23 Aug 2012

Wellies and Pearls

As I mentioned earlier, being an army wife seems to prompt a certain level of intrigue and preconceptions.  From my personal experience this has all been very positive, often just coming down to well-meaning curiosity and lovely, flattering comments of "well, I certainly couldn't cope with all that" or "I don't know how you do it".  Both of which are honestly great to hear when you're faced with yet another period of separation from your 'darling one'.  However, these comments may not always be entirely justified - if only they knew about the emotional breakdowns, foul moods and complete inability to function at times, which bubble under the surface and behind closed doors!!  

Admittedly, many of the stereotypes associated with being an army spouse are pretty laughable but entertaining nonetheless.  An image most people have is probably of a well-coiffured lady of leisure, marching about, running the household and being terribly efficient (with perhaps a slight problem with gin and/or wine).  In many cases this is certainly true, to some extent at least!  I, personally, have a definite fondness for both gin and wine which I hope to re-kindle after the birth, in strict moderation needless to say!  The effortless efficiency and well-coiffuredness alluded to above do not, however, come quite so naturally in my case.  

If these Army wife stereotypes are to be believed it is blindingly obvious that, naturally, we don't work.  We simply float around attending numerous coffee mornings, drinks parties and endless 'mothers' meetings' in the street, discussing the latest exploits of our dogs, children and husbands - generally complaining of our endless suffering for the sake of Queen and country.  There is, of course, also an element of being 'not-so-secretly' immensely proud and fond of our unique position and lifestyle - the balance between these two attitudes dramatically shifting day to day and week to week, depending on numerous factors.......Whether you've recently had the pleasure of watching your darling husband receive his latest medal in a no-ceremony-spared parade, followed by a 3 course, silver-service extravaganza at the Mess, or, whether said husband has come home in an unmentionable state for the 4th night running at 3am, claiming he had no option but to ensure he was the last man standing at the Mess bar and it's not his fault he now can't remember how to use his front door keys.  

Despite the fact that there are indeed no less than 6 Labradors on our 'patch', Rufus included, and I'm sure a generous stash of pearls and tweed amongst us, the life of an army wife is actually far more pressured and complex than some would have you believe.....mostly! 

I have found that, after only just over a year of marriage, I have already come across many characters and situations which I am sure would make pretty good reading material!  Jilly Cooper and Joanna Trollop would kill for such inspiration!  However, on a more serious note, to regularly face the horrendous-ness of surviving an operational tour as a wife or dependent left behind, whilst keeping the home fires burning and maintaining the semblance of normal daily life, requires a lot of courage and strength. And some of the people I have met in the army world over the past year have proved to be some of the strongest and most amazing people I've known.  So it is also for them that I shall try to capture all the elements of life as an Army WAG and hope they can continue to provide me with the material and inspiration to make this blog an interesting read for military folk and civilians alike!

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