Change, it’s as good as a holiday …or so they tell me.
So yeah, okay I’ve had a bit of a play and changed my blog around. The About Us section was well over due for an update, I mean it didn’t even mention Im.
But the blog is not all that has changed. As I wrote about here and here my little family has gone through some huge changes in the last month. Not only did James finish up his career in the Navy, but we also moved from the beach to an inner city burb.
So now, we can settle in… right?
Time is fast approaching for me to go back to work, which means daycare for Im. I am super fortunate that I have a flexible workplace so I won’t be going back full time, but it sure is going to be a shock for my attached little lady. I have found the perfect daycare, and I know she is going to love it. Of course there will be an adjustment period, but once she settles in it is going to be great for her. And I am so excited to go back to work. I have absolutely adored this year at home with the kids- but MY GOD am I ready to go back to work.
So theres that. But thats not even the biggest change coming our way. In February O becomes (as he calls it) a schoolie kid. He had his first transition session this week, and (apart from all the ugly crying from his dear ol’ ma) it has been such a positive experience. We are so fortunate that O gets to attend school with James’ half sister (she’s 10) and not only will he have his beautiful friend/aunt– it is such a fantastic school. If I could list all the things I want in a Primary School, this place pretty much has it. Play based, no homework, art and drama focused, Chinese ASL, the list goes on…
So yeah, change ey? It’s going to be yet another chaotic few months, but then that’s it. The end game. I mean, until the next thing right?
James and I met the weekend before he joined the Navy. I didn’t know his name for an entire week and he was saved in my phone as Navy Boy. To me, he has always come with the Navy. And yeah, okay I knew what I was getting into but funnily enough I actually fell in love with him- not his job.
I haven’t exactly kept my feelings about being a Navy wife a secret. Coming second to your husbands job is one thing, but seeing your child(ren) be constantly let down by the most reliable guy on the earth because of his job- now that is honest heartbreak.
After Oliver’s minor breakdown throughout our big separation (12 months due to posting and me deciding I had had enough and had to move home) we knew James’ days as a serving member of the RAN were numbered. And thus, just under 12 months ago, he submitted his discharged and began applying for the police force.
This was moving along really nicely, when he decided to try his hand at securing an I.T job. And before we knew it, he had one (of course he did, he is amazing and an absolute asset to anyone who gets the pleasure of working with him).
Just two weeks ago, James’ discharge from the Navy came through. And in true Navy style it came through just hours before his last shift ended and only three days before he started his new role, but I digress.
So, after almost 9 years as a defence family- we are now 2 weeks into civilian life. And honestly, it’s not that different. I mean, for the last 18months we have been blessed with a land posting, which surely has helped with the transition.
But it’s the little things, like enrolling O into Primary School (good timing) and knowing he will be able to complete his school years there. And finding the perfect daycare for Im and knowing she won’t have to switch in a years time. Even finding the time to register the dog in Victoria- because we know we are here forever now. We can plan holidays, because you know- no crash postings. Oh and weekends, not duties so we can actually be sure James will be home.
So yeah, it’s not that different. But at the same time, it just feel so different.
I mean, if you could imagine living life on a fault line- that’s kind of what our life has been like for the last 9 years. It’s been amazing, we’ve both had fantastic opportunities and BOY have we met some fantastic people. But you never really know when it’s going to all come crashing down. And you literally get no say in it, I mean you can build a stronger house but when that tremor comes, my gosh can it really shake you up.
I know there are going to be days harder than others in this transition. I mean, it was our whole life for 9 long years. But there will never be a day harder than ANZAC day 2015, James was deployed but came back to march in Canberra. O was so excited to have his Daddy back. When James joined the march down ANZAC parade, the look of fear washed over O’s face. He ran up to many men in their uniforms looking for his Dad. We finally found him in the parade and O ran up to him. I had to try and hold my 3 year old son back from his Dad whilst he was screaming, kicking, crying. He just wanted his Dad. He was terrified as he wasn’t confident that he would come home that night. The look on James’ face as he marched was just as heart breaking. People around us stared, some were annoyed- I explained to some the situation, but I gave up caring what people thought long before that. Fortunately our au pair was nearby and she helped to calm my heartbroken little boy, whilst James completed his march. And that was his life for 12 months, never knowing when his Daddy was coming or going.
It’s not easy being a defence family. We all made huge sacrifices, obviously James made huge sacrifices but the person who really missed out the most was our little O. It really shaped every fibre of his being for a long time, and it has taken almost two years for him to shake it off. It’s such a relief that he NEVER has to go through it again, and that Im will never know the stress that her big bro went through.
Being a navy wife has been an absolute privilege, not because of the Navy but because of James. I would do it all in a heartbeat to be with him. But I am glad to no longer but married to the Navy, and the best bit- I still get my James!
Honestly, I never truly felt like I belonged in the suburbs.
I wore my “mum uniform” with pride, you know boyfriend jeans and white sneakers. I wore a Mum bun, undercut and all, with pride. Heck, I even drove my SUV with a big fat smile on my face.*
It was honestly the dream. We did everything right, we even had a white picket fence for flips sake.
It was perfect. Yet I still didn’t feel at ease. I wanted more, and I knew what that more was.
I wanted to be closer to the city, I have since I first tasted city life when I was 14. The hum of the trams in the distance, 7/11’s on every corner, thick with culture…
So when James got a job in the CBD, it was an easy decision. I mean, he grew up in the thick of it, it’s what I wanted, and it meant we both had an easier commute to work.
Within a month, we packed up our perfect little lives in our beachside suburb and moved to a not so perfect house in the inner north/west.
We traded two neat bathrooms for one cracked bathroom and a tiny toilet. Climate control for a small gas heater and an air conditioner from the late 80s. An ‘easy to maintain’ garden for a concrete slab and an overgrown yard. Heck, we don’t even have a proper wall in our bedroom.
We knew that moving closer to the city would mean we would have to make sacrifices. I am commuting O over an hour there and back three times a week for kindy, and missing my tribe like crazy. I don’t have a doctor or found my local cafe… One might say it is less than perfect.
But you know what, it’s so much better.
After 9 long years, we are finally and truly home❤
*Don’t worry, I’ll still proudly be rocking my mum attire whilst driving my SUV- and absolutely loving it!
So, guess what? The Joyce’s are moving towns.
But don’t worry this time it’s not interstate. Just to the other side of town. And this time, it’s because we decided to!
Which is not something us Navy folk get the joy of often. In fact it’s not something Navy folk get the joy of ever, really.
Oh gosh, I hate to be cryptic. I have so much to tell you guys- but for now I have to bide my time.
What I can tell you, is that soon we will be locals on the Inner North West of Melbourne! I can’t wait.
So tell me blogsphere- what suburbs do you recommend? And where should we avoid!?!
Okay, so straight up I’m going to tell you something shocking.
I’ve never actually watched Keeping Up with the Kardashians. I know, shocking right? But they have still taught me a thing or two.
And not just how to rock a killer lip liner.
About a year ago I had dinner with a few of my besties and one of them asked me what my pit and my peak was.
Your high and your low point from the day… It’s from the Kardashian’s they explained.
I was not prepared. I can’t even remember what I answered. But I do remember reflecting on my day and breaking it down into good bits and bad bits. And feeling pretty good about it.
Fast forward to now, and every night at the table Oliver, James, Myself and even Imogen (as narrated by Oliver) talk about our best bit and our worst bit of the day.
It’s wonderful hearing Oliver break down what he thought was good, and what he thought was utterly horrible. And being able to explain some of the bad things, why they were bad and how he might be able to tackle them next time.
It’s even more interesting seeing him interpret Imogen’s day. I’m almost willing to wager a week’s salary that her bowel movements will be mentioned at least three times a week if not daily.
And the engagement when we tell him our highs and lows. Let me tell you, it’s rare to be able to get little boys to listen. But he does listen. And we chat. And we’re engaged.
It’s become my favourite time of the day. So thank you Kimmy K, you have made my day significantly better!
My son, boy does he have a lot of energy and that ol’ thing called selective hearing. Honestly, he can be a handful sometimes- and for a while there I didn’t even like taking him out in public.
It wasn’t so much the behaviour I couldn’t stand, because I have long learnt how to deal with that. It was the stares as I dealt with my son in my way.
Sometimes, the hardest thing about parenting truly is other parents.
So here’s the deal, I don’t yell at my son. Okay, I do, I’m human I lose it sometimes. But it’s not my preferred method. And sure, I’ve done a lot of reading on positive parenting and for the most part I follow it but I’m not necessarily the quint essential positive mum because in many ways I vary from the core ideals.
I believe in consequences. My son acts out, he faces consequences. We dish them out, or sometimes we tell him later. And we move on. We don’t hold grudges in this family.
I believe in learning moments. My son might tease someone. I explain it’s wrong and why. We don’t tease in this family.
I don’t believe in hitting. I’ve smacked him before, when he was a smacker. The first time he smacked me back harder. The next time we ended up both crying. We don’t hit in this family.
And we try not to yell in this family. Why? Honestly, it doesn’t work. That’s not to say it doesn’t work for your kids, it is to say that it doesn’t work for mine. The second I raise my voice, he stops hearing my words and all he can hear is my tone. The only reason I see a change in behaviour is because I’ve scared him. He doesn’t learn anything, and he’ll probably do whatever it was that made me yell again because he hasn’t learnt a thing. Except fear.
It’s been a really hard slog, this not yelling business. Some days I feel like I’m trying to fit a square peg into a round hole. But now I’ve made him a square hole and he fits perfectly. It’s all coming together and I am really beginning to reap the rewards of this positive parenting business. And, primarily, so is he.
*Spoilers*, it’s me.
So I took a bit of an unexpected hiatus from blogging. Shit got a little bit real around here. My daughter stopped sleeping, my husbands discharge from the Defence Force was (is) looming and then a close family member had a serious health scare. So it’s been a very busy few months.
But I’m still here. Anxiety ridden as fuck, but here.
My anxiety got so bad, I literally didn’t want to leave the house—and didn’t for days at a time. My cheeks literally hurt from clenching my jaw so much. I considering upping my medication, but decided to ride it out with the support of my husband and family.
And it’s getting better. It’s still here, that pesky little demon, but it’s not all consuming.
So yeah, one could say it’s been a really crappy few months. But actually, it hasn’t been. I’m anxious, but I’m happy. I’m so happy.
Oliver turned five. He’s the funniest kid you’ve ever met, with a heart of solid gold. Having this year off with him has meant so much to me. I feel like I’ve really gotten to know him again, I mean I’ve always known him, but I REALLY know him. I wouldn’t trade this time with him for the world.
Imogen is now 9 months. She crawls, she eats, she coos, she eats, she sleeps and did I mention she eats. She.loves.food! I’m still mix feeding her and she is such a force. She is gently and shy, but also powerful and tough. She is perfection.
And James and I are happy. Anxiety does put a strain on things, and that’s not easy on any relationship. But he is my rock, and I like to think I am his. I honestly couldn’t dream of doing this thing called life with anyone else.
We’ve made some big decisions over the past few months, and we have lots of changes coming our way. Being a Defence family goes hand in hand with change. But this should be the last big change in a long time. And I can’t wait!!
So yup, I’m back to blogging.