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'Settle in, make friends and move again': The harsh reality of being a defence wife.

You’ve settled in, made friends, finally hung up a picture you’ve been meaning to for the last few years, then your husband calls to say postings are out and you’re moving.

If this sounds familiar, you must also be a defence wife.

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You join all the local family groups and bombard them with questions about what places to avoid and what schools they recommend so you can aim to live within the zone. What are the best energy companies, farmers you can buy your veggies from, things to do in the area?

Great, you’ve figured out what suburbs you’d be happy with, now you need to silently pray a suitable house in that area comes up. Let me tell you, house hunting is a full-time job. You question your sanity as you form a new relationship with the home finder site.

Your husband tells you to put your phone down and go to sleep but WHAT IF SOMEONE SWOOPS IN AND STEALS THE PERFECT HOUSE?

Woke up to go to the bathroom? Might as well have a quick look at what’s available.

Wake up! Wake up! The perfect house in a suburb I want has come available!

There in bed with you now lays a mighty pissed-off husband (you’ll thank me later, it’s fine.) He mutters to just take it if it’s “perfect.” You frantically hit that reserve button in case another nutcase is also house hunting at 2am.

Now that you know where you’ll be living, it’s time to figure out which preschool. Wait, are they going to preschool, kindergarten, foundation or what?! Every state has different names for the beginning of school, so sounding like the confused baboon you are, you call and say, “This is the age of my child, what should I be enrolling her into?”

You finally find a preschool, but then on the enrolment form, the dreaded emergency contact section ties a knot in your stomach. Ah, crap.

Onto your local defence family page, you go. “Would anyone mind being my kid’s emergency contact? Perhaps we could meet for a coffee tomorrow?” (I literally wrote down the name and number for a lady I had never met this posting.)

You Jenga your crap into the house and call it home.

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defence-wife
Katie and her eldest daughter. Image: Supplied.

If you have kids, you already know how hard it is to make mum friends. Imagine doing that every few years...

With every posting, you pray there’s a mum there, waiting for another mum who simply doesn’t have her act together, to arrive. (That’s me!) You search for her at playgroups, the library, and the park. Once you meet her, you feel like everything’s going to be okay – you’re ready to embrace this posting.

Before you can start to relax, you make sure you update your address with thousands of places which takes a few months. Unpack all your boxes which takes a year or two. Organise your rego and driver's license when they are about to expire.

You realise a few months later that you still haven’t updated your insurance. Oh god, the address they have on file is from two postings ago. Never mind, it’s sorted now. And it’s also... time to move again.

With no family in the state, you create your own defence family. We look out for each other through deployments, sick kids, pregnancies, birthdays, you name it. Your blood family, unfortunately, can’t be there within the hour, but your defence family can.

You lock away your heartbreak when you have to say goodbye so you can help your kids with theirs. You feel terrible dragging them around the country. “We’ll make new friends,” we tell them. We point out all the positives, even though we want to sit and cry with them, wishing we could stick around.

This is our reality, and if you meet me through a posting, this is why I’m batsh*t crazy.

This content was originally published on the Facebook page Living My Family Life. It has been republished here with full permission.

Katie Bowman is a mum to a 4-year-old girl and 21-month-old twin girls. A part-time hairdresser, she spends her time blogging about her days of chaos.

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