The Oilfield Roller Coaster

roller coaster

There are so many ups and downs in life – and even more when you live the oilfield life.  Not everyone understands this lifestyle, and not everyone is cut out for it.  There are a lot of positive things about this lifestyle, along with it’s own unique set of struggles. It’s hard to tell if the good outweighs the bad, or if the bad outweighs the good. It probably depends on how you look at it – the whole “is the glass half full or half empty” metaphor.  Personally, for my family, I’d say there are more positives than negatives. But that doesn’t change the fact that there are some very difficult things that we have to learn to deal with, and learn to live with, because we are an oilfield family. There are ups and downs. All the time.  A good thing is usually followed by a bad thing. The Roller Coaster.

One “down” thing is the hitch life itself. There’s a lot of loneliness on both sides. Just being apart is hard on families. But the “up” of all the time together quickly makes up for it. We get so much quality time. Two weeks a month are spent together, with everyone at home.

Another bad event might be dad having to work an extra week on his hitch. This is disappointing and sad for everyone – definitely a “down” time.  But it’s followed by an “up”, the perk of some extra cashola. Vacation money, college fund, home improvement, paying off debt…whatever. A little extra money is always appreciated.

There can also be the “up” of having dad home an extra week. This makes everyone happy….at first. But it’s usually followed by the “down” of a extra small paycheck, and the stress of getting out of the regular routine. Kids act up. Mom gets crabby. Dad gets antsy.  Togetherness is good, but too much togetherness can start to cause problems.

Then sometimes there’s a big loopty-loop, when everything gets turned upside down all at once. A new schedule without warning, getting laid off, illness or injury…..all these events (and many more) can pull the rug out and cause everything to suddenly feel like it’s upside down.

This roller-coaster of a lifestyle is NOT meant for everyone. In the same way that not everyone can stomach roller coasters. But for those that can handle it, it can be one great ride. There are a lot of blessings and benefits to be reaped, mixed in with difficult and trying times a long the way, too. Only the strong willed can survive on the oilfield roller coaster – – and actually enjoy it.

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. Brittany Davis says:

    This is exactly what my boyfriend and I are going through now, more specifically the loopdy loops! We have been together for just about 3 years and the last year has been the worst. I believe total he’s been home 4 months out of the year and that’s of course split in weeks or two at a time. He is a pipefitter and travels where ever the money is best. When we first got together he had a set job for 6 years here in Ohio. The company began to loose work which started our journey over the past year. I am struggling not seeing him, which I’m sure everyone goes through. I recently accepted a new position of my own and moved to a new city in Ohio away from family. The days are long not knowing anyone in this area and only have our faithful dog as my only companion. I have been realizing lately that this treveling will never end. I think the realization of this is the hardest part. I had been hopeful that after this year he would be able to find a local job, needless to say that isn’t going to happen. I’m struggling to see the light, I love him and nothing makes me happier when he’s home, but the time away eats at me. Any suggestions for ways to cope and meeting some ladies in the same situation would be wonderful, so if anyone is from Ohio please don’t hesitate to contact me=)

  2. At Wit's End says:

    I hate to say it but I’m going to… I HATE this life. While I am thankful that he has a job, I don’t get a lot of quality time with the love of my life. I work full time an hour away from our home and I go to school (I am gone from 5am-6pm on a GOOD day). He is on 21 day hitches. On the 21 he is home, I get to see him for an hour or so before bed and get to sleep beside him and then we have weekends. So, essentially I get 6 full days with him. He did this work prior to us getting together but stopped before we started dating because he had custody of his son and was divorced from his ex-wife as she cheated on him while he was offshore. He just started back this past November and we have been married for a little over 2 years. We actually used to work together. So, to go from spending almost all day together to spending only 6 full days together in rotation sucks bad. I just had to tell him how much I hate it and he admitted that he truly hates it too. I hate that he’s my kryptonite but then again, I guess a husband should be his wife’s weakness. I adore him and hate being away from him. It isn’t the stress of handling things by myself. (I was a single Mom for 10 years prior to me dating him.) Our kids are teenagers, so I don’t have the younger kid issues. I stay extremely busy as I am also an avid half marathoner. When he comes home, I make sure I have nothing planned. It’s hard to fit things in AND get some down/alone time as well. He is going to start looking for something else but I am concerned that he will have issues finding it. I tell him how much I appreciate him making a living working so hard. I tell him how thankful I am to have such a wonderful man that does something he doesn’t like to support his family. I support the fact that he is doing what it takes but I waited my whole life to find my husband (I was 37 when we started dating). Now that I have him, I don’t want to be apart. Life is too short. It’s a dangerous job. I don’t want to lose him before we’ve gotten good and old as hell with great-great grandkids. I still feel guilty at having told him but honesty is always better. My sweet man tells me not to feel bad or guilty. I just can’t help it. I’ve tried very hard to not hate this life. To not be miserable by keeping myself even busier than usual. It just isn’t working. To you Ladies that can do it, my hat off to you all. It takes a special person to do it. I will do whatever I have to do to stay with my husband. I have not and will not ever give him an ultimatum, I don’t need to. I know my man and somehow, someway….he will find something. I just pray that it’s much sooner rather than later. In the meantime, I’ll love him like crazy when I have him and miss him like crazy when I don’t.

  3. I work full time also, so when he’s home, I’m often at work. He’s gone 2 weeks and home 1 week. Of the one week he’s home, I’m gone 50+ hours with drive time to and from work and lunch hour. There is no quality time. He relaxes during the day all day, runs errands when he needs to, plays video games, watches movies and at about 6pm I come home after leaving at about 7am. We do dinner, and at that point I’m exhausted and want to go to sleep. He sleeps in most days he’s home. I may get to sleep in on weekends if I’m lucky. We don’t have the quality time or the affection, because right now, and for the last year of our marriage, he’s been more concerned with relaxing and doing what he wants because he works so hard and deserves it. So he says. While I just sit and read a book in bed and hate my life while he does his life.

    It isn’t always like this though. But the last year has been hell. We’ve seen good days and had good times, but lately it is not fun and games and much good at all. All I can do is be the head of the house when he’s gone and work my ass off at my own job…..and hope one day he will snap out of this funk.

    It is a forever rollercoaster

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