Over the last 13 years of being an oilfield wife, when the going has gotten rough, I’ll stop and ask myself if this lifestyle is really worth it. It’s a life made up of sacrifices, hard work, and compromises. We all work so hard. Not just my Hot Oil Man up at the north slope (although he works INCREDIBLY hard), but myself and our kids, too. We all have our roles to play and our burdens to carry. Is it worth it?
How would our life be different if my husband was home every night and every weekend? Would it be more stable? Probably. Could we have more of a routine and a normal day to day schedule? Absolutely. Would my husband be able to handle more of the issues around the house that stress me out? (Plumbing, mowing, etc) Yes, there would definitely be less pressure on me. Would life be easier? I think it would. That really sounds appealing sometimes! “Normal” can seem ever so enticing.
But what else would come with all that normalcy? I mean, what would it really be like if my Hot Oil Man worked a “normal” Monday through Friday job, instead of his two and two hitch? He’d be home every night for dinner -that sounds great! But he’d only be here for dinner. Never for lunch -or for a week straight for that matter. He’d just get little bits here and here, and at night when we’re asleep anyway. He’d be here for dinner, and then an hour or two before bed, (most likely spent mowing, fixing, or plumbing something). No quality family time happening. Hmmmm, “normal” might be starting to lose some of its appeal. But wait, he’d be here on the weekends! That sounds fun. Maybe we wouldn’t get quality time every night, but we could go fishing and playing on the weekends. Problem solved. We could have our fun family time on Saturdays -along with every other 9-5’er and their family. No more Tuesday afternoon “beat the crowd” camping trips. Maybe we don’t have it so bad after all.
We get two weeks a month of good, solid family time. We have a flexible schedule and lots of time to play. The kids get breakfasts, lunches, dinners, and bedtimes with dad 50% of the time. That’s not too shabby in the grand scheme of things. Granted, I do have more work to handle when he’s gone, and that can get stressful at times…but that seems like a small price to pay for all the perks we get. We get time to travel and lots of family time. However, some parts of the oilfield life are rough. Two weeks is a long time to be apart and I won’t act like it’s no big deal. The good-byes are hard every single time. But you do get used to it. It becomes your normal, even if it’s difficult to handle at times.
When I start getting down, feeling discontent, or thinking a normal life sounds easier, I have to remind myself that IS our normal. It might not be the most common way of life (or the easiest) but that’s OK.
So…Is the oilfield life worth it?
To me? You bet it is. Who wants to be normal anyway.