Our focus for the talk was “doing FIFO well” which brought ideas to mind such as coping mechanisms, communication, priorities, guilt and intimacy.
Vee began the discussion by asking the women whether any of them ever felt guilt as a mother…and nearly all hands went up! She explained the three reasons why we feel guilt: 1. To prove that we care; 2. So we can do it again; and 3. When we see someone less fortunate than us. A lot of the women resonated with more than one of these guilt triggers. Guilt goes hand in hand with priorities and where they are structured. Vee then asked the group to list from 1-5 where their priorities are in terms of kids, partner, self, family & friends, and career. Everyone’s list was slightly different but almost nobody put self first. She explained that you aren’t being selfish by putting yourself first; in fact, you need to for the mental and emotional health of your loved ones. The group was left with a handout to further think about priorities, quality time, and balance.
Annika leads the group to focus on sexuality. Not necessarily the physical aspects, but the emotional, mental and spiritual sides. Emotional sexuality might include intimacy and desire; mental sexuality involves stability and reassurance, and spiritual sexuality can include acceptance and fulfilment. There are so many layers when it comes to sexuality that often they are overlooked which in turn can lead to a lack of communication and intimacy struggles. She then went on to explore the idea of the many hats of mothers. As a mother, a woman is possibly a wife, nurse, cleaner, gardener, entertainer, psychologist…and the list can go on. Annika encouraged the group to think about all of the hats they wear or the roles they need to fulfil, but to remember they are still a partner to their significant other and they are still a sexual person with needs.
Doing FIFO well is easier said than done… everyone has their own expectations, needs, and priorities. It is the balance of these areas in your life that will allow FIFO couples to communicate more efficiently and focus on quality time rather than quantity time.
Lifeskills Centre can help FIFO families through Counselling, whether it is individual, couples or families. We aim to provide families and couples with the skills to navigate through the FIFO lifestyle as best as they can. Counselling can be useful for finding the balance in your life, working out your priorities, reconnecting with your partner, and re-establishing the parent/child relationship boundaries and expectations. Lifeskills Centre is here to help with all aspects of people’s lives.