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*

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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 

You really don’t have to be a cool military wife

You really don’t.

There’s no rule saying you have to suck it up and smile sweetly when they tell you they are missing your anniversary.

You can be annoyed, and rightly so,  you can be hurt, you can be miffed and vexed and whatever-the-hell-you-need-to-feel when they “forget” to tell you they are duty weekend until 4pm on a Friday. 

Sometimes we military wives need a little reality check.


It is fine to be pissed off when your partner cancels plans. Even if the reason for this cancelled plans is some MOD top priority mission. It’s fine.

It’s normal to be slightly vexed at having to switch Friday night plans from romantic dinner then bars then casino to dominoes and a bottle of red for one in your pjs at 45 minutes notice.

It’s understandable to not be cheerful and jolly ho and well wishing, when calling up the travel agent and praying with crossed fingers, that you can rebook the holiday you’ve saved a whole year for.

It is healthy to feel the rage at these times. It would be bizarre if you didn’t. And if it didn’t you might start doing weird passive aggressive things like deliberately putting gone off milk in his tea before he leaves, or “accidentally”‘deleting all the game of thrones on the sky planner. Or you might take it out on the BBKB  (Big Black Kit Bag) in a barely contained fit of rage.

Although it might make you feel better in the short term it won’t for long.

So please please ladies, don’t try to hold it together. When you feel pissed off, be pissed off

Get vocal, get sweary, hang up on them if you need to. Cry if you need to.

Just don’t for Petes sake, bottle it all up. 

Because at the end of the day, whether you lose the plot and let him have it both barrels, or you suppress it with your best stepford wife smile, the shits still going to hit you just the same. 

At least this way you will deal with it in a way that it healthy for you. Because sadly the shits going to hit that military  relationship fan again and again. And yes as time goes on you will get used to it in a way- but that doesn’t mean the shit doesn’t still stink. 

Shout it loud and shout it proud ladies- but only if you want to.

Muchos love,

Olive x 

The meaty middle

The meaty bit of the deployment. The middle bit, the big chunk where you’re a few months in and you’ve got a few months to go.

That’s where I’ve been. 

I’ve been keeping my head down, coping.

Get up, get washed, get dressed and keep busy. Drink wine and eat quavers. Repeat.

Let me make this clear to my civvy readers-time has not gone quickly. But it has gone. 

I’m utterly bamboozled by this fact. I don’t entirely understand how I have done this middle bit. At the beginning 9 months was utterly paralysingly terrifying. Still is to be honest. 

But now it’s utterly paralysingly terrifying with a twist of bewilderment and a silent air punch of pride. 

IVE ALMOST BLOODY DONE IT LADIES AND GENTS!


I’ve kept the kids alive and not had a total breakdown!

I’m chalking it up as a big fat WIN.

As the reality that I’ve almost done it hits its actually a bit unsettling. I keep stopping and asking myself how did I get here?

 How have I done this?

Has he really been gone for 7 months?!?!

Is he actually coming back?!

On one hand it feels like he’s been gone an eternity, on the other it feels like maybe a few weeks, a couple of months. 

And as this self awareness dawns on me it hits me. The absolute totally all consuming longing to have him home.

Justcomehomejustcomehomejustcomehome

So near and yet so far from the finish line. 

This ladies (and gents) is the final push. That last bit of energy and positivity that you have to dredge up from somewhere in your gut to keep going right up to the end.

I was happily plodding along with the meaty middle bit of the deployment and suddenly the realisation that he will be home soon(ish) hit me.

I kind of wish it hadn’t to be honest. A few more weeks  in my “meaty middle bit” bubble would’ve been most welcome. 

It’s time for that final sprint! And I’m ready.

I’ve broken a cardinal rule of navy wifedom

I’ve broken one of the cardinal rules of navywifedom.

I’ve booked a holiday for when the ships due back.


Oh yes. 

And it gets worse.

Ive booked it for the day the ship gets back.

Because it’s my birthday that day. 

I’m a total plonker. 

It’s my birthday the day the ships back and it’s a significant number (30 ahem, I mean 21) and I’ve booked up a wholesome weekend in Centre Parcs. 


(*waves at sniggering mumsnetters*).

So of course now I’ve cursed it. I’ve cursed my birthday, and homecoming and everything.

What the actual fuck was I thinking?!?!?!?! 

Have my years as a military wife and prior to that, girlfriend, taught me nothing?!

Am I having some kind of delusional break?! Have I lost my grip on reality?!?!?!?

Of course now the homecoming date will change.

There literally is no point to this post apart from me 

  1. Freaking out about my (21st) birthday
  2. Freaking out about having to see popeye and wear a bikini around him straight away.
  3. Going on holiday with a man I haven’t seen in almost a year with two toddlers
  4. The navy fucking up my (poorly laid) plans.
  5. The actual logistics of sorting the house/kids/myself out, going to homecoming, turning around and bombing it down the A303

This will not be me.
What I wanted was a lovely birthday and holiday with Popeye.

To be honest I was a little miffed that my birthday was going to be all about him. 

What do you think? Am I being totally naive or am I engaging in some weird birthday self sabotage?

Discuss.

P.s if you get the MN and centre parcs reference, don’t jump to conclusions, get your mind out the gutter.
<update> of course something did go wrong and yes I did have to rebook the flipping holiday. I can hear the “I told you so’s” from here. Muchos love x 

One woman’s homecoming is another’s goodbye

With the return today of HMS Defender (and if many of you wonder why I bang on about this ship in particular ok I will just say it- it’s Popeyes old ship where I met most of my NWBFFs and felt part of the Royal Navy community for the first time and not just some kind of Lone Ranger navy wife freak) and im filled with such excitement on their behalf, I’m so crazily proud of the families who have waited 9 months for them to finally come home. 

(After doing basically a 7 month deployment about 2 mins before this one- mental).

I can see the wives and the girlfriends, the sisters and the brothers and the mummy’s and daddy’s in my minds eye in a few short hours, finally getting that hug and kiss they’ve waited and waited and waited some more for.

9 month in, 9 months out
But as well as all of this excitement for them, and soppiness and nostalgia it’s reminded me that it’s my turn to say goodbye next. For 9 months.

And I am seriously freaking out.

After I did my first deployment and met Popeye at the homecoming I was naive. I didn’t pause to think there will be another one. And another and another. 

The second he stepped off the ship a new countdown started to the next time he would deploy.

What happened? We had a minimum of a 6 month deployment with less than 12 months inbetween for four years. That’s a lot of deploying.

It was awful. It was hard. It was surreal. 

But it was doable. I look back at “deployment Olive” with no small degree of awe. She was hardcore.

“Did really do that?”

How did I do all those deployments?”

Can I really do it all again?

(in a very small voice, like a stroppy toddler) “But I don’t want to!”

Thinking about this upcoming deployment is filling me with dread. Not just because I know how hard it will be, but because this time I’m on my todd with our two gorgeous baby girls. No pressure then.

And that’s going to bring a whole new level of shit and heartache and stress and strain that I haven’t encountered before. 

And that is a type of deployment I know nothing about. 

So watch this space my lovelies. Hopefully my blog will stay the chirpy quirky space it’s always been. Not some kind of weird online written record of my unraveling. 

I need success stories please!

So as the WAGs of HMS Defender wave that mighty ship home, with the sodding brass band blasting, and the little tug boat getting zilch recognition; my thoughts are bitter sweet and let’s be honest, a bit “me me me.” 

This navy life is (as my good pal Ronan would say) a roller coaster. 

I’d rather be on the dodgems. 

Muchos love,

Olive X 


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.

The Good Military Wife

I wish I could be a “good military wife”. 

You know, one of those military partners who joins the military wives choir or raises a squillion pounds doing a charity hike or a sexy pin up shoot or sends a gazillion parcels out to the ship at Christmas. Each one with a handwritten note. 


wish I could do those things. But I am SO insanely busy looking after the two girls if I get/were to ever have free time it would be a serious toss up between wine and sleep. (I know, I know it’s obvs- I’d drink wine then sleep).

Plus to be honest with you, it’s just not in my character. I’m just not that *good*.

I wish I could be one of those good wives. One who is happy with her lot in life. I wish I could just accept this is how it has to be. Or as a compromise, I wish I could just stop  constantly moaning about having to limit or give up my career/put it on hold because of his stupid job. 

I wish I could be one of those good wives that actually loses weight whilst they’re away. Or actually starts a project or hobby. Unfortunately I like wine, chocolate and TV too much to ever ever hit this target.

And now to the main (current) guilt trip I’m experiencing (again):

I wish I had the balls to go wave the ship off when they deploy. But I can’t. I haven’t. I won’t. Because I’m just not that good of a wife. I’d rather be in bed hiding from the world or at work acting like I’ve just dropped a tab of speed or bumming around doing motherhood shiz watching a never ending vacuum of Peppa sodding Pig than up at the round tower. 

Tits

look at them. they are blates going to heaven

I wish I could be all supportive of the other wives and girlfriends of the ship and all bestie friendy at the build up and beginning of a deployment. But (and this is another reason there will be no waving “daddies gay boat” bye bye this deployment) I go into some seriously freaky deep denial when they leave. 

I literally don’t think about deployment. I don’t want to talk about it, and I definitely don’t want to hear about it and I sure as hell don’t want to see it actually happening. For me it would be like some early-morning-slow-mo-horror-film with banners where I go shopping at Gunwharf afterwards and grab a “we can do it girlies” latte in a queasy state of shock and a cold sweat coating my newly abandoned body.

“we can do it lattes” are a registered trademark of Olive Oyl 😎

I wish I was more like those good wives but I’m barely holding it together at the best of times. Let alone on the day that marks the longest time I will be apart from the love of my life. 

To those I’m about to do this deployment with: I’m sorry. I will be completely and utterly rubbish and keep to myself for the first few weeks. When I’ve put enough of my heart back together I can come and be a good friend. I can come and be supportive. I can give being a “good military wife” another shot. 

Just bear with me for a few weeks. 

Please? 


Muchos love, Olive X 

Quiche mum and the tartlettes- my first night out

Those of you who follow me on Facebook will know that Tuesday 17th of May will now and forevermore be known as THE day I went OUT OUT.

Yes me the navy wife-hermit-usually knocked-up-Olive went outside. After bedtime. With eyeshadow on. 

Those of you with sprogs will totally realise the gravitas of this. I was nervous like I had a job interview. My palms were sweaty. In the end I spent half an hour deciding that all my clothes are horrible and wore something I also wear to “tots n tunes”.

Popeye describes me as a “co-op quiche mum”. Meaning that we don’t eat organic, I do not bake, and we do iPad and CBeebies. And when me and the other mums meet up for a “bring a plate” type gathering, I swing into the co-op at the end of the road, leave the kids in the car (shock horror) and dash in for a quiche and bottle of wine. This has become my signature offering at such events. 

Anyway I was at top of my Quiche Mum game on Tuesday. I had my slash neck t shirt I wear ALL the time on, I wiped the baby sick off as we left and had really pushed the boat out by digging out my good bum jeans. You know the ones. We all have a paid of good bum jeans.


We got there. I went in a taxi! I was all wide eyed and heart thumping. (This was partially because of the glass or two of wine I’d had mid wardrobe crisis). Popeye said I looked like I was going to throw up. I possibly was.

We got there! We went to a bar called Drift in Southsea. I have no idea whether it was a good bar or not.

All I know was there there wasn’t a ball pit or soft play area in sight. There were no crayons on the tables and there was no sign for the nearest changing area. Just a sign pointing to the beer garden. The beer garden for crying out loud. 

Cue harp music and cherubs flying about

There were a few points that shook me I admit, but I overcame them navy wife style:

  1. Skinny gorgeous sailorettes wearing basically no clothes. I had no idea that wearing underwear as outer wear was a thing now. Next time I’m rocking up in my nursing bra and support knickers. Pretty fly. I over came *this* by reminding myself I am fucking awesome. And I’d rather have boobs and a bum and clothes on when I’m out and so would Popeye.
  2. I did not know any music. I overcame *this* by drinking spiced rum and dancing with Popeye like a LOON. I have the rhythm in me after all #childofthe90s
  3. I have apparently become deaf since entering motherhood. It was so loud. I overcame this by laughing when people said stuff  and hoping for the best as no one was listening to each other anyway.

We danced, I drank, it was over far far too soon. I forgot how going out with sailors is more a marathon than a sprint. Or a sprinting marathon. Whatever, all I know is I had a good time even if I had a few false starts.

By this point in the evening I had shirked my Tee and revealed my basics vest from primark

I had a great time. Popeye said he hasn’t seen me like that in years, in a good way I hope. In the end all the sailors moved on and we got a taxi back to our car and got lost on the M27/A27. I do not remember this. I was apparently giving Popeye, what I can only assume, were A* directions home, that he obviously was not following. 

Well that’s all for today. Hope you guys get to go out with your sailors and meet all their co-workers. There are very few jobs where you regularly go out on the piss with people you have to see the next day. Like a weekly Christmas Party. 

Muchos love X

P.s Popeye came up with the the title for this post whilst we were out before I’d  properly met anyone. He made me promise I’d use it. I will let you figure out who the tartlettes were.

(Although annoyingly they turned out to be really lovely and fun. Of course. 😂👍🏻⚓️💗)

Popeye couldn’t handle it

The other evening, I was speaking with beloved Popeye about the shocking possibility he might have to spend some time on his own. 

On his own, in our house.

Holy crapsticks.

Now the weirdness of this will not be lost on you dear fellow navy wife or girlfriend or partners or fuck buddy  casual relationship person. 

We are the ones who are alone in the house all the time. We are the ones who might as well have a bachelors degree in Americas Next Top Model or X Factor or whatever. 

Popeye doesn’t know where anything is.

Popeye has only just learnt when bin day is.

Popeye has no idea where any paperwork is kept or filed. He may genuinely believe it all lives in the pile in the kitchen under the boiler, I don’t know.

Anyway this conversation got me thinking. What would Popeye do if he was the navy wife and I was the deploying sailor?
The short term answer (obviously) is that he would play a lot of Playstation, eat a ridiculous amount of dominoes and watch a gross amount of porn watch lots of TV.

“But what would he do after that?” I wondered. 

And then it hit me. And him. 

He couldn’t handle it. It’s not that we aren’t strong enough, it’s that he wouldn’t be able to stand being the one out of control, hanging on my every phone call, waiting for each ping of his email inbox. 

That makes him sound a bit controlling and fifty shades of grey-ish. Trust me, he’s reaaaalllllly  not. For truths.

And he would get so fed up at having to make me parcels and he wouldn’t be able to think of interesting ideas. Accept maybe an entire box devoted to Arnie films. (Can you imagine my glee-not.) The idea of him writing me a letter is bizarre in the extreme. 

He admits he would get v jealous knowing I was visiting all these exotic places whilst he would be stuck flicking through the TV guide with a can of diet coke in his hand. 

(Actually I do get insanely jealous of where he goes but I just try to remind  myself of all the absolute sh*t holes he also has to go to too.)

( I also remind myself that he basically has seen the inside of a handful of pubs a ten minute walk from the dockyard in aforementioned magical exotic locations, and has not  had the spiritual and cultural experience that I am lusting after). 

The dog would probably starve or run away, or have his own dominoes pizza order. 

Our car would mostly like be towed or pulled over at some point. With Popeye looking all bemused when the police officer asks him why he hasn’t taxed/MOT’d/insured it. He has never really had to do these things, at least not without substantial nagging, and it would honestly not occur to him. We once paid no council tax for six months because it was the one bill we decided he would be in charge of. I got a letter saying when our court date was. For real. 

The Royal Navy equips our loved ones with fantastic practical  skills; It picks them up by the earlobes gives them a good shake et voilá! They become a skilled engineer or chef or weapons firer thing. 

In fact, I can say, hand on my heart, that if Popeye hadn’t joined up I would not have fancied him. He admits he used to be just a bit chavvy rough around the edges let’s say. Not Olives type at all.
Instead the Navy took the gobby teen and taught him self discipline, motivation to succeed, how to work hard at a goal, and how to support a team.   It taught him self respect and self worth.

However it did not teach him to sort the colours from whites nor prepared him for encounters with the DVLA. 

It didn’t teach him to pop round to a neighbours on moving day to ask when the recycling and rubbish goes, or to always have a frozen emergency pint of milk in the freezer. Only “real life”, or civvie life let’s say, can teach you stuff like that.

Navy life taught him a lot of things, things that I have literally no idea about (and let’s be honest here, no interest in either).

Civvie life taught me the mundane crap to keep me (hopefully) out of court and with a roof over our heads. 


He really would find it tricky to keep this little Oyl family running smoothly if I was deployed. And emotionally I don’t know how he would cope. Luckily, for him, he won’t have to find out how to. 

Muchos love

X

P.s please if you haven’t voted for me in the Best Lifestyle Category of the MAD Blog awards yet please do just click right here. Huge massive thank you’s and a big snog. X