Blended Families and the Oilfield

blended-familiesThis oilfield life we’ve chosen isn’t always easy. Some days it can be downright challenging. On the flip side, it also has many rewards. I believe the harder the challenges, the greater the reward. That’s what makes being part of an oilfield family so worthwhile. Having a blended family is similar; extremely challenging yet, richly rewarding. Having a blended, oilfield family can be demanding, sometimes even terrifying, but it can also be one of the most beautiful, love-filled experiences life can offer. Being an oilfield wife, mom, step-mom and/or ex-wife puts you at the epicenter of many different worlds, to the point it can become overwhelming, especially when your oilfield man is away. Here are some tips to help you bring out the positives in your blended oilfield family:

Communicate.

Communication within a blended oilfield family is key. Communicate with your oilfield man, communicate with your children, communicate with your children’s other mom/dad (aka: “ex” or “exes”) as often and to the best of your ability. Our lives can be nuts, but take the time to communicate schedules, milestones, emotions, anything that might be considered significant. When it comes to a blended family, there is no such thing as too much communication. Do your best to make sure everyone is on the same page. Even if the other party doesn’t always answer, or isn’t always pleasant, keep communicating anyway. Always try to keep the lines of communication open. Talking is the most effective way to communicate, but is not always an option. Depending on your history, text or email may be a better idea. When trying to get everyone on the same page, I personally prefer written communication. It cuts out most of the emotion, as well as any “he said, she said” nonsense so there is less discrepancy to the details (this is especially handy with exes). Another benefit, texting or emailing might allow your oilfield man to be an active participant in the conversation, even while he is away.

Plan.

Some people are natural planners and some just aren’t. If you’re going efficiently run a blended oilfield family, it helps to be a planner. If you aren’t a natural planner, I suggest you do your best to become one. Calendars (paper and electronic), as well as the alarm on my phone, are my best friends. The older I get, the less I stress about money and the more I realize time is THE most precious asset we will ever have. Who wants to be wasteful with their most vital resource? Not me! A little bit of planning can go a long way. Between hubby’s work schedule, the kids’ visitation schedules, school and other appointments, we could easily end up spending only a handful of days together each year. However, due to some advanced planning (and a little bargaining with the exes), we spend about 80% of all days off as a complete family, rather than a partial one. Plan early, plan thoroughly, and plan to communicate those plans.

Pick your battles.

“The best laid plans of mice and men often go astray.” Even the most clear and concise communication can be misunderstood. Not every plan will pan out. Life can be crazy, (and odds are that the crazy will strike while your oilfield man is away!) AND THAT IS OKAY. I’ve found the most helpful tool in living this crazy, awesome life is to take the time to sit down, reflect, ask yourself and honestly answer, “What are my mountains to die on?” and just as importantly, “What am I willing to let slide for the greater good?” (The greater good often being your sanity!). You don’t have to win every battle in order to win the war. Think about what each battle is going to cost you before you invest your time and emotion into the situation.

Running any oilfield or blended family is not an easy task. There are many unique situations and every day can be different. Although they are just the tip of the iceberg, communicating, planning and choosing your battles are the three most important tips I’ve found in helping my blended oilfield family. Do you have any tips to share? What has worked for your family?

About brandy

Brandy met and fell in love with her oilfield man on his days off in 2008. They have a "his, mine and ours" family with five kids who range in age from early teen to infant. She holds down the fort as a stay­at­home­mom in their hometown of Salt Lake City, UT while her oilfield man is hard at work in the Bakken, six months out of the year. The other six months are spent together as a family (and once in a while, as a couple) hunting, camping, fishing, taking vacations, playing games (video and board), watching zombie flicks, and cooking. On the rare occasion she isn’t planning, budgeting and running kids around, her favorite pastimes include good books, putting thoughts down in writing, getting dirt under her nails in the garden and creating beautiful/fun sewing projects.

Comments

  1. Rayna Vance says:

    Thank you so much for this! I see so many articles and blogs about oilfield families that are the normal, husband, wife, and kids, that I was starting to feel completely alone. I know I’m strong enough to do this, but the added stress of juggling an ex and visitation time along with the normal stress of two weeks on and two weeks off was really starting to add up. I’m still so new at the oilfield lifestyle that I was afraid I was handling everything all wrong. Reading this means so much! Thank you!

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