It’s Monday morning, twenty past four. Just like every Monday, every week - The thick dark is cut by a tiny iPhone torch, as he lights his way to their bed. He leans over, gives her a kiss goodbye and is gone.
An hour later, she wakes. Her heart sinks as waves of loneliness crash over her. She is left alone to be a sole parent, again. She picks up the missing pieces of their absent Dad and does it all…… He’s not there to make decisions, he’s not there to execute, he’s not there to follow through and he’s not there for the consequences. He’s gone. Her husband, her best friend, her partner for life, her confidant … is now a distant voice on the end of a phone for 10 minutes a day. He’s gone. She’s alone. She is lonely.
My Monday morning scenario is repeated across 200,000 Fly In-Fly Out workers in Australia, every week. The FIFO worker boards a plane and Flys In to a remote destination to work for multiple days at a time. At the end of the working roster, the worker Flys Out, returning to their family. Research at Murdoch University found the majority of partners of FIFO workers find the FIFO arrangement challenging, citing stress and loneliness as the major issues. They are.
Two months ago, I’d had enough of this perpetual loneliness, week in- week out. I pulled myself out of my cave of isolation and started making changes.
FIRSTLY - I read The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle and understood that where you don’t like your life situation, you have three choices
(1) Remove yourself from the situation
(2) Change the situation or
(3) accept the situation 100% and BE in it fully – without resentment.
I worked on a major attitude adjustment to accept my current reality. The status quo is – he is not here. There is no back-up. There is no partner to take a united stand. There’s no passing the ball. It’s me and only me. I accept that.
SECONDLY – Monday morning was the worst time of the week. I was waking at 530 am in deep dread, sighing at facing another week of family duty, alone. NOW, Monday is Monday Funday. I arrange to do something (immediately after the school drop-off) that fills me with excitement; something fun, for me … without guilt. Instead of waking up feeling alone, I face the start of the week brimming with eagerness, like a child on Christmas morning.
THIRDLY – I am regaining my own sense of self and developing a solid core; that I exist as a person in my own right. I am also a mum and a wife, daughter and a sister – each of these roles is secondary. I am pulling my identity away from my family and filling it with solitary interests I have had a desire to pursue for 15, 20 years. Writing, Toastmasters, Spanish … I am starting to ENJOY being alone!
FINALLY – I say yes. I say yes, far more frequently than in the past. I say yes to opportunities to be around positive people.
It’s Monday morning, twenty past four. The thick dark is cut by a tiny iPhone torch, as he lights his way to our bed. He leans over, gives me a kiss goodbye and is gone.
An hour later, I wake. My heart sings with the expectant joy of a new week. Today is Monday Funday. I am going OUT. I may be alone, but I’m not lonely anymore.
NOTE: This is working for me. It may not work for you. Have a look at the website FIFO Families for building your own support community.