I used to be a forces bride with a husband away for six months of the year and who spent five months away during Gulf War I with only handwritten censored airmail letters as a means of keeping in touch. Since then this country has been involved in conflict all over the world constantly. There is much press focus on the men themselves, but there is a whole other side of their lives that wait at home for their safe return, and wives who live as single mothers much of the time, expected to switch straight back into ‘wife’ mode when the husband they haven’t seen for months comes home…

Clare writes an insightful blog about being a family at home while the father of her children is away at war:


Welcome to my world

I started my blog A Modern Military Mother in 2007, over 4 years ago, to write candidly about my life as the wife of an RAF Chinook pilot, called Hagar on the blog and the mother of two children, The Grenade, aged 9 and The Menace, aged 4. My intention was write about the impact of being married to the military on my parenting choices.

Over time and evolution everything changed. In 2010 I separated from my husband and was relieved I hadn’t called myself, A Modern Military Wife; not least because I would have to rebrand!! Even separated my life is still hugely impacted by the irregularity of being vicariously connected to the service. The priority for both of us has always been the security and stability of our two children, and so we have an amicable and co-operative partnership within which we raise them. Hagar has recently been posted to 12 Mech Brigade in Bulford as an air liaison officer to the army, which is 20 minutes away from my rented house in Warminster.

I believe that everything happens for a reason and this transition in our life has enabled me to pursue my dreams as well as continue to manage the complexities and unplanned nature of military life. Our family has grown as we are now a menagerie of animals – 5 chickens, three ducks, a rabbit and two pigs – not forgetting the behemoth of a cat, Pippin MC – a very large, docile Maine Coon cat who prowls the grounds of my country abode, billed as t’chateau.

The change in our circumstances has forced Hagar to discuss with the military his parental duties and to fulfil parental responsibilities that otherwise he would have left to me. He has now forged a fantastic relationship with our son, which was lacking before. He is watching his daughter grow with a fresh perspective and renewed vigour. He is now seeing his children and being an integral part of their lives. The children are loved; and loving. They smile and chunter about irrelevant childlike things, far removed from the woes of an adult existence. This brings me great happiness.


After many visits to many war zones, the cordite and dark smokes that emanates from the bullets and battles somehow weaves its way into the minds of the serving. Many are in denial. Their partners waft it away by keeping the home fires burning and sweeping under the carpet the reality of living with a perfectionist, OCD control freak. They simply raise a glass or four and drink through it. It’s one way of coping – there are others too. Some run it off, some shop it off and others file, tidy and dust. As a rule though it’s mainly not mentioned.


For us, we sought the solution in meditation and positive thought, deep breathing, long walks, fresh air, nature and animals. We connected with the earth and slowly Hagar’s feet are touching down on terra firma. We are still on this journey.

I am looking at life with new eyes. I made a pilot TV show and I interviewed Hagar before he went to war and when he came back. I have been able to pursue my writing and I have a column in Wiltshire Life magazine, an agent, a ghostwriting project and I have just finished working as a journalist on a yacht race called the Vendée Globe. Writing is my passion. My blog is mine to do with what I want. I don’t need permission to post on it. It represents true freedom and that is what I love about it the most.

Clare Macnaughton


STOP PRESS! Since writing this post for us we are really excited to announce that Clare has written a book:

A Modern Military Mother – Tales from the Domestic Frontline is a compilation of blog posts from her blog, A Modern Military Mother, about the life, reflections and rants of military wife, Clare Macnaughton. Sometimes funny, sometimes sad and sometimes crazy this is a quick and easy read, a literary light snack!

Warning: The book contains bad language and adult humour.

The book is available:

Amazon UK kindle – click here

Price £2.58

Amazon UK Paperback – click here

Price £3.75