I have been for 10 years now. Talking with others who are not in the land of hardhats and steel toed boots, I’ve realized many don’t seem to really understand us. I felt the need to explain a few things about rig wives that those in the outside world may not understand. So here is a look at nine things you may not know about rig wives.
1. We are not all one stereotype
Rig wives seem to have a stereotype – oilfield trash, drama loving, lazy stay-at-home women who do nothing but complain and pop out babies. We are not all straight out of the trailer park nor are the stereotype of rich and do nothing but go to the spa and leave the nanny and maid to do what needs to be done at home. These stereotypes are not true! Sure, there are some that fit it, but the majority of us are normal people, happily married, living our lives. Please don’t group us into the stereotype in your head because we are a rig wife.
2. We are independent
Rig wives have to be strong, self-reliant, organized, and able to take the punches as they come. Rig wives have to shovel that snow, repair the plumbing, mow that lawn, repair the car, remove the damaged drywall and replace it. It can’t wait until hubby gets home. We celebrate birthdays, anniversaries, and give birth without our spouses. We take vacations and move across country with the kids in tow all the time. We learn to do things on our own – we don’t need our husbands to do things for us. We’d love it if they would, but that’s not always an option.
3. We don’t want to hear “You knew what you were getting into”
Yes, we chose this life. We knew he’d be gone a lot and that it would be stressful, etc. We chose this life, but that doesn’t make it easy. Sometimes we need to cry and whine. We aren’t always going to see the bright side when we are all alone, the kids have the flu, the basement is flooding, and we haven’t seen our spouse in weeks. We knew this would be hard and we accepted that. But that doesn’t mean we don’t have a right to our feelings. Not to mention you can’t help who you fall in love with. We didn’t marry the oilfield, we married a man.
4. We Don’t Want Pity
We would love support, understanding, friendship, etc. but we don’t want pity. Yes it gets hard, yes we cry, but please don’t pity us or pity the life we live. We can hear the pity in your voice when you say “I’m sorry” or “poor girl”, and it’s hard to hear. We may struggle on occasion but we are okay. Instead of pity, we’d love some support or a helping hand. We’d love a small gesture of help. The little things do make a difference.
5. Most of Us Love this life
Even if we may complain about this and that we generally love this life. Just because you complain about aspects of your life doesn’t mean you would trade it, and the same is true for us. We are proud of our husbands. We love having a steady paycheck, health insurance, and a support structure. We enjoy this life, even with all its challenges. Even if we complain, most of us wouldn't change it for anything.
6. Don’t compare your husband being gone for a week to our husbands being gone over half a year.
I think nothing else makes my skin boil more than when someone says “yeah my husband went on a business trip for a week so I know how you feel”. Trust me – you have no idea. Not only are our husbands gone, but also they are on a dangerous oil rig. We worry that they will be severely injured or killed. Please don’t ever compare that to when your husband went to San Diego for a week and sat in a conference room all day and ordered room service at night. There is no comparison to the challenge of surviving a hitch.
7. We hate hearing “I hope you are keeping yourself busy while he’s gone”
We have a life. And life goes on when they are gone. Our workload doubles when they leave – we do not need to keep ourselves busy. Trust me; there is more than enough to keep us running in circles 24/7. We do not sit on the couch and twiddle our thumbs until they come home. Life does not get put on hold because they left. Please don’t imply that we need to find something to keep ourselves busy. Trust me that is just not an issue.
8. We don’t want to talk politics
Everyone always seems to want to talk politics and gas prices with rig wives. We don’t want to talk about our stance on the war, the president, or any other political aspect. Our husbands are in the oilfield, not a political office. Remember the saying “never discuss politics or religion”? We’d love it if you’d follow that.
9. We would really appreciate a thank you
Our husbands work one of the most unappreciated jobs but where would you be if his job didn’t exist? Are you prepared to go out and cut the wood to heat your house? Or take care of the horses so that you can ride them to work and back? Or give up all the plastics that save the lives of people every day in every hospital around the world? It would be awesome if his job was more appreciated and he was told thank you just once. Most are too selfish to realize that someone has to work hard to drill for that oil they use!
*Now as I said in number 1, we are all different. Some wives may completely disagree with everything I just said.
Driller man's wife
The phone starts to ring,
It's him on the line.
He says how are you?,
I lie and say fine.
There's so much to say,
We talk for a while.
It starts to get late,
We say our good byes.
I hang up the phone,
Lower my head and cry.
He lives on the road,
Gone most of the time.
It gets lonely some days,
Hard to sleep at night.
Our home feels empty,
But this is my life.
The pain I must deal,
As a driller mans wife.
“Oil Field Trash”
What is oil field trash is the question most people ask.
They're a different breed of people, who take on dangerous tasks.
Very few old roughnecks still have all their fingers or their toes.
It's not uncommon for a broken bone or banged up nose.
I started young I worked real hard.
This old worn out body is my final reward.
Money was great to say the least.
We could dine like kings at a noble feast.
You had to have lived it, worked the patch.
And hear that old driller holler, boy you better make em latch.
There was a brotherhood between the crews.
The more experienced hands reaped the better dues.
The newest hand they call the worm.
Some of their lingo, just an oil field term.
Once you become a certified member to this exclusive club.
Everybody will know you at the local pub.
Those old drilling rigs come in all sizes and shapes.
Once you get it in your blood, there is just no escape.
I don't know if it's an adrenaline rush that gets you all fired up.
But it got me hooked when I was just a pup.
Right now all that is left or just memories and this hidden thought.
Of a life gone by, and the lessons it taught.
I'm proud to have been one of the oil fields many elite.
And I think being oil field trash is just pretty unique.
From the ground to the crown, from the rake to the brake.
Getting old is possibly my worst mistake.
R. R. Bingham
Men of Iron
The day is fresh
We are too
There's too many things for us to do
We're the men of iron
We service the rig
Then we toil
In mans search for hidden oil
We're the men of iron
A connection or two
The bit wears out
Out of the hole the driller shouts
We're the men of iron
The blocks go up
The blocks fall down
The rotary spins round and around
We're the men of iron
The bit is out
We're half way through
We stop for a drink and a bite of food
We're the men of iron
A new bits on
We run it in
We're on bottom drilling again
We're the men of iron
Its quitting time
Relief is here
We hit the road and get a beer
We're the men of iron.
OILFIELD WIVES vs. Other Wives.
You complain that your boyfriend/ husband has worked late all week and have barely seen him.
*I look forward to the two weeks a month we spend together.
You complain because he doesn't call you enough.
*My heart is thankful for the 15 second phone call I got last night before he goes to work!
You whine to you friends about how much you miss him already because he is on a two day trip with his parents or friends.
*I haven't seen him for 12 days now.
Your boyfriend/husband belongs to you.
*Mine belongs to the Rig and can be called in AT ANY TIME.
It's just not practical for yours to spend 50 dollars on gas for the week to go to work cause he needs it for a video game he "CANT" live with out
*mine spends $700 dollars to get work and back (includes food, gas, FRC's coverall's, boots and more!)
You hate hanging up the phone when talking to him because he's going to sleep.
*My heart breaks because when he gets off the phone because he's going to have to endure difficult weather while trippin' pipe.
Your man is in a bad mood from working 7 hours and his feet hurt.
*My man has a 12 hour day with hard labor in the blistering heat or the freezing cold in boots with NONSTOP work and is in a pretty good mood.
Your boyfriend/husband can call in sick when he is tired or not feeling well.
*My man works no matter what! THE OILFIELD DOESN'T SLEEP OR GET SICK!
You check your phone, see you missed a call from him, and decide to call him back when you aren't so busy.
*I see a missed a call and get upset, because I don't get to talk to him til the next night and you know he is angry about it!
You take your time together for granted.
Your man works during the day,he'll never have to work til 6 in the morning!
*mine does if he's working nights (6 in the evening to 6 in the morning!)
You say you miss him.
*Times that by 20 cause i got 13 more days to go!
Your man goes on a business trip for a week out of state and gets his same days off.
*if mine goes for a week out of state to work, that's less time he has off to spend with me cause he had to drive home.
A five gallon bucket
A five gallon bucket to some is trash.
But to a roughneck it's a place to rest his ass.
He may not care if it's dirty or clean,
All he sees is a place to lean.
To get off his feet from a lob well done,
Then after his tower a place to have some fun.
So don't throw away the bucket that you may think of as just a can,
It may be a recliner to a roughneck man!
By Allan Newkirk
I never knew I could love someone this much,
until you came into my life.
You joined the oilfield,
... and much to my surprise,
you would be gone all the time.
I cry each time you pack your bags,
I don't want you to go,
I don't want you to leave.
When you step foot in that truck,
I can't help but wish you luck.
Have safe travels to and from,
for you never know what could come.
This rig I can't handle,
so this is why I light a candle.
I begin to say prayers at night,
hoping you will come back alive.
I cry myself to sleep at night,
missing you like there is no end in sight.
I curl up with your pillow,
crying like a weeping willow.
Why does this bitch have to call?
Just when I think you are all mine,
your other life gets involved.
I love you my Driller,
please stay safe,
and come back soon.
~Amanda Swank~ Feb. 24 2012
Visitors to my rig they come, And they go.
They walk around chest out, Putting on a show.
They serve a purpose to the job that's at hand,
But in the eyes of a "roughneck" don't measure a man.
Most think they're special, but to a "roughneck" ain't shit,
Cause when it comes to "Roughneckin", He couldn't hit a lick.
So move on "Service Hand", And don't dare be slow.
You're welcome to my rig,
**BUT THEN HAVE TO GO**!!!
A Roughneck is a glorified hole digger
But what it entails is so much bigger
It's not an easy job, as most like to think
As they zoom past the rig as quick as a blink
There's full grown men working on that steel
To provide you with warmth as you cook your meal
Each cold winter night or hot summers day
The Roughnecks all learn to live that way
Minute by Minute, shift after shift
One hundred pound mud sacks they must lift
They wrap that chain and make those tongs bite
For they know with their lives it better be tight
A Roughneck is easy to spot in a crowd
From the noise on the rig, you have to speak loud
They are the last of a breed-a hard worker true
They can teach anyone how to be a hand too
They are one in a million, quiet and serene
And yes, they can get a little too mean
But Roughnecks are solid, unbreakable and tough
They are so uncommon---The Diamonds in the Rough!
What is it like to be married to an oilfield hand. Is something a person just might not understand. Sitting alone waiting on a call while praying for his safety through it all. A man of Pride and Noble too your wishing he was home to be with you. Your time with him is a treasure your love for him is without measure. When he is away from home and your feeling blue you remember those times to see you through.
His job is not respected he is thought of as trash people look down on him but he is bringing home the cash. Time apart sucks that much is true but time together is freedom for what we love to do. My husband is different from his hard hat to his red wing boots from those men that snub him in their monkey suits. So send your man off to his 9 to 5 day but don't look down on mine while he is bringing home the pay.
He works hard everyday on that cold hard piece of steel watching; out for his fellow man pride, is what I feel. He has seen some bad things and those memories he will keep; a locker he has emptied as he begins to weep. Sending home items from a dear close friend; who made one mistake and for that his life did end. These memories still haunt him while lying in bed asleep; he screams out in horror as he leaps to his feet.
A brotherhood of men who have each others back watching out for one another on this they never slack. Oil runs in their veins they bleed petroleum not blood they are real men that still play in the mud. His resolve is strong to get the job done but safety will always be number one.
So for this I am sure when his hitch ends and he walks through that door my arms will be wide open and it is him that I will love forevermore.
Written by: Rachel
Definition of a Roughneck
We are called a mans, man.
Tough as nails. Strong as bulls.
Women feel safe with us. Protected!
And yes we earn salaries to envy. We bleed in our daily work.
When you gain that kind of strength you can carry them to the bed room without being winded!
You can rock their world in bed, two or three times a night!
You can be their greatest fantasy!
Roughnecks are born to be roughnecks, its in our blood!
Well I pack my bags
Getting ready to leave
Say bye to my family
With my heart on my sleeve
I get to the rig
Put my work boots on
Go to the floor
And grab my tongs
Driller is bitchn'
Mad as can be
Pissed cause he's here
Taking it out on me
Tripping this ole pipe
Getting it out of the ground
Just the change the bit
And turn right back around
This roughneck life
Is not for us all
Many will try
And many will fall
So when u start yellin'
About oilfield trash
Just remember us
When your pumping your gas
My hitch is over
It's time to go home
Another one down