Fly in fly out – is it wrecking the family unit?

As more and more head to the mines to make fortunes while the gold is on offer, many parents are finding themselves single parents momentarily.

Momentarily may be 3 weeks at a time or 6 weeks at a time!

These seems to be the common complaints and issues arising from such an adhoc work pattern.

For the person travelling

– Loss of purpose when not on the work site

– Idle minds when at work sites

– Increase in addictive or escape like behaviours to cope with radical changes

– Loneliness

– Missing the family unit

–  Mixed feelings from those left at home including resentment, anger and depression

For the person left at home

– Feelings of anger and resentment are common as the person at home (often the mum) is expected to do what both parents normally do

– Feelings of anger and resentment towards the travelling parent when they are home as they are often fatigued and don’t help out, despite the stay at home parent also being exhausted

– Feelings of sadness, loneliness, emptiness, confusion, anxiety

–  Sleep issues as often we become reliant on the other person sharing our bed and adding security. Take that away and we can feel vulnerable and unable to sleep

– Resentment towards money as it is usually the driving force behind people doing a FIFO arrangement.

So while on the surface the fly in fly out gig is very appealing, be aware that it may not roll out how you thought it would when you have kids.  Try it out if you feel it is worth it but have regularly reassessment times on whether it is the best thing for you to be doing. Ie every month ask each other how the other is going and whether the benefits still out weigh the bad.

To help make it successful, establish daily contact (phone, Skype, emails), keep communicating despite there being a lot of distance between you all, share dreams, ideals, daily experiences.