In a bid to give FIFO couples a well-deserved smile in this tough year of 2020, we’ve pulled from the archive this great column from Joe, an experienced FIFO miner (and husband of MiningFM founder Alicia). We know that women also work FIFO (and salute you too), but this was written from the perspective of a mining bloke who’s spent years trying to perfect the art of preparing ahead for missed anniversaries and special events. Over to Joe …
I’ve been with my wife for many years now (she will know the actual number) and sometimes I wonder if I’ve actually learnt anything. One thing I do know though, is that FIFO/DIDO relationships are unique at the best of times and you need to work on things that work for you. When asked to offer some advice on ideas for keeping us miners in the good books, I am at a bit of a loss as I am not sure I do it that well anyway. Everyone is different and here is my advice, for what it’s worth!
- First you must understand the ground rules – what days are important? Most of us blokes understand the importance of our wedding day, but to remember that day in perpetuity as a cause for celebration is foreign to us. We celebrated on the day, so let’s move on. If your wife/partner believes some days should be treated as ‘special’, you should ask her to explain why and also to reinforce the dates. And if she wants to be happy, why not get her to explain what would make her happy – surely that’s the safest way to achieve the best result?
- Get your partner to make a list of important days. Then get them to remind you of that important day at a suitable time beforehand. Most blokes would not mind being reminded in a tactful way (“Honey, you do remember it is Mother’s Day next week, don’t you?”) Mother’s Day is actually a day that blokes think they should ring their own mothers – and even then there are a good deal of mothers out there who are still disappointed. So understand that you will need to work on this one.
- Partners, use a calendar or something and write in the special days with a big red ring around them. Say to your bloke, “Honey have you checked the calendar for any special events coming up?” You reap what you sow in the case of these important events.
- Blokes, put the phone number of your local florist in your mobile phone. Even if you only remember an event on the day, a quick call to the local florist will get you out of the dog house before the day is through. I am on a first name basis with mine.
- If you’re too late even for flowers, send a decent text message. She’ll still like it.
- If you are not one to remember special occasions, invent your own. Buy her something next time you’re passing a shop and say, “I know I’m a bit slack at those days you think are great, but I’m a bloke and we are a bit forgetful with those details so I have bought you this. I have kept the receipt so you can return it if you don’t like it – but I figured you were a size 8.” That should work even if it is a Shimano BTR4500B reel to match the new boat rod you just bought her.
PS: On enquiring as per the first point I was also told that I could take the kids shopping for a nice, thoughtful gift ahead of these special events. And also that it would be nice for blokes to get their kids to make a card or buy an ice-cream cake to put in the freezer if they’re going to be away for the special day. I’d be interested in any feedback on the success of these suggestions and take no responsibility if they result in unplanned pregnancy.