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Meet Ipswich's Fly-In, Fly-Out mums

FIFO Friends: Oscar McGrath and Pru Bishop (right) will be joined by Riley Goddard, Ellen and Sophie Stirling at the first Fly In Fly Out (FIFO) Families Ipswich branch meeting next Saturday.
FIFO Friends: Oscar McGrath and Pru Bishop (right) will be joined by Riley Goddard, Ellen and Sophie Stirling at the first Fly In Fly Out (FIFO) Families Ipswich branch meeting next Saturday. Rob Williams

IT'S hard to understand the challenges that come with being a "FIFO family", Pru Bishop says.

The Ipswich mum is accustomed to spending a month at a time apart from her fly-in fly-out husband.

"It can be tough, especially when there's a family birthday, or when your child is sick," Ms Bishop said.

To overcome these challenges, Ms Bishop has founded a FIFO Familes Ipswich branch. Its first meeting will be held next Saturday.

"I have a few friends on Facebook whose partners are FIFO, but having face-to-face meetings would be much better," Ms Bishop said.

"The group's there to make it more personal when you have birthdays and your partner's away, and to talk about parenting and relationship challenges that come with FIFO work."

Ms Bishop said FIFO families - increasingly common because of the mining boom - often found it difficult to maintain a routine.

"Effectively it's like being a single parent. And then when you're partner comes home any routine is broken," she said.

"My son Oscar's two and he's had this lifestyle since he was eight weeks old."

Ms Bishop said she had become used to being a FIFO wife.

"When my husband started his job he didn't have phone coverage, but now we get to talk once a day, which is a big plus," she said.

"There are still everyday challenges that not many people understand; for instance, if my son's sick I have to take a day off work to look after him because my husband can't.

Ms Bishop said FIFO Families groups had proven successful in other parts of Queensland.

"With these groups you start to get to know people and there's the potential to become close friends," she said.

"There are quite a few people from Ipswich to Redbank who are FIFO workers, and there are a lot of Defence families, too."

The first Ipswich meeting will be held from 9.30am to 11.30am in Queens Park, near the playground.

Find out more by searching "FIFO" on the Things to Do page of qt.com.au

Topics:  fifo, fifo workers


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