A pragmatic approach to raising their young family together and taking it in turns to progress their careers is how dual-serving couple Emma and Sam are managing Defence family life.
The couple, who are both in the Navy, met shortly after commencing training almost a decade ago.
“As with most Defence relationships, the next few years were busy with deployments. We got very good at email communication,” said Emma.
“We learnt to really make the most of the time we had together and how to manage two careers in the military.”
With their daughters, Matilda and Mackenzie, and three pets now in tow, the couple have upped their planning game and decided that Sam would be the career member, with Emma the constant at home – for now.
“There comes a point where no matter how you juggle it you have to put one person ahead of the other,” Emma said, adding that both their roles were equally important.
“You can’t both succeed in this game without someone sacrificing. We made the decision that it would not be our kids.
“Supporting each other and working on it as a team is the only way to make it work.”
To help them stay on top of their busy family life, Emma and Sam have a large monthly planner on their wall.
“We touch base with each other regardless of where we are or what we are doing every Sunday night and talk about the week ahead,” she said.
“This helps if you are the one at home alone with the kids to plan out your week and it keeps the other in the loop, or if we are both together, it ensures we are in sync.”
Another crucial element to their household running smoothly is depending on the Defence family community around them.
“We are with a community who do this every day; we are successful because we lean on and learn from each other,” said Emma.
“Creating a network of other Defence families is so important.”
Emma said when things have not gone to plan, the people around her have rallied and made her proud of what she and Sam do.
“The military becomes family. We all get it and we all show up,” she said.
Emma is proud of involving their children in every aspect of service life.
“Our kids are at home on a military base. They have no fear of our people in uniform. They look up and see a helicopter, and point and say “Daddy, Daddy!”,” she said.
“Everything we do, we do as a family, and that includes wearing this uniform.
“I was at a promotion ceremony of a friend recently and he got up and thanked his wife for his success. He got to wear the awards and the rank but she was the reason for it all.
“I stood at the back of the room with another Defence mum and we both shed a tear. We understand that all too well.”
This year, Emma and Sam are looking forward to new adventures and deployments.
“I am excited to see how we will face new challenges,” said Emma.