Welcome to my new series, Not Just A FIFO…
Not Just A FIFO (fly in fly out) is all about sharing our stories. My motivation starting the series is to encourage others to not be bound by the FIFO lifestyle. For some it is just a way to make ends meet, others are chasing a dream, ultimately for all it is just life and we have to adapt and curve with it.
We are all more than just FIFO wives, girlfriends, mums, dads and workers. We are from all over Australia and around the world! We don’t sit around twiddling our fingers between shifts at home or away. We get on with it.
This series shares what people touched by the FIFO lifestyle do to motivate themselves, make it work and attempt to keep all their balls in the air.
Meet Cathy! The “little Frenchy girl” of the group.
The FIFO work concept doesn’t essentially exist in France but Cathy’s husband works 300km away from their home so they generally fit the mould. Cathy is very honest with the difficulties they face which are just the same as any FIFO lifestyle.
I really love this interview with Cathy and I am sure you will too.
Tell me a little bit about yourself…
I’m a mum of 2 kids (9 and 4 years old) and a pug puppy. Wife of a great man, we surely make a good team even if we live apart. I’m working full-time but had the good idea to take a sabbatical starting next September! YEAH!!!
The past school year (in France it starts in September and finishes in June) was a difficult year for me. The first year of this new lifestyle. I had to do everything even if I was helped by babysitters. We didn’t think that it would be impossible to work full-time and do all the things that we were both taking care of and now doing them alone. One person doesn’t count as 2. Sorry!
So I finished this year in very bad condition, totally exhausted and conscious that we have to change something in our organisation. As moving into Paris is not an option for us (cost of life, small apartments…) I decided to take a sabbatical from one of my jobs. Meaning I will work part-time next year. That’s a relief. So I see my life coming with a lot more time for me, and for the kids. I will still have a babysitter some evenings to go out.
By the way I survived this past year with a good controlled organisation (web groceries, housemaid, preparing food for a few meals in advance, and a calendar in my phone, head and on the fridge).
What is the roster you work with?
My husband comes back 2 out of 3 weekends, meaning we are all together 6 days a month.
How did you get into the FIFO lifestyle and do you enjoy it? Why?
It was a strategic decision for my husband career. We look at it as a 3 or 4 year maximum term. We both had to learn to live with it. Husband was a very daily daddy, meaning he took the kids to school, played with them a lot and take care of them on Wednesdays (the French day off for school kids). I know it’s also difficult for him to be far. He misses us but is very busy with his work so doesn’t have a lot of time to think. I had to adjust to be the one, THE only one who would be responsible for the kids. That was a really frightening step for me. I’m now ok with it and don’t feel anxious that something will happen while he is away. Still on Fridays daddy’s coming back, I have to accept that he is the hero of the weekend and that he has to find his place again. That was also difficult for him. At the beginning he came back with gifts and only played with kids and laugh and everything and I was like “arrrrggg I was the boss here, always bossing around the kids and playing the bad cop and you come as the hero!”. But we found the balance again and are quite adjusted now.
How do you keep upbeat when your partner is away?
We‘ve been together for 13 years, 10 years of marriage, so I feel it’s a good thing for both of us. When we are together we really enjoy our time and don’t feel as falling in any kind of routine. That might be a problem in a long-term as we only have like extraordinary moments and share just a bit of daily life.
I miss him especially on the weekends he’s not coming back. So I try to do a lot of things with friends and the kids: those weekends won’t be empty! I have many hobbies so I really feel busy all the time. When the kids are asleep (yes sometimes that happens!) I try to blog, read blogs, read books and cooking magazines.
Is there a key motivation to keep your spirit?
Yeah!!! Holidays!!! Vacations!!! Travels!!! Of any kind! Alone or with the kids, as a family or as a couple. Any kind of travel keeps my spirit. Especially that I always need to see some projects in the future. So now I’m spending the summer in Europe: I’m writing this from Sweden where we are the four of us, after that I go with the kids to Switzerland where I have some friends, and finally Croatia where my mum is from. Stay tuned for my next adventures during my sabbatical. There might be an aussie trip on the plan! 😉
How do you take time for yourself?
A little bit of a lot of things haha! Running, cooking, reading but that would be only on weekends when my husband is there to take care of the kids. Or I’ll hire a babysitter and have a nice girls evening including French wine and French cheese (sorry for the chauvinism there 😉
Who or what inspires you?
I always love to discover new things so it could be really anything as a good book, trying new recipes, thinking of my next photography work…
I can be inspired by every beautiful soul I meet on my road. I like to feel connected with people.
3 things you are… 3 things you are not…
I am a control freak of planning, I am a good friend, I am curious.
I am not lazy, I am not a player (that’s husband ie funny daddy’s job with the kids), I am not crafty.
If you would like to share your story about living with this FIFO lifestyle please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I would love to hear from you.
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