Having been a FIFO (that’s fly-in-fly-out) partner for 10+ years, there’s a thing or two I’ve learned along the way about making life easier in this lifestyle.

FIFO life isn’t for everyone. In fact, you’ll probably have a lot of people tell you just how much they ‘couldn’t do it’.

But as with anything in life, I think you choose your hard.  Every lifestyle has pros and cons.

Embrace the ups and downs

I think it’s important to remind yourself of this especially in tough times. Regardless of whether your partner is FIFO, or working residentially – there are going to be ups and downs – that’s life!

But as any FIFO partner will know, there are things that make life that much easier when your doing it solo at home for those days/weeks/months of the year.

I wanted to share some of these are my fave things that make life easier as a FIFO mum. Even if you aren’t a FIFO family –  I think they can be incredibly useful for busy parents everywhere!

I’ve tried to loosely keep things in categories and will keep adding to this page as I discover helpful things. On that note, if there’s something you absolutely swear by that helps you survive or thrive in fly-in, fly-out life – please drop me an email to let me know or comment below.

Disclosure: I’m not affiliated personally with these brands/businesses and haven’t been paid to promote any listed below. 

I really just wanted to share the things from 10+ years of FIFO that I’ve tried and tested that have made life a little easier. And I hope they can help support you too!

The things I use to make life easier as a FIFO partner

Our FIFO lifestyle in a nutshell:

  • Location: Based in Perth, WA
  • FIFO swing: 4 weeks on/ 4 weeks off
  • Industry: Offshore oil and gas
  • Relationship status: Married 12 years together 17 years.
  • Children: 3 (10, 8, 3)
  • Pets: 1 (very cheeky) dog

Smartphone apps

Digital Calendar – Google

In my experience Google calendar is far better for sharing that the native iOS calendar (if you’re Apple peeps like us). I like that it’s more customisable with colours – plus it integrates with the iOs calendar anyway, if that’s your jam.

You can easily schedule on/off swings automatically and colour code tasks and events. The colour coding makes it much easier to see at a glace what you have coming up. We have different colours for kids activities and business/work which helps enormously when you have a lot in the calendar!

Wall Planner/Calendar – 

Okay, not an app but I felt like this needed to be in the same category as the Google calendarI love a magnetic fridge calendar. Having a visual reminder of what’s coming up is super helpful. And what better place to pop a reminder than our favourite appliance – the fridge! 

The whole fam spends a lot of their day in and out of the fridge so it’s a handy place for a planner. The kids love it too and it includes them in making plans, all about those life skills…

You can also put a cute little magnet on fly in/out days to help keep track of swings and count the days until Dad is home. Hooray!

Calendars help with the mental load of motherhood

A shared calendar has saved me the mental load of ‘handing over’ to Kane everything we have coming up when he’s home. And then I don’t have to worry if I’m behind in writing it out on the physical planner/calendar, too.

The hardest part is getting into the habit of putting everything into the calendar. Now I try to update my Google calendar as soon as I receive an invitation, make an appointment or schedule something. Otherwise I tend to totally forget.

There’s been so many times that future me always wants to high five past me whenever my phone calendar reminds me about something I’ve totally forgotten!

 

Kic App

Kic is an all-in-one wellbeing app developed by two powerhouse Aussie women Steph Claire Smith and Laura Henshaw.

A monthly subscription starting from $9.58 AUD gets you:

  • 1000+ workouts
  • 800+ recipes
  • 100+ meditations

+ Plus access to their exclusive Facebook community.

Kic aims to be simple and sustainable – and combined with the price point, makes it perfect for FIFO families.

 

Insight timer

I know, meditation is one of those cliche things that people always talk about in helping their mental health. But with all cliches – it’s true!  I’m not great at practicing it all the time, but when I get caught up in the hustle and bustle of life, it really is an amazing tool to help me stop and unwind. 

I’m not someone with the discipline or motivation to sit in silence and focus on my breath. For this reason I love guided meditations. I use Insight Timer which is an app with a huge library of free meditations. There’s such a wide range an abundance of content in their library – you’re guaranteed to find something that you like. I personally love a lot of Sarah Blondin’s meditations. I also love anything with instrumental music.  

 

Audiobooks – Libby and BorrowBox  

When you’re flying solo in the time your partner is away, you can spend a lot of time alone (or in my case – without adult company). I like to listen to audiobooks and podcasts to help 

me feel connected with the ‘adult’ world. It’s also great if you’re in a book club and don’t have time to physically read your book each month.

I like to whack my airpods in when I’m doing things like prepping dinner or folding the washing and dive back into whichever book I’m currently devouring. There’s nothing like the feeling of wanting to get back to a good book. It’s a feel good activity that definitely helps lift my spirits each day.

There’s paid apps like Kindle and Audible but when you’re churning through the books like I do – the cost adds up! You can borrow ebooks and audiobooks through apps like Libby and BorrowBox (there are probably others, but these are the ones I use) for FREE!

Their catalogue is from libraries all over Australia, so often popular books are on loan, with a waitlist. But once you’ve hopped on the waitlist for a bunch of books, in time you’ll always have something coming up to listen to or read. Winning!

household

Kitchen Fairy in-home cooking service.

For those who are trying to find help with endless meal planning and prep. 

The Kitchen Fairy comes to your home, cooks for three hours, cleans up and leaves you with 25-30 meals. Enough said!

I first heard of the Kitchen Fairy, Diana Guttridge – through a friend who had used her meal prepping service in the past and raved about it.

To be honest, I didn’t need much convincing to begin with, but serendipitously I attended a fundraising event with Pop & Crackle where Diana had generously donated one of her cooking packages to the silent auction. Needless to say I made sure I won that item!

How it works:

  • Reach out to Kitchen Fairy via email or Facebook to book your cook
  • Choose 5 dishes from the online menu which caters to different dietary requirements and includes snacks if you like (perfect for school lunches)
  • They send through your shopping list so you can make sure you have all the ingredients needed (online shop friendly!) before your booking.
  • On the day your kitchen fairy will turn up, cook all your meals in a 3 hour window, clean up and leave you with oodles of delicious home-cooked meals and goodies to stock your fridge and freezer.

Every single meal I chose was utterly delicious. The family favourite is definitely the lasagne – which was HUGE and so incredibly yummy. I also ordered some sausage rolls and a slice for after-school/lunchboxes and I can’t tell you how helpful it felt in relieving some of the burden of family meal planning and prepping.

I also spent less on our fortnightly shop than I normally would and we didn’t need to resort to takeaway on the nights when I didn’t have anything planned – also great for the budget!

Dinner Ladies (Eastern States only)

Dinner Ladies is the brainchild of two Sydney mums who wanted solutions for wholesome, home cooked but easy meals for their family.

Their mission is make dinners that taste like homemade (only kinda better) so that you don’t have to. Yes please!

Their menu is a mixture of crowd-pleasing faves and modern family meals. The only thing missing is delivery to Perth! (watching this space)

the-dinner-ladies-lasagne

Image credit: Dinner Ladies

Reliable babysitters

You’ve probably heard the saying ‘it takes a village to raise a child’. I completely agree with this saying, but what if you don’t have a village? A: create one!

I am incredibly lucky to have parents and family close by that I call on to help out with drop-offs, pickups, babysitting and sleepovers when I need a break. However; I still use a babysitter too when I need to.

The key is to find a reputable babysitter, someone you can trust and is reliable. Word of mouth recommendations can be wonderful here – ask your friends if they have someone they use and may have availability to do ad hoc or regular shifts.

It is normal to feel a little unsure when you first have a babysitter caring for your children. You can try doing some smaller shifts to begin with – a couple of hours to get the shopping done etc. until everyone becomes familiar with each other.

Cherished Cherubs: Professional Perth Babysitting Service

Picture this: You’re juggling the endless demands of modern life, where every minute counts, especially for us parents. That’s where Cherished Cherubs steps in, a name synonymous with a sigh of relief for families across Perth since its inception in 2002.

Proudly Perth-based and led by a vibrant team of women. Cherished Cherubs are working mums and seasoned childcare wizards, all united by a shared vision—the very best for their kids and yours. This melting pot of experience and empathy sets their services apart.

Cherished Cherubs is just a call or email away if you are ready for unparalleled care from professional babysitters, nannies, and childcare workers.

Submit your enquiry form via their website to download their detailed brochure, including pricing.

Or contact their friendly office team via info@cherishedcherubs.com.au.

Home Delivered Pet Food – Pet Fresh

Petfresh are a WA-owned pet food delivery service. We’ve always been conscious of feeding our old girl Pepa, quality dog food. I love that you can see (and understand!) the list of ingredients in the Pet Fresh range and they deliver to your door with reusable packaging. Winning!

Before you go thinking we only feed our dog ‘the finest’ quality bla bla bla – Pepa is a rubbish bin and will eat just about anything (she is partial to buried cat poo…mmmm yummy). So, I’m not sure she’s the yardstick to measure quality pet food – but she absolutely loves her Pet Fresh and inhales her dinner (again, rubbish bin). We feed her primarily dried food with the odd bone/fresh food thrown in here and there.

Quality dog food also keeps her poop compact and easy to pick up – bravo (just another one of those fun jobs you have to think about when you’re running a household alone!)

Pet Fresh often do great deals when they have excess product and we find it to be more cost effective than purchasing similar dog food from our local specialty store. 

Plus – home delivery makes life SO much easier than dragging a toddler to Pet Barn #iykyk.

Well being

Outdoor Group Fitness – Bodyright Fitness

I’ve raved about these before but I’ll happily continue to do so… I’ve been going to the same outdoor group fitness classes since our youngest was 11 weeks old (she’s now 10!)

As someone with ADHD who suffers ‘shiny bright object syndrome’ – for me to stick with something for so long, is unheard of. This is a testament to how good it is for me!

I absolutely love Bodyright Fitness. So much so, that even after moving several suburbs away I still make the commute 3 times a week. I love that the classes are outdoors – the fresh air is a tonic. I can bring the kids and PT Liana is always keeping things fresh by mixing up the exercises (which satisfies my easily-distracted brain). 

Mood boosting endorphins

Exercise for me is as much about mental fortitude as it is about physical well being. If I don’t exercise, I feel sluggish and flat – which majorly affects the household vibe especially when Dad’s away.

I feel so grateful to have found exercise that I enjoy, that I can enjoy both when my husband is home or away. Sustainability is super important when you’re going it alone in those on-swings.

The group aspect is also something I cherish. Checking in with other women, catching up on the world around us and having a laugh – it’s so good for the soul!

group-fitness-for-fifo-mums-perth

Adult toys

If you haven’t invested in adult toys before being a FIFO partner, then I encourage you to jump on that bandwagon now!

It’s a bit of a no-brainer but without the in-person intimacy of a real-life partner, it can be a fun time to explore the world of vibrators and self pleasure.

With online shopping, there are so many options available so you can browse in your own time minus any embarrassment (not that you should feel embarrassed at all!)

I love the sustainability of Aussie brand Normal. I particularly love their product The Sync Set – 50 spicy conversation starters, because you can have a bit of fun with them even when your partner isn’t here!

Psychologist

Seeing a psychologist has been one of the most beneficial things for my overwall wellness that I’ve continued to do throughout FIFO – particularly since becoming a mum. Parenting by myself for large periods of time is hands-down the most challenging part of our lifestyle. And it’s not so much the logistics, but the way I feel about how I’m parenting that I find the most difficult. 

It’s pretty widely-known that parenthood totally changes the dynamic in romantic relationships. Throw in FIFO, it’s a lot.  I also learned that children are like little, walking mirrors of our own vulnerabilities and insecurities.  I found unhealed wounds began to emerge through parenting and I knew I wanted to try and work through these things.

It’s so important to find someone you feel comfortable with, who has the skills or experience to suit your unique situation. Don’t be afraid to change providers if you just aren’t ‘vibing’ with the first, or even second person you see.

 I’ve seen a few different psychologists over the years and have seen my current one for nearly 5 years.  She has experience as a FIFO partner herself (super helpful) but is also incredibly neurodiversity affirming. In fact she was the first person to suggest my husband showed features of being autistic which lead us down the path to diagnosis a couple of years later. TO say she’s changed my life would be an understatement.

Reduce costs with a Mental Health Treatment Plan

The Federal Government in Australia can subsidise psychology sessions through a Mental Health Treatment Plan. This helps offset some of the cost – which can be a deterrent, especially with current cost of living pressures. To obtain a treatment plan you need to visit your GP to register and it is valid for 10 sessions per calendar year.

There are not-for-profit and other organisations that can be a helpful entry point to seeking psychological support if funds are tight. You can search for options available in your area through the handy My Services website.

ways-to-make-fifo-life-easier-pin

Group coaching – Permission Granted

Something else I found so beneficial was a women’s group coaching program I joined called Permission Granted. Run by counsellor and psychotherapist, Sam Dhu – this group program supported the 1:1 work I was doing in my individual psychology sessions but in a group of likeminded women. It helped fill my connection cup with others while also helping me carve out time to slow down and connect with myself.

I’m not sure when future rounds of Permission Granted are opening up but in the meantime, Sam also has a great podcast, Permission To – which is worth a listen!

fifo support for kids

FIFO & me

A 28 page, fun rhyming book for  little minds who want to learn all about  the fly-in-fly-out life.

FIFO and Me follows a brother and sister who discover all about their Dad’s FIFO job and where he goes when he leaves for work.

fifo-and-me-kids-book

Image Credit: Kiara Ellis

Wish U Were Here Dolls

These are custom-made picture dolls with a picture of the people you love and miss the most.  You can select a photo to turn into a snuggly comforter that little ones to cuddle when they are missing Dad or Mum.

Wish U Were Here Dolls are also a beautiful keepsake for bereaved children and other family members too.

Countdown Calendars

Having a cute calendar to countdown the days until mum or dad is home is something a little fun that kids can take ownership over completing each day.

It helps as a visual reminder for fly-in day and can help with the constant ‘when is dad home?’ questions too!

A quick Google search can help you find a free printable calendar – or simply write it on your magnetic fridge planner. If you’re looking for something a little more aesthetic – you can find some beautiful custom made calendars like this Little Timber one. 

Tip: These would also make a great gift for other FIFO families!

timber-fifo-countdown-calendar

Image Credit: Little Timber

The FIFO Family Project

Community is everything as a parent and fellow FIFO mum Vicky has brought together a new venture to help connect FIFO families across Perth. With monthly events and meetups follow her over on Instagram for her real-life insights and updates.

What are your ride or dies when it comes to surviving and thriving as a FIFO partner? Drop them in the comments below or shoot me an email, I’d love to connect with you!

Best Long-Distance Relationship Gadgets To Keep You Connected Across The Miles

It’s no secret that long distance relationships come with unique challenges. Physical distance can create a sense of isolation, loneliness and have a negative impact on emotional connection for long-distance lovers. In a society where everyone is so busy these days...

77 Calming Quotes To Teach Kids Mindfulness

As a mum whose husband works away for long periods, I’ve come to realise the importance of mindfulness in our daily routine. Being present in the moment is not just a powerful tool for me, but also for my kids, helping us navigate the ups and downs of everyday life...

Navigating Marriage With An Autistic Partner: Our Story

A couple of years ago I wrote an article for Mamamia about my experience in finding out my husband, Kane is autistic (a.k.a Autism Spectrum Disorder or ASD). He was diagnosed in 2020 and it was the catalyst for a lot of positive change in our marriage. I was inspired...

How I Survive FIFO Life

The phrase I get the most as a FIFO wife is ‘I couldn’t do that’ or ‘I don’t know how you do it’ I felt called to talk about this some more because I don’t get a sense of people feeling like they want to understand how I ‘do it’ but usually feel mostly pity when...

How To Manage Feeling Lonely In FIFO Life

Feeling lonely in motherhood is something we all experience from time to time so it's completely understandable - expected even - to also have feelings of loneliness when your partner is a fly-in fly-out worker. As a mum, our lives undergo a huge transformation.  Our...

FIFO Life FAQ

FIFO is an acronym for fly-in-fly-out.   Employees or contractors who fly via plane to their workplace to work and live there, usually for a set period of time before returning home. Popular in Australia, it is most commonly a lifestyle associated with work in the...

4 Lessons From A Decade Of FIFO Life

When I reflect on how much our lives have changed since we first embarked on FIFO life, the word rollercoaster comes to mind. I remember the days in the beginning of our journey, marked with loneliness.  In fact, we got our dog Pepa because Kane was doing large 5 week...

Long Distance Relationship Quotes

Long distance relationships are challenging.  Being apart from the ones we love sometimes can feel like too much to bear.  Being a FIFO wife for 10+ years, I understand how hard it can be to be separated from your loved one.  My husband spends half of the year away...

Tips For Starting A Business When You’re A FIFO Wife.

You may or may not know that Borne Too actually began as a maternity clothing line, inspired by the fact I couldn’t find any clothing I wanted to wear when I was breastfeeding my first baby.   (You can read more about when I changed directions here.) My husband...