A Letter To My FIFO Husband About Homes, Kids and Messes

This post contains sage advice for all husbands!

This is the last week of my husband’s time away. It’s almost 4 weeks since he left and he’ll be back Saturday night.

It wasn’t all beer and skittles last time he was home, everyone was too stressed and it took us all a while to settle down.

Hoping for a better few weeks together, I’ve sent him this email.

Now then my darling,

You may recall that there were a few contretemps when you came back home in December.

There might even have been some misunderstandings and frustrations, rantings and ravings even.

Minor skirmishes in the endless battle of the sexes.

Here’s a wee tiny bit of advice for you before you get back, under the header:

What To Say And Do When You Don’t Like The Mess At Home – A Primer For Husbands

Bear in mind that it’s a tough gig being home alone with these four youngsters we have created.

Some mess, well even quite a lot of mess, is the least of my problems.

And the thing is, as I ranted last time, often I just don’t see it.

The piles of books, the heaps of old clothes, the dusty boxes of story tapes, the odd bits of furniture lying around. It all just blends into the chaos of day to day life here at Casa Catastrophe. Things held on by bits of string.

I’m used to it. I don’t even see it.

I see no mess here. Can you see one? That’s just a small amount of reading material.

I know it’s hard for you. You have worked for 28 days straight in a highly organised office, which is neat and orderly and where people more or less do as they are told. It’s tidy, it’s clean, your food is made for you, your clothes are washed for you.

It’s full of blokes all being blokes and not really nattering away or demanding you do art and craft. Or play cricket for hours.

I know that coming from that to the madness of our home life must be a SHOCK.

Look, I have made some efforts. December is the maddest month and I was just too busy to tidy anything for anybody.

But early February is a great time for a bit of post school holiday de-cluttering. So our bedroom has no random messes, I will even pick up all my undies from the en suite floor.

The grass will be cut, the windows washed, your car will be tidy and clean-ish.

But could you please try to be tolerant too.

There will be mess you can’t bear. Please don’t hesitate to bring this up but wait at least 48 hours and phrase it thus:

‘I’m finding this mess in here a bit annoying, how can I help you to sort it out?’

At no point should you say:

‘This house looks like a student flat!’

That’s just going too far and anyway it’s a grossly inaccurate statement. Has your memory gone?

Inflammatory statements along those lines will result in me swanning off and staying for a night in the Hilton.

You have been warned!!

Your ever lovely de facto wife





PS Bethany is heading off to New Zealand for the three weeks you are home. Hers are large shoes to fill but I am sure you will do your utmost with the washing, driving, tidying, cooking, packing lunches and the endless, endless washing up of dirty dishes.

PPS Please DO NOT OPEN THE GARAGE DOOR. There are no cars in there, or if there are I can’t see them beind the piles of cardboard boxes, drum kits, ping pong table etc

PPPS Also no need for you to look at the Visa bills, no need at all!

Does your husband whinge if the house was messy?




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  1. says: iSophie

    My husband has a threshold of acceptable household mess. If it is exceeded he will actually just go on a cleaning frenzy. So I know to be patient.. 😉


    1. says: Seana

      AAAhhhh…. I wish mine would. We did do quite a bit of de-cluttering together after we all settled down last time. But there’s so much more to do. Just spent some time in my 6 year old daughter’s room this morning and it’s looking MUCH better. Wonder if she will ever notice!!?? She is much messier than the three boys.

  2. says: Me

    Oh what a great post Seana – I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall when he read it !!!!!
    Good luck and enjoy the time he is home.

    1. says: Seana

      Haha, I just had an email from him:

      ‘Very very good. Talk about a pre-emptive strike, 5 days out. My memory has gone and I deny all such rantings.’

      All in good fun, we don’t ever want to get tooooo serious in this life.

  3. says: Becc

    We are the opposite of you guys. There was a time when my husband was clean and tidy (or that was just when we were courting). He is now the messer. Neither of us have any hard and fast rules about it, but we do both like a clean uncluttered house. Usually, I’ll be the one to keep it spruced on a daily basis, but he has been known to throw in the elbow grease too 🙂
    Plus, if he doesn’t like it, I’d tell him to do it himself and stop whining! I’m not a slave, I am a wife…
    Becc @ Take Charge Now

  4. says: Emily

    VERY FUNNY – you know I’m totally grateful my husband has NEVER complained about the state of our house, 3 kids in 3.5 years he knows I’ll turn into Bad Jelly the Witch if he does. Just saw he email – so cute Seana – enjoy your reunion 🙂 Emily

  5. says: Lisa

    You must have been a fly on the wall in our house, except my hubby does not do fly in, fly out work. Glad someone else is going through the same thing as me!

  6. says: Liz

    I work in one of those offices where the guys fly in and fly out.

    If he is telling you it is a highly organised office he’s probably lying – otherwise give him my email address and tell him I want to know how it’s done!

  7. Boatman doesn’t seem to notice it, and then he does and suddenly goes crazy with everything. He is great at grand gestures, but I’d love it even more if he was good with the day to day

  8. says: Amanda

    It’s funny hey – the things that bug my husband are the things that don’t bother me at all. And the things that drive me up the wall aren’t high on his radar! Enjoy having him home. xx

  9. says: Twitchy

    Ah dear- sounding a bit too familiar. And Casa Catastrophe- *SNAP*. That’s us, only two kids less. After my husband returns from hotel living it is indeed a shock for all. The best solution, I believe is simply for him to leave less, thereby softening the blow 🙂 Visiting via #IBOT

  10. Hi Seana,

    This is a great topic and love how you’ve written about it. I reckon about 50% of my friends here in Noosa have hubbies who are away working overseas or in the mines. And when I comment on how hard it must be being a solo mum for so much of the time the common response is that it’s harder when the hubby comes home because they upset the routine and expect preferential treatment and attention.

    The funny thing is when I think of your husband all I think about is his feet – I think that’s the only pic I’ve seen of him with feet up resting on the sofa!

    Bon courage 🙂

    1. says: Seana

      Aha Annabel, how interesting. I wonder why there are so many FIFO families in Noosa… errr… because it’s a fab lace to live maybe?!!

      I must remember that I find it hard to adapt too for the first few days. Am so used to being the boos, but so fed up of being the boss too.

      His feet are his best feature, by the way.

  11. Oh Seanna, how this made me laugh. You have such a great voice! I remember back to the days when our kids were little and my hubby worked away – yes the reunions were lovely, but tricky and nobody ever settled down until after the first two weeks, when it was generally time for him to return to work. Like you I was so glad to have him home and not be be the big bad boss anymore, but then I didn’t want a big bad boss looming over me either – yes, there were always ironings out and some ranting and sulking to boot.

  12. says: Rita

    This is so true! I think we all have the same problem! My husband hates it when I don’t clean up. But, for me, there is always something more important to do than vacuuming and all the rest of it!

  13. says: Sam-o

    Mine is also FIFO. He’s home this weekend also. I wish I looked forward to it more, but it had become a change in my (& the kids ) routine that is disruptive and stressful! Perhaps I should send him a version of this and see how we fare!!

    1. says: Seana

      I did, I definitely did, and he replied as in comment above somewhere. All done in good humour… mostly!! But I haven’t mentioned I posted it, nor a few other things about him on the blog… good to have some mystery in our relationship, no?

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