On the Couch with Jasminda



Do you have a pressing problem, annoying anxiety or community conundrum? Jasminda Featherlight, our resident roving Agony Aunt, is here to help. Jasminda will be responding to questions from our News Of The Area papers on a rotating basis. Send your concerns to Jasminda care of edit@mcnota.com.au and include your title, initials and suburb.

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Dear Jasminda,

My husband has a job that involves being away for long periods of time. When he returns, it is hard for the whole family to adjust again as we all fall into different roles to accommodate him not being there.
Mrs TH, Salt Ash

Dear Mrs TH,
FIFO is a very good acronym. Husbands or wives who work away fly in and fly out of each others lives at regular intervals and the transitional times can create disruption and despondency.

Most people, on their return, will have one thing on their minds. You guessed it, they will want to start up their mower and give the lawn a good once over. Yes, Mrs TH, we are talking euphemisms here. Once the post-mow glow is over, however, it can be a time where both parties feel exhausted. The one who has been away has been working hard and missing out on family events, and the one left at home has been working equally hard, often juggling not just employment, but all the household duties, including those that had previously been shared.

Children also get used to having one parent around, and suddenly they have to share mum or dad again. This can be particularly difficult when the parents have different parenting styles. While Dad is away it may be totally acceptable to eat pancakes for dinner and use the dog as a dishwasher, but the ‘normal’ status quo can take time to re-establish.

I would suggest that the best way around this issue is to communicate. Discuss your hidden resentments instead of allowing them to fester like a boil that will no doubt explode at a very inappropriate time, like when you are paired up in Boxercise and practising your uppercuts (though this will be easy to get away with, as the uppercut is the most incorrectly thrown punch in boxing and you can just blame poor technique).

Look at the big picture and think about why this arrangement is in place. Things could be worse. You could work together. Now there’s a recipe for a complete marriage breakdown.

Carpe diem,

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