Oilfield Parenting… What the heck am I doing?

Oilfield Parenting... What in the heck am I doing? Oilfield parenting is different than other parenting. It’s sort of like single parenting… but not. Other times it’s sort of like parenting with two stay-at-home parents… but not. It’s in a class of it’s own. Sometimes I feel on top of my game and I really think I have an idea of what’s going on – other times I feel completely clueless. More often the latter.

The majority of the time I feel like I’m totally winging it. When I’m doing my two-week hitch of parenting alone, I survive using routines and schedules. But when dad is home, we tend to fly by the seat of our pants more often. He doesn’t know our routine anyway, and I’m ready for a break. I think this is good, it teaches the kids to be flexible, right?  But… what if it doesn’t? Am I just teaching them that mom equals rules and dad equals play? Or am I just overthinking it?

Then we have the question of activities. What’s too much and what’s not enough? Since we home-school we make sure to be involved in several extracurricular activities to make sure our kids are getting “socialized”.  For the most part we’ve let them try anything and everything that interests them. We figure by trying lots of activities, they will find what truly interests them, what they are passionate about, what they good at, and what they enjoy.  Then as they get older, they can focus in on that one thing. But so far they still seem to jump from thing to thing… one season of basketball, two years of ballet, one year of piano, one volleyball camp… when do I make them choose? Or at their age is it okay to jump from activity to activity? I don’t know. Does anyone know? Who has these answers??? I don’t want to be overly scheduled, because part of the reason we home-school is so they’ll have plenty of time to play.  At home. Use their imaginations. Run through the woods and pretend. And it’s hard when I’m the only parent at home to run them to different activities in different places at the same time. But when we’re doing double parent duty, it gets easier and our over-scheduled schedule doesn’t feel so over-scheduled any longer. Oilfield parenting is confusing.

What if the change in activities is too chaotic? Or what if I spoiling them by always working my schedule around theirs? Do kids even need sports at this age? Or are they already years behind from not consistently being in football year round since the age of 3? What if going from one parent, to two parents, then back to one again is unsettling? Or once again, am I overthinking things?

Most days I feel like I’m getting by on nothing but a wing and a prayer. I just pray in the long run I’m doing more good than harm.

Maybe it’s all OK. Maybe all we need to do is try our best and make sure our kids know they have two parents that love them, (even when one is gone away at work). Maybe it’s OK to choose one sport and be all in, all the time. Maybe it’s OK to jump from activity to activity. Maybe it’s OK to work hard and stick to a military schedule when dad is gone. Maybe it’s OK to change your mind and change it again. Maybe it’s OK to overthink everything.

All I know for certain is, it is tough to be an oilfield parent!! So for anyone who is going through something similar to me and questioning every parenting choice they’ve ever made, keep your chin up! I think we’ll survive.

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.

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