Why I wish I was still a weekend warrior

I’ve been having a long hard think about which side of the fence has greener grass. Or which side of the bridge if we are going Billy Goats Gruff here.

For the first couple of years of our marriage I was what is known as a Weekend Warrior. A wife, girlfriend or other type of partner who only sees their sailor at weekends, not through the week. On weekdays your Popeye sleeps on the ship, and you sleep (starfish) in your bed.

  
At the time I thought it was a bit rubbish to be honest, so when I was four or five months pregnant with Sweetpea we upped sticks and moved to Southampton, away from all my family and friends, so Popeye could come home every night so I wouldn’t be essentially a single parent. I say “we” but Popeye was deployed so I had to organise the whole move alone, alarm bells should’ve been ringing!

I’m beginning to regret it.

I’m beginning to regret it now we have two babies under the age of two. Double the crying, double the nappies and usually half the parenting.

Popeye is away far far more than we thought he would be. And unlike my Weekend Warrior days I’m now not used to hacking it alone Monday to Friday. Instead some weeks he’s here to help, other weeks I have nothing. There’s no consistency and the main reason we did this, so he wouldn’t miss girls growing up, seems null and void now because he’s missing it anyway!

And I’m sinking. 

I’m in a city where I’ve got no roots, I’ve made some utterly fab amazing friends who are to be honest, keeping me going right now. They come round and help and listen to me moan and then go home to their partners flabbergasted, about how the fuck I am managing and not losing my mind. 

Except that I am sinking. 

I can’t help but feel that if I was away from here and back with family that support me I’d be able to plan my life a bit, feel a bit more in control because no matter what the bloody tin can is doing, alongside, at sea, Popeye on a course, in Portsmouth, Plymouth, wherever, my life and my routine would be the same Monday to Friday. 

I wouldn’t keep feeling like I was having the rug pulled out from under me at a day or twos notice.

I’d have regular dependable help with the Sprogs. I’m pretty much on my todd here with the girls and childcare costs are becoming a strain on us. Being back in good old Scummerset would mean I got more emotional and practical support. 

I’d love to be able to pop round and see my sister or my mum instead of doing FaceTime after bedtime. 

If I revert back to Weekend Warrior the girls could grow up in the countryside like I did, cows moos not police sirens would be the early sounds Sproglet will name, unlike her big sister who knows the difference between the police and the fire brigades sirens. She’s 21 months. 

  
But am I just seeing it all through rose tinted glasses? Was it really that good back then or was that just because I was a navy wife and not a navy wife and a mum then?!

I just feel that we moved here for Popeye and he’s not even bloody here so if I move back it would be for me and the girls. 

He’s basically deploying for a year anyway!!!!

Being a navy wife away from your family is hard. I’m constantly reevaluating my life here to see if this is the best deal for me and my girls. 

And the thing is that this changes on whether Popeye is home or not. I wish I could be in Somerset during deployment and near the ship the rest of the time!

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Operation Get My Shit Together.

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! 

Muchos love 

Olive

 (aka soon to be reinstated super-coping-awesome-sex-kitten-domestic-goddess-earth-mother-high flying-career-women navy wife). 

Decisions decisions… The great mayo or salsa debate

Why is it that just before home coming I lose the capacity to make decisions? During deployment I can make decisions like a power hungry Cold War dictator. But during those last few weeks I’m less effective than Nick Clegg wanting to pass a new policy.

Last deployment I was able to organise moving house, I found a new one, bought it (without Popeye seeing it), moved in, grew and birthed a human AND organised building a new bathroom and all the stuff to go in it.

All of these things involved a LOT of decisions and choices. Big decisions, big choices. I was able to do these things swiftly and decisively, confident in my ability to choose, and choose right .

However a month before deployment ended I was minding my own business, daydreaming about homecoming and I had a meltdown at the drive through. Completely lost it. And all because they asked me if I wanted mayo or salsa on my chicken burger.

For a good few seconds my mind went completely blank. What had they just asked me? Oh, a choice! A simple choice! Then… “Oh my God, what do I want??? Mayo? Salsa? Ok, I definitely want salsa. No. I want mayonnaise. WHY IS THIS SO HARD????

IMG_1645-0 With people starting to beep their car horns behind me, and Sweet Pea kicking off in her car seat, I garbled in an anxious ridden tone “I don’t know! Surprise me!” And sped off to the pay window with red cheeks and a pounding heart.

I lose the ability “to decide” in those fabled last four weeks. WHY is this? Popeye is not in anyway Mr Controlling, if anything, infact (and I hope he doesn’t mind me saying this) I am the powerhouse in our marriage that gets things done and organised. He’s more of a laid back ideas man.

Maybe in the early stages of deployment it’s just knowing that when he’s away I have no other option than to decide. Theres no choice. The bucks stops here, squarely at me. At this early stage of deployment the idea of him actually being here has taken on a “Stars In Their Eyes” mystical quality that doesn’t seem all that realistic. Homecoming really is a day dream.

Then suddenly, four weeks to go, shit! Get outta the way Mathew Kelly, clear that fog from the fog machine, he’s actually going to be here, to help me!

Crap! I’m going to have to factor in his opinion! His preferences! I’m going to have to start playing as a team player! No more Olive-The-Dictator, time for a UN resolution and swiftly.

This realisation puts my head in a spin. Basically I think my brain stalls.

I temporarily suspend any “decisions”. Big or small. Or even McDonalds miniature happy meal sized ones. My brain just can’t handle it, knowing that the cavalry is just on the top of the hill. Or at least on the sea surrounding the same continent.

This realisation of help, support and opinion being so near yet so far makes stuff like mayo or salsa become a HUMONGOUS decision, towering above my head, staring down at me like a drill sergeant from some 80s military film, “which one is it soldier? You must decide, NOW!”

And yes, I guess I must. I must decide the little things, or go hungry. But the big things, like getting the car serviced (or not), booking a holiday, painting the baby’s room or getting the driveway paved can all wait. Because at this point I can’t plough ahead knowing that this dictatorship is about to become a democracy. And who the hell has salsa anyway?

Muchos love X