in our sport. When he was home, time together as a family became more important. He was truly present. Some parents never go away for work, and yet they are never really present in their children’s lives.”

Children are naturally equipped to cope with most challenges and struggles—they just need to feel heard and their point of view accepted. When I spoke to these children and young adults, I took away that FIFO is never a one size fits all. Each family has its own unique experience—just as each child will have their own views and responses dependent on what is going on at the time for them. Which leads into the next section of the book—dealing with what you least expect…..

– Kirsty 🙂

 

Posted in: Parenting, Separated by Work

Leave a Comment (0) →

FIFO Relationship Success – 50 Shades of Away!

FIFO Relationship Success

An Excerpt from Separated by Work by Kirsty O’Callaghan

…I once read a quote, “True love doesn’t mean being inseparable; it means being separated and nothing changes.” What a load of rubbish. This quote is not as feel good as it first appears to be. For those already in FIFO, including me, it can induce feelings of relationship inadequacy because we are separated by work and everything does change. 50 shades of away has no time for unrealistic ideas of what true love and passion should or could be.

People who do enjoy realistic health and sanity in their relationships understand a relationship cannot be what makes their lives full—it complements, it adds to, but it can never complete or fill what is empty space. Many people get in a relationship and start to devote their every waking moment to their partner. Then when the pressures of life and FIFO kick in, their entire world falls apart.

For FIFO relationships to be functional and healthy, we have to have our own goals and passions, as well as joint ones. We have time away for ourselves to explore our own interests. 50 shades of away knows that nothing is sexier than a man or woman who is interesting, passionate, and capable of holding his or her own. There is no greater turn off than clingy desperation.

Still, distance can be intolerable for most of us at some point, especially in the beginning. The need to be physically close to our partners is strong and we think it is the only way to increase emotional closeness and connection. I felt like that for the first year. I remember what I missed most in the beginning was touch. That touch on my back when we walked into a room or building together, the touch on my shoulder as Paddy walked past where I was sitting, the touch on my lower back as he came into the kitchen to see what I was cooking, and the touch of his hand in mine. My levels of oxytocin dropped dramatically when our FIFO lifestyle began.

Oxytocin is known as the bonding and trust hormone, or the love hormone. The brain produces it when we touch another in a caring way. Scientific research indicates that this hormone has specific abilities to balance social behaviour, including effects on motherly care and aggression. It encourages bonding between couples, induces feelings of being part of a group, and increases trust. Oxytocin also reduces stress responses, including anxiety.

Not being able to hold our family members and be close physically can heighten feelings of isolation, loneliness, or distrust during FIFO swings. Once I realised this, I made sure I hugged friends and my kids more often and shook lots of hands while Paddy was away to get my boost of oxytocin. When he was home on R & R, we made producing this hormone a priority.

There are couples who adapt immediately into the FIFO experience and comfortably allow the distance and time apart to enhance emotional closeness and connection to their partners.

Neither is right or wrong, different people have different experiences. Culturally I think we are programmed by TV, movies, social media, magazines, books, friends, and family into the belief that the ideal romantic couple remain physically together, and any time apart should be intolerable. Those that have that belief feel impatient, unloved, and disconnected. The people who haven’t bought into society’s expectations tend to be more patient, calm, and secure.

This chapter is dedicated to keeping your relationship healthy while in FIFO. This doesn’t mean problem-free by any stretch of the imagination. Paddy and I have arguments, we annoy each other, don’t really listen to the other sometimes, sometimes lack empathy, understanding and consideration, and we go through our share of relationship issues during our experience of FIFO. But we have learned a few healthy habits so we can blow off steam and frustration in a fashion that doesn’t undermine the integrity of our relationship. We have learned to fight fair for our relationship and stay honest at the same time.

Overall, I have discovered that being separated by work does not create marital issues, issues with friends, or strained relationships with family and children. Your relationship can survive and thrive, and has as much chance as any other couple. This doesn’t mean that there aren’t unique challenges that marriages and relationships in FIFO face. What it does mean is that if there are already underlying rifts or problems in your relationships, especially with your partner, FIFO will bring these out and magnify them.

When I questioned people who were in the FIFO lifestyle about their relationships with partners, friends and family, the top nine responses included –

  1. “Some days we have nothing in common anymore. All we do is complain and compare like we are in a competition as to who has it the hardest.”
  2. “Relationships can be challenging, they need constant work to ensure cohesiveness.”
  3. “I feel there is a lack of appropriate opportunities to address relationship issues in FIFO.”
  4. “Sometimes I miss her so much, and other times I find myself getting too used to living on my own.”
  5. “I wish he would realise when he comes home it may be a holiday for him but day to day life goes on for me and I need some R & R too.”
  6. “I feel so left out, left out of the lives of my kids and the life of my wife. They all seem to be living life and sometimes I am out of step or don’t feel like I fit in.”
  7. “I have no one to talk to at night, to debrief about my day or acknowledge that my day was great or awful. This leaves me feeling unimportant and insecure sometimes.”
  8. “My family and friends are an okay source of support, but don’t really get FIFO.”
  9. “Friends don’t seem to understand what its like being on your own all the time and then when your partner is home you don’t really want to get together with them as family time is precious.”

A typical theme within FIFO couples was competitiveness around their roles and responsibilities. Who is doing the most, enduring the most and under the most pressure? I have yet to find a reliable, one size fits all, measure of who is doing it the toughest or the easiest. I do find there is never a 50/50 split of responsibility—in any relationship….

Kirsty 🙂 – to get your copy of Separated by Work click here.

Posted in: Resilience, Separated by Work

Leave a Comment (0) →

Be Well – Healthy ‘FIFO Life’ Habits

Be Well – Healthy FIFO Life Habits

An Excerpt from Separated by Work by Kirsty O’Callaghan

…In the beginning of our FIFO journey, there were a lot of frustrating moments for me. I was at home cooking meals and cleaning up afterwards and Paddy was at work being waited on hand and foot. I had a vision of a five star hotel restaurant service and buffet. The only burden for him seemed to be that there was a time restriction on when to eat. He had to fall in with their serving times or go without.

The frustration soon became an area of concern as I watched Paddy’s waist balloon and his energy drop. Paddy was generally fit and enjoyed regular exercise, and this was decreasing at a rapid rate. The turning point for us was when he ended up in hospital for stomach blockages twice whilst being in the FIFO employ—one of the operations included removing his gall bladder. The doctors were vague as to causes and preventions; however, I often wondered whether these were bought on because of the stress and diet of a person who works away.

Workers and health practitioners I have interviewed on this topic said that FIFO employees were more likely to be overweight, drink to excess, and smoke. The reasons given for this included diet, boredom, limited opportunities to maintain fitness, and the disruptive nature of the shifts.

Paddy’s body would have been ill prepared to deal with some of the on-site food selections because in our home we are careful with our food choices, avoid preservatives, and additives, and are aware that nutrition plays an important role in promoting our health.

After the illness scares Paddy took charge of managing his health, thought more about the food he ate, exercised more, and managed stress better. Since then his mood improved, he rarely suffers from seasonal illnesses and has more energy.

There are extra demands on FIFO families—physically, mentally, and emotionally—so healthy habits are crucial in supporting and sustaining great results. I research a lot in this area and talk to many people to get their views. I have learned it is never a one size fits all approach. To keep your cup full you have to—

  1. Think well to be well,
  2. Exercise to reduce stress and weight, and
  3. Eat to encourage excellent results.

Lacking proper nutrition can put strain on the body, which becomes mental stress and can contribute to illness. I encourage you to do your own research to create a plan that works best for you and your family.

Two things you can do now to begin healthier habits –

  1. Get off junk food—it has no nutritional value. It may satisfy an energy slump or cover up a lonely moment, but it also decays teeth, lowers self image, and heart health declines. The sugar in junk food is doing a heap of bad things to the brain—impairing memory and learning skills, and contributing to anxiety and depression. Moderation is key.
  2. Drink more water. This is the most effective habit anyone can choose to improve his or her inner health, energy, life balance, and skin health.

A nutritionist once explained it like this—“When dehydrated, your cells become more like sultanas than plump healthy grapes and consequently that’s how you think and feel. Blood flow to your brain is reduced, which limits the amount of oxygen reaching your brain cells and slows it down. Therefore, you feel tired and lack energy. When our cells are like shrivelled- up sultanas the process of nutrients flowing in and out of the cells is hugely decreased and this has ramifications throughout our entire body—our health, our moods, our thoughts, our appearance, our vitality are all below par.”

The vision of the shrivelled sultana was a definite motivator for me. A must-have is a refillable environmentally friendly water bottle—such as stainless steel that many sites provide in abundance. Drinking enough water each day is easier when it’s readily on hand…..

Kirsty 🙂

Posted in: Resilience, Separated by Work

Leave a Comment (0) →

Separated by Work at Easter

Separated by work at easterIt is a time of chocolate, celebration, reflection, family gatherings, holiday activities, fun and extra days off work. Easter means different things to different families – the common thread is gathering together and sharing.

For those that are separated by work, there is someone missing from these gatherings and missing out on making these memories.

And to add more pressure to the mix – those parents that are at home with school aged children will be tearing their hair out as their burden of doing it all on their own is magnified during school holidays. They will be listening to friends and other family members talk about their holidays, getaways and planned family events – and listening to the sympathetic statements of, “oh you poor thing,” and, “I don’t know how you do it, I couldn’t / wouldn’t,” and, “that puts a lot on you and the kids.” Generally you do not hear, “how can I help out,” or, “do you want to join us,” or, “are you ok?”

So how can I help you? How can I help make Easter and the school holidays that bit better and easier for you and your family?

I have been separated by work for over seven years. My husband currently works in W.A. and we live in Queensland. This year he leaves to go back to site on Easter Sunday at 6 a.m. We feel lucky to have him here for half of Easter – it is the first Easter for two years he has been home at all.

Over the last seven years I have found out what works for us, and discovered many things that don’t. Here are my five top tips for you this Easter as you connect and share from afar –

  • Stop and take a moment to understand where your partner is at mentally and emotionally – and then choose your words and communication strategy wisely. Consider, if you are the one at home, your partner is away from their family, feeling very isolated and alone. They are missing special moments and not able to be with their family when a lot of their mates are taking time off work and spending it doing ‘fun stuff.’ Consider, if you are the one away, your partner is missing you, experiencing extra pressure and demands of their time, out of routine, and going on outings with kids in tow and trying to make it fun as they can – all while they watch everyone else with their partners enjoying it together.
  • Make up things to do on Skype together. For example, can you sit down and colour in with the kids, make up jokes, do projects, and pre-plan hiding Easter eggs and you read out the clues? You can get creative. Could the children write you stories – made up or real – and read them to you? Seeing your face, your smile and hearing your laugh can feel like you are really there, especially to kids.
  • Re-frame the blame. It is easy to get caught up in thinking and speaking about how hard it is, how it sucks, how challenging this life can be, how the kids won’t settle, how lonely it is, what if, and the like. Re-frame the blame means to turn it around and think about all the times you are together when others aren’t. Why you are doing this type of work and living arrangement. Why you are making these sacrifices now, so that in the future…
  • Seek out the support you need. If you are on site that could be mates or colleagues who are going through the same thing – talk about it, share your thoughts and boost each other up. If you are at home seek out family members, friends and community groups to help you when you need it.
  • Plan and organise the time. Instead of just staying at home, look up local events in your area. A lot of council events are free for school holiday activities. Are there groups you may be able to join? What are your friends up to – can you plan play dates? Where can you go in your region that would be fun for you and the kids? When is the best time to make phone calls, Skype and connect with your partner? What surprises could you arrange for each other?

I will leave you now with one of my favourite stories from when I was interviewing people for my book, Separated by Work – I came across a particularly thoughtful FIFO worker –

“My closest friend, Gail, works with a lady whose partner works two weeks away and one week home. During one of his swings away, her daughter became ill and was hospitalised for a few days. One morning after a very stressful week, she was talking to her partner on Skype and he asked if there was anything he could do, anything at all. She jokingly said you could cook dinner tonight. They both laughed. That night after she got home from work, there was a knock at the door at 6 p.m. She walked to the door wondering who would be there at that time of the evening. She opened the door, and to her surprise, there stood the Domino’s pizza delivery boy with dinner – organised by her partner. When I heard this story, it bought a tear to my eye. It shows how we can all think outside of the box, listen to our partner’s needs and not be limited by FIFO.”

Excerpt From: Kirsty O’Callaghan. “SEPARATED BY WORK.

Happy Easter to you all, Kirsty 🙂

 

 

Posted in: Parenting, Separated by Work

Leave a Comment (0) →

Separated by Work – ABC Brisbane

IMG_4849I was interviewed recently, 29th Feb 2016, on ABC Brisbane radio to chat about my book Separated by Work.

David Curnow and I spoke about many of the issues FIFO families and workers face, what led to me writing the book and how our family overcomes the unique struggles that this lifestyle can bring.

This interview is a great showcase, touching on many aspects that are presented throughout this essential handbooks 280 pages.

David said, “this is not just a memoir, it is a guide book.  It has bits to fill out and homework to do!”

Click button below to listen in –

Soundcloud

 

 

 

Kirsty 🙂

Posted in: Separated by Work

Leave a Comment (0) →