Rig workers know how to stay safe, how to do their job and a lot about the industry. It’s a lot of long hours of physically taxing, demanding labor and focus. At times it’s dangerous. Most wives know and appreciate this. But what many guys don’t know, especially if you are newly married or just had a kid, is how to work through the rough spots that being away for so long creates.
A recent article in Today’s Parent magazine talked about what each partner or parent needs to have a healthy and happy marriage and family when one person works away or travels. The research found that when one spouse travels (especially with rig workers) they need to tune in, they need to keep communication open from the very moment they step in the door. Once you take the time to find out what your spouse needs you have the power to keep your relationship in a good place.
What to keep in mind when you come home
When you are first together your partner or wife may work and miss spending time with you. When you come home all she wants is to be with you and re-connect. However, once a child or two enters the picture what your wife may need even more after working and solo-parenting is a break. Offer to take the kids to the park, to a movie, out for dinner or even to the in-laws house for a night.
Rig work is tough, so is parenting
On the rig most men only have to take care of themselves: Beyond the job you are in charge of keeping your space tidy, feeding yourself and for the benefit of the crew, showering. But when one parent is home alone all of the child care and home maintenance responsibilities fall on that one person, 24/7.
One parent has to see to it that the kids are fed, clean, have clean clothes, get to school, do their homework, and get to and from activities and appointments. This can be especially tricky when one or more of the kids is sick. Your wife was probably up all night taking temperatures or cleaning up vomit. Your wife may be exhausted by the time two weeks is up. It’s double duty if the kids and your wife are sick. Hopefully there is family in town to pitch in.
Talk, open up, be there
There are many advantages to a good job on the rig, good pay and a good living being two. The job can be even more rewarding when your relationship at home is strong. A 2018 report by ABC News stated that people (typically wives) whose spouses traveled frequently not only felt exhausted more, but were actually more often physically sick.
The long and short of it is simple: Talk about how you feel, as well as the anxiety, stress, and even the resentment your partner may feel when you are away. Then find ways that work for your relationship to alleviate those stresses.