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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    The Great Southern of WA
    Achievements:Topaz Star - 500 posts

    Default FIFO partner - what's it like?

    Hi all. I'm just after a bit of advice.

    DH is considering doing FIFO work. My dad is a long-time FIFOer so you'd think I'd know what it's going to be like but I realised I don't know from the partners perspective, only the childs.

    What is it really like? Do you end up getting into a routine to cope? Do your partners manage to relax and properly enjoy family time on their days off? Is it very difficult being a mum on your own for such long stretches of time? What's good and what's bad about it?

    We will have 2 DS's 12 months apart soon so I know I'm going to be busy regardless of what DH does. My mum lives around the corner so she'll be able to help if needed (though I like to try and limit it as she can be overbearing!). I don't think DH sees FIFO as a long-term career. Just a bit of a money and experience booster for the next couple of years.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Im in the same boat. My dad has always done FIFO so I no what its like from a childs prespective, but DP flys out tommorrow.

    I currently do FIFO and some swings I hate it and others I dont notice as time flys by. I do 9 days away 5 days home, However DP is doing 2 weeks away 1 week home, so I wonder how I will cope especially when bub comes.

    I know we can do it as I have been doing it for a year now, but im wondering if I will find it tough being the one at home and not busy with work.

    So id like some info the from the otherside too, how do parents find it especially with first babys?

  3. #3
    headoverfeet's Avatar
    headoverfeet is offline The truth will set you free, but first it will **** you off. -Gloria Steinem
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
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    What is it really like? It suits us, I hated hubby coming and going each day feeling like he was rushinginandout the door and in the evenings shipping the kids off to bed trying to squish everything into the weekend, never really feeling like we got family time.

    Do you end up getting into a routine to cope? Yep because we aren't focused on what time hubby is coming and going we are a lot more relaxed. I'm not waiting around for hubby to walk in the door every evening.
    Do your partners manage to relax and properly enjoy family time on their days off? Yep he has a morning flight and arrives home around lunchtime usually off night shift so he says hello and has a shower and goes to bed for a few hours, I wake him up and we have dinner then he goes to bed at a normal time, this canbe quiet hard, having him home but letting him sleep for those few hours, because we are just so eager to spend time with him! We usually spend the first day or 2 doing a few odd things out and about then we spend days at home relaxing or doing odd jobs together, the 2nd last day I do a big shop to last me the 2 weeks he is away (that way all I have to worry about is fruit and veg). It's very much a holiday mode at the moment as he does 2 weeks on 2 weeks off, I'm expecting it to be a bit more rushed when he changes to 2 weeks on 1 week off.
    Is it very difficult being a mum on your own for such long stretches of time? Sometimes, I can go a week before I will get a shower alone to wash my hair, the hardest bit is when anyone is sick, gastro is my worst nightmare!!

    What's good and what's bad about it? Good- money, blocks of time off, suits us
    Bad- when someone is sick (gastro), not having someone to talk to each evening face to face (I'm lucky I can talk to him while he is on shift), for me it's 2 weeks of solo parenting I don't have family support and we don't use day care.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Achievements:Topaz Star - 500 postsAmber Star - 2,000 posts
    I think it could be hard to adjust at first, for us it is just normal because he's been doing it since long before we had kids...

    What is it really like? It suits us. We love the time off (he is on a great roster - 8 days work, 6 days home) and we feel that we get a lot more quality family time together than if he was only home on weekends and evenings. Our kids go to bed early so he would barely see them. The money is excellent and he really enjoys his job. It means I can choose to be a SAHM which is important to me while the kids are young. My two are 20 months apart and at some points, it WAS hard. They were both shocking sleepers and I sometimes felt completely exhausted. BUT then he would come home, and take the kids (with some EBM lol) to his parents while I had a sleep. We now take turns of sleeping in while the other does school lunches etc (kids are now 3 and 5). Another big advantage is that he only needs to take 8 days annual leave to get 3 weeks off
    Do you end up getting into a routine to cope? Yes, often things run more smoothly when he is away! When he's home, we are more likely to do extra things or go out more. But he is pretty good at sticking to my 'routine' in the evenings. That said, we are on the 'attachment parenting' side of things so when the kids were babies, there wasn't always a set routine just a general pattern of usual days/evenings.
    Do your partners manage to relax and properly enjoy family time on their days off? Yes, we feel he gets a lot more relaxation time than most of our male friends. Some of them work Saturdays and most work 10 hour days. So they then need to fit in gardening/housework, appointments etc as well as family time. But we have 6 days straight per fortnight to do all that. I must admit I write him a list of jobs when he is away hahah
    Is it very difficult being a mum on your own for such long stretches of time? Mine isn't gone for a long stretch, I don't know if I would cope very well with that. Now that they are older, it would probably be ok but when I was severely sleep deprived, I would have really struggled with longer time away. I have a tendency to like things being done 'my way' and I also quite enjoy being alone so most of the time it doesn't bother me.
    What's good and what's bad about it?
    GOOD - quality time together, he loves his job and couldn't do it in the city, the money and the fact that it means I wasn't forced to go back to work before I'm ready.
    BAD - when the kids or I get sick and he's away, he misses special occasions sometimes, phone bills lol (I have a deal now on my house phone which includes any mobile so its ok)

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Upper Kedron Qld
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    What is it really like? DH is in the Navy and doing FIFO at the moment as we elected for the Kids and I to stay in Brisbane where my family is and also his mum who was/is having a few health problems so it is nice for me to be here if she needs anything and also for me to have the support of friends and family. He is Posted to Patrol boats in Darwin so does 8 weeks away (either on the boat or just in Darwin for maintenance periods) and then 4 weeks at home in Brisbane (working at the base here if he doesn't have enough leave to be home for the whole time). This is both good and bad in that I have the support when he is not here which I didn't have when I lived in Darwin with the kids which is great! but we miss out on the time with DH when they are along side or doing maintenance or when they come in to refuel etc. He is discharging soon to take on hopefully an even time FIFO job so it will be amazing to have him home the same as he is away and to actually have him AT home for the off time.

    Do you end up getting into a routine to cope? Yes sort of I too find it easier for my routine when he is away but do more interesting things when he is home! He is pretty good at sticking to my routine for things like meal and bed times etc and is great with the dicipline side of things - backs me up rather than undermining which can be a problem if you have different dicipline styles but he understands that it is really important that Mummy is the boss and he can't undermine me or it makes life too hard when he is away.

    Do your partners manage to relax and properly enjoy family time on their days off? Yes and no DH is usually so flat out in his off time trying to spend time with me and the kids plus his mum and do any jobs that need doing that I can't do and seeing friends as wel I think sometimes he is run ragged especially when he has to go into work as well or if he is on course (studying) like last off rotation when he was flat out for the 4 weeks he was home and then straight back to all the sea issues in Darwin this time we are going to try to have a bit more down time! and as Thermy said I have to step back and let him take a breath before jumping on him to spend time with the kids or just jumping on him

    Is it very difficult being a mum on your own for such long stretches of time? I don't mind being on my own so for the most part it is okay though it is much easier in Brisbane with family support (and my mum as a sounding board/support/shoulder to cry on and my dad to fix things that I can't) than it was in Darwin with no one but the neighbours. Here I can get mum or MIL to babysit if I need a time out or to go for a coffee etc or to pick things up if the kids are sick etc that is difficult to do when you have noone to help!

    What's good and what's bad about it?
    GOOD - Me not having to go back to work just yet, the money and when he is FIFO (even time) the extra time spent together!
    BAD - Having to do everything on my own - family gatherings, bbq's with friends, school things etc - I find this really hard! . The getting sick or when the kids are sick is another horrible thing too and it always happens when he's away, The fact that he is often away for birthdays, christmas, easter etc is especially hard - last year he missed our anniversary, DD's birthday (he has been home for 1 - her first - and DD is 5) and xmas. So far this year he was home for DS's birthday - the 2nd one he has been home for (DS is 3) but is missing easter, and we will see what the rest of the year brings!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    This is my 3rd year as a FIFO wife. My husband started working away 3 and 1 but now does 4 and 1. He gets one RDO whilst away.

    What is it really like? Good and bad. 4 weeks away is a really long time. Like you I grew up with a dad who did FIFO so I was use to the child's perspective. I really believe that you can either handle it or you can't. It can kill relationships if you aren't careful. We are always prepared (savings) to stop if one of us can't handle it anymore.

    Do you end up getting into a routine to cope? Yes. Our 9 year old and I are very organised. We have a calendar that everything goes on and an online one so hubby can see what we are doing.

    Do your partners manage to relax and properly enjoy family time on their days off? Yes. He gets to take DD to school and spend time with her but we are constantly out when he is home. We probably only get to eat at home 2 of the 7 nights and people often book us in two swings in advance. It is hard for hubby sometimes because he wants to visit people during the day whilst I am at work but the people he wants to see are usually at work too.

    Is it very difficult being a mum on your own for such long stretches of time? Sometimes... when DD is being a handful (which isn't that often thankfully) it can be hard to have to deal with alone. I also get sick of the having to do everything because their is no one to help me. (I do have a cleaner though) I cope most of the time though and have some lovely neighbours who help out (kill big spiders etc ) and my family help too.

    What's good? The full week he is home that we get to spend together. The leave he gets a year on top of his weeks off. The money! The frequent flyer points.
    Bad? Being alone for a long time. Feeling lonely. He misses things - birthdays, Easter, Weddings etc

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Achievements:Topaz Star - 500 postsAmber Star - 2,000 postsAmethyst Star - 5,000 posts
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    I dont have any experience in FIFO personally. I do know quite a few ( about 10) couples who do FIFO though. Based on what they say I dont want my DP to FIFO. Each couple seem to tell the same story. How all they seem to do is argue when thier DP is home, how good the money is, how they cant wait till DP goes back to work, how annoying they are when they are home, how the kids play up when DP is home, how inconvenient them being home is, how they dread DP coming home.. you get the picture. All I seem to hear from them all is DP = inconvenience, money,arguments. I dont want to end up like any of them, wanting DP to go away cos I want money. They all seem to enjoy their DP going away which to me seems wrong IYKWIM?

    I try to think of one couple who successfully do it and I really cant think of one. And I'm from an area dense in FIFO families. I could be wrong and only listening to the negatives as really people only complain about negatives and rarely comment on positives. But thats my reason for not wanting be a FIFO family.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
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    My DH has been doing FIFO for about 3.5 years now. I was totally adjusted to it on my own but we had our DS in January this year which has thrown a new twist on it!

    What is it really like?

    It's good and bad. Sometimes (especially now with a baby) I wish he had a job near home and was home each night. Most of the time I enjoy the lifestyle of FIFO and love that when DH is home he can just hang out with me and DS.

    Do you end up getting into a routine to cope?

    After DH went back to work (he has the first 6 weeks home with us) once DS was born I was petrified of how I would deal with a new born all on my own but quickly fell into the swing of things. I don't really have a routine for DS (except for bedtime).

    Do your partners manage to relax and properly enjoy family time on their days off?

    DH is on a 2/1 roster now so gets a week to relax and enjoy. If he comes off 2 weeks of night shift he does spend a day or two recovering though.

    Is it very difficult being a mum on your own for such long stretches of time?

    I guess for me I don't really know any different as I'm a new mum. I suppose it has it's challenges when you are having a bad day/night but I figure if DH was working here he would be out all day anyway..and wouldn't want to help at night as he would need sleep to function at work so wouldn't be a huge help during the week!

    I do have my parents just up the road which helps. Sometimes I go there for dinner (quite a lot) while DH is away so I don't have to think about cooking! I know that mum will watch DS for me if I ever want some time out (not at the stage where I want to leave him yet though!!).

    What's good and what's bad about it?


    Not having another pair of hands around (especially at dinner time which seems to be cactus hour for my DS!)

    I wonder if DH is going to miss out on some of DS's 'firsts' and that makes me sad.

    Uneven time rosters are bad (where they are at work more than at home). So a 2/1 roster is not as nice as the 2/2 roster my DH was working previously.


    quality family time when DH is home.

    Money (helping us get ahead).

    DH is happier in this line of work then when he had a job near home.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Hi everyone, I've just stumbled across this thread as my husband is thinking of doing FIFO... We live in Sydney ATM and he is looking at going over to Perth..

    He did quiet a bit of work away from home a couple of years ago (spent 3/4 of the year away) but they were driving distance away and we now have a 10 week old DS...

    Has anyone made the decision/tried FIFO for the first time with a new baby? How did you/partner cope?Most importantly, Were there any negatives in regards to the LOs relationship with their FIFO parent?


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