Motherhood the Military Wife Way.

Why does no one talk about the Parallel Universe of new flung parenthood?

Sure there are a zillion million websites and vlogs devoted to telling you platitudes Such as “you’re doing brilliantly” and also the bloody classic “motherhood is so hard but it’s so rewarding”.

Well I am just here to raise a small flag (as a mother of 2 and 3 year old girls) to say to hell it is!!!

As a new Mum all you can think about is four things (mostly 1 &2 to be fair)

  1. sleep. Glorious sexy wanton sleep. SLEEP.
  2. breastfeeding- my boobs! They hurt! Am I doing this right? Are they getting enough and I can’t believe stuff is coming out of them!!!!

3. Am I clean? *sniffs self*. Nope.

4. I really should eat.

5. Sleep. I really want to sleep. I would commit a crime in order to sleep right now.

And that’s basically it.

For the first few week or so as a new Mum the entire world can just do one.

All that matters in the world is you and your little one. And getting the sodding bastarding latch right.

And I think that’s okay.

In fact I think it’s more than ok.

I think it’s a essential component of human kinds survival.

I think it’s an instinct.

I think it’s a way of saying that I NEED to hold my baby right now, thanks mother in law/ helpful now-great-aunt but this is MY JOB.

And yes- I don’t know what the fuck I am doing.

And yes!!! It fucking hurts!

And yes!!! I AM GOING TO KEEP GOING

Because…

It’s my baby and my body and my mind all involved in this gig called motherhood.

My body can tolerate more than my husband or partner will ever know.

I know my mind is strong. I’m the strongest woman Popeye will ever know and I’ve got this.

I look at my baby’s face and realise failure not an option anymore because I made this.

This total and utter perfection. This smallness. This beauty.

This infinite potential.

Let me tell you mothers of small squidgins of loveliness- the haze will lift. And you won’t even know its happening.

An hours more sleep here, a shower alone during nap time there, slowly the streams of babbling get clearer, they reach out a small hand into the wide world and grasp precisely what they were aiming for.

And suddenly they are there- demanding food in receptacles that YOU TAUGHT HER TO SAY. And she can sing all the songs from Frozen.

Now suddenly she can get dressed, tell me the plot to moana and insist she has pigtails today.

And I know. I’ve done it.

I’m a mother.

The fog. It’s gone. Her clarity brings my role sharply into focus like it wasn’t when she was my infant baby.

How did this happen?! From those first crazy days of learning how to latch, how baby wipes are an essential component of civilised society and wtf a jumperoo was- I really don’t know. But I did it man.

I never ever knew what I was doing.

I was alone and scared a lot of the time. During deployments with a newborn to a six month old, and another 9 month deployment with a 2 year old and a six month old. Woah.

I did that. We did that.

I don’t know how it happened. From the moment I found out I was pregnant it’s been like a runaway train. There was excitement. Then tiredness. And goodbyes. And homecomings. Then more goodbyes then (more) tiredness. And another homecoming.

I see them grow and bloom. And now I’m back at excitement again.

What will they do next?

I pause for a moment.

And away my babies fly.

Muchos love, Olive x

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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?

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???

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!

Back OFF-I’m a military WAG, not single!

For the vast majority of a deployment you are of course pretty much on your own. On your todd. Uno. Table for one. Just little old Olive trying to get by. 

But of course, that’s not really true is it? You are taken. You are wanted by a man. Hell- hes so bowled over by you that he’s terrified you won’t be there when he gets back and so sends you more romantic stuff in six months than most other girlfriends or wives get in five years. In short it’s tough but he’s worth it!

And if you’re anything like me, you want to scream it from the roof tops.

IM NOT SINGLE! For the love of God stop giving me that “poor dear- she’ll probably end up a spinster” kind of look! Im in LOVE ok? And it’s not even unrequited! It’s very much requited! (Side note- is that a word?)

I think it when I get a sympathetic nod from the checkout lady at tesco, when I’m buying my ready meal for one, tub of Ben and Jerrys and bottle of wine (standard).

  

I think it when I go out (I should say when I used to go out-now I’m all mamma’d up a late night is being out past 7pm and fills me with irrational anxiety) – and people either chat you up or say I don’t have to pay for rounds because, you know it’s not fair because I’m alone.

Or when blokes say “what he doesn’t know won’t hurt him”. Well actually dick cheese it would hurt him. And me. And us. And no slimeball guy in a bar who talks to me like that is ever going to compete with Popeye. So run along little Weasel and try it with a women made of weaker stuff. Quickly before I punch you. 

I want to say it when I see other Mums and Dads at the park or wherever and see the Dads not even interacting with their kids- “do you know  how freakin lucky you are to have that time?! And you’re just pissing it away! If Popeye was here he would be showing you up mate.” 

So I have come up with a few ideas. I may even dragons den one. Deb Meaden would be onside I’m sure.

Ok, how about a “I’m not single I’m neck deep in deployment shit you couldnt handle” neon flashing badge? One that’s invisible until you get *the look* then you fire that baby up? Ka-POW!

Or…how about a speaker hidden discreetly in a bra that shouts loudly “phone call from YOUR HUSBAND incoming, I repeat YOUR HUSBAND is phoning you –now!!!”. This would also be useful for a phone ninja who is in a noisey place or who can’t hear very well. 

Ooh ok, how’s about this- some kind of hat with a flag on the top that you can flip up that simply says “TAKEN- back off loser!” 

I’m not completely against all that “my hearts out at sea”, or “My sailor, my hero” stuff but it’s not really my cup of tea. See this post to see my POV on that. 

Sometimes you need to be heard a little more clearly, with a little less soppiness, and a lot less fashion sense. 

Muchos love x