In bed watching movies, eating chocolate and talking to her daughter who turns three on Saturday – that’s how Senior Dental Assistant Corporal Bianca Atkinson plans to spend Mother’s Day.
Currently deployed to the Middle East region, Corporal Atkinson is on call 24/7, so this Mother’s Day, she’s looking forward to enjoying the simple things in life.
"Calories don’t count on Mother’s Day, your birthday, at Christmas or at Easter," Corporal Atkinson laughed.
"Oh, and they don’t count on your daughter’s third birthday either."
While this isn’t the first time Corporal Atkinson has been away from her daughter, Quinn, it’s her first deployment to the Middle East region.
Two months in to her deployment, Corporal Atkinson admits she’s missing home, but refers to her current deployment as one of the highlights of her career to date.
"Dental is pretty busy. We see patients requiring emergency treatment for conditions such as facial swelling and excessive dental pain," Corporal Atkinson said.
"We often get called in at random hours and have extra patients added in to the day, but I’m absolutely loving it.
"It’s the people that you work with that make all the difference. If you have a bad day, they know that something isn’t right with you and they endeavour to put a smile on your face.
"Given the opportunity, you do the same for them, cause we’re all missing our families, we’re all missing home."
Born in Geraldton and spending most of her childhood in Serpentine, Western Australia, Corporal Atkinson knew she wanted a stable job with long-term career options that would also allow her to travel both domestically and internationally.
"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.
Married to a fellow Air Force member who’s also experienced being away on deployment, Corporal Atkinson said her husband was very supportive.
"He’s got single parenting down pat," she said.
"I’m extremely lucky that home is running so smoothly and that Darryn’s got flexible work arrangements in place to accommodate daycare hours.
"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 knows that while mum’s away, mum’s in the phone.
"She’s pretty good at video chat.
"Sometimes she doesn’t want to talk to me, she just wants me there, so sometimes she sits on the lounge and watches a movie and all I see is her shirt or the ceiling and the fans, but I’m there and that’s all that matters to her."