Air force mum’s thoughts turn to home

Geraldton Guardian
Senior dental assistant, Corporal Bianca Atkinson, marked Anzac Day in the Middle East area of operations, as well as her daughter’s birthday and Mother’s Day.
Camera IconSenior dental assistant, Corporal Bianca Atkinson, marked Anzac Day in the Middle East area of operations, as well as her daughter’s birthday and Mother’s Day. Credit: Department of Defence/Supplied

When she’s working on the other side of world, Corporal Bianca Atkinson’s thoughts often turn to home, and none more-so than this weekend.

The Geraldton-born mother of one, a senior dental assistant in the Royal Australian Air Force, is currently deployed to the Middle East area of operations.

At home in Australia, her husband Cpl Darryn Atkinson cares for their daughter, Quinn, who turns three tomorrow.

Two months into her first deployment to the Middle East, CPL Atkinson will celebrate her daughter’s birthday and Mother’s Day this weekend with a phone call and a few small indulgences — watching movies in bed and eating chocolate.

“Calories don’t count on Mother’s Day, your birthday, at Christmas or at Easter,” Cpl Atkinson said.

“Oh, and they don’t count on your daughter’s third birthday either.”

Cpl Atkinson, who spent most of her childhood in Serpentine, joined the air force for job stability, career options and the opportunity to travel.

She said the air force was supportive of her being a working mother.

Corporal Bianca Atkinson, centre, with her husband, Cpl Darryn Atkinson, and daughter, Quinn.
Camera IconCorporal Bianca Atkinson, centre, with her husband, Cpl Darryn Atkinson, and daughter, Quinn. Credit: Department of Defence/Supplied

“When I’m at home, I’ve got flexible work arrangements in place for daycare and I don’t think I’d get that same level of support from outside of Defence – they’ve been wonderful,” she said.

Husband Darryn, who has also been away on deployment, is very supportive.

“He’s got single parenting down pat. I’m extremely lucky that home is running so smoothly and that Darryn’s got flexible work arrangements in place to accommodate daycare hours,” Cpl Atkinson said.

“We message each other regularly throughout the day every day, because when I call, Quinn will be extremely upset until she gets the phone and can talk to me. She’s pretty good at video chat.”

Cpl Atkinson said sometimes her daughter didn’t talk but kept her mother on the line while she watched a movie, happy to know she has Mum literally ‘on call’.

“All I see is her shirt or the ceiling and the fans, but I’m there and that’s all that matters to her,” Cpl Atkinson said.

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