We dont live in a bubble.

Right, thats it. Im stepping into the ring. Time for a blog post outlining my views on the transgender/transactivist movement.

Those of you that follow me on Twitter @OliveOylNW will have noticed that I do get a tad political over there, and you would have also noticed I am a great big feminist.

So I read my latest copy of Just 4 Her Magazine -this magazine is aimed at the ladeez of all those military folk. In this issue there is an article titled “Gender Fluidity”.  I tried to read it with an open mind, with my milennial, liberal, scientist, psychologist hat on. And I got just a tad wound up.

Firstly, let discuss what it means to be masculine or feminine. According to the article, the authors friend, a male would go “bare faced” when he felt more masculine and “on days when he felt more feminine he would apply a flick of eyeliner”. Good for him. Couldnt care less.

I read the above, whilst sitting in my dining room with my coffee- shock horrow- BARE FACED. I had no idea this meant I was being masculine. I take umbridge with this.

I am a feminine fucking flower whether I have a full face of slap on or not.

Cheezburger Image 2148919552

Next point that pissed me off- parents that choose to dress “their girls in blue or yellow” are NOT being “gender diverse”. What a load of tosh. Same goes for the “non gender specific toys” they mention. Utter utter bollocks.

There is no such thing as gender specific toys. There is no such thing as gender specific colours. Kids can play with whatever they want because they are toys. People can wear whatever colour they want because they are colours.

Image result for girls toys boys toys

 

This is not gender diversity. It is abolishing sex based stereotypes and its a good thing.

Children have sex based differences, but they dont have inherent gender based differences. They are not born with a preference for pink or blue or hammers and prams.

Gender preferences are social constructs. That means that society is built and has evolved in such a way that means that sex stereotypes are still being perpetuated. THAT is why we see more boys playing with cars and girls playing with dolls. (Although thats a load of crap really when you think about it, as women drive cars and men become fathers).

It is SOCIETY that perpetuates gender stereotypes. Not some intrinsic internal child knowledge of what is a “girls toy” or a “boys toy”. It is the adult around them that reinforce gender roles, not the children. Us adults have a responsibility to them to teach them that all this girl stuff boy stuff is a load of crap and they can wear and play what they want because its their fucking childhood for fucks sake.

Moving on. I literally cannot bend my Master Degree level educated woman brain around the next bit of the article, apparently young people (not us oldies) are “embracing the gender diverse nature of their emotions”.

What. Just, what. I cant. I dont get it. <breathe Olive>

Do males and females have some kind of separate list or range of emotions??? I obviously didnt get the memo at birth. My bad. I also forgot to let my two daughters know that there is a prescribed emotional repetoire they must not deviate from unless they are actually boys. In which case they need to consult the Menz List.

It is utter shite like this that has lead to boys feeling unable to express their feelings and may contribute to the higher rate of suicide amongst young men. Because they cant access the feminine list of emotions. I would laugh if it wasnt so scary.

EMOTIONS ARE NOT DEFINED BY SEX OR GENDER.

Image result for male suicide rate uk 2017

Luckily, over half way through the article there is one point I do agree with. “Gender is not defined by biology”. Bravo! Good work!- It isnt!

Biological sex- by that I mean male/female- IS defined by our biology. Gender on the other hand is merely a social construct that varies dependent on culture, time and social norms.

Gender CANNNOT and does not change someones SEX.

Image result for sex not gender

The article references Mermaids UK. For those not in the know Mermaids is a transgender support charity for “gender diverse and transgender children”. Children. Children. Mermaids go into schools and talk to children, who are cognitively vulnerable compared to adults, and educate them about being transgender. And probably confuse the hell out of a lot of them.

Imagine boys who like pink- suddenly, instead of being a boy that likes pink- he may now begin to question his gender identity. Instead of questionning why society thinks that certain colours are for certain sexes. Instead of challening gender stereotypes he buys into the thought process that certain behaviours are for men and some for women. Deviate form this and you must be trangender. Not just a boy that likes pink.

Heaven forfend that a boy should like pink. Or a girl wants to play football. *Barf*.

Can’t people see that this is MASSIVELY reinforcing gender stereotypes??? Leave the kids alone with all the toys and all the colours and all the sports!!! They are children! Concerns about sexuality have NO PLACE in a childs mind.

Gah, sorry for the rant but that shit really boils my piss.

Almost there Olive. Keep going.

Lets talk about the latest buzzword being hefted on people. “Cisgender”. Being cisgender basically means a person who’s biological body matches up to their “gender identity”.

I find the term very offensive. I am NOT “cisgender”. I am a woman. If I choose to become a mechanic, grow my body hair or pee standing up (messy but do-able), I am STILL a woman. I wont be forced into some box that reinforces the idea that there are distinct male and female behaviours that are incompatible with my biological sex. 

Image result for i am not cisgender

I vehemently disagree that (as the article states) you can “pick and change what bits of each sex work for you”. You just cant. Chop off my boobs, im still a woman. Have a hysterectomy. You’re STILL a woman. Shave my head head and yes, you’ve guessed it, still a woman. Because, well, science.

You can pick and choose whether to wear pink or blue, wear makeup or not, grow body hair or not. Fine. Totes fine. You can even lop off your penis or have one made for you. Doesn’t mean you or I can change our biological make up.

Men and women can behave in ways that dont conform to gender stereotypes and thats ok. Thats how stereotypes change over time. 

Time for the stuff thats going to get me a kicking on Twitter. Yet im doing it anyway.

Transgender people can never truely experience the opposite sex experience. Nature and nurture are unable to be separated. They are undeniabley linked. This whole issue cannot be looked at in a bubble. Boys are socialised into X stereotype, girls are socialised into Y stereotype. We can work against it, and it will and does change over time (holla 1950’s anyone?). Boys who grow up to be transwomen have still grown up in a society of male privieledge, “boys” games, “big boys dont cry” etc. Girls who grow up to be transmen have not shared this male experience. Girls will have experienced everyday sexism, witnessed the wage gap, the glass ceiling, the sexual objectification of women.

All because of their biological sex. SEX MATTERS. Sexism does happen, against both sexes. Lets not stick our heads in the sand. Its a real problem and it is happening every day in tiny little ways.

Transwomen (biological males) will never fully understand things that women have gone through since birth. Being given dolls to play with, being called bossy when they are being assertive,the fear of walking home alone, behaving sexually because you’ll be called tight if you dont. Being called a slag if you do. They wont know how degrading and scary it was at the age of 13 to be whilstled and beeped at by men in a van. How you try to make the rustle of a sanitary towel as quiet a possible in the loos at school. And how it feels to have every academic and sporting achievement overshadowed by how “pretty” we may or may not look. Since infancy.

Image result for female socialisation

 

As I said, you cant look at the gender fluidity or transgender movement in a bubble. Context is key to all of this. We live in a world where the overwhelming majority of violence and sexual violence is carried out by biological males.

The proposed changes to the Gender Reform Act (GRA) mean that anyone can identify as any sex. Just on a whim. Call me cycnical but I am pretty sure this would be expoited by abusive, predatory biological males, posing as transwomen. I am NOT saying that transwomen are a threat to anyone.  Im saying that if any old perve from down the pub can tell the world hes a woman this will be exploited by some sickos. Not by actual transgender people.

If the proposed changes go through then biological males who identify as women will be able to access changing rooms, toilets, religious spaces, sporting events, domestic abuse refuges, perform body searches etc etc where there will be women (and probably children). As my mum says they will “ruin it for the rest of us”. For true trangender people and for vulnerable women, people with certain religious beliefs that require women only spaces and for children.

Transgender people are not required to have a sex change in order to identify as the opposite sex. Infact most transgender people keep their biological genitalia intact and only a small percentage have a full sex change. So thats not an indicator that can be used to sort the real transgender people from others who may seek to exploit these liberal and (on paper) progressive proposals of the GRA.

I think the GRA proposed changes will dilute the transgender voice and the voice of women. I think more discussion needs to be had before these changes come into place.

The real problem here is that gender stereotypes are not being dismantled, they are being upheld and maintained. Because they serve the patriarchy we live in. This is a huge threat to our childrens mental health and to achieving equality accross the sexes.

Image result for fight the patriarchy

Right, im off my soap box now.

Please read up on all this if its sparked any questions.

If you are concerned about an imbalance of information being delivered about gender identity in schools then transgender trend provide information for parents for children that are questionning their identity.

In addition I urge you to look at Womans Place UK they run talks about the proposed GRA changes and the impact they will have on women and childrens ability to access safe spaces. Ive been to one of their talks and it was ace- theres some hate out there from transactivists about them but they are peaceful and measured in their debate.

Also the Mumsnet Feminist Board has facts and stats about all the above and is one of the only places left on the internet where concerns about all this stuff can be discussed in relative safety. Join the discussion!

Well, time to post the blog- lets see how this goes down *ducks for cover*.

Muchos love, Olive x

 

 

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Motherhood the Military Wife Way.

Why does no one talk about the Parallel Universe of new flung parenthood?

Sure there are a zillion million websites and vlogs devoted to telling you platitudes Such as “you’re doing brilliantly” and also the bloody classic “motherhood is so hard but it’s so rewarding”.

Well I am just here to raise a small flag (as a mother of 2 and 3 year old girls) to say to hell it is!!!

As a new Mum all you can think about is four things (mostly 1 &2 to be fair)

  1. sleep. Glorious sexy wanton sleep. SLEEP.
  2. breastfeeding- my boobs! They hurt! Am I doing this right? Are they getting enough and I can’t believe stuff is coming out of them!!!!

3. Am I clean? *sniffs self*. Nope.

4. I really should eat.

5. Sleep. I really want to sleep. I would commit a crime in order to sleep right now.

And that’s basically it.

For the first few week or so as a new Mum the entire world can just do one.

All that matters in the world is you and your little one. And getting the sodding bastarding latch right.

And I think that’s okay.

In fact I think it’s more than ok.

I think it’s a essential component of human kinds survival.

I think it’s an instinct.

I think it’s a way of saying that I NEED to hold my baby right now, thanks mother in law/ helpful now-great-aunt but this is MY JOB.

And yes- I don’t know what the fuck I am doing.

And yes!!! It fucking hurts!

And yes!!! I AM GOING TO KEEP GOING

Because…

It’s my baby and my body and my mind all involved in this gig called motherhood.

My body can tolerate more than my husband or partner will ever know.

I know my mind is strong. I’m the strongest woman Popeye will ever know and I’ve got this.

I look at my baby’s face and realise failure not an option anymore because I made this.

This total and utter perfection. This smallness. This beauty.

This infinite potential.

Let me tell you mothers of small squidgins of loveliness- the haze will lift. And you won’t even know its happening.

An hours more sleep here, a shower alone during nap time there, slowly the streams of babbling get clearer, they reach out a small hand into the wide world and grasp precisely what they were aiming for.

And suddenly they are there- demanding food in receptacles that YOU TAUGHT HER TO SAY. And she can sing all the songs from Frozen.

Now suddenly she can get dressed, tell me the plot to moana and insist she has pigtails today.

And I know. I’ve done it.

I’m a mother.

The fog. It’s gone. Her clarity brings my role sharply into focus like it wasn’t when she was my infant baby.

How did this happen?! From those first crazy days of learning how to latch, how baby wipes are an essential component of civilised society and wtf a jumperoo was- I really don’t know. But I did it man.

I never ever knew what I was doing.

I was alone and scared a lot of the time. During deployments with a newborn to a six month old, and another 9 month deployment with a 2 year old and a six month old. Woah.

I did that. We did that.

I don’t know how it happened. From the moment I found out I was pregnant it’s been like a runaway train. There was excitement. Then tiredness. And goodbyes. And homecomings. Then more goodbyes then (more) tiredness. And another homecoming.

I see them grow and bloom. And now I’m back at excitement again.

What will they do next?

I pause for a moment.

And away my babies fly.

Muchos love, Olive x

What the Navy means to me.

<<<<GUEST BLOG POST>>>>

What the Navy means to me?

The Navy is endless dreams, limitless opportunity, ‘a life without limits.’

…from whose perspective?

The navy is weekending, spending week days apart and weekends at home.

The navy is rubbish signal, unanswered text messages, ‘one tick’ WhatsApp’s, and satellite calls- calls on a timer, non private calls, no calls as he’s at sea, drunken inebriated calls after a run ashore, quick calls as he is exhausted from fire exercises and desperately needs sleep.

The Navy is missed dates, missed appointments, missed opportunities, missed anniversaries, missed birthdays, giving birth alone.

Cancelled weddings, rearranged weddings, then ‘back to the original date’ weddings, to be ‘ship’s programme has changed again but nothing is set in stone so who knows? Weddings’.

The Navy extracts the usual impending excitement towards approaching milestones and events, replacing it with anxiety and worry; missed excitement because deep down you know that until he is in front of you and it is happening at that moment, things change and it may never come to fruition.

The Navy is deployments, the emotional cycle of deployment, emotionally distancing yourselves from the relationship as a form of self preservation, attempting to live a normal life when a ‘normal’ life is blatantly incompatible with retaining the serving person’s deployability and operational capability.

The Navy is the psychotic ex girlfriend who has the power over your every move, who can and will swoop in at any given moment to rain on your parade, exert her authority and remind you that no matter what SHE comes first and she always will, ‘suck it up buttercup and pull up your big girl pants!’

The Navy is arguments about whose fault it is, about resentment, loneliness and a longing for a sense of permanency.

The Navy makes you question what is important to you in life? What defines whether a person is successful, what your purpose is in life, are you doing the right thing? Are you, as the wife / partner selfish for holding them back by expecting their devotion to you and the family? Are you, the serving person selfish for expecting your partner to stay at home, suck it up, smile and get on with it, be the one who is left behind alone at last minute, be the one to pick up the pieces and cope with whatever life throws at you, alone… or is the Navy actually asking the impossible?

The Navy is ‘you knew what you were getting into?’ REALLY? How can you know until you live it? The answer is you can’t and you don’t!

The Navy is separate lives, living and breathing the ship, down time, work time, duties,

Living your life to the Navy’s ideology.

The Navy is awkward questions and discussions,

Strange activities that are somehow only within the military’s realm of normality and acceptance,

A shared sense of understanding as, for want of a better term ‘you’re all in the same boat.’

The Navy pushes you to your limit, your family to their limit, your friends to theirs-

It causes arguments, rifts, sleepless nights, anxiety, depression and uncertainty.

The Navy forces you to sink or swim.

In a couple or alone.

Faced with choices that either make you solidify your relationship and hatch a plan,

Or force cracks at the seams and force you apart.

The Navy has many positives as an employer but it is primarily the Navy and it ‘protects our nation’s interests’ but at what cost

Who pays the price?

Closing time? The empowering secret ALL milspo need to know.

I sit here. In an empty pub. After an argument with my husband.

Listening to kings of Leon’s- wait for me.

So far so normal. Also a tad ironic thanks to the playlist. All seems well. I look like a civvy. In a civvy relationship. I look normal.

But it’s far from normal. It’s just not.

I’ve walked out of the house tonight. Valentine’s Day night.

Yeah. So kind of a big deal. I guess. I mean I’ve never put too much stock in V day. But to be honest that’s because we never ever seem to spend them together.

And as I sit here I have realised something.

Something amazing.

Something a little bit sexy.

Something empowering,

For ALL of us. Not just me.

It’s scary. I’ve warned you. It’s scary because it makes your realise the strength we have.

The POWER we have.

(Cut to the chase drunk Olive I hear you cry!)

WE CAN DO THIS WITHOUT THEM!

(See I told you it was empowering and sexy).

We can cope without them. Let’s be honest. Having our partners home is an added bonus to our lives.

We can drop them if they aren’t up to scratch.

We can do the 24/7 childcare.

We can go to work.

We can run a house.

We can study.

We can socialise.

We can LIVE.

We can literally live without them.

Knowing this is bloody empowering. It’s liberating. And it should make you look at your partner and consider them-

Ask yourself this-

Do they respect me?

Do they like my friends?

Do they build me up or knock me down?

Do they celebrate my achievements?

Do they recognise my sacrifice because of their job?

Will they sacrifice because of my job?

Will they see my pursuits as equal value to their own?

Will they understand my insecurities about their job?

Will they address my insecurities in a calm and rational manner?

Do they feel that special considerations should be made because of their behaviour on deployment?

If they can’t add to your life then… well, what are they really doing there?

You know, you fucking know you can do this. You’ve done it. I’ve done it. We’ve done it. We can all keep doing it.

If we need to. If they aren’t good enough. We can call time on the relationship. In full confidence and knowledge that we can cope with it.

Can they?

Told you.

It’s scary.

It’s powerful.

It’s true.

Muchos love.

Olive.

The mythical shore draft

I haven’t posted in a while, and to be honest it’s because I’ve been ashamed. And embarrassed.

You see, after about seven or eight years of back to back ship drafts and a deployment every year, Popeye finally, FINALLY got the holy grail of drafts. A shore draft. For 18 months.

Land ahoy!

I was excited. I was elated. I was apprehensive. We have NEVER spent this much time in the same area. He has NEVER been able to come home for this many consecutive evenings.

It was unsettling at first. Unnerving. Having to share my space and meal plan and consider him too. It was odd to have another adult around so consistently to parent our girls. It was weird to find housework tasks done, and to be able to split chores equally and daily.

And the reason I didn’t blog about this before now is the total overwhelming all consuming guilt I have felt, and still feel, about how awesome it is.

Despite several Well Meaning People giving me sage advice like “you’ll be sick of each other in a week”, and such nuggets of wisdom as “you’ll be wishing he was back on deployment in no time” what I have actually found is that I love having Popeye home. It’s great having the love of my life, father of my children here. Physically, emotionally here.

Shocker.

With that came huge waves of guilt.

How could I possibly blog to hundreds, possibly thousands of other military partners about how great this is?!?!

Surely that would be rubbing salt in the wound that is deployment.

But. After speaking to my sister, and some of my Navy Wife BFFs I was urged to blog.

The whole purpose of this blog is to give an honest account of Navy Wife Life. And this is part of that life. To ignore it because I’m awkwardly British and don’t want to tell anyone how happy I am would be doing you guys a disservice.

Also I want to shine a light and let you know there are such a thing as shore drafts! They really exist! They do! Spread the word!

Like some mythical unicorn Popeye has a shore draft. And for a chef to get a shore draft is really quite mythical indeed.

So for a few more months at least I’m going to enjoy every second.

After all these years I think we’ve earned it. Your time will come. And when it does be proud, shout it from the rooftops, and try to ignore the little voice in your head reminding you that soon, this bubble will burst and it’ll be business as usual.

Muchos love,

Olive x

Super Positive Coping Mummy

Obvious statement alert: Deployment with children is very different to deployment when it’s just you to think about.

I mean, there’s the stuff  you kind of know you’re going to have to do; like explaining where mummy/daddy is, doing countdowns with sweets and sticker charts et al but what about the other stuff?

The stuff pre-children-navy-wife-olive had no idea about whatsoever.

Before starting a family I could (and did) wear pjs for a whole weekend, eat my weight in ice cream and have mad nights out with friends to numb the pain. I could cry at leisure and put on destinys child full blast whilst painting my toenails at 11pm at night because it made me feel better.

Now I have to be Super Positive Coping Mummy. SPC Mummy puts on a brave front, answers any and all heartbreaking “where’s daddy?” Type questions with a smile and a biscuit. SPC Mummy doesn’t drink (much) lovely lovely wine the night daddy goes because no matter what SPC Mummy is available 24/7 to attended to all and any small people needs. Including needing jam on toast at 5 freaking AM. SPC Mummy doesn’t get to watch soppy films all morning huddled under the duvet with chocolate, SPC Mummy is carrying on with going to the park, walking the dog and remembering to take carrier bags with her to Lidl.

Pre children when Popeye rang I was able to (literally) drop everything, hurdle the dog and drop roll over the coffee table to get to the phone.

Post children- I have missed the phone ringing due to bathtimes, being stuck under a sleeping newborn who has finally gone to sleep with the phone just out of reach, not to mention the ringtone obliterator that is sodding tots n tunes. Ten or so toddlers “singing” wind the bloody bobbin up is unsurprisingly incompatible with hearing Popeyes personalised “captain Pugwash” ringtone.

And if by some strange fluke of chance you actually get to answer the phone you now have to share those precious few minutes with a small person covered in jam that just wants to talk about Peppa Pig/ an interesting stone they found/ how mummy won’t give her another chocolate egg (side note: my daughter is still devastated Easter is over. Several months later she still blames me).

I never even considered having to explain to my toddler that every single boat does not have daddy on it. I never thought for a second that I would have to compare our family unit to that of Danny Dog from (of course) that Pig cartoon. Because Danny’s daddy goes away then comes back and decides to never leave again. So thank you for that conversation Peppa. Because my daughters daddy isn’t coming home for a long long time and then will have to go away again. And again. Unlike Mr Dog.

During bedtimes (when no one will just go the heck to sleep) I’ve daydreamed about a cartoon where there is an actual military family portrayed, showing our strength and resilience. Demonstrating the sacrifices we make in every day situations and it’s no biggie. How we switch from being a parenting team to the practical equivalent of single parents in the blink of an eye.

SPC Mummy probably should have her own TV show. Or at least a cape.

If it were a cartoon the most important thing it could  give my daughters is an example of how our military family is a normal family.

Even if they do have jam smeared on their faces and stones in their pockets, this is their normal and now a deployment with children has become my normal too.

SPC Mummy- away!!!!

*swirls around in her cape and flies off to solve another deployment related toddler question*

Deployment dreams

Ok *oversharing alert* family and friends click away now.

Popeye has just reminded me of something that has happened every deployment and I’m wondering if it happens to you too.

Thing is, it’s a tad embarrassing.

A smidge, a pinch, a wee bit cringe inducing.

Soooo….

When your partner deploys, companionship and wholesome friendship issues aside, it leaves a big gap in your sex life. There’s a *ahem* how do I put it- a romantic need that he just *ahem* can’t fulfill because he is several thousand miles away.

We all have our own “coping mechanisms” and this post is not about that. It’s about something else that happens after a “dry spell” spanning several months.

Every time Popeye has been on deployment I have had (occasional) rude dreams.

(This, so far, is pretty normal right? Stay with me. It gets weird)

Every time Popeye has been on deployment I have had rude dreams that are not starring Popeye.

(Ok ok we’re all grown ups here, we can admit that dreaming about someone other than your partner does happen and although totes cringey and not something you mention down the phone- not exactly something entering into the realms of bizarre.)

Here it is- 

Every time Popeye has deployed I have had rude dreams about low status TV personalities. 

Not even proper slebs! These fantasy dreams have starred such well known hotties as 

  • Alan Titchmarsh


    And

    • Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall 



    Each time I’ve woken up totally and utterly freaked out and emailed Popeye in a state of utter squeamishness. 


    I don’t know why my subconscious seeks out middle aged gardeners and organic chefs as prime X rated dream stars.

    But it does. And it scares me. I don’t get my brain. When I’m awake, they do nothing for me. Sorry Al and Hugh, no offence but you’re just not my type(s). 

    Tell me I’m not the only one?

    Seriously, you guys have had freaky weird sex dreams too, right guys? Right?!

    Muchos love

    Olive x 

    Well Meaning People- Part 2

    I want to set the record straight once and for all about something that gets said to military wives frequently around homecoming time. It is usually said by our old pals Well Meaning people but can also be chucked around by randoms you meet out and about, who have all the quiet tact and discretion of HMS Queen Liz coming into Portsmouth.

    Heres the basic script:

    Military spouse: “OMGOMGOMG I CANNOT WAIT UNTIL POPEYE IS HOOOOOME!”

    Well meaning twat person: “Aww thats cute. Give it a few days and you’ll wish they were away again. Lolz”.

    Related image
    Excuse me? Wtf did you just say to me?

    Oh how we all laughed! These well meaning people, how spot on they are. How well they know what we go through. Its uncanny. Unsettling even.

    (Heavy sarcasm alert.)

    Why on gods green earth would we want them to bugger off again?

    Image result for 1950s woman pissed off
    “Im just going to file that comment under “B” for Bullshit.”

    This is what I want to say to these well meaning people (because you cant really say it to their faces, unless you’re a total cow/self confident superstar.)

    Statement of truth, from Olive, to all you Well Meaning People:

    “When the loves of our lives return to us from the sea, or the land, or the sky, from war torn countries, landscapes filled with unimaginable horrors, dangers and poor wifi, we are elated. 

    They are home safe. We can speak to them again, we can touch them again, we can smell them again (not in a creep way).

    After the initial dazzling, hazy period after homecoming fades, when all the friends and relatives have been visited, the family holiday completed, the special homecoming food and booze consumed; the return to real life commences.

    Its not glamorous, its not perfect, its not chocolates and flowers.

    Its remembering their annoying habits (leaving his toothbrush on the side of the sink), their idiosyncrasies (like letting rip with the hugest fart every morning when they wake), and their faults (cannot load the dishwasher correctly).

    Its them getting used to being at home with us again too. Its very much a two way street. We change when they’re away too. 

    We are stronger, we are more confident, we can top up the oil in the car, get two kids up and out by 8am and we can manage the family finances alone.

    It takes time to find the balance.

    Healthy, normal couples find the balance by communicating. Synonyms for this include bickering, nagging, sarcastically reminding, huffing and stropping and of course, the old classic, moaning.

    And here we come to the core of the issue-

    None of this means we want them to leave again!

    Yes they can do our heads in, and I’m sure I annoy the hell out of Popeye at times (infact I know I do, because he tells me).

    But understand, dearest Well Meaning Person, that this in NO way equates to us wanting them to leave, to having to go through a deployment again.

    What it does mean is that we, as a normal couple, are finding our way back to everyday life together, again.

    So please, when you think of your “hilarious” commentary on my relationship, kindly STFU.

    Yours in frankness,

    Olive Oyl,

    Muchos Love xxxx”

    Image result for 1950s woman husband deploying
    “I could SO go for another 9 monther right now” said no Military Spouse ever.

     

     

    Mumming & Military Wife-ing 

    I was so worried Popeye wouldn’t bond with our eldest, Sweetpea. He was deployed for 7 months and I was terrified he would miss the birth. 

    Which of course he did, by about 35 minutes.

    Glowing my ass off here. Back in the days of sleep.
    At the time it was my worst fear come true. But after a few hours in labour I really couldn’t give a flying fuck if he was there or not as I realised only I could do this. Not him. Me. Even with my amazing sister there as support, there was only one fandango available for the 8lb 3oz of blessing to shoot through.

    So Sweetpea arrived safely at home, as planned. Phew. 

    Popeye turned up half an hour later which gave me just enough time to arrange myself like My Lady Mother complete with non medusa hair and clothes on. 

    Look what I made! Madness.
    I was petrified he wouldn’t bond with her. 

    He was only home for four weeks and after that gone for another 5.5 months. 

    I spent those four weeks willing them to bond, to have a magical father daughter connection etc etc. This is very tricky when exclusively breastfeeding a baby with a tongue tie and jaundice who spends 23 hours a day on you.

    Not that much “quality time” could happen.

    Turns out this is normal for new babies. Babies need to be on their mum. Next to them, being held, being fed, puking all over, shitting all over, sleeping on their mum. Then feeding some more for good measure.
    So Popeye left me with this four week old feeding pooping machine and flew back to his ship in the Middle East. 

    It was around this time I wrote this wildly optimistic blog post Olive Oyl Super Mum.

    Time passed, homecoming happened! We were reunited as a family at last. 

    And it was fine.

    Popeye and Sweetpea bonded brilliantly. They had an immediate connection and she’s now a real daddies girl. Breastfeeding her had no negative impact on their bond, it just meant I was stuck doing bedtimes for a bit. 

    And they are still so close. Even when Popeye deployed again for 9 months this time, when she was two. They really are thick as thieves and I wouldn’t want it any other way.


    All my worrying was for nothing to be honest. Him being deployed did not negatively effect his relationship with his baby. 

    It took him some time to get to grips with the practicalities. Like how to put babygros on them. And to always have a pocket of wipes within arms reach.

    And the somber knowledge that we will never feel rested again was hard for him to get his head round but all in all I have never been so glad to be proved wrong!

    Plus he owed me so many nappy changes when he came home. Kinda made it worth it in itself 😉.

    When I was pregnant again with Sproglet I wasn’t so worried. 

    This was because I knew

    1. Only I can give birth, so whether Popeye is there or not is kind of irrelevant when you get down to the nitty gritty.
    2. They will bond, whether that’s now or in a few months.
    3. It’s not the job that stops some men being the best dad they can be.
    4. It’s not the quantity of time you spend with your baby it’s the quality.
    5. Look on the bright side, he will have to make up for it with nappy changes and giving you naps for all the night wakings. SCORE!

    In short it’s the man not the military that influence if they will be a good dad or not. 


    So don’t worry mamas to be. You’ve got this.

    Muchos love,

    Olive x 

    Eating cake in the name of charidee

    This Saturday just gone I put on my first charity coffee and cake fundraiser for the fabulous charity Little Troopers


    It was a total success and we raised a fantastic £120!!! 

    #proudface all round.

    There were, of course a few hiccups on the way. Including the first (and only solo) attempt at baking I did. That resulted in a whole batch of “fugly” cupcakes that we sold at a discount, because hey, fugly cakes need homes too.


    We were given a mahoosive stack of boxes of cupcakes from Morrisons that were absolutely delish and had been baked fresh in store the day I collected them and hand decorated so beautifully- totally put my fuglies to shame tbh but I’m OK with that as it was for charidee.

    Big props to Chris from Morrisons in Portsmouth for sorting us out with that scran. You are a legend and totally squared us away.

    Other shout outs are needed for the lovely lady in charge of Cockleshell Community Centre- Kerry. Who set up the room the day before, sorted out the raffle tickets and showed up with a large amount of meat even though she had a horrendous migraine. Nails. 


    Not forgetting my civvy best mate Aime for her amazing face painting skillz including the full range of spider man characters including actual venom omg.


    My NWBFF Emma and her hubby Dai (off of Wales). They turned up the day before and sorted out my crap baking skills and helped me learn to weigh my eggs and how to pipe buttercream. They also taught me that cocoa powder is not the same as hot chocolate.


    And that it is especially not the same as hot chocolate that went off in 2014.
    And the awesome Charlotte who rocked up bang on 9am when I was running shockingly late (I managed to get lost on the way- even though I’ve been there several times before- don’t ask). 

    Now I had never ever met Charlotte, but in true Navy wife style she surveyed the thinly veiled chaos I had created and calmly asked me how she could help and got on with cutting out prices and signs and stuff. She was un-flusterable and for that, I salute you.


    Me on the other hand, I was not quite so calm. I arrived shockingly late,  met my baking gurus Emma & Dai standing outside looking a tad perplexed as we couldnt get in yet.

    Cue pacing and phoning and my hair getting more and more sweaty. We got in and got set up just in time. All thanks to the fantastic team of people who got stuck in. I’m not exaggerating when I say if had been all down to me it would have been a bit shit. It was a real team effort and it was So. Much. Fun.

    We ate a lot of cakes. 

    We drank a lot of coffee.

    We swapped navy horror stories.

    We may have swapped incompetent husband stories. But the feminist in me won’t admit to that.

    Helen went home with a big piece of meat. She was very happy with this.

    I met up with loads of the wives from Popeyes old ship. It was FANTASTIC to see them all again and has inspired another NW Night Out soon.

    My kids ran around screaming on a sugar high with face paints. Actually everyone else’s did this too, to be fair. 

    Although only my daughter decided to pull her trousers and pants down in the middle of the room in front of everyone shouting “I NEED THE TOILET NOWWWWW”-( hey you can’t win them all).
    It was great and I’m sure I’ve forgotten lots of stuff. I want to do another one before Christmas and vary the location to get as many people as possible involved. 


    So keep your eyes peeled as I will be cobbling something else together in December- 

    Hope you can make it!

    Muchos love,

    Olive x