Welcome to the Military Wife Life Podcast
Military Wife Life- Episode 69
This week on the podcast I talk to British spouse Cheryl about her Australian posting experience.
- Her military member being sent to Iraq in the first year of their relationship
- Some of the differences between the British and Australian military
- Why a lot of military families choose MWDU in the UK
- What it was like to move to Australia and find her feet in Oz
- How COVID and living in Victoria during lockdown has impacted their Australian Posting experience
- Her positive review of living on base at Puckapunyal
- The uncertainty surrounding when they will be allowed to post out
- Why Cheryl isn’t rushing to return home and is happy to stay in Australia longer
Military Wife Life- Episode 68
After realising studies about Australian defence kids were rare, this week’s podcast guest, Dr Marg Rogers from the University of New England, decided to change that.
Dr Rogers focused her PhD studies on giving 2-5 year old defence kids a voice by centring her research around deployment, separation, how kids in the 2-5 year old age bracket are affected and how they can be best supported.
- Collecting the data from the defence kids using the mosaic approach which allowed them to engage in art-based activities and prompt talk about what was going on at home.
- Why her research looked at the problem’s families had rather than the ways families coped and got support.
- How her research led her to discover there are very few Australian resources to help 2-5 year old’s from defence families.
- Why focusing research on the 2-5 year old age bracket will lead to better outcomes for those kids in the future
- Her surprise at finding out that there are no known early childhood programs for educators and parents of defence kids.
- Her key research findings and her hope that her recommendations will have a real impact on improving the experience of 2-5 year old defence kids
- How she is using those findings to build resources and programs to help defence kids & families and how you can access those for FREE
- Future plans and how you and your child can get involved in Dr Rogers research and help shape future help and support
To access Dr Rogers research findings, free resources and programs visit the Early Childhood Defence Programs page here https://ecdefenceprograms.com/
Military Wife Life- Episode 67
This week on the podcast I talk to RAAF spouse Jess about her first posting experience and coming to terms with being a defence spouse.
Jess and I also talk about;
- How she went from having no connection to defence to being engaged, married with two kids and on a first posting in under 4 years
- Being naive to the reality of what being a defence spouse would mean because of the “love bubble” effect
- Still trying to come to terms with the idea of being a defence family even after moving to their first posting location
- Feeling like they aren’t a real defence family because they haven’t experienced separation or deployment yet
- COVID and the impact it has had on making connections and finding supports in her new location
- Coming to terms with accessing help and accepting that she is entitled to support no matter what her situation
- Acknowledging her feelings are valid even if it seems like someone else has it harder than her
- Excitement at being able to get out into the community and make friends and supports when COVID restrictions ease
Military Wife Life- Episode 66
This week on the podcast I talk to current Patron of the Defence Community Organisation Belinda Johnston about the ups and downs of being a spouse and her role as DCO Patron.
Belinda and I also talk about;
- How she juggles career, family and separation alongside her husband David’s role as Vice Chief of the Defence Force
- What being Patron of the Defence Community Organisation involves and why she looks forward to connecting with more spouses and families
- Acknowledging the various types of ADF families and why they should access supports and services via DCO
- The balance of being a spouse and also adapting to now being the parent of an ADF member
- Taking on different roles at different times and seeing the good in each posting location
- The importance of making connections and getting out into the community
Military Wife Life- Episode 65
This week on the podcast I talk to Army spouse Kelly about her Husband’s PTSD and the impact it has had on their relationship.
- Going from being a child of a military member to a military spouse and the huge difference
- Bringing four kids into the relationship and how they all coped
- Working out how to communicate with each other and work as a family unit
- Being a spouse, finding the information you need and building a support network
- PTSD, her Husband’s first symptoms and the help he and she received
- How PTSD has affected their sex life and the work they’re now doing to improve it
- Why being open about her sex life and its challenges is so important
- Accessing Open Arms to work on herself and the flow-on effect
Military Wife Life- Episode 64
So you’ve decided that now is the right time to look at buying a house….yay, go you!
But if you’re like me, you have so many questions (so many) and a military member who isn’t really down for providing ALL of the answers!
Sometime’s you just need it explained in plain old non-military speak which is why Defence Bank’s Kym Bowles and I talk you through all of the potential grants and ADF schemes you (aka your military member) may be able to apply for when it comes to buying a house.
- First steps once you decide to save for a house
- Which Grants and ADF schemes you may be able to apply for
- The First Home Loan Deposit Scheme (aka FHLDS) explained
- Who can apply for the FHLDS and are there exemptions for ADF members
- The Defence Home Ownership Assistance Scheme (aka DHOAS) explained
- When to apply and how the DHOAS payments actually work
- The Home Purchase Assistance Scheme (aka HPAS) explained
- When an ADF member can apply for HPAS and some things to be aware of
- Home Purchase or Sale Expenses Allowance (aka HPSEA) explained
For links to even more information and to check your eligibility for any of the grants or schemes discussed in this week’s podcast episode, click through to this BLOG post.
The BLOG post also details any available exemptions for each grant and scheme, for ADF members, by state and territory.
Military Wife Life- Episode 63
This week I talk to new spouse Jade about the transition from civilian couple to a Defence couple at a young age.
- What the lead up to your partner joining Defence is like
- What happens when they leave for recruits
- How to cope with feeling like “just” the girlfriend
- Where to find information and access support services
- The strength she found while her partner was away
- How to, as a couple, stay on the same page
- What happens when your partner graduates recruits
- Coming back together as a couple & communicating
- Finding your feet as a Defence couple & the new norm
- First posting, living together and growing up overnight
- Finding work and wanting to share the financial load
- Making friends and settling into your posting location
Military Wife Life- Episode 62
Today’s podcast guest is someone who has undoubtedly had an impact on all of our lives. Spouses and Defence members. Past and present.
She isn’t a spouse. She, at the time, had no prior connection to Defence but what she would go on to do in the Defence space, back in the 1980’s, would result in so many of the services and conditions provided for all of us today.
Her name is Sue Hamilton and she is the author of what would go on to be known as the Hamilton Report. A report that was the first of its kind. A report that identified all of the issues that service in the Australian Defence Force creates for the spouses and families of its members.
There was nothing like it before and dare I say there has been nothing like it since.
In this episode I talk to Sue about;
* Her journey around the country to talk to spouses
* The key issues that were identified back then and still (to a certain extent) exist today
* How a number of serendipitous events and key people resulted in her report recommendations being implemented
* Why she is still so passionate about advocating for Defence families
* How Defence can and should adapt to meet the needs of the 2020 spouse and defence family
* Why the Government’s announcement of an increase in the ADF’s capability should signal a shift in the way and type of support offered to spouses and families
Military Wife Life- Episode 61
This week I talk with Jasmine Cooper Sutton, Director of charity Prince’s Trust Australia.
Why providing ADF spouses with access to their programs is important
How connecting with like-minded people can help you overcome business blocks
How the Prince’s Trust programs can help you find a way forward with your business or idea
Help understanding the small business landscape and opportunities
Why sometimes the answer isn’t always to start your own business
Click through to the Prince’s Trust website to find out more information or to register your interest in one of their programs.
Military Wife Life- Episode 60
This week I talk with RAAF spouse Annabel about what it’s like to do an overseas posting to the UK and experiencing lock down while being so far from home.
The process of posting overseas
The importance of open communication
Acknowledging the lived experience of the military member and the spouse will always be different
How to stay on the same page as a couple
Making looking after your mental health a priority
The uncertainty of moving back to Victoria during COVID & lockdown
Military Wife Life- Episode 59
This week on the Podcast I talk to General Manager of the Defence Special Needs Support Group Kim Collins.
Kim talks about what support and programs are available for defence families with a dependent or spouse with special needs and how to access it.
Kim also talks about some of the challenges defence families with special needs face and what area’s DSNSG are pushing for change and improvements in.
Military Wife Life- Episode 58
This week on the podcast I talk to Navy couple Courtney and Jay about defence life, how they nurture their relationship and Jay’s recent 6 month deployment.
Spouse Courtney came on the podcast a few months back (on episode 47) to talk about first postings, moving and managing her chronic illness. Courtney also talked about navigating defence life knowing her husbands job will take him away a lot and her decision to move to be closer to family and friend supports while he was deployed.
TRIGGER WARNING- Today’s episode contains discussion of miscarriage. If anything comes up for you and you would like to access support you can call SANDS on 1300 072 637 or Open Arms on 1800 011 046 24 hours/7 days a week.
To find out more about the Cheese Therapy subscription box check them out here https://www.cheesetherapy.com.au/
Military Wife Life- Episode 57
Military Wife Life- Episode 56
- Her husband’s decision to join the military and why it was important it was a joint decision
- The pull her husband felt between his young family and training whilst they all lived on base
- Making use of any and all available support services as soon as possible
- The isolation Brooke has felt due to working from home & now COVID restrictions
- The importance of having a positive mindset and focusing on how military life CAN work for you
- Their commitment to staying on the same page with what is and isn’t working for their family
Military Wife Life- Episode 55
Military Wife Life- Episode 54
Military Wife Life- Episode 53
Partner employment, if it was a relationship on socials it would be listed as “its complicated.”
It’s an area that almost all ADF partners will face challenges in at one point or another whether it be because of relocation, unconscious employer bias, the extra responsibilities we take on that may restrict us and our capacity and the list goes on.
The last ADF families survey showed 14% of partners are unemployed (double the unemployment average), 12% are underemployed and 81% say they have made employment sacrifices because of their partner’s ADF career and those stats were collected in 2017 pre COVID.
But behind the scenes there are people working to break down employment barriers for partners. People like the team at Defence Families Australia who advocate for more initiatives to assist partners to gain and maintain meaningful employment and are working to educate Australian businesses on what they can do to recruit, hire and retain partners as valuable employees.
People like national employer Defence Bank who, in 2019 received the PM’S Excellence in Supporting Spouse Employment award and have also made it their mission to go above and beyond not just ticking the boxes of being a partner friendly employer but providing partners with next level career support, benefits and workplace policy.
And people like Career Practitioner, Churchill fellow and Partner Amanda McCue who is leading the way in this space with her research into partner employment overseas in the hope of improving employment outcomes for Australian partners.
Military Wife Life- Episode 52 (Part 2)
This week on the Podcast Part 2 of Sarah’s story.
Last week, in Part 1 of episode 52, Sarah talked about how her last minute decision to join her Husband in a regional location ended up resulting in a diagnosis for her son and uncovering his “mysterious” medical condition. Sarah walked us through the process of becoming recognised as a family with special needs and what happens when they post. We also talked about Sarah’s determination to continue her teaching career in various locations across the country despite the many curve balls her family have been thrown.
This week Sarah will talk us through her husband’s sudden breakdown and admission to hospital, how she supported him throughout that time and his PTSD diagnosis. We talk about what happens when you’re suddenly looking at discharge from Defence. How she is able to see the silver lining no matter what situation her family is in and what she’s looking forward to when they post back to their forever home and support network in Queensland.
Today’s episode contains discussion of PTSD and Mental Health. If anything comes up for you and you would like to access support there are various options available;
Counselling- Call Open Arms day or night (7 days) on 1800 011 046
The Defence Family Helpline day or night (7 days) on 1800 624 608
Chaplains, All services- To contact a Chaplain please call the Defence Service Centre on 1800 333 362 and ask for the Duty Chaplain in your area.
Military Wife Life- Episode 52 (Part 1)
This week on the Podcast I talk to spouse Sarah about how her last minute decision to join her Husband in a regional location ended up resulting in a diagnosis for her son and uncovering his “mysterious” medical condition. Sarah walks us through the process of becoming recognised as a family with special needs and what happens when you post. We also talk about Sarah’s determination to continue her teaching career in various locations across the country despite the many curve balls her family have been thrown.
Next week, Part 2 of this episode- Sarah will talk us through her husbands admission to hospital and how she supported him throughout that time. His PTSD diagnosis. What happens when you’re suddenly looking at discharge from Defence. How she is able to see the silver lining no matter what situation her family is in and what she’s looking forward to when they post back to their home and support network in Queensland.
Military Wife Life- Episode 51
In this weeks episode, as part of Domestic Violence Prevention month, I talk to Domestic Violence Case Manager and Military spouse Jess about the cycle of violence DV victims experience and how military life sometimes adds to the isolation they go through. We also talk about how a spouse can safely leave a DV relationship, what supports they can access and why DV victims can’t “just leave” an abusive relationship.
I also talk with former spouse Sarah who has recently left a 15 year abusive relationship. Sarah walks us through her DV experience. She talks about the red flags she didn’t recognise, how alone she sometimes felt, how and why she finally left, the support she accessed and her life now.
Please note: Sarah’s name and voice have been changed to protect her families identity.
Todays episode contains discussion of domestic violence. If anything comes up for you and you would like to access support there are various options available to Australian Military Spouses.
Sexual assault, domestic/family violence and abuse support- Call 1800 RESPECT day or night (7 days)
Counselling- Call Open Arms day or night (7 days) on 1800 011 046
To access emergency accommodation via SAFE (Special Accommodation for Emergencies scheme)- Call the Defence Family Helpline on 1800 624 608
Chaplains, All services- To contact a Chaplain please call the Defence Service Centre on 1800 333 362 and ask for the Duty Chaplain in your area.
Mensline– A telephone and online counselling service for men with emotional health and relationship concerns Call 1300 78 99 78.
Military Wife Life- Episode 50
Welcome to something a little different!
Today’s episode is made up of some of the best moments from past episodes in celebration of the podcasts 50th episode. This week we also hit 20k downloads and this month marks ONE year since the MWL podcast started.
So, so, so much to celebrate but what those milestones actually mean is that for one year the MWL community has been supporting me and has been supporting you. That we have all listened to 50 episodes of spouses telling their stories and allowing them to be seen and heard. That for over 50 episodes we have shared in the ups and downs of military life, felt that little bit less alone, listened to the advice and wisdom of other spouses and most importantly connected.
So get comfy and enjoy listening to episode 50 of the podcast!
Military Wife Life- Episode 49
This week on the Podcast I talk to spouse Clare about the red tape and cost that comes with posting to different states when you’re a Lawyer. Clare also talks about how she manages a chronic illness and the importance of having a support network and interests outside of defence and her career.
Military Wife Life- Episode 48
This week on the Podcast I talk to Lisa about what it’s like to be a spouse with 30 years of Military life under your belt. Lisa talks about how she is navigating having to post away from her adult children, the transition back to spending time with her Husband and being a couple again and how she found it going back to work without a defined career path and now that she is older.
Military Wife Life- Episode 47
This week on the Podcast I talk to spouse Courtney about first postings, moving and managing chronic illness. We also talk about how she navigates knowing her Military member will be at sea a lot and her decision to move to be closer to family and friend supports while her Husband is deployed.
Military Wife Life- Episode 46
This week on the Podcast I talk to spouse Suze about how she moved past a bad first deployment and decided to learn the skills and coping mechanisms needed to not just survive but thrive future separations and deployments. Suze talks about how some bad advice from others to not tell her partner that she wasn’t OK, affected her mental health. We also talk about finding employment, accessing Open Arms and everything inbetween.
Military Wife Life- PART 3 Current Info & Support for ADF families during COVID19
This week’s podcast episode is the third in a series dedicated to bringing you current information relevant to you, as a spouse and as part of an ADF family, during COVID19.
Military Wife Life- PART 2 Current Info & Support for ADF families during COVID19
This week’s podcast episode is the second in a series dedicated to bringing you current information relevant to you, as a spouse and as part of an ADF family, during COVID19.
Military Wife Life- PART 1 Current Info & Support for ADF families during COVID19
This weeks podcast episode is the first in a series dedicated to bringing you current information relevant to you, as a spouse and as part of an ADF family, during COVID19.
Military Wife Life- Episode 45
This week on the Podcast I talk to Clinical Psychologist Dr Jodie Lowinger about how we can thrive as Military spouses. Whether we are just entering the role of a spouse or have been doing it for years and years, Jodie talks about how being kind to ourselves, understanding that our best is good enough and focusing on the certainty within the uncertainty can help us cope with the ups and downs of spouse life. We also talk about getting on the same page as the military member, helping them understand the challenges (we as spouses face) and working through problems and resentment to live the life we want.
PLEASE NOTE: This episode was recorded before the COVID 19 crisis but a lot of the advice and information can also be applied to what us, as spouses, may be going through and feeling at the moment.
If you would like to connect with Dr Lowinger you can do so via her website www.sydneyanxietyclinic.com/
Military Wife Life- Episode 44
This week on the Podcast I talk to Army spouse Bec about a service dog called Gus and how he saved her husband, her marriage and her family. Gus was matched to her Husband through the Defence Community Dog Program, a program that is funded by the Defence Bank Foundation.
The DCD program provides highly trained service dogs to serving and ex-serving ADF members who need support to deal with injuries and illnesses including Post-traumatic Stress Disorder. Every dog in the program is rescued from a pound or shelter and trained at the Bathurst Correctional Centre with the assistance of professional dog trainers and inmates at the centre.
Military Wife Life- Episode 43
This week on the Podcast I talk to spouse Hannah about her first posting, the isolation you can feel even though you might be living in a City, accessing couples counselling through Open Arms and the plan for her Husband to possibly transition out of Defence.
Military Wife Life- Episode 42
This week on the Podcast I talk to Claire, a Navy partner who is using her personal and business experience to make a difference for all of us. Claire has a passion for supporting woman achieve their goals through coworking spaces (her coworking program is currently underway in Canberra). Think a space and place you can go to and work alongside other’s with onsite childcare. For many of us spouses who have recently posted, work or study from home and are without childcare or even just those of us who want to be able to interact with other adults (it gets pretty lonely at home or working solo) coworking spaces are a no brainer.
You can find out more about what Claire is doing via CoworkCoplay.space or CoworkCoplay on Facebook.
Military Wife Life- Episode 41
This week on the Podcast I talk to Army spouse Bec about what it’s like to post in and out of the same few locations while juggling mum and work life, separation and deployments. Bec also talks about the day she was told her Husband, who was just a few weeks into a deployment overseas, had been diagnosed with Cancer and the years that followed that diagnosis. But the one constant Bec talks about is that the Military community went above and beyond rallying around her and her family and that she will forever be grateful for the love and support their family was shown.
Military Wife Life- Episode 40
This week on the Podcast I talk to Shayne Vining, Deputy Director of National Operations at the Defence Community Organisation to get the low down on what DCO do and when and why we should access information and support from them. We touch on the broad range of programs and services focusing on the 24 hour Defence Family Hotline, the SMART programs, PEAP (Partner employment assistance program) and the Welcome Days, Coffee meetups and Walk and Talk mornings.
To find out more information about DCO and what they offer visit www.defence.gov.au/dco or to make use of the 24 hour Defence Family Hotline call 1800 624 608. Families don’t have to wait until they are facing difficulties to contact the helpline. The helpline can provide information and advice 24-7, everyday of the year.
Military Wife Life- Episode 39
This week on the Podcast I talk to spouse Anastasia about how she brushed off a bad first deployment. Anastasia talks about how she started to resent her military person and felt she didn’t cope with the 6 month separation very well. She became depressed and really felt like she was in a holding pattern while her partner was away. But Anastasia was determined to go into a second 6 month deployment prepared and with a positive mindset and she says it made all the difference.
Military Wife Life- Episode 38
This week on the Podcast I talk to Jess about the pros and cons of working for yourself when you’re a Military spouse. Setting up your own business is often an appealing option to a lot of us due to the nature of the Defence lifestyle and needing to be able to take your work with you from state to state. Jess lets us in on just what goes into moving your family and your business across country.
To learn more about Jess’s business look her up on Instagram @jaylee_photography or visit her website www.jaylee-photography.com.au
Military Wife Life- Episode 37
This week on the Podcast I talk to Kat John, speaker, coach and someone who’s mission is to help us master our minds so our souls can come back to life! This episode is about us focusing on sparking that connection with what WE really want out of life. We talk about how we can follow through with the vision for our life despite the brick walls we come up against and the lack of control we might feel we have because of the Military lifestyle. We also talk about what it means to shift the plan to align with Military life while holding the vision and not giving up on YOU and what you want for YOUR life.
To learn more about what Kat John does look her up on Instagram @kat.john or visit her website www.katjohn.com.au
Military Wife Life- Episode 36
This week on the Podcast I talk to Shari about what it’s like to be the spouse of a Submariner. We talk no communication for months on end, the tight knit community that Shari calls the Navy within the Navy and how that community and Defence rallied around their family when their 16 year old son was diagnosed with a brain tumour.
Military Wife Life- Episode 35
This week on the Podcast I talk to Madeline about juggling being an Army spouse alongside being a young Uni student who lives at home with her parents. Madeline and her boyfriend live in the same town and have been together for over 4 years. They have been through separations and a deployment but she says she feels like she hasn’t found her spouse tribe yet and doesn’t really fit into a box when it comes to support. Madeline also talks about the worry she feels about finishing her double degree and posting with her partner (for the first time) soon after, with no experience or contacts in a field she has studied hard in and will be ready and excited to get started working in, but may not be able to due to the location they get posted.