I am now an oilfield wife. When I was growing up, I imagined being married to an oilman. We would live somewhere like Texas or Oklahoma and I would be at home raising my three children and we would have a picture-perfect life. Well, I’m happy to say that I now have my oilman and I am thankful to be able to stay at home to raise our daughter. Close enough, right? I had an idea of how life would be, my dad has worked in the oilfield for the majority of my life. Unlike my childhood experience, unfortunately, my daughter and I were unable to accompany my husband as he took a job in another state. So, for now, he works away, and we are holding down the fort.
Nothing prepares you for the reality of being an oil wife. In my mind, I pictured lots of phone calls, facetiming, etc. but I’m fortunate to get one or two short calls a day. When I do get a call, there’s an exhausted voice on the other end that is trying his hardest to listen. He goes to work early in the morning and works late at night. I’m constantly filled with worry- is he ok? How much sleep did he get? Did he pack enough water? I wonder if he does not have signal? It’s really late, why hasn’t he called yet? When my worry gets the best of me, there will be 10 missed calls, 8 texts, and 2 voicemails waiting for him. This worry is unlike the normal worry of his old job, this worry not knowing if my husband is ok 90% of the time. I confided in my mom who has lived this life for 20+ years and the worry does not go away. Instead, we adapt and figure out what works to help with the worry.
When he is gone, I spend my days doing the normal stuff that I did while my husband was working locally so mornings and afternoons are still similar to before. I attempt to clean my house, do the household shopping, etc. The “missing” doesn’t begin until later in the evening. I took the little things for granted like watching TV while scratching his head, he and Zoey playing around in the living room, and rolling over in the middle of the night and feeling him lying next to me. Most of all, I miss watching him drink his evening coffee.
My husband makes time to come home whenever he gets a chance but due to his call schedule, it can get tricky. When he is home, all is right with the world. Zoey gets her daddy snuggles she misses so much, and I get my amazing husband back in my arms, even if it’s just for the weekend. His exhaustion is apparent so we do what we can to ensure he sleeps well while he’s home. When he has go back, it feels like half my heart is driving away. The house goes back to its eerie quiet as my daughter and I get back to our new “normal” and he goes back to his. Then we start counting the days until we get to see him again and pray it’s not too long.
If there’s one thing that I can say to any wife, love on your husband. When he is driving you crazy, be grateful that he is there to annoy you. Because this life is hard. I joined an oilfield wife community and they often share memes that say “only the strong survive”. I’d chuckle at first because it sounded cheesy but it’s true. It takes a lot of strength to hold the fort down but in true honesty: it takes the most strength to be away from your family for weeks to months at a time. So love on your husband if he’s there with you and pray for the rest of us who are counting down the days until we see ours again.