Oilfield Wife Guilt

Oilfield Wife GuiltWe all know that the supposed secret to survival and sanity in this crazy oilfield life is to stay busy while our oilfield man is away.  But what am I supposed to do with this guilt that I feel because I’m getting to do things while he works his butt off?

As a team, we decided that it was best for the time being if I stay home instead of working outside the home (never mind the fact that the measly wages I could make would only pay for daycare). So my “job” is to keep the kids alive and not burn down the house.  I am also basically my husband’s personal assistant:  scheduling appointments, making travel arrangements, and shopping for him.

I truly feel that his job is harder.  He works 12 hours a day, 7 days a week, 4 weeks in a row.  Unlike men who work in the lower 48, he doesn’t get to go knock a few back at the bar after work.  Alcohol is not allowed on the North Slope, nor is he in a town per se.  When he’s done with work he can do his laundry, work out, read, or entertain himself with his tablet and that’s about it. Meanwhile, the kids and I go to the park and the pool, birthday parties, play dates and even the occasional road trip.  Sometimes I feel -and I bet he agrees- like all I do is spend the money he earns.  And I hate it.

I know I tend to minimize my role in the family.  Is it because I don’t make money?  Maybe it’s because the house just isn’t as clean as I think it should be with a full-time maid (me).  Maybe it’s because I enjoy my “job”?   I do know that it seems to take me twice as long as the normal person to accomplish just about any task.  For instance, it has taken me 3 hours to write these 327 words.  In that time, I have changed the 3-year-old’s pants 3 times.  We are “potty training” or as I like to think of it, I’m now changing underwear soaked in pee and watching my kid wiggle around on the potty unsuccessfully.  In the past 3 hours, I’ve kissed 6 boo-boos, started a load of laundry, made breakfast and broken up 18,000 brotherly fights.

And it’s also possible that I had to take a quick pause to watch a few minutes of Good Morning America because Channing Tatum was on promoting the new Magic Mike movie.  I am only human, after all.

Anyhow, where was I?

Oh yeah, I feel guilty because I don’t get as much done in the day as I think I should and I often wonder if my poor husband wonders why he works so hard.  I know there’s a contingency of women who are quite proud of being spoiled oilfield wives, but quite honestly I don’t feel that I deserve to be spoiled.  Getting this family through this life is a lot like rowing a boat, and I often feel like I’ve misplaced my oar completely and my husband rows alone.

I don’t know that I’ll ever feel comfortable with all the sacrifices he makes just to provide for us. I do plan on going back to work when the youngest is old enough…or at least when he becomes cognizant of the fact that he wet his pants and is walking around squishing his own urine in his shoes. Until that time, I am just eternally grateful that I married a good man who takes care of us.

About rheanna

Rheanna is a stay-at-home mom to two children. She is a lifetime resident of New Mexico and her Oilfield Man works on the North Slope of Alaska, averaging 4 weeks on and 2 off. In her previous life she was a bookkeeper and boiler technician for her father’s plumbing company. She enjoys hiking, horseback riding, motorsports and pretending not to kill her garden. Cooking is a favorite past time, but unfortunately a lifelong allergy to crafting supplies and a debilitating ineptitude with a glue gun prevent her from spending too much time on Pinterest.


  1. Emily Alford says:

    I can identify with this pretty well. It’s hard to feel like what you’re doing is contributing and important to the family when you’re not bringing in the money. And you know how hard your husband is working too. But, if you wer working outside the home, you’d be paying someone to do all those things you’re doing right now. My youngest started school last year and after thinking I’d return to work or to school, I didn’t. And here’s why. Me working would actually mess it all up. When my husband is home, we get lots of good time together. During the summer we can drop what we’re doing and go somewhere fun without me making arrangements with work. Could we use the money? Maybe, but we’re ok right now. I feel ineffective sometimes, but I also know it would create a hardship on my family if I did decide to work, unless I could work the exact same schedule as the kids school. You haven’t misplaced your oar. I’ve talked to my husband a million times about this same issue. You are a good wife to him that he doesn’t have to worry about leaving at home alone. And believe me, there are plenty of not so great oilfield wives. You are taking excellent care of his kids. I don’t know about your husband but I don’t think there’s any other job my husband could do and be happy. And we have to make it work for them. So be encouraged that even though your work at home seems menial it is monumental in the development of your family. With dad being gone so much having mom around is way important.

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