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How do people cope with unexpected stuff that no one in RL really understands?

(38 Posts)
Cutecat78 Mon 13-Jun-16 00:36:23

This is a blatent not an AIBU.

OH is forces and was pretty much guaranteed not having to go anywhere until next year but has unexpectedly had to go away with a weeks notice. Basically cancelling our whole summers plans and meaning I now am going on a family holiday without him but with our 5 kids.

I accept this is part of my life but feel shit and am struggling to cope with being in a situation that no one understands - there is nothing anyone can say right now that is going to make me feel better. I wish someone would just listen to me moan and walk without offering a solution or tell me how I should feel.

Does anyone else ever feel like this?

user1465762463 Mon 13-Jun-16 00:59:38

Honestly? I've learnt that I just have to pull myself together and get on with it. Slap a smile on and realise unless somebody dies- it isn't the end of the world for anyone.

You will cope. Don't worry. And if people are offering unhelpful advice- politely and calmly ask them to stop "I appreciate your advice, but i'm afraid I don't agree with you so I wish to end this conversation here"- with a smile.

I understand sometimes wanting a moan, without wanting people to try to come up with solutions, especially for a situation where there isn't really any solution.

You were looking forward to the family holiday, now disappointed that you will have to go as solo parent- totally understandable too. It's likely to be tough, hopefully you can get some enjoyment out of it though? Or at least the children will ? Is there no one else you can invite to help you, perhaps even another single parent you know?

Iflyaway Mon 13-Jun-16 01:09:44

After 25 years of single motherhood I'll say I've never bothered other people with it. Always happy when they help me out if need be, if not, well... no problem. Just makes me stronger.

My choice to marry someone who it didn't work out with.

Just get on with it. Everyone has their own shit to deal with anyway.

Storminateapot Mon 13-Jun-16 01:11:55

Not been in your shoes, but tip-toed in your sandals due to DH work. This is your reality, it's not fair, but that doesn't change it. You have options:

Cancel the holiday as being too much for one adult to cope with, if that is the case. (Or take your Mum/friend/etc etc instead)

Go, be resentful, have a crap time.

Go. Make adjustments for being on your own and make the best of it.

No point wasting time and emotion wishing you had a different life. Make the best of this one in a way that makes you happiest.

NK7995a1caX11eb0ed0bae Mon 13-Jun-16 02:36:36

I hear you! My DP is also forces and while I obviously don't like him being away I can cope. What I really struggle with is the unexpected changes of plan. Hate it hate it hate it. I can deal with most things but with no time to prepare or wrap my head around what's happening next I feel awful. It hits me much harder.

Take this year - I knew he'd be away for 4 or 5 months and I knew roughly when that would be. Ok, well I'll pull my big girl pants on and get on with it. Just this week I had only a days notice that he'd be uncontactable for 5 days (I wasn't expecting that to happen again on this deployment)... I cried like a baby! Just one tiny example of the countless occasions our plans have been completely erased because he got the dreaded phone call.

So yes, I absolutely know where you're coming from. You feel utterly helpless at the hands of the military. You don't count to them, they don't care what's going on for you, what plans they spoil, how hard your life is (and nor should they, of course they don't!). And of course we knew it would be like this, we knew his job would always come first, but the reality is so much harder than I could have ever imagined and I've been living this life for years. And of course I stick a brave face on and never really complain to anyone because as you say - unless they've been in our position, how can anyone really understand? People who know he's away are generally very kind and sympathetic, but they don't, can't know. We don't live anywhere near his base so I don't have a network of wives who are experiencing exactly the same.

So yes, it is completely understandable to be thoroughly gutted about your DH's unexpected departure. No point in saying "chin up" because you'll be doing this anyway. I have no advice at all other than do whatever it takes to get through, for the children AND you. Be kind to yourself, this is rough and it's alright to feel sorry for yourself. No doubt you've done this before and you know you'll be in the swing of it soon enough.

I really feel for you. Take it one day at a time, count the weeks not the days, cry if you need to at first. Wait to make a decision over your holiday until that raw edge of the goodbye has faded a bit. You'll know what's for the best when the dust has settled.

3littlebadgers Mon 13-Jun-16 03:46:31

I hear you, and it is tough. It is like you give your whole life over to some random in an office somewhere making all of your decisions.
We are being posted overseas 5+ hours away to somewhere I don't want to go. The hardest part is leaving my dd little grave. I don't want to leave her, but when I try to explain it to everyone they just tell me she is with me anyway, and she doesn't need me to visit her grave. But what about what I need? Just because she is dead it doesn't mean all of those instincts to look after her have died too, I need to do setting for her, and looking after her grave is my way of releasing that need. I'm going to go crazy!

3littlebadgers Mon 13-Jun-16 03:47:23

Something not setting

trafalgargal Mon 13-Jun-16 04:33:40

I've always thought it's probably easier to be a single parent than to be at the mercy of constant and unexpected change. I wasn't a forces wife but my husband's work would often take him away at very short notice -it actually became easier after we split as I could actually make plans and know they would happen.

The way I dealt with it was to just get on with it -and never ever promise that Daddy would be there for big events or holidays etc -if he was there it was a bonus not a given. People genuinely don't "get it" so there's no point in hoping they will- the rare ones that did were a bonus.

NamelessEnsign Mon 13-Jun-16 05:27:27

3littlebadgers I'm so sorry, that's heartbreaking. I wouldn't want to go either.

I'm a forces wife and I agree that no one else seems to get it. We rarely make plans beyond the coming week but even then we often have to make two or three revisions because his work changes. He's often away unexpectedly, has missed being at home to help with chickenpox, croup, A&E admissions, even just terrible teething.

Impossible to explain to the kids, who don't understand how long or why I can't say whether he will be home that day or overnight.

I can't make plans for myself more than a week or two in advance, it's hard to plan babysitters etc so DH and I can go out.

Mostly I try not to mention it because it is tedious enough for me to live it, never mind anyone else!

OhTheRoses Mon 13-Jun-16 05:43:58

It's coping with the disappointments I found hard (not an army wife) and the constant resilience required. Life is easier now we are in our mid 50's but when the children were small it was like being a single parent without the money troubles. Not in any way said to undermine the far more difficult position single parents can find themselves in.

I take my hat off to you for five children at the best of times

*ThreeLittleBadgers". I'm sorry to hear that and do understand. We've met on other threads -my lb would have been 19 last week. His grave remains very important to me. Can you pay to have yours cared for while you are away and get someone to send you to affirm your little one is being looked after?

3littlebadgers Mon 13-Jun-16 06:10:24

Thank you both, and yes I am contemplating doing that. I am leaving it to when we are gone to organise though. As crazy as it sounds while I am here I am fine, but when we are gone, I'll need something 'her' to do. So, organising someone to care for her grave will fit that roll. Thank you both for understanding flowers

Cutecat78 Mon 13-Jun-16 06:48:14

I was a single parenth for 10 yrs too so I have done the single parent holidays - this one I was looking forward too as first one with all our "blended" children as he is normally away in the summer - now I will be taking DSC too otherwise they miss out.

And yes I have done it before but never this short notice NK 3badgers* I hear you!!

pocketsized Mon 13-Jun-16 06:57:38

Forces family here too, and I hear you.

Its so frustrating when you get mucked about. I really can cope just fine on my own, but it really pisses me off when things change at the last minute. Especially as it often seems like its down to poor organisation rather than any actual emergency.

Very happy to listen to a whinge if you want to PM, I promise not to say you knew what you signed up for, or that there's nothing you can do about it ao why be annoyed. I get that sometimes you need to let off steam before galvanising yourself for just getting on with it.

Cutecat78 Mon 13-Jun-16 07:02:26

I think it's the "well it is his job" comments that are doing my head in when he was on a shore draft until beg next year. They wouldn't even give us that.

I am not "on patch" and don't know any other military wives (and "Forces Sweethearats" is like a Ghost Town) and my "Civvy" friends just do not get it. Thank you.

BlackeyedSusan Mon 13-Jun-16 07:29:15

I think part of the problem is that it was so unexpected and you had relaxed a bit into him being home. this would make the disappointment worse. it is natural to be disappointed and daunted by taking five children. because you have not had time to plan it as such or get used to the idea yet.


NamelessEnsign Mon 13-Jun-16 07:31:03

pocketsized I feel the same way. I am very independent and we do just fine when DH is away on schedule. But the constant arranging of contingency plans and trying to explain the 'will he, won't he' to our friends and my teammates and colleagues - not to mention the kids - is emotionally and mentally draining.

I'll never really forgive his work for sending him overseas the day his paternity leave ended (with 12 hours' notice) because they 'didn't want to bother him' before that. Our DC1 was 12 days old. Then he got stuck there for several extra days! It's the lack of consideration and forethought rather than the actual amount of work, isn't it.

As if their home life and ours means nothing.

Cutecat78 Mon 13-Jun-16 07:36:06

I feel like we mean nothing too really - no one phones you to see if you are ok you just have to "get on with it" which I do.

They questioned if they were breaking his PFS is was that shit.

And YY is so hard with social arrangements we have now had to let down several sets of friends and family who we had made plans with - and he's only here weekends anyway angry

CMOTDibbler Mon 13-Jun-16 07:40:19

I know when I had an accident and it all went tits up, the best thing anyone said to me was a consultant who said 'well, you've buggered that up good and proper', rather than all the evasive hopeful statements about what might help. Because it was the truth - like you have been messed about hugely with your dhs deployment, nothing anyone can say or do will make it better, and what you want is to have a moan about it to get it off your chest.

The other thing in my life that no one understands (or indeed, wants to talk about) is having parents with dementia/ very poor long term health, and the ladies of the Elderly Parents board here have been a lifesaver.

NamelessEnsign Mon 13-Jun-16 07:44:05

I have a lot of sympathy for you cutecat. Do the kids know yet about the holiday etc? It's a lot to deal with as the adult left behind!

My DH has been away all weekend and I have been getting 4-5 hours' very broken sleep because the baby is teething. DH's latest schedule for the week involves overnight tasking until 3am so I'm also going to need to keep the kids quiet as well as do all the night wakings and early mornings. Argh.

1frenchfoodie Mon 13-Jun-16 08:12:24

You have my sympathy cutecat 5 kids on a solo holiday when you were looking forward to doing it as a couple is shit.

I'm the one dumping unexpected changes on my DH and uprooting him. Mind you a big factor in him proposing was my heading off to west africa at a few days notice for a slightly dicey assignment smile . Come jan we relocate countries for my job somewhere he doesn't speak the language or know anyone. He'll look after our little one (3 months old) but can't see him getting into the mummy circuit..

ssd Mon 13-Jun-16 08:16:53

3littlebadgers, I'm so sorry thanks

can I ask you all a daft question? why do your dh's get posted away like that at such short notice? are they all doing something top secret or are they ordinary soldiers? again sorry to be thick, you can tell I have no experience of this but I really cant understand the need for this. thanks

ssd Mon 13-Jun-16 08:19:37

(CMOT, I started that board and I'm really proud of it. You saying that has cheered up my sad morning, thanks)

sorry for hijack.

pocketsized Mon 13-Jun-16 08:41:12

ssd - nope, nothing secret here. In my experience the forces rely on the fact that their members cannot say no to what might well be considered unreasonable requests. There is, therefore, no incentive for them to organise things well in advance, or communicate those arrangements to the people who will actually be impacted by them. I think often those making the bigger decisions forget that it's families that are left in the lurch.

Cutecat78 Mon 13-Jun-16 08:41:38

CMOT yes that's it - you want the honesty, to be allowed to sit with it a little, wallow and they pick yourself up and get on with it.

I took "the call" from OH at work last week and a colleague overheard me and after said "well at least you all have your health" which was her trying to be sweet but was just really really unhelpful. I would rather she said that's really really shit.

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