6 Things I Hate About Being an Oilfield Wife


There’s no other lifestyle quite like being an Oilfield wife. It’s a love/hate relationship.  You love the oilfield….and hate it at the same time. I prefer to focus on the positives and the things I love.  The pros of the oilfield definitely outweigh the cons. But there are some negatives, too. They are the things I usually ignore or try keep in the back of my mind. But without purposely sounding whiny  or ungrateful, I thought I’d be brutally honest and list the things I dislike about the oilfield.  So here’s the dirty little secrets,  the “dark side” of the OF.  I know a lot of it usually sounds fun and glamorous to non-oilfielders, and honestly I think a lot of my life is fun and glamorous….well…..fun anyway.  But like all things, it has it’s good points and its bad points. Nothing is perfect, you just have to make the most out of it.  We choose to focus on the good, but that doesn’t change the fact there are some negative parts, too. Here’s the 6 things that top the “bad” list…

1. I hate pity.  I don’t want people to say, “Oh poor you, you won’t have your husband home on Christmas.” We’ve dealt with it, they need to, too.  We chose this lifestyle, we can handle it.  It’s one thing to just be nice or generally concerned, it’s another thing to pity.  Please don’t feel sorry for us, we are OK.

2.  I hate the danger factor. I get callused to it, or at least I don’t constantly worry. I think I choose to not think about it, but then when there’s an explosion like there was a few months ago up at the north slope (thankfully no one was hurt) it becomes all too real again  –  it is dangerous.  So many things can go wrong. It is definitely one of the more dangerous careers out there, and that is scary. It’s something I do not want to think about.

3.  I hate that there’s a built-in stereo type that comes with being an oilfield wife.  Either you are labeled as trash, or (more commonly up here in AK) you are labeled as wealthy. Neither is true. I am proud to be an oilfield wife, but please get to know me before you make assumptions on what that means.

4.  I hate hate hate driving to the airport in bad weather. I am a nervous wreck by the time we get there if I have to drive to Anchorage in the snow. Thankfully I haven’t had to do it yet this winter- we try to work around it. My husband usually carpools or drives himself and parks in long term parking, and he’s even taken taxis when necessary.  Of course I do it if there are no other options, but honestly it ranks right up there with having a root canal.

5. I hate that there’s always some insecurity with the job. We think we are stable, we have a good income, and have a little put away….but what if? The Alaskan north slope started as a 20-year field……35 years ago. What happens if it all shuts down?  My husband is experienced and has a great resume, but there’s no guarantee he could find another job. You NEVER know what tomorrow holds.

6. I hate when I’m lonely.  I am tough, but yes, it does get lonely. When I’m  wishing my husband was home, I feel weak and I hate that. I also hate when he’s home and I think it might be easier if he was gone, that makes me feel guilty. I don’t like feeling needy or guilty.

There it is all out in the open, the less than appealing aspects of the oilfield. I don’t want to make anyone think negatively or persuade anyone in anyway – – I just want to be realistic. I’m usually cheerfully optimistic while singing the praises of the oilfield, so I thought it only fair to look at the negatives, too.

What are your biggest fears, dislikes, and/or pet peeves about being a ROW?


About jenna

Jenna has been an oilfield wife for over 12 years. Her Hot Oil Man husband started working in the oilfield a few months before they were married. The oilfield has lead them all the way from Northern CO to Alaska, where they've lived in the Matanuska Valley for 4 years. The family consists of their two children; a strong-willed daughter age 10, and a goofy son age 7. And of course what family would be complete without a couple of dogs and rabbits thrown in the mix. Jenna is a stay at home mom who doesn't “stay at home” much, and enjoys gardening, baking, reading, watching movies, four wheeling, hiking, fishing, and LOVES shopping. Since moving to the last frontier they have also started home schooling, which is another adventure all it’s own.


  1. #6 for sure.
    We get so used to our routine while he’s gone. When he’s home, the kids get thrown off their schedules (trying to spend as much time as possible with their daddy). I don’t sleep because I’m not used to the constant snoring, Lol!
    I also hate when a friend try’s to tell me we are being selfish and he should find a job at home so our kids can grow up with their dad at home. I didn’t know providing a living for your family and giving our kids what they deserve, was selfish, blah.

    • I hate when people say he should find a job at home too. It makes me so mad and at the same time, I have no idea how to respond without being mad.

    • I can SO relate!!!! I can’t sleep when my HOM is gone because every little noise all night long makes me jump, and then when he gets home I still don’t get any sleep because of the snoring. hahaha

  2. New to this site, so I’m not quite sure how it works yet…lol….I’m married to an Alaskan slope worker….been married for 8 months…been together for a year and a half. This is a second marriage for both of us. I have two kids and he has three. We are trying to get full custody of the kids this summer, so they will all 5 be with me full time….Prozac anyone?? lol….hardest part for me is that when he is home those 12 days, his kids are with us full time. My kids go to their dads some of the time he is home. Jealousy sets in with me, not having barely any just “us” time. Sure, we have our mornings, and we try to plan date nights here and there, but it’s HARD!! Glad I found this site!! 🙂

    • Amanda, I’m an Alaska too! I think it’s hard because you can feel isolated up here anyway, I know I don’t have the same support I had when we lived near family and friends. And then when your man is gone there’s a lot resting on your shoulders, especially when kids are involved. Hang in there!

  3. I have stumbled across a couple of these so called “oilfield wives” and surprisingly – NONE OF THE WOMEN writing these post work in the oilfield. Apparently, they only requisite to call themselves like that is to marry one.

    To call yourself an oilfield wife: 1) get a job in the oilfield – i.e. Directional Driller, Wireline engineer, Mud Engineer, Casing hand, Truck Driver anything that puts you physically on the rig; 2) Work 28×28, 14×7, 21×14 any normal 12 hour shift rotation sleeping in cramped accommodations, eating in galleys with tasteless meals, getting up at 4:00 am to go to your first meeting at 5:00; 3) Know how a rig works!; 4) Wear your boiler suits/coveralls, steel toe boots, hardhat, safety glasses, earplugs every moments of your shift – the latest rig fashion; 5) get yourself cover in mud/dope when you walk around the rig; 6) deal with professional technical oilfield challenges i.e. “You need to change the liners of your pumps to get the hydraulics or else you will blow the pop off” or you tell the driller/toolpusher “put more weight on the bit”; 7) have a thick, thick skin.

    I’m an oilfield wife because I work in the rig 28×28 whilst he is in other rig doing the same. Airport departures are not the greatest thing but it’s sweet to know we will see each other when we go home. I love my job and love the oilfield but I do not boost I’m an oilfield wife – heck, he is an oilfield husband.

    So, how many of you are true oilfield wives? that you actually work and know the oilfield. When I come across these blogs of self-righteous women talking about their perils of staying back at home with the kids, missing their men, dealing with bitching friends because he is not there with you and all – I yawn.

    I have news for you so called oilfield wives, guys carry on with their lives, they have the pics of your kids in their computers, they are more worried to go to sleep than to call most of you (some of them do not want to call you because all you do is complain how hard is your life), most of them prefer to deal with the company men giving them trouble than with you calling/writing them with stuff they can not do anything about, all of the oilfield guys dream of the day they go home only to realize they want to go back to the rig because here life is much easier

    You have no idea how dangerous and gratifying this job is so, until you work in one. If you think your life is difficult, imagine what a blow-out event – which is one of the most dangerous events your husbands/partners are exposed to in the rig on daily basis when drilling – and most of them, hands down would chose the blow out than to deal with you at home.

    – By the way, not all women working in the oilfield are ugly, smell bad and look like a man.

    • Interesting thought process. By that logic in order to call oneself an army wife one would have to be in the army. So, no, I think by definition you would be an oilfield worker and those married to those who work in the oilfield would be oilfield husbands or wives.

    • Everyone is entitled to their own opinion — but I would think that “oilfield wife” obviously implies that you are married into the oilfield…..just like a “doctor’s wife” is someone married to a Dr, not a Doctor themselves. If you yourself work in the oilfield than you would be an “oilfield worker” or “oilfield woman”.

    • Sharon the oilfield wife not worker says:

      Oh my God that has to be the meanest thing I’ve ever seen in any of these comments.

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