The Miner's Girl

The best of both worlds. Life as a fly-in, fly-out girlfriend.

Category: Smart Girls

Miner’s girl or mining Mum?

Copyright Minersgirl.com

Copyright Minersgirl.com

I think it’s fair to say that it’s taken me longer than expected to get back in the writing saddle. I knew things would change when I had a baby and I could blame my silence on the general craziness of surviving my first year as a Mum, but in all honesty, I have been nervous to start writing again.

I have always been slightly concerned that calling myself ‘Miner’s Girl’ looks as though I am defining myself by my partner’s career and could come across as; a) a bit old-fashioned; b) the antithesis of my actual feminist view; and c) just a bit sad!

When I started this blog there were no others for ‘partners’ that I could find. There were blogs for families, for mums and for miners themselves, but none for miner’s girls (or boys for that matter). And when I wrote the ‘about me’ section, I thought of myself as ‘sometimes single’, independent, free-spirited, confident etc. I was owning this lifestyle and loving the way it was working out and I wanted to be there for other women (and men) in the same position, who were at the beginning of their adventure and possibly finding it difficult.

But now I am not sure I feel like that – who am I now? Not that I’m having an existential crisis, but having just made the decision not to go back to my previous job, do I have my own life or am I just Mum and Miner’s Girl? Do I now belong to Mr Miner and Mini Miner and have no life outside that?

Before we had Mini Miner and even before I was pregnant, I wasn’t going to be one of those Mum’s, who didn’t do her hair, went out without makeup and wore daggy clothes. I was going to be a cool, young, fun Mum. But now I have mum jeans, mum hair, drive a mum car. I carry a nappy bag, push a stroller and have all the accessories, plus, at 32, I’m not sure who I was kidding with the young mum bit!

I was determined not to become ‘Mum’ and certainly not a ‘Mummy blogger’, mainly because there are plenty of great ones out there and there doesn’t need to be another (slightly mediocre) one.

So what now? I have been through a rigorous year of training and learnt some serious new skills. For instance, in one hour I can hang out washing, wash the floors, clean the bathroom, shower, dress and be ready to go with a toddler in tow. I can function on four hours sleep and I can act efficiently and calmly in the face of a major poonami. But I’m ready for something new, so what now?

Can I even go back to work? I would need a job within an hour’s travel of daycare, which excludes my old Sydney job. The jobs where we live now are few and far between for my skill set (talking about myself, oversharing and occasionally stringing sentences together). So that leaves retail and hospitality, which I would be happy to do, but I can’t be flexible with hours and the pay has to cover the cost of daycare in first place. And this is where my options run thin. I have huge respect for the single mum’s managing this struggle!

So here begins the frustration for so many families, and particularly mums. I had to give up my job for his job. When I say ‘had to’, I wasn’t forced, he didn’t make me, but as a couple it made more financial sense. It’s unfair on both of us as he should be able to have a year with Mini now, but I would have to go back to work full time and our income would still take a big hit. And if we were both working, Mini would be in daycare for 12 hours a day and I would be commuting and still having to do everything at home, a reality for some I know, but again this mixed blessing allows us the choice.

However, whilst I am slightly frustrated at the system and nervous about what comes next, I am very grateful for the opportunities and flexibility that the mining life (and Mr Miner’s hard work) gives me. I am going to enjoy Mini in his toddlerhood, enjoy being ‘Mum’ and hopefully rediscover Miner’s Girl, because I’m sure she’s still in here somewhere!

So there we have it. I’ve had my year (*ahem* 18 months…) off and it’s time to get back to it, to what I’m not sure, but hopefully writing this is a step in the right direction.

The difference between women and men

I realise that I’m a bit behind with this, but I’ve spent the week catching up on some of the great media produced for International Women’s Day.

There were lots of great articles and quotes doing the rounds on social media from some brilliant women, from all walks of life, including business women, stay at home mums, teenage girls and of course women in mining. But it happened to be one celebrity quote in particular that caught my eye.

Buzzfeed quoted Jennifer Garner in their list of ‘31 Times Celebrities Gave The Best Damn Responses To Sexist Questions’, which highlighted how different the questions directed at her and husband Ben Affleck are:

“Every single person who interviewed me, I mean every single one, asked me ‘How do you balance work and family?’ As for work-life balance, Ben said no one asked him about it that day. As a matter of fact, no one had ever asked him about it. And we do share the same family. Isn’t it time to change that conversation?”

I really related to this quote in particular because people ask me all the time; ‘how do you cope with Mr Miner away?’

Andrew H. Walker / Getty Images / Via huffingtonpost.com and Buzzfeed.com

I know some are inferring that I may get lonely or miss him, but I also know I am not being over-sensitive when I say that many outsiders seem to think that it would be impossible for me to cope without a man at home. It’s as if I had a partial lobotomy when we moved in together and lost the ability to carry out simple everyday tasks without his assistance or supervision.

‘But what if something happens when he’s not there?’ They ask. Like what? Cockroach infestation? Power cut? Neighbour from hell? They’ve all happened when he’s been away and although I would’ve loved him to be there to help, I coped all the same.

Of course I asked Mr Miner whether this is something he hears a lot, and surprise, surprise, nobody has ever asked him how he copes. Not once. They ask him what it’s like to go underground, how he finds the hours, how good the money is, but he has never had the question phrased as, how do you cope?

Even more importantly this resonated with me, because I think most worryingly, this question isn’t only sexist towards women. As much as it assumes that I wouldn’t be able to cope on my own, because I’m a woman, it also assumes that he would be able to cope on his own, because he’s a man.

This way of thinking perpetuates the issue of men not discussing their feelings, particularly when it comes to feelings of anxiety and depression, which can be amplified by the FIFO or DIDO lifestyle when you are working long hours, away from your loved ones.

So I am not suggesting that I want people to stop asking how I am coping, but re-phrasing the way they ask it. Please do ask how I’m feeling, whether I’m lonely and if I need a hand with anything at all (particularly if you want to come over and kill cockroaches!).
But if you see Mr Miner, please also feel free to ask him… or your mate, or your colleague, or your Dad, or your neighbour or your brother how they’re doing too, because at some point we could all do with someone to help us cope.

If you’re having trouble coping, Beyond Blue are available to help you talk it through, day or night.

 

© 2017 The Miner's Girl

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑