The Deployment To Do List

I should really talk about my Deployment To Do List.  Every time he goes away I have all these grand plans, you know they type; start a new hobby, learn a language, learn to garden (then landscape it), run for Prime Minster and change the world as we know it.  I like to aim high.

In reality I know I am probably never going to achieve anything on my list but it’s a list and I LOVE a good list.  That brings us to Spring 2019.  I had all these plans when he said cheerio this time, this time I was going to get sh*t sorted.  So I wrote a list, itemising things that seemed fairly achievable in the ‘New Year, New Me, its 2019, let’s smash it’ frame of mind.  This years Deployment To Do List included:

  • Get fit
  • Get healthy
  • Make family photo albums
  • Paint the garden shed
  • Upcycle Wee Mans bed
  • Sort garage

It’s been 4 months so do you want to know how I’ve got on?

I have failed to get fit.  I’m a fair weather runner and as the sun rarely makes an appearance here (it’s not called the Emerald Isle for nothing) there’s been a handful of runs completed.  I do go to the odd lunchtime gym session but it’s more of a social event, if my legs worked as hard as my tongue I would have killer pins.

Getting healthy? Well, it really depends on what your idea of what healthy is doesn’t it?  I buy the healthy stuff and then spend time and energy bribing the kids to eat it.  Meanwhile, I’m reaching for a loaf of bread and jar of marmite and washing it down with a bottle of Irn Bru.  As usual I told Braai Boy that I would go ‘dry’ to support him whilst he was away, and as usual I broke after a week, I blame a particularly tense Dancing on Ice skate-off. 

Family albums? yeah one day, probably when the kids have left home.  As for Wee Man’s bed, well let’s be honest he’s a toddler and as long as the duvet cover has dinosaurs on it he doesn’t care.   Next week if its sunny I will make a start on the garage.  However if its it’s raining, which is highly likely, I won’t, you see the garage floods and I have a hole in my wellies

So, there we have it in 4 months I have completed one of items on my list.  The garden shed is painted. 6 weeks left to smash the rest of the list, I hear they’re looking for a new PM so watch this space!

The PAINTED Shed

Daddy Sweeties

Let’s talk about what it means when Daddy is away.  You’re a solo-parent, the decision maker, the stability, the good cop/bad cop to every argument, and often told ‘but Daddy would let me’ (no Miss Sassy, Daddy would not let you wear just your underwear and crocs to school).  With that in mind there is a need to keep life as normal as possible for the Kids.  If you speak to Wee Man he will tell you that Daddy is ‘at work’ and has looked after elephants in Africa, spiders in the jungle and camels in the desert, apparently I am married to David Attenborough!  For Miss Sassy it is a bit harder as she has a better concept of time, so we have to do something to keep her going until Daddy returns.

So, when Braai Boy goes away we have a jar, a jar which we fill with Smarties, one for everyday he is away.  The idea is that the Kids have one Daddy Sweetie everyday, and when the Daddy Sweeties are finished Daddy will be home.  Every time Daddy goes we have a ritual, Smarties are emptied on to the table, Daddy counts them and the Kids place them in the jar, or in their mouths much to Braai Boys annoyance as he carefully counted out each Smartie.  The Daddy Sweetie jar is brilliant because I can chuck more Smarties in if he is delayed returning.  Yes, I can see the knowing smile on many Deployment Divas faces – Return dates changed? Flights delayed? surely not!

Daddy Sweeties – Bribery/incentive/bad parenting (*delete as appropriate).  I prefer to see it as Kid Management.  How to get the Kids out of the house in the morning? No Daddy Sweetie until they are fed, clothed and at the front door (if we’re running late shoes are optional).  Refusal to eat anything green? Oh dear me, that’s one less Daddy Sweetie. Won’t go to bed? Oh well, that’s no Daddy Sweetie tomorrow.  Kids rolling round on the floor screaming, hissing, spitting trying to inflict maximum pain on one another? No Daddy Sweetie at all today, or perhaps the rest of the week!

It is a means to an end.  They see how close it is to Daddy’s return, and I get some kind of leverage on days when I am on the edge.  What’s not to like?

Deployment Diva

How did I end up here?  Married to a man in the Army, with 2 kids, in a town I don’t know, living a fair distance from Family and friends, on a career break and solo-parenting.  I blame a Christmas Party and Sauvignon Blanc, but that’s another story. 

Don’t get me wrong I kind of knew what I was signing up to when I married a man in the Army.  Most of my family have links to the military so it has always been a part of my life.  However, I naively thought that you marry the man and not the job (yes, yes, yes I see you shaking your heads in despair). Of course you marry for love, but I quickly realised that Braai Boy had a Mistress, the third person in our relationship…..his job.  On the plus side at least I am not competing with a svelte, youngster with curves in all the right places and stretch marks in none!

So, here I am a Deployment Diva (again).  Deployment is a funny thing, you miss them, of course you do. But then, you get into a rhythm and routine and life without them becomes the norm.  For the family left at home Deployment almost seems easier than for those that are deployed; they have no home comforts and a whole family to miss. 

That said, for the Deployment Diva having your ‘back-up’ in another country is tough.  You’re on call 24/7 for the Kids, there is rarely any down time, you cannot be ill or tired and then there’s the school runs and Mama’s taxi service.  Life becomes a bit like Ground Hog day, the same thing at the same time day after day after day.   But, as they say, every cloud, so let’s look at the positives ……you can star fish in bed, the remote control is all yours, you can eat all the food he hates, you make ALL the decisions about everything without having to compromise AND you can buy all the stuff you want without being questioned, ‘is that a need or a want?’ it’s neither dear husband but I must have it.

When Braai Boy’s away I survive on caffeine, Sauvignon Blanc, chocolate and trashy TV.  Now there’s a thing, trashy TV.  With full control of the remote I get to watch what I want, when I want and have no-one sitting next to me on the sofa muttering about my choice of TV.  On that note the its after 7pm, the Kids are quiet (they may even be asleep – pah! who am I kidding?), I am in control of the remote so I’m off to watch Love Island.

What’s it all about?

So, here we are, or at least here I am.  Let’s start at the very beginning, I feel like I should burst into song as I type that, however that would disturb the Kids who are plugged into the electronic babysitter.  I’ve already been told that the keyboard tapping is annoying and could I go elsewhere.

Anyway, a while ago I thought about starting a Blog, but I never really got round to it.  You see, my husband, lets call him Braai Boy (he will braai whenever and wherever come rain or shine), is in the Army and has spent the best part of the last 2 years away from the family home.  Whether through deployment, training exercises or courses he has not be around very much.  There are days when I have realised the majority of my conversation has been with Wee Man about which dinosaur is the biggest or most ferocious, and with Miss Sassy about what super powers are the best to have.  So, I thought if I wanted to have a chat that didn’t involve Superheroes and Dino’s maybe a Blog would be my space to talk about the high, lows and hilarity that come with being a Mama and an Army wife. 

Parenting can be pretty chaotic but it’s fun.  Chuck into the mix the fun that comes with Army life and at times you have utter chaos.  When thinking of what to call this blog I wanted to call it Cluster F*** Mama, as in Chaotic Mama, as I am constantly chasing my tail trying to be Super Mama/Wife/Daughter/Sister/Friend.  However, I couldn’t call it Cluster F***, firstly because my mum might read it and she hates swearing.  Secondly, my dad used to say that swearing is a lazy use of the English language.  Hmmm, at times I would beg to differ.  So, how to say Cluster F*** without offending?  Thanks Braai Boy, I will use the phonetic alphabet!