My family has lived the FIFO lifestyle for many years. Pre-kids it was a piece of cake albeit a bit lonely for the 2 weeks when Marc was away, but very manageable. When my daughter Giuliana was born in 2012, I struggled to adjust to the 2 weeks by myself and was an anxious first-time parent terrified of ‘breaking’ my new baby. All things considered, Giuliana was an easy-ish baby and we soon fell into a good routine with the support of friends and family. If anything, it was tougher as Giuliana got older and became more ‘spirited’….read – pain in the ass 😉
Last year when I had my youngest daughter Sienna it was a different kettle of fish. I had the headstrong three/fournager to manage and all the newborn challenges – settling, sleepless nights and teething. In short, it’s been a constant struggle ever since Sienna arrived. Coping with all of the other ‘real life stuff’ i.e. work, illness, cooking, cleaning, ironing, grocery shopping etc, means the 2 weeks by myself can get bloody tough.
I have often referred to myself as a ‘part-time single parent’. Now don’t get me wrong, I am in complete awe of the genuine single parent households out there either by choice or circumstance. These are the true parenting warriors who are always ‘getting it done’ because there is no alternative. If this is you – you have my utmost respect – you’re already a champion in my book. Yes, being a FIFO wife is tough, but I am so grateful when my husband Marc is home and he has nothing to focus on but me and the girls. I consider myself one of the lucky ones.
Anyhoo, yes it’s tough when I’m on my own, but I can report that the girls are I are clean, fed, dressed, get to places on time (mostly) and all that other crap gets done too (mostly) 🙂 People often give me that line of ’I don’t know how you do it!!’. The truth is that while my family help out regularly, I have to be super organised or everything would fall in a heap.
Below are a few of the methods I use as a FIFO wife to stay organised and get it ‘all’ done. They aren’t rocket science but they work and more importantly, they work for me.
FIFO Organisation Tips
The Laydown Area
In one of my earliest posts I mentioned my love for a good lay down area; a clear space like a made bed or an empty kitchen bench to lay stuff out so you can take a clear inventory of what you’ve got – how beautiful is my banner photo?? It’s a perfect example *love*
Part of my night time routine is to prepare for the next day – namely bowls/spoons, bottle, coffee cup, vitamins etc. I go a step further and set out the kids clothes, shoes, socks and their childcare bags. Yep, it’s a bit OCD but it means I’m not scrambling for hats, drink bottles or a pair of socks that match if I am short of time. It’s Murphy’s Law but on the nights when I ‘couldn’t be bothered’ the kids choose to have a meltdown over breakfast or refuse to clean their teeth.
A Place For Everything
Yep, now I’m really in OCD country. All the car/house keys live in ‘the key thing’ (its official title) on the hall table. Marc is still a work in progress on this one; he’s forever leaving his keys in his pockets and then we spend 10 mins running around like headless chooks hunting them down.
This one won’t apply to everyone but I found it really hard to stay on top of the cleaning, especially after returning to work this year. I’m a big fan of spot cleaning (I LOVE my Dyson stick vac!!) but getting a clear run to vacuum the whole house, mop and do the bathrooms is always a struggle. Despite being a big believer in outsourcing (my old white collar job), living with my scummy bathroom was too much to take. However, I got over the negative self-talk, swallowed my pride and got a cleaner. It’s only 2 hours every fortnight but it’s enough to get a top to bottom clean done and then I just need to maintain it and do a bit extra on the weekends. 4 hours a month might not be financially viable for you, but I’ll keep it up as long as I can afford to.
I love to read (thrillers are my fave), but the kids make this difficult. In 2016 I have discovered ‘the podcast’ and ‘the audio book’. Why did no one ever tell me how awesome they are?? I listen in the car all the time and it’s a good excuse to give the Frozen soundtrack a rest!!!
Everyone will have their own secret sauce for ‘getting it done’ but this is a sample of what works in our FIFO world. I would love to hear your tips and tricks for getting out the door in the morning on time or for fitting more in during the day….just leave me a comment below 🙂
Until next time….