Early November 2021

Well it’s past 10pm and I’m sat at my computer trying to update this website, but “computer says no!”. I’ve checked for updates, tried different servers, refreshed caches and all the other things I’ve been advised (during normal working hours) to do, but it seems the computer is telling me to switch off and go to bed! So, as I wait for the computer to decide what it’s doing I felt I should write about something that happened today which was a reminder of how the life of an SPO can hit you unexpectantly.

My little boy (aka bug) pushed someone too hard in the playground. And what's the first thing that goes through my mind? Is this because his Daddy is away?

I then think, have I missed something? Is he playing up because I’ve not given him the right support for the last 4 months or is he acting up because his Daddy’s coming home soon? Are bug’s actions normal for his age or is he already being affected by an absent father and his mother showing too many emotions whilst she misses and worries for her husband? Have I’ve been working too hard when he’s back from school? Have I not given him enough attention?

Or is it simply that I’m not doing a good enough job? Which we all know is a standard parent question, regardless of being married to the military?

The point is, is that I don’t know which self-blame I should throw at myself! No-one will probably know, it’s just sadly one of those days in the SPO life that has an extra sprinkling of anxiety and self-doubt placed upon it.

And this is, for example, why I am keen for the SPO Voice project to work with employers to understand the extra concerns that SPOs go through during deployments, the additional pressures of little ones and teenagers playing up more or regressing in progress such as bed wetting and disturbed sleep. If employers can be educated on what simple measures they can take to support an SPO at such times, employee satisfaction and retention will most certainly be improved. A little bit of listening, flexibility and empathy will go very far in making life for the employer and employee that bit better.

But this is not to say that I’ll go to bed tonight too upset. I have too many amazing recent experiences to make me smile. The SPO Voice project has had an incredible few weeks. I’ve been sending the pilot website round to some incredible women I know in order to get some feedback … hence me designing and typing away at 10pm, making tweaks and improvements as per their thoughts!

Their time and input so far has been invaluable. I’ve been challenged and supported in equal measure – just what this project needs. So let’s drop a few names: Nicola, Abbie, Zoe, M, Ren, Sally, Diane, Helen, Jo, Jen, Jess, Jane, Sarah … thank you.

Right, time to post this and go to bed, but not before sneaking in to give bug a goodnight squeeze and kiss. Na night all.

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