This week’s Not Just a FIFO is Kirstee. In her own words she is a “homeschooling mama, suburban homesteader and wife to a hard-working FIFO mister.”
Kirstee and I actually worked together many moons ago in a natural medicine influenced pharmacy.
Ok, so that sounds like we all sat around smoking pot.
It was a pharmacy that was run by a natural therapist with a naturopath on staff and Chinese medical practitioner on site. I have wonderful memories but I escaped when the whole Viagra/horny goat weed boom was happening. I was receiving too much information in my local town.
A tale for a different time.
The Not Just A FIFO (fly in fly out workforce) series 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.
If you have missed them, you can catch previous week’s editions here.
This week meet the lovely and interesting Kirstee!
Tell me a little bit about yourself…
If I had to describe myself I would say busy. And independent. You have to be when you’re a FIFO wife. If you don’t enjoy your own company, and getting in there doing it all yourself, this lifestyle would quickly make you miserable.
I have a daughter who is about to turn 1, a 6-year-old son who is homeschooled, and a half renovated house that floods (although that only ever happens when Ash is away, of course). Plus I have a garden-trampling Mastiff, a naughty Blue Heeler, an anti-social cat and 5 chooks. I’m a DIYer and a wannabe green-thumb. So definitely busy.
What is the roster you work with?
We have a 4 weeks away, 1 week home roster and have been for almost 4 years now.
How did you get into the FIFO lifestyle and do you enjoy it? Why?
A few years ago regular steel work in town was hard to come by so my husband deliberately started hunting down FIFO work. One of his old bosses had a contract in the Pilbara and took Ash on. He’s been all over the country with different companies since then.
Our plan was to get enough money behind us for a house deposit, but we’ve stuck at it because, for the most part, Ash and I both enjoy this lifestyle. We both have time to enjoy our own interests. Weeks home are like a mini-holiday each month. But things go wrong. People get sick. Dogs attack chickens. Houses flood. And it only ever happens the week after fly out!
Initially we agreed to take it a year at a time. After almost 4 years of 4 on 1 off we are ready for a break, so when this project is finished Ash will work local for a while. We’ve agreed he won’t work away again unless we can get a better roster. It’s hard for him missing so much of the kids’ lives.
How do you keep upbeat when your partner is away?
Chocolate. And caffeine. If I keep busy you don’t have time to feel miserable. Of course some months are harder than others. And fly out day…well, don’t bother talking to me that day. Just leave the chocolate at my door and I’ll catch up with you tomorrow.
I also think it’s so important to talk to your partner as often as possible. Ash and I text during the day and I send heaps of pics of the kids. He video calls them every night and we talk privately once they are in bed. Just because he’s on the other side of the country doesn’t mean he isn’t a part of our everyday life. It makes me so happy watching the kids talk to him every night. Helping them stay close keeps me happy.
Is there a key motivation to keep your spirit?
My family motivates everything I do. It sounds clichéd but it’s true. I want them to be happy and healthy, and I want to make the world a magical place for them.
How do you take time for yourself?
Does chocolate and binge watching Netflix before bed count as time for myself?
Who or what inspires you?
I am constantly inspired by my family, my friends, by nature, by shared dreams and goals… And Instagram. I can no longer imagine a world without Instagram.
3 things you are… 3 things you are not…
I am independent, a little crazy and dedicated to my family.
I am NOT materialistic, ordinary or married to one idea of myself. I am happy to change as life does.
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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