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”.

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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?

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“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”

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“I could SO go for another 9 monther right now” said no Military Spouse ever.

 

 

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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 

Dog poop vs navy life

This actually happened the other day. 

The phone rings- I go all Phone Ninja and leap the dog to answer it- it’s Popeye of course.

My heart leaps, my pulse races- just to hear his voice on the other end of the line is AMAZING.

“What’s that I can hear in the background?” He asks.

“I’m cleaning out the bath with bleach” replies me, “we had a toddler incident this afternoon involving dog poo, bare feet and the slide- so what have you been up to?” <frantic scrubbing>

“Oh it’s awful here I’m missing home so much”.

“Yes Popeye we miss you so much too- but what have you been up to?”

“Nothing much, you know, I’m so so tired I’ve just sat by the pool and read my book”.


I pause from scrubbing possible dog shit residue out of the bath and stand there in our bathroom with bleach water dripping down my forearm.

What did you just say?”

Not realising the danger he’s in, the poor tired lamb, repeats himself.

“I just rested by the pool and finished my book”. 

I give a slightly maniacal laugh, perfectly timed against the background noise of toddlers screaming and yelling and some suspicious thuds coming from the living room.

“You. Have. No. Fucking. Idea.”

I literally bite my tongue. I’ve never done that before. It hurts but it works. It stopped me from going nuclear on Popeye.


I managed to condense it down to only a five minute rant about his lack of perspective, empathy or understanding of what my day to day looks like.

Because I bit my tongue I managed to scale it back to only a handful of F bombs and C words.

Because I bit my tongue I only once told him that he has no idea I would actually shave all the hair off of my head to be sitting by a pool reading a book. I would buy a wide brimmed hat and style it out. 

I then stuttered that I had to go. Hung up on him and poured myself a very large wine.

I stuck my feet in the paddling pool and read slow cooker recipes off of my phone. 

That’s basically the same thing, right?

Screw your “normal”.

Screw your “normal”.

I don’t want normal.

I want heart racing, pulse hammering homecomings.

I don’t want mundane.

I want treasured kisses, appreciated gestures and hugs in the doorway that squeeze out my breath.

I don’t want “taken for granted”.

I want to feel a thrill when our eyes lock across a noisy family table.

I don’t want to become invisible.

I want tingles up my spine when you watch me walking back into the room. 

I don’t want to lose that lust.

I want you listen to what I have to say, because you respect me and my opinion.

I don’t want “yes dear”.

I want us to keep making an effort with our appearance.

I don’t want to get complacent.

I want to keep you guessing about me.

I don’t want to become predictable and average.

I want you sailor.

I don’t want ordinary.

Give me extraordinary any day. 

Muchos love,

Olive

X

Safety and the navy wife.

Whether or not Popeye is deployed, I like to think I am a fairly sane and rational woman. I like to think I’ve got it together, the house is towing the line, I’m ticking all the boxes at work and (now) also being a super-awesome-military-spouse-parent-unit thing. My life is organised and above all safe. Living alone without a big hulky sailor around can give you the heeby jeebies late at night. And so I take steps to make our house an impenetrable fortress of solitude and safety.

I will check the front door with Obsessive Compulsive thoroughness, once, twice a night, just before and during criminal minds or the walking dead, and once again on the way up to bed.

I will be so paranoid I’ve left the oven on I will wake up in the middle of the night to check, or (this has happen three times) turned around mid commute to work to double check I’ve locked the front door.

I don’t talk to strangers. I have my phone in my coat pocket whilst walking the dog. I have an attack alarm primed and ready to scream at any would be attackers. I always tell my mum or friend if I’m going to something possibly risky, like the pub gym.

I’ve noticed this homecoming though, that upon Popeyes fabled return to the Oyl homestead, I seem to display a flagrant disregard for the safety of myself, my family and my property that would leave my deployment alter ego shaking her head and swigging gin straight from the green glass teat.

All of a sudden it’s fine to leave the electric hob on. So we melted the dogs lead, it’ll make a funny story to tell.

The smoke alarm has been shut in the bathroom so it doesn’t go off when I make toast.

So you went out all morning and left all the downstairs windows wide open. Who cares , that’s what windows are supposed to do, be open. If they weren’t they wouldn’t be fulfilling their window destiny. Or something.

Slept all night with the front door not only unlocked but also open after a slightly heavy night of post homecoming celebrations? Been there done that my friend, and after all the hallway needed an airing.

Get to the car only to realise it’s been unlocked all night? Not a problem, ha aren’t we such crazy homecoming kooks! Lucky we’ve got car insurance and all our CDs are scratched anyway.

In short, when Popeye is deployed I may take the personal safety thing a tad too far, I admit.

However I think that when he’s home I go too far the other way. I don’t seem to give a hoot if the house burns down, because at least we will all be together.

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What. The actual. Fuck.

Muchos love

Xxxxxx