With the cost of living rising, many families are making the decision to have dad work away from home, especially single income families. Taking the opportunity to increase your income in the mining and resources industry has become quite popular in the last few years. Although financially rewarding it can sometimes be quite challenging for the whole family.
My husband has been working away for a year now and I will be the first to tell you it has been a rollercoaster ride. The first few months were great and the excitement of getting ahead financially and paying all our debts off kept me in high spirits. Hubby came home for one weekend every three weeks and those weekends were full of fun and I was fine, but it was the Easter break when he came home for six days that I realised how much I really had missed him and wanted him to be there every day. I was very emotional and cried every time I thought about dropping him to the airport. I didn’t tell him I was starting to have second thoughts about him working away because I had to think of the end goal, we were on a single income and we would be so much better off financially. When he did go back I held it together for my two children but inside I was so sad and missed him terribly. I have people ask me how I can raise my kids on my own and how I manage to get everything done, but other than the loneliness I have honestly found everything fairly easy because I do have a great routine and structure at home and my kids know what they’re always doing so life doesn’t become overwhelming. I also have amazing friends who are always there to help me out or keep me company, especially the first few days after hubby goes back to work. My friends husbands are also great with my kids will often throw the ball around with them and do ‘dad type’ stuff with them. We also have skype so the kids can stay connected to their dad all the time and show him all the things they have made at pre-school or he reads them stories.
There are a few things you can do to keep the family unit strong
- Keeping the family in a routine – this way whether dad is home or at work the kids know they’re safe and it will help them manage changes easier
- Both parents guide children’s behaviour – the kids will always know their limits when both parents work together
- Meeting up with friends to keep your spirits high – sharing your feelings with your friends will keep stress levels low and help the kids cope with dad being away
Some ways of keeping dad connected with the family while he’s away are
- Giving the kids opportunities to talk to him on the phone or skype
- Sending recent photos or video footage via email or facebook
- Sending dad care parcels full of letters and drawings
- Giving dad his own calendar so he knows everything the family is doing
- Send him text messages during the day so he knows you and the kids were thinking about him
- Dad can record a story on tape or cd so the kids can listen to it whenever they want
Some children don’t cope well with dad being away so it is very important to talk about their sadness and their emotions. This will help establish good communication between the whole family and the kids will know their feelings are being acknowledged. It’s always good to have dad tell the kids how much he loves them and that he is always thinking of them.
Words Amardy Baucke
originally published in Coast Kids