Columnist @mynamessarah3 on the pros and cons of cracking ‘army’ life

My name is Sarah and my husband is a senior lance corporal in the army – and my absolute world.

Military families are different, and face unique challenges on a daily basis. Let’s start with moving every so often. Packing and cleaning your quarter until your eyes bleed, stressing about what your new neighbours are like – legends or the other type of ‘ends’ – schools, jobs, the area, the house you move into with the most hideous curtains known to man. Where do they even come from and who chooses them? Is there a secret factory somewhere that specialises in patterns that make you feel sick using material so thin it only has one side? Madness.

Often your spouse goes away and you worry about them natch – you tend to put on a brave face in public but behind closed doors when the kids are in bed you find solace in Ben & Jerry’s Phish Food, Wotsits and blood orange gin. Do you bother shaving your legs if no one is going to see them? I blunted three razors the day before my Darren came home from a six- month tour.

If you dare to be ill, just die quietly in a corner, but before you do shuffle off this mortal coil, make sure you cut the grass, put the bins out and do the ironing, then pick the kids up from school, make their tea and packed lunches for tomorrow and do an online parents’ evening.

Somewhere in the midst of this try to hold down a job too. Your job is relevant – it brings home bare Ps (a term my teenagers use innit bru) into your household for one, and it helps keep you sane too. It’s just as important as theirs so when they’re waffling on about some random bod from work or come out with acronyms that the enigma machine couldn’t decipher, take a leaf out of my book and learn to sleep with your eyes open.

Then, there’s going to the mess. What exactly is the dress code for spouses? I’ve taped my boobs up so they were 20 years younger than me, poured myself into Spanx, had my moustache threaded, worn my hair up so tight I couldn’t blink and worn a floor-length dress so uncomfortable I’ve had to be surgically removed.

Don’t even get me started on comfort breaks. If you have a bladder the size of a space hopper you’ll be fine but if, like me, you’ve had several children, you can’t hold a wee in like you used to because your gripper has gone.

And how about those ‘exercises’ laid on by the regiment designed to give us a taste of our spouses’ jobs – spending a night in the Ulu, pooing into a hole and learning how to perform a tactical advance does not appeal, particularly to those who are exserving themselves! Now a spa followed by a trip to a vineyard, sign me up.

Being part of an army family is hard, it’s amazing, it’s lifechanging, it’s emotional, it’s everything you didn’t know it would be but you know what? We are strong together. So here’s to army families everywhere. Challenge accepted.

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