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.

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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*

Farting when they’re home

When your partner is away you can independently let loose with (ahem) flatuence – whenever you need to.


For civvy couples this kind of thing doesn’t happen to them.

They must have a well worked out routine of either: 

  1. Storing up farts until one of the couple falls asleep-then letting loose.
  2. All out, no hold barred, ass emissions as and when necessary.

I don’t really see any middle ground here for them civvies.

However- In the Oyl household, or maybe just in military households: 

Farting is definitely option 2 when Popeye is deployed, and then I try my very best for option 1 when he is home ( at least for the first two weeks of leave).

With the Oyl Household system, there is, an unfortunate overlap come homecoming time.

This time, when he has just come home. That magical time when he’s still unpacking, you are trying not to yell at the children and also trying not to guzzle the wine at the rate you normally do.

When you are trying to be sexy and cool and up-together.

When you are a trying to be a Kirsty Allsop- esque mum. And failing.

And then. There’s a rumbling.

The old pelvic floor gives a creak and-

You guff.

Its not even a quiet one. Not even one you can blame on the kids or the dog.

It’s bad.

In both the olfactory sense and the relationship sense. It’s bad.

And then you look at him and see his momentary disgust. Then humour. And ultimately his respect.

Because yes I fart. And yes he loves me.

Not in spite. 

But because.


Because he loves me and because (shock horror) humans pass gas. This is what our bodies do when we are healthy and fucking comfortable. 

It is embarrassing for that micro second before he laughs and before I remember he has encountered much worse on deployment. 

(P.s screw you Kirsty “let’s-all-casually-weave-a-basket/go-glass-blowing”- Allsop).

Muchos love ❤️ 

Pre deployment date night fail

So it’s getting close to the Big D.

We don’t have many nights when Popeye isn’t working the next day left, plus we have a mental two year old and a 7 month old baby who is teething and beginning to resemble Count Dracula or someone from the Volturi. 

We are exhausted but decided to push the boat out (-ha ha ha, punny) and have a date night. 


The plan was to do an early bedtime for the kids, settle down with a naice film and a takeaway, a bottle of fizz and then have some maximum effort, sexy underwear, lights dimmed but on “grown up time”. I had shaved my legs and everything.

What actually happened was a massive fail. Like colossal. 

The Early bedtime- both children decided they are junior insomniacs. One wanted to jump around singing “wind the (effing) bobbin up” at full blast. The other decided that tonight was the night she would develop super duper senses telling her the precise second I put her down she would wake up, eyes bright and alight with happiness, a small smile playing around her mouth. Over. And over. And over again. For three hours.  Three. THREE! I finally got downstairs at about 8.30pm.

The Naice film. Popeye was supposed to choose one and have it ready for when I got downstairs. He was watching Star Trek. Now I don’t have anything against Captain Kirk et al, but it’s not quite what I had in mind. I let him know.

We had a Chinese! Huzzah! As for the booze- I was too exhausted and full of Chinese to even think about having a drink. Plus I realised my super duper 50% off bottle I got from Lidl was probably that price because it was only 7.5%. Not gonna lie, I felt cheated. 

So, in summary, our Big Pre Deployment Date Night consisted of us sitting in opposite areas of the house for a few hours, me with vampire insomniac children, him with the crew of The USS Enterprise. We did have a Chinese, however this rendered us really full and fat.

In the end he put on Die Hard and I went on Mumsnet. 

Jammy fuckers

This.

Who said romance is dead?!?!

The amount of pressure we both felt under for last night to be “amazing” was ridiculous. We are first parents then a couple afterall and even though our date night idea looked pretty fab on paper in reality it’s just not going to work out like that. It just feels like I can almost hear the clock ticking down those final few days and it’s making my adrenaline run, I imagine it’s how John McClaine felt when he realised he had no shoes and had to fight Snape. 

P.s we are aiming for round two tonight, maybe if we spread the content of date night over the whole weekend we will get all the boxes ticked???

Goodbyes and doing “It”.

Let’s talk about sex baby.

More specifically “Goodbye Sex”.

Aka ta ta shagging, au revoir ménage, bon voyage bonking, see you later 69ing, or just farewell fucking. 

Whatever you call it, it sucks (no pun intended). There’s a sense of “shit, time is running out and we won’t be getting to DO IT for ages so we’d better make this round count.”

So there’s a fair amount of pressure to be a super awesome, bendy, fluttery eyelashes, up for anything minx. Even when all you want to do is the standard sideways cuddle position, check your phone for Brexit updates and then fall asleep. 


Then there’s the emotional side of it. Sometimes, just before they deploy you don’t want them near you like that at all. Because even if they don’t mean to, they are hurting you by leaving. It’s not rational. It’s not logical but you hurt at the thought of the impending aloneness and their role in it.

No amount of Barry White or wining and dining will shake that feeling.

But you want to be close to them.

You feel vulnerable and angry and sad and scared and downright unsettled. So the natural reaction, the normal reaction when feeling threatened is to seek reassurance from the one person you feel closest to. Sexy reassurance. 

But the emotions are running so high and you’re trying to get yours whilst making sure it’s a session they won’t forget in a hurry and at the same time you’re trying to make sure your mummy tummy isn’t showing and it’s too much pressure.

Goodbye sex is almost as exhausting emotionally as homecoming sex.

Except you don’t get to have another shot in the foreseeable future.

And no pun intended (again) but that’s hard. Really hard.

Sleepy sailors

Is it just my sailor that has some navy induced narcolepsy syndrome or is it ALL sailors?!

How is it that they can fall into a deep deep sleep at the drop of a hat, mid sentence- no matter where they are or what is going on?!

Even if it’s a very important relationship type convo, even if you are annoyed with them. Even if you are at the IOW festival and there are wheelie bins flying past your tented head at a gazillion mph. 

With a “yes dear” and a small nod of the head, his eyelids close and no amount of talking or poking will wake him up. Even after 8 hours of solid slumber. 

I’ve only once resorted to putting on my loud speaker voice and saying authoritatively  “Leading Hand Popeye report to the galley, Leading Hand Popeye-Galley”.

He shot out of bed looking v v confused, then v v pissed off as he realised he was in fact at Casa del Oyl and not in his pit onboard.

How very mean of me indeed. 

Worked though. 😉

X

  

Long distance arguments.

Arguing is a healthy component of any successful relationship. Let me be clear before I start this post, It does not mean I enjoy it. It does not make it fun or a competition. I prefer to think of it as a necessary evil for when Popeye is being an idiot.

I want to address one crucial difference between civvy versus forces arguments:

Forces girlfriends and wives don’t have the luxury of time.

When Im annoyed with Popeye, a situation that may arise that deserves the ‘not answering your phone for a day and ignoring texts’ standard operating procedure.

  
If you’re like me and have navy wife friends, you call up a trusted lady and first, check that you are not overreacting (even if you are they will say you’re not because they are awesome like that). Then you will vow loudly and clearly that:

I will NOT answer the phone if he calls, not matter what, I’m just too angry. Nope. No way. Nada.”

(Your trusted navy wife friend or, occasionally, excellent civvy friend will say something like “you go girl!” “Girl power!”, or, my personal fave recently, a simple text saying “VOTES FOR WOMEN!!!”)

You get on with your day, heart hammering and adrenaline flowing, repeatedly telling yourself if he calls “No way, I’m not answering it. He needs to know I’m properly upset. And just because he’s away doesn’t change that. Good one olive. This is very strong and Beyoncé-esque of you. This is horrible but necessary.”

You managed to not reply to his emails by washing up, cleaning the windows, ironing your pants and/or shampooing the carpets and re-reading that last shitty email on your phone repeatedly.

Until…

Ring ring! Ring ring!

You let it ring, your blood pressure soars, your stomach drops, your palms start to sweat. For some reason you go into the room where the phone is, and stare at it, hands clasped together.

Before you know what your doing you’ve crossed the room and grabbed the ringing phone. With shaking hands that just know voicemail will cut in if you let it ring once more, you answer, cursing yourself to the deepest depths of hades for being such a weakling.

“Hello? Popeye??? I’m sorry I got mad, I love you! I miss you!!!!”

Duuuuuude. What happened? You were doing SO well!

See. We don’t have time to stay angry.

(Also, they often don’t realise you’re not talking to them as comms are down. This is especially irritating, because then you have to tell them they were being ignored, and now they’re not. And this, apparently is hilarious to a deployed husband. Humpf.)

I often don’t bother arguing with Popeye because using paradigm minutes saying stuff like “fine then, be like that” *silence* fills me with irrational horror.

Any kind of silence when we could be communicating be it via email or phone, or Skype, makes me want to combust because usually at least two of the following are true:

A) we haven’t spoken in ages
B) we won’t speak again for ages
C) we don’t have long to speak until he has to go back to work

Sometimes arguing with a sailor is just a waste of time.

Muchos love,

Olive.
X

P.s

Also, just because I need to vent, why is it that:

They always work harder than us.
They are always more tired than us.
Tropical beach paradises are rubbish and we should understand and give never ending sympathy.
We are always (apparently) asking them to leave the navy even when we have never, ever, mentioned that at all. And this would solve every problem, ever.

I feel SO much better now. I think I will answer that phone after all!