Full time Mother. Part time Father.
Army life, eh!? It’s that time again when my husband goes away, he won’t be in the UK for a couple of months opting for a warmer climate (I swear if he comes back with a sun tan I’ll scream as I’m freezing and very 'milk bottle white and pasty' back here). Through the time he’s away my role expands, not only as I am full time Mother, cook, cleaner, entertainer, teacher, mentor... I also take on the role as part time Father. Making an extra effort to give my girls individual time and a good listening ear so that my girls don’t struggle, too much, with him not being with us while he’s away.
Living life apart is a very normal to myself and my husband as we’ve always been in that lifestyle. When I first met him we were both in the Army, both away at the same or separate times, we’ve even tackled living in different parts of the UK and completing our own tours of Afghan. The reason why I believe that it has worked (and believe me, we haven't had life easy!) is that any time we do spend together we cherish it and make the most of whatever time we have.
When children came along I must say, things got a lot harder. My girls have always lived with times where my husband is away for long periods, we do try and make the most of it and make sure we have our own little adventures and new stories to tell upon Daddy's return but it doesn’t mean it’s easy on them.
My children like many regular and military families struggle to understand ‘why’. Why do they (mum or dad) have to go for a long time? Why can't they (mum or dad) just come home?... As I’m sure many would agree children sometimes can’t understand their emotions and express their feelings like adults do. I find especially with my middle one that she becomes more quiet, more reserved, more emotional. So I make sure we have time to talk, I talk to her (and my other girls) not as a child but as an adult. I listen to what she is trying to explain to me and together we come up with some sort of resolution. This time she decided that she wanted to build a cardboard robot so she could draw daddy pictures and put them in the robots belly for his return... I use the word 'robot' loosely as it looks not so robot like... I have weeks and weeks of staring at this cardboard thing and resisting the urge to recycle it... HaHa. Resolutions for us work, even if they test my patience. HaHa. For me this time to actually listen to what my girls are trying to say is important. I want my girls to be able to be independent, to have voice, to be heard and with time learn how to express themselves. I believe that taking this time to listen and show them that things can be resolved is a great lesson, preparing them for their teen and adult life.
If they want to cry, shout, scream I let them... I have moments where I do the same and you know what after I feel a little better. Whatever works for you and your family.
Holding down the fort while my husbands away isn’t always easy. I’m very good at making sure the girls are good, happy, healthy but I also have to accept that I have to look after myself too.
Take someone’s help when they offer it... Have a break or a day when the kids are at school to sit down with brew in hand and watch ‘This Morning’ because at the end of the day you need to look after you... So whether you’re a Full time Mother, Part time Father, whatever you’re situation take the time for you and listen...