Meet the Keen family. Chris is a freelance radio presenter, DJ and military spouse. He runs @SpouseHour on Twitter and also writes a blog offering advice to other ‘followers of the flag’ – especially men – called The military husband. Here he shares who makes up his army family…
Our family consists of me and Kelly, our ten-month-old daughter Holly and our two dogs; Amos, a retired military police dog who we adopted in the Falklands and Poppy, who we adopted in Germany. I met Kelly whilst she was serving in the Falklands in 2014 and we’ve been an army family since we moved into our first
quarter in Germany five years ago. I really enjoy army life. It’s never boring and you don’t really know what could happen next. There are always a few challenges to overcome but that’s just life.
A refreshing way of life
A lot of people ask me if I enjoy all the moving and the answer is yes… apart from the actual moving process. I find moving around every two years or so quite refreshing – and at least you never get bored. I also really enjoy patch life. Everywhere we’ve lived there’ve been friendly people who love getting together and
helping each other. It feels like a massive team.
The best part is the travelling and making new friends. All our postings have been brilliant, but my favourite was the Falklands. The wildlife is incredible – you only have to drive a short distance to see penguins, dolphins, whales and albatross. Life on camp is good; there’s always something going on to keep you entertained and in Stanley the locals are very welcoming. It’s just a great place to go.
Coping with challenges
Leaving friends behind and the packing/moving out of each house is the part that can be tough, but we embrace all the challenges and turn them into positives where we can. For example, it’s rubbish living so far away from family and friends but when they come and visit, they stay for a while and it’s like a little holiday for them and us. In the past when my wife has been deployed, I’ve dealt with it by working more hours, going to see friends and family, and playing FIFA! In future, it will be a different ball game because I’ll also have Holly to look after and entertain but I’m looking forward to the challenge when it comes!
I go out of my way to get involved with patch life. It’s always nice to see the ideas different people have in terms of events and activities. I also try to pass on any skills or advice I may have to help others.
Advice to others
Jump into every opportunity, be a yes person – within reason – and enjoy the ride! Don’t let the rough times get you down because it will get better. If things do start to get to you, there are plenty of people to talk to.
Main photo: Chris, Kelly, daughter Holly and dogs Amos and Poppy.
Tell us about your family
Whether married or single, parent, partner, cousin or child of a soldier, we want you to tell us all about your army family. Follow @ArmyandYou on social media for more stories.