I’m not feeling copey today and to be honest I’m feeling angry today. Strike that- im feeling furious today.
And I’m feeling guilty too because it will only be a few weeks. Maybe a month. Ok maybe it will be six weeks apart, two months tops. I just wish you could give me a fucking straight answer so I can plan my life a bit. Just a bit. Oh yeah and more than a days notice would be nice too.
I’m feeling angry that I have no control over these gut wrenching events in my life. The goodbyes and even the hellos. I’m feeling angry that at every goodbye you say you want to leave the navy once and for all. You keep throwing me into a turmoil of thinking “how will we manage financially?” And “should we move back to Somerset or would we stay here?” And “how will my part time wage support us?” Only for you to settle back into the routine onboard. Your conviction that this is the time you will hand your notice in fades away, like the shore fading away on the horizon as you sail away from us. Me and the toddler and the baby. Your own personal cheer squad. How dare your job make them cry.
I’m feeling guilty because other wives and girlfriends have it worse than me. They are doing 6 or even 9 month deployments and I have no right to be feeling this low. No right to be freaking out and crying already. You’ve been gone like two hours ffs.
The other wives and girlfriends must be reading this thinking I should strap on a pair. And I should! I’ve done 6 years of long long deployments. I know I can do this.
But I’m fed up of never knowing when you’re coming home husband. I’m fed up of this bloody 9 month will they/won’t they deployment hanging over our head. Can’t they just decide either way?
Why didn’t they build the ships so they effing work?
So, in summary: angry at hubby/navy/world. Guilty because it’s not hubbys fault/ other wives would slap me round the face for moaning about this. Tired because of a toddler and baby. Fuzzy mouth and head because I drank a whole bottle of prosecco last night because of this craptastic news.
Yep. Deffo not a copey kind of day so far.
Love you though husband. Like totes foreves. I’ve got your back.
This special guest blog post is by one of my NWBFFs, “Pepper” (see what I did there- running with the condiments pseudonyms like a boss). Pepper is tackling a 9 month deployment after literally just finishing a 7 month one which is when we met as SWAGs (Sailor Wives And Girlfriends don’t you know). She’s here to tell us what the eff to expect and how shit it really is *gulp*. Take it away!
The 9 Monther
Ok so “monther” isn’t actually a word, but it is what I and other MW are calling it, in fact it is the polite term used for this long, looooooooonnnnng deployment.
I have to confess that I haven’t been a navy wife for very long, just under 2yrs in fact, but in that time I have dealt with him leaving for a 6.5 ‘monther’, several mini deployments(3-6wks), BOST, extra sea trials, and we are just over the half way mark of a 9month stint. Yay! Deep-End well and truly jumped.
He was on the 6mth tour when we heard the dreaded news(via the news funnily enough, I mean why give us actual navy families a heads up? Let’s sell the idea to the all knowing civilians first), and safe to say us wags were pretty upset. BUT, our guys were already deployed so this won’t affect us for ages, right? HA! Wrong!
4mths back just before Easter leave, the sailors are told they will be getting important news, WHEN THEY GO BACK!!! Seriously? Well done RN, just let us stress throughout the only time we’ve had in ages with our sailors. Well we did stress, as the RN are as transparent as clingfilm stretched thin on a toilet seat and just as unpleasant.
The “news” as expected was a 9mth draft starting in 5mths.
OK, OK, Calm down, it’s not that bad, I mean, this is what we “signed up for” right? …urgh, worst comment ever! But 9mths, not too bad, 40wks, 280 days…OMG! I can’t do this, nope, I CAN do this…the truth? I HAVE to do this because he HAS to do this.
Anyway, you know the drill, we don’t see them much whilst they prepare to leave, if you’re lucky you get to spend a week or if you’re REALLY lucky 2wks just before they set sail.
You console yourself with the other navy ladies, we are strong, we make plans to make it all easier, “look at it in chunks, not the entire thing”, ” 3mths until Christmas”…Oh God, Christmas! He’s not here, ok, it will be fine, it will distract us, 3 birthdays in December, Daddy isn’t going to be here, that’s fine, Mums do it alone all the time. New Year, well who cares anyway? It’s just another night, that’s what wine and Jools Holland is for.
The next chunk takes us to mid-deployment leave…that’s right, you heard me, MID-Deployment leave. They can come home, funded kindly by the MOD, TWO WHOLE WEEKS, well 2 days travelling, but that doesn’t matter, 12 WHOLE DAYS, OK there might be flight delays, but we are positive souls us Navy wives, all that matters is our sailors are coming home, and we get to see them, the children get to see them, their parents, siblings, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins…hang on! Where did your precious 12 days go? He hasn’t even landed yet and the whole thing is planned and your 12 days slumped in bed for lazy mornings, sofa days, the odd romantic meal, they’ve all started blurring into the distance before he even stepped foot on home soil.
OK you’ve got this, you’ve got the exact dates he’s home well in advance so you can sort things with work etc, oh wait! You haven’t, what? So begin the panicked emails to your lovely sailor man, you “understand, it’s not your fault dear”, until the 100th email with nothing confirmed, then it “IS ALL YOUR FAULT, YOU AND YOUR STUPID NAVY JOB!!!” You get so riled that you’re not even sure you want them home, think of the disruption. All of a sudden your 12 precious days have whittled down to 8, maybe 9 because you haven’t been able to sort work at such short notice, but that’s OK, he can check in with the relatives whilst you work…
D-Day, you’re at the RAF airport, ID badge proudly on display, you’re getting your sailor back, you’ve done your Homecoming Maintenance, THEY LAND…with only 2hrs delay. BOOM! Time to see if that water proof mascara you bought especially, will hold up. And then they start coming through arrivals, you’re soooo excited, nervous, stomach clenching, and you spot your sailor and HE’S IN RIG!(right there and then you don’t care about the mascara, or the limited days), he’s home.
First night you get home, he drops his huge black bag, and hugs, so many hugs, smiles, tears, kids, dogs, cats. So much love, giggles. You find yourself wanting to get him everything at once. Is he hungry? Does he want tea/coffee/alcohol? Would he like you to cook? Ooooo take away? He chooses of course, you’re in your own little sailor love bubble…then bed, oh sweet heaven this is the best moment you’ve had in the 4mths since he left. FINALLY you have someone to “Netflix and Chill” with 😉…
You wake up, and excuse the language, you shit yourself that someone’s in your bed, but then the sweet realisation hits that it’s your sailor.
From that point the clock is ticking, you know that this isn’t homecoming, this is all going to end soon, way, WAY too soon. So it begins, everything you planned, well it’s actually revised a little, you haven’t taken into consideration that he wants to spend an “hour” on the Xbox, or have a loooong nap due to working and flying. That’s OK, let’s take it easy. Which you do, a bit too easy, next thing you know 5 days have gone by and you have hardly seen any of your family members, he never did the rounds whilst you were in work, he was actually doing the chores around the house that you planned to take up a maximum of 30min, until he explains that a “broken shower head” is in fact a broken pipe and takes half a day. So you start arranging to visit people, resenting the precious time it is taking away from your time with him(or is that just me?), “wish I’d just planned a family get together, that would’ve only taken up an evening and then he’d be all mine again”
Day 9, the plans have gone out of the window, you wake up feeling sad, the euphoria of having him home has ebbed, leaving a rock in your stomach and a lump in your throat. You spend every minute you can watching him, smelling him, staying up waaaay too late so you can squeeze as much time together as possible. You know what’s coming, Hell! It was only 4mths ago that you were going through the exact same thing. This time though you actually REALLY do hate the navy. You hate the 9monther, MID-DEPLOYMENT leave sucks ass! Whose stupid idea was this? Who is so callous as to think it’s OK to dangle your sailor in front of you, only to tear him away again after a few fleeting days? You wish he hadn’t come home, you don’t want to say goodbye again. NO! NO! NO!
You avoid looking at him, it makes you well up, when you catch each others eye, you both have that ‘knowing’ look. “I’m going to miss you so much” becomes the beginning of every conversation.
It’s time. Your bubble is burst, your sailor is in RIG and you hate it, he’s leaving you again. You tell each other you are half way done, “HEY! We got through the worst part, it didn’t go THAT slowly, we got this”…except you haven’t. Right there and then you haven’t got this. He’s leaving for over another 4mths, longer if it’s extended, shhhhh! That won’t happen. This time it’s only Easter, more birthdays, Spring/summer weddings, anniversaries, children’s exams, plays, graduations that he’s missing.
It’s basically another bloody deployment, and it sucks!
So we have survived the first longish stint of Daddy Being Away.
It was only about a month but Im feeling bloody proud that I have managed to keep both children alive with very little outside help and snotty colds and 8 week jabs. Im also a tad relieved that I haven’t lost it and left them at a nunnery. (And no this is not just because I don’t know any Hampshire nunneries).
Ive had quite bad mum guilt that I didn’t try to do more wholesome “making memories” shit. I didn’t even attempt any baking and I can safely say that the iPad is partially raising my toddler. We have watched a lot of Disney.
But they are alive so I’m chalking it up as a win.
Whilst Popeye was stuck down in Plymouth (because his ship was buggered-giant surprise) we were able to finally try out the separation pack we had been given from Little Troopers .
This helped with the mum guilt because I was getting so fed up of this:
Me-“on his boat.”
Sweetpea-“[see] Daddy soon?”
Me- (silent sob) “no see Daddy later. Daddy gone night night on the boat.”
Sweetpea-“bye bye Daddy”
Me- “yes that’s right, bye bye daddy.”
Talk about heartbreaking! And, after the gazillionth time, dare I say, a little bit annoying?
That’s when the separation pack really came into play. It actually helped Sweetpea grasp what was going on and helped me not lose my mind from having to explain it to her over and over again.
It gave the whole downer of being separated from Popeye/Daddy an actual positive vibe and I can’t recommend it enough.
What is it? An A4 pack of resources and ideas of things to do to help your children cope with a parent being away from home.
First I chose an area in the house to put it all up. I didn’t want to to be too prominent in the house- I didn’t want her to be reminded Popeye was gone all the time- I also chose somewhere quiet so she could go there to think about Daddy when she needed to.
( I also wouldn’t put stuff on the wall above the dogs water bowl if your child likes water play and pulling things off of walls. 😑)
I found an OK photo of Sweetpea with Popeye and put that in the special “Hero” (a bit cheesy for me but v sweet for children) frame. This gave Sweetpea something to focus on and she could go and kiss the photo good night or we used it to talk about Daddy from time to time too. She also put it down the loo at one point but I’ve told Popeye not to take this personally. (And photos don’t dissolve if you antibac them btw- who knew?)
My favourite thing about the separation pack was the chuff chart. It’s supposed to be for the kids but to be honest I was using it just as much as the Sweetpea.
The chuff chart is really practical- you can adapt it for any length of separation-you just add another calendar sheet if you need to. You can decorate or colour it in and there’s a “notes” bit if your trooper needs to jot anything important down. You can put stickers on it if you’ve been on day trips (not that we did lol) and really adapt it for your family.
As Sweetpea is quite little we did a ten day countdown as she only knows up to number ten. By the time we got halfway through she was getting the idea. She was running up to it first thing when we came downstairs ready to cross off another “sleep”! (Not sure if this is because the pack is really good or my daughter is a child prodigy/genius. Ahem).
There’s a little instruction leaflet that was brilliant for people like me who are permanently exhausted from single-parenting-without-the-benefits or (also like me) have the creative ability of the DVLAs phone system.
We did one of the ideas from the leaflet- we made a Post Box for all of the art Sweetpea did whilst Popeye was away.
It worked really well when he got home and they opened the box and she could show him what she had made for him.
If he had been away longer we would’ve posted them out to him. I really wanted to do the “send a hug” idea too but Sweetpea would not lie down and after trying and failing to pin her down to draw round her outstretched arms with a felt tip between my teeth I admitted defeat. Maybe when she’s older or when she’s asleep.
In general the activities and ideas are really varied and can be adapted depending on the age of your Little Trooper or what interests them.
There is a big map too where you can put stickers of where you’ve lived, where you’ve been on holiday and where your service person is. This was great but I felt it was a bit geared towards army families and soldiers that are based in one place for a long time, so to cater to our situation I cut out a picture of a navy ship from the patterned writing paper in the pack, and moved that around the map. You could get a photo of the ship for longer deployments but doing this worked fine for us.
There’s a bit in there that explains why the official flower of military children is a dandelion. Not going to give it away here but it had me in actual proper tears and I’m now thinking of getting another tattoo this time of a dandelion.
All in all it is a really useful little kit. You can join an online community of Little Troopers and they do meet ups, camps and events, so that your children can get to know other military children. This is especially useful to families like ours that don’t live in married quarters. And they are a charity so they do lots of fun fundraising stuff too.
I need to vent, here, in a safe space where I won’t jeopardise my marriage. First let me say I’m not so ungrateful that I don’t love having Popeye home as much as possible. I really really do.
Ok I’m a navy wife, yes sure, but also I’m a mum. I’m a woman in my own right with a career and friends and stuff to do.
As much as I love and adore and get a giddy thrill out of hanging around waiting for Popeye to turn up after however long bobbing around on the big blue it may shock you to know that I don’t like being messed around.
Saying goodbye is tough. In fact it’s worse than tough. It’s shit and getting shitter. Having kids has tipped me over the edge in terms of “goodbye tolerance”. Now, when it’s time for him to go, I just want him to go.
Give us each a kiss, maybe give me a cheeky bum squeeze and go. And more importantly don’t come back!
Let me elaborate, due to the “technical issues” the type 45s have been having, “bye” hasn’t actually meant goodbye in our family for almost a month. A friggin month. A month of goodbyes, tears, getting my bum in gear to cope, getting wine in the fridge, giant bars of chocolate in the cupboard, sky+ing “my” programs on TV and getting on with it.
Only for Popeye to turn up! Again! At home! His two feet decidedly still on the land!
Cue my heart leaping through my chest with happiness, soaring endorphins, goofy grins, cancelled plans with friends and having celebratory takeaways.
Until tomorrow. And tomorrow’s goodbye. Tomorrows heartache. Looking at our little girls face again and explaining “Daddy’s going night night on his boat, bye bye Daddy.” Waving his car off the driveway and wiping a tear away. Again.
Again I get my bum in gear. Again I shift, smoothly and silently into deployed single parent mode. I galvanise myself and my household into coping with Popeye being away. To this being a one-woman show. Complete with fish fingers for dinner, slobbing around watching Peppa Pig and not prioritising washing any of Popeyes stuff. Classy.
Hang on a sec! what’s that noise? His key turning in the lock? Joy of joys he’s home! It’s brilliant to see him, of course it is.
But keeping this up is exhausting for me! It can’t be healthy to be up on cloud 9 with a surprise bonus night or weekend of leave to then crash back down with a bump to the horribleness of goodbyes.
I know it’s not his fault the ship keeps breaking. I know it’s a fleet wide problem blah blah blah. But what is also a fleet wide problem is the families who are on a non stop roller coaster of not knowing which way is up, when their sailor is going to be home or what the hell is going on!
Planning a life, or any kind of stability, in this atmosphere of uncertainty feels like trying to eat a picnic in a whirlwind. Which is a weird analogy but it’s the only one I can think of that fits.
I keep trying to get on with our lives but then “the navy effect” happens and we are once again riding those emotional waves before Popeye has even got onto the real ones. Often with little or notice and whether we want to or not.
I wanted to write a Valentine’s Day blog post to cheer you all up but then I realised I’ve never spent one with Popeye. Not one. In 8 years.
Kinda outside my sphere of experience.
So here’s to all of us staying in and watching pretty woman with a bottle of wine! Huzzah!
Let’s give civvy wives V day. Let’s let them have it and hold no grudges. After all we get homecoming and let’s face it that’s like 1000 times better!
Seriously I’ve decided I pity those civvys having to pin all their romance on one day of the year. Such hope. Such stress. Such potential for disappointment. Such pressure on all parties. Think about it, we get:
Homecoming sex.’nuff said.
All the times they’re at sea for a few weeks then they get weekenders and come home all randy and appreciative and want to take us out for dinner and dancing.
And mid deployment flowers.
And really cool presents from around the world.
Soppy emails and voicemails we can reread or re listen to over and over. (Beats a card in my books.)
So we basically get Valentine’s Day several times a year. Except for the card.
All that being said I’d still quite like to have him home for just ONE Valentine’s Day.
Whilst my Popeye and his shipmates faff around (not) going on BOST (basic operational sea trials FYI)- myself and the other wives and girlfriends of their ship have had enough.
We have had enough of them going then not going, it’s not our fault everything keeps breaking on their ship.
So we’ve decided that we need to get Deployment Ready too.
We are going on WOST. Wife Operational Sailor Trials. To get us primed and ready for when they actually deploy. (It’s totally for girlfriends/fiancés and boys too btw but WGFBOST didn’t have the same ring to it).
We are going OUT (and when we say we are going we are actually going to GO. Unlike certain sailors I won’t mention. Ahem.)
To be authentic we need to go to Plymouth and not answer our phones or ring our sailors unless it’s on the way to the taxi before we go out.
We obviously all have to get absolutely steaming drunk as quickly as possible AND we all have to get up and go to work the next day as if nothing had happened and we’d all had a glorious 12 hour sleep.
I have volunteered to take one for the team and be the groups mandatory person who gets in a fight and gets arrested/brought back by the (non military) police.
Other essential WOST roles include, but are not limited to:
Someone to call their sailor at 2am to tell them “how mush I love you, I raally raally do, you dahhnt understan” -waking everyone around their sailor. The group as a whole will then shout things down the phone to them before a rousing singsong- sung with gusto, but completely off key.
Someone will lose their phone, glasses and/or purse containing ID and credit cards.
One of us needs to have no self control at all and completely trash their (hotel) room. They will rack up a MASSIVE bill for the mess they’ve made (you might even call it a “mess bill”- lol see what I did there?!). The more disgusting and random the better.
Ooh yes – another person needs to come out with us and not drink, then go back early muttering about how they’d “rather be back with my sailor than here with you bunch of idiots”. Or similar diatribe.
We need a “wanderer”- someone in the group who wanders off at some point in the night- possibly to fall asleep in a storage container or other random location. We then don’t hear from them for the remainder of the night. They have no idea where they went and use their bank statement as indication of what they got up to. Only to be thwarted because, when on WOST, you have to only take out cash with you.
On that note- we all have to withdraw far far too much money than we can afford and spend it. All. We will then have to use our bank card to pay for our kebabs at the end of the night.
We may split into two groups, half will stay in a small Irish bar debating and arguing over anything and everything until the wee hours. The other half will go to an increasingly crap number of nightclubs where we will effectively cock block each other for a laugh. This group will end up in either a strip club or a casino or both.
Also we will organise to have WOST at the most inconvenient time possible- preferably on the ONLY night our sailors have free so we don’t get to spend any quality time together before they deploy. Splendid.
Finally if we come home at all we will come home approximately 5 hours later than we said we would and leave dominoes pizza in the living room for the kids to find at 6am.
P.s BIG thanks to the ladies from Popeyes ship for inspiring this post!
P.s 2-BIG thanks to the ladies from Popeyes old ship for the photo- it’s from the night I went into labour with Sweetpea!
P.s 3- if you can think of any other essential WOST roles I’ve missed- please let me know. No one wants to be underprepared for a deployment after all.
This is a washing machine. Fairly normal right? Just a run of the mill bog standard white household appliance.
But wait! Look a little closer.
That washing machine is in the house of a service person!
Recent research has brought to light a startling discovery, brace yourselves:
All household appliances built post WWII have built in Deployment Detectors™.
Deployment Detectors™ are a microscopic nano technology, invisible to the naked eye, that can easily be incorporated into motherboards, microchips, petrol caps, fridge lights and electrical plugs. These teeny weeny microchips can fit literally anywhere and in any piece of equipment you need to use in order to carry on as a functioning member of society.
Yes, I hear you cry, but what do they do?!
Well, after extensive and thorough testing at Oyl Labs we have found that Deployment Detectors™ use sophisticated sensors to monitor the environment. And in the house of a military family their true purpose is revealed.
When a deployment has begun, a chain reaction of drinking wine, having a good old cry, installing a countdown app on your phone and sleeping in “his” dirty t shirts causes certain pheromones to be emitted by the partner of said service person.
These deployment pheromones are picked up by household appliances fitted with a Deployment Detector™ which springs into life, randomly shooting out electrical/mechanical/spiritual signals into the appliance.
Deployment Detectors™ cause the appliance to break without warning. But only when your service person has left on deployment.
Note: They are at their most effective when you are late for work, have looked forward to something all day and/or have too much month left at the end of the money.
Why do Deployment Detectors™ exist?
Good question. Here at Oyl Labs we can only surmise that it was some evil Nazi plot to drive military wives and girlfriends over the edge during deployment. A second, more modern theory is that Isis have in fact infiltrated most high street retailers and they are doing this because they hate to see women (and men) kick ass coping with deployment. Further research is needed to determine the true origins of these devices.
All I can say for now is be vigilant, and don’t fight it. Expect for household appliances to break as soon as your Popeye sails over the horizon. And expect it to break at the most stressful time with the most stressful repercussions.
And I’ve got something awful to tell you. Something I’ve only just figured out after almost 5 years of marriage.
They DONT GET EASIER.
I assumed that they would. Surely they HAVE TO. Right?
The first goodbye was head spinningly, puke inducingly, hot and cold flashingly – surreal.
I stumbled back to the car at the train station and sped off before Popeye had even made it over the train station walk way bridge. He turned around (apparently to give me a last romantic wave and blow me a kiss)- to hear wheels screeching, to see me speeding off with clouds of l&b smoke coming out of the drivers window and some probably angry “girl power” music blaring. Just the classy, elegant stage exit I was aiming for. Not.
Next time round I was a mess. I couldn’t stop crying. I couldn’t breathe and got snot on his coat. See this time I knew. I knew how hard it was going to be.
I knew it was real. I knew it would take work. I knew long lonely evenings stretched out ahead of me. I knew the harsh reality of no contact was not romantic. That sending parcels did not equate to spending time together.
In short part of my panic and grief was because there was no illusion left. I had done my first deployment.
The level of shiteness of the goodbye stayed the same to be honest, over the next few goodbyes. It never got easier to be fair. And I would sway wildly between hysterical-crying-snot-monster and dangerous-driver-denial-woman.
Side note: I’ve always wanted to master the “black and white film star” goodbye. You know, with me standing there on the train platform, or dockside, or even (more likely) car park/lay by. And my makeup is fresh and dewy and my hair is immaculate and I have a hat on. And I wave him off with a kiss and a single tear glistening on my cheek.
A bit like this:
This has never happened. It’s more like when Bellatrix Lestrange loses it in Harry Potter.
So yes the awfulness of the goodbye kind of plateaued for a while.
Until we had Sweetpea. Then this whole other level of goodbye horribleness opened up like a cess pit hidden under a rubbish tip.
They are getting harder. So much harder in fact that I am seriously considering telling Popeye to just disappear, to sneak off and not tell us he’s going. I know I would wake up, realise he’s gone and turn into a kraken but by then he would be safely aboard a warship and (fairly) out of my wraths reach.
At the moment, on his side of things he’s finding it so difficult and heart breaking to look into his daughters baby blues and say the G word, that he’s considering packing it all in and maybe *whispers*- leaving the navy.
I know, right?!?!
To be fair he has considered leaving approx 5,285 times since I met him. He mentions it at least once a week. So I don’t think it’s a totally serious idea, yet.
But what happens when these frankly cruel 9 month deployments start up for us in 2016? Which we did NOT sign up for ?
In fact I’m sure there are hundreds of naval families and couples up and down the UK feeling the same.
Anyway the ugly truth is out. And I’m sorry to be one to break it to you. Unless I’m wrong and I’m just getting wimpier?! God I hope that’s true for all our sakes!
Still I know I can do it. It’s just usually the more you do something the easier it becomes, right? So how come this law of nature is not applying to our goodbyes?
So it’s happening again. A run ashore is imminent. My response to this varies wildly, so much so Popeye is now pretty cautious about how he tells me. My response SEEMS to depend on whether or not I’m on maternity leave and hormonal or have work the next day or not. There may be other factors at play here.
Basically I’m jealous of him and how free he can be. My life is tied down and full of adult responsibility. I have to be (vaguely) sensible. I have to be organised. His life, when he’s onboard, hasn’t really changed (outside of his job role), since he was 16.
If you have no kids and can go out and party hard yourself at the drop of a hat then good for you (teeny bit jealous here btw) . DO IT. Do it for ME if nothing else.
Forget all about how much fun they are having, who they are with, what super dooper clubs they are in, what exciting shinnanigans they are having and enjoy yourself.
However. If you cant get rat arsed on a Tuesday or Thursday from lunchtime onwards, because of silly, unimportant, things, like:
Have to go to work the next day.
You are woken up by small people screaming at you for boobs or porridge at the crack of fecking dawn every day of your life. Forever.
You (shockingly) haven’t got stupid amounts of free money wanging around to spend on booze and taxis and casinos and more booze.
You actually want to sit in, curled up with a bottle of wine cup of tea and bag of malteasers and watch new The Walking Dead, Stella or Modern Family or some new box set.
Inviting your bestie round for a bitch and gossip catch up sounds like a much more appealing evening than having punctured ear drums and freshers spilling apple sours on you.
DONT feel bad. You are not alone. Most of the Navy and Military Wife/Partner population will be feeling the same, whilst skimming through sky+ and checking their phone.
Its NORMAL to feel jealous. They don’t have the same responsibilities as we do. To be there for our kids night and day 24/7. To go to work not smelling of sambouca and shame. To budget so we don’t, as a family, starve.
We have the luxury of a comfortable house around us, entertaining TV or company for good nights in. They don’t. They have honking pits, and are thrown together with others that, some of the time, are a bunch of pricks.
When Popeye is deployed and goes on a Run Ashore I try to empathise. And when I thought about it I realised holy crap of I was in the Navy I’d be out having a drink (or ten) too! After being stuck in that metal box for, possibly weeks, working all hours God sends and thinking about home and missing us and seeing our faces smiling down from above his bed whilst he plays the same Xbox game for a few hours of free time.
Shit man, I’d probably be drinking like a fish and dancing on tables in denial by the end of the night. It’s a form of escapism, denial and group consensus we’ve escaped in our normal lives.
So next time your Popeye lets slip he’s going out for a “quiet few” (obviously code for getting plastered and tattooed and ending up stealing a large decorative fish) try to quiet the inner jealous, wine deprived, pub deprived, eye shadow deprived, grown up conversation deprived, she wolf.
He’s going out either way so you might as well focus on all the good things youve got around you that he hasnt.
Bottom line is he would do anything to be sitting there next to you nicking that last malteaser rather than replaying the same night out over and over again for years.
P.s this does not mean you can’t remind him of all his nights out when he’s home so you can have a girls night out, complete with blackjack, vodka, possibly karaoke and all the glory of the “Mummy Lie In”. Life’s funny that way.
I need to take a moment to absolutely sing the praises of the Royal Navy Welfare team.
The other day I had some personal stuff going down and to put it bluntly, I was not coping. I was a snotty, blubbering, gaspy-breathing, high pitched-fast talking wreck.
(I don’t mind sharing this with you dear readers as I am assuming this has/may/will unfortunately happen to some of you at some point and I desperately want you to know that it’s okay to fall apart- just never stop trying to get back in one piece again.
Ok that sounded a bit like one of those lame inspiring memes that pop up on annoying people’s newsfeeds. Yeesh -promise it won’t happen again.
Anyway, yes, so I was a big bag of losing it freak out jelly. I had done all the civvy things available to me- called my mum, talked to friends, been to the doctor, emailed Popeye, called my mum again, googled the crap outta everything vaguely related to being stressed and unable to cope, and walked the dog whilst wearing sunglasses so no one could see me crying.
(I really hope all that’s normal).
So Popeye calls and basically at this point orders me to get in contact with the welfare team (actually his exact words were “Olive the second you get back bloody call welfare. I can’t do anything from here I’m on BOST babe”. Like I needed another reason to hate BOST).
And I’m so glad I did!
It wasn’t the best first impression granted. My apparently psychic Sweetpea kicked off at the precise second the phone got answered, and I cried hysterically to this complete stranger on the phone for five minutes with a baby howling in the background and a dog barking at the postman. Nice.
So she- Mrs Awesome Welfare Woman- called me back ten minutes later and just helped. She listened to me moan, she helped me work out a plan to get my personal stuff sorted out, she explained what the hell welfare do and most importantly she got me to calm the fuck down.
(Btw welfare is there to ensure we get the help and support we need so that our sailors can stay at work. They are literally there to get us back to being the super-coping-awesome-sex-kitten-domestic-goddess-earth-mother-high flying-career-woman navy wives that we are.)
So anyway my lovely welfare woman is calling me next week to see how Operation Get My Shit Together is going. I know they can’t fix my problems but omg it’s good to have some support from the navy for once! And this post is just to say they are lovely people, don’t be afraid to contact them if you need to and a big thank you to them really.
Wish me luck!
(aka soon to be reinstated super-coping-awesome-sex-kitten-domestic-goddess-earth-mother-high flying-career-women navy wife).