If your a family member or friend to a pipeliner then listen up. They need you. Quit saying the things you are saying. Quit pushing them away.
1. Don’t say “we never get to see or talk to you.”
They feel the same way. They also don’t understand why it is always on them. When they move to the next job they are living there. They just up and moved their whole house and sometimes their family. If you don’t have the time to go see them then don’t say a word about how they are never home. They are home every single day. Rather that be a camper, rental house or hotel. This is their job and lively hood. For some, it is their dream job. Show some damn support.
2. Don’t say “people aren’t going to live forever and your going to wish you had come to XYZ.”
Are you freaking kidding me. Wow. Just stop. They would be torn into a million pieces if something happened to someone they loved. You can’t predict anything in life and putting pressure on someone is so wrong. Think about this — what if something happens to them while they are on the road and the last thing you said to them was something that made them feel like shit. I bet you would wish you wouldn’t have said such a thing. No need to make this any harder on them than it already is.
3. Don’t say “You never call.”
Do you not know my phone number? Last I checked I never saw a missed call from you either. Moving on.
4. Don’t say “I didn’t invite you because I didn’t think you could make it.”
How about you let them be the judge of that. They will make every effort to be as involved with family and important events as they can. Sometimes it works out and other times it doesn’t Does that mean you should decide for them? No!
5. Don’t say “You live so far away.”
Unless there is a more positive something you are adding to this statement then don’t say it. They get so much negativity about how far away they are that even if you didn’t mean it like that it could hurt their feelings. Don’t blame them, blame the rest of your judgmental family.
6. Don’t say “Why can’t (insert husbands name here) find a job closer to home?”
Who says he can’t? For those who want to be close to the house but literally can’t find anything doing their trade this will hurt them the worst. Way to rub in the fact that they can’t find something where they want to be. For the rest – maybe they enjoy traveling. Maybe they enjoy the people they get to meet and the things they learn and see while on the road. Don’t assume that is what we want, but don’t assume we haven’t tried.
At eleven today he got a offer to take a test tomorrow in Kansas… at 3p.m. he was on his way. I don't know if I'll ever get used to this part of this life. See you in a few days @arosswelding. I love you and can't wait to be back to our normal in a couple of days. ? #pipelinelife #pipelineprobz #dodge #weldingrig #weldingrigz #welder #akross #theross' #gypsies
7. Don’t say “If your homesick then why don’t you come home?”
Well… cause I like to see my husband every night? Some ladies do stay at home and have a whole other struggle of missing their husband. Those that live on the road with their man spend 40-60+ hours a week alone (if they don’t work on the ROW). That is just enough time to get extremely home sick and lonely. However, they don’t want to “come home” because home is where their pipeliner is. Call to keep them company and make sure they are doing alright, don’t call to tell them to leave their husband on the road and come home just to be lonely there too. It is a tough lifestyle no matter how you hack it. One certain way will not fix everything, so just support what they are choosing to do.
8. Don’t say “money.”
Warning – this is probably the single most annoying word to a pipeliner. DO NOT say one thing about money. I’m not joking. I don’t care if you are offering advice or if your judging how much they make. DO NOT SAY THE WORD. If they are having financial struggles or frustrations and they are confiding in you then great, offer up an opinion. I’m guessing if your reading this and don’t understand why I would say to not talk about money then you are the one that can’t seem to talk to them about it without being judgmental. Some day I will write about “___ reasons why pipeliners (and welders) don’t have as much money as you think.” This is probably the most frustrating thing people say to us. I have had family, friends, strangers, and other pipeliners comment on the money we make. If I am not asking you your financial business then why in the hell would you think it is ok to talk about mine. If you choose to ignore #8 then expect them to either go postal on you, hang up the phone, or politely finish the conversation and then not contact you again (probably resulting in you saying #1 and/or #4). PS – one of the only ways to live the pipeline life without loosing your mind is to know money isn’t everything. Sometimes you will have more and sometimes you will barely have enough. This is a lesson they have HAD to learn, you should take notes!
9. Don’t say “Your kids.”
I don’t have kids, but I have already had people “give me advice” on how I should raise them. Specifically what I should and should not do with them and how pipeliner’s live. REALLY?! I bet you just love when people tell you what to do when they haven’t even given you the chance to try. Pipeline families hear things like “your kids should have more stability” or “your kids should not be home schooled” or “your kids need a house and sports” or “your kids need their daddy around” Do you understand that NO MATTER if they stay at the big house or travel they will get scrutinized. No matter which way they go about it there will be give and take. No part of that means they are doing anything wrong or that THEIR KIDS will be ruined because of their choice. If you have had children and raised them, then shame on you. I bet it wasn’t easy and I bet you hardly did everything right. Show some grace and love. They need your support and encouragement, because I can promise that most of them question themselves every day as to what is best. Also note – they are their kids. Not yours. If the kids are healthy and provided for that is what really matters. You can read stories all day long about kids who had it all and didn’t do anything in life or kids who had nothing and did something extraordinary. It doesn’t matter where they live, but more about how they are raised. Don’t be the person they can’t be around because you can’t shut your big mouth when talking to their parents.
When I first started writing this I took comments I have seen from other wives. As I wrote, I realized how hurt we have been over the years by some of these same comments. I guess, since we decided to do something no one understands they get to judge us, bash us, and exclude us because we “aren’t around.” It is like they forgot who we are. I am still the same person as the person that left. Actually, scratch that – I’m different. I have the same values and goals. I want to succeed just like I have always wanted you to. I have learned though to not be so judgmental, because I get judged every damn day. I have learned that the world is bigger than I thought and the people that fill it can change your life for the better if you allow them and learn from them. I have learned that I can lean on my faith when NO ONE took the time to listen or call. Why won’t you just be there for your family and friends?
Final note to family and friends:
If any part of this frustrated you then I’m sorry, but maybe that means you are guilty. So many pipeline families struggle with this lifestyle, but that doesn’t mean that something else is what they want. Transitions are tough and pipeliners (and their families) go through them often. Nothing is for sure in this line of work so I know they would love your support. Give them a call, even if it has been awhile since they have called you. See what they are up to. Make sure they are ok. Maybe ask them if they have met any fun or interesting people. Something is sure to strike up a conversation. Let them know that you are a safe zone and they can open up to you without being judged. If you don’t understand something then ask questions, but don’t pass judgement or advice on something you have never dealt with personally. Go on now. Call. Facetime. Snapchat. Send them some internet hugs. They will love you for it. Thanks for listening.
Final note to my fellow pipeliners:
I am so sorry. I am sorry if you have been hurt. I am sorry if you have been belittled or not thought of. I am sorry if you feel like you have no support from the people you have known the longest. I want you to know that there are a group of women who care about you. Heck, I care about you and I know what is is like to feel alone. I know what it is like to want nothing more than for your family and friends that you already know and are comfortable with to understand. To accept and support you. I feel you and am always just a message away. Either here, my favorite is Instagram or Facebook. You got this and are doing a million things right. No matter how you are making it work as long as it is working for you and your husband that is what matters. If it is not working, then my prayer is that you rework it until it does. From experience I know that not every piece will click into place, but there are ways that most of the pieces can. I hope you can find that recipe and love this life. #pipelinelife isn’t easy, but it can be fun. Big love my friends. I’m on your side.