Aibu about people judging forces families?(41 Posts)
I really don't know if I am being unreasonable about this at all and so would be very interested to know what mumsnetters think...
My DH is in the forces and we move as a family when he is posted, which tends to be every two years. It can be a bit shorter but equally can be longer if he gets two postings in a row in the same location. We have two DC, neither of whom are school age yet.
When I meet new people it often comes up in conversation, as people ask where we live (we live at a barracks), what primary school is dc going to go to (we don't know as we will move before then). What has started to really annoy me is that so frequently, on realising we are a forces family, people who I have only just met start giving me what feels like a lecture about how disruptive it must be for our children, how unsettling, how bad off their education etc etc. It just seems really rude to start judging our lifestyle like that. If they wanted to ask questions about it I would be more than happy to answer but they often just launch into a big rant before I can get a word in.
I have two friends whose families also move often because of work (corporate firms) but they say that they have never experienced this before. I feel like the 'concern for our children' from total strangers is reserved for military families, even though there are other professions which require frequent moves. Am I being unreasonably over sensitive or is it rude to criticise someone's lifestyle when you have only just met them?
Are you sure they aren't just trying (possibly clumsily) to sympathise with you?
My Mum was moved a lot as a child and she absolutely hated it. That was with other work. I see no distinction. It isn't great for some children. I moved more than most (again work not forces) and quite enjoyed it. When I told a colleague we might move countries at some point with DD, she was horrified. Again, not forces. How do you know your corporate moving friends get no shit about their moves
I bet they do?
YANBU but these people aren't your friends, so don't let their shitty opinions matter.
If it makes you feel any better, we are a forces family, we move regularly too, internationally, and my dc (9,7 and 5) so far seem much more confident and happy in new situations than many of their peers. Yes it can be heartbreaking for them to say goodbye but also they are becoming to realise that actually they can get on quite happily wherever they go. Just focus on the positives.
I have never known anyone who was moved around a lot as a child and who looked back on it as a positive thing, be it for corporate work, forces work (lived in a barracks town so did grow up with lots of forces children) or because parents had itchy feet. Its not that I'd judge you or even say anything but I'd definitely not view it as a positive thing for a family - more something that has to be endured, esp by the kids.
Lots of children thrive on the changing dynamic.
My mother was one of four children in a forces family. She didn't like it, but the other three are the most accepting, well rounded, easy going people I know; at ease with travel and people from all walks of life.
The people you describe are rude and as crumblebee says, they are not your friends.
my parents moved a lot during my school years and i am afraid i did find it incredibly disruptive. not so much for my education but certainly in terms of friendships.
Could it be that people are meaning well but as it is a sensitive issue for you then you are reading a bit much into it maybe?
If it makes you feel any better, that was my childhood until I was 16 and I loved it! I have a degree and am hoping to undertake a masters in Sept so educationally it wasn't a disaster either. Just tell them that a) your children will grow up with a fantastic range of experiences and b) it will be their normality so won't be weird to them (oh and then tell them to do one if they continue to talk crap ;-))
Another one who spent childhood and adolescent moving countries and schools all over the place. Was disruptive and I envied those kids who went to the same school every year. I am very generous with this opinion, especially when I hear people airily claim how 'adaptable' children are.
Having said that, I have many friends who envy my travels and many more who've taken the same road themselves - I think the world is a smaller place and as long as your DC are supported educationally and emotionally through their moves and you are sensitive to how they are coping, then I am very happy to be wrong!
It isn't the norm for the majority of people, so maybe that's why they comment.
There are many upsides - exposure to other cultures, languages and the invaluable knowledge that people are good and bad whatever their creed and colour...
Don't know why people are trying to make you feel bad OP!
Don't worry about it
It happens on here too OP.
We're a Forces family, both DH and DS1 are in the Forces now. In the time I've been on MN I've seen posters criticise Forces families send their DC to boarding school so they can get some continuation of education, I've seen it written that it is selfish to have children while you are in the Forces and you actually shouldn't have any at all!
My DH is RAF so we haven't moved as much as an Army family would, but the DC have been to a few schools. It didn't have a negative impact on them, really.
I've had some really, really rude comments since DS1 joined up.
My cousin had his kids while in the RAF and they're a happy, successful bunch now as adults (and his eldest son has followed him in to the RAF) so another vote here for people keeping their blooming noses out.
Other people can correct me if I'm wrong but I always picked up the impression from my cousin's family that Forces kids and families stick together so there's a bit of a ready-made community wherever you go?
Ignore them. Yes some children will have moving every two years, but some will love it and will gain the ability to make friends wherever they are. If your dh is posted overseas then your children will get the chance to experience another culture and country.
Both my parents were forces children and lived all over the world, Libya, Singapore, Italy, Hong Kong to name a few. They loved it and thrived. I was also a forces child and was gutted that my dad was in the same overseas posting from when I was a baby till his 22 years service was up when I was 9. I'd have loved to have the opportunity to live in countries that others dream of visiting like my parents did.
Thanks for all your responses! It is really helpful to hear from people who moved around a lot as children. It seems quite split on people who feel they benefitted from it and those who disliked it. I think what gets me is when people start saying how bad it is before even asking us about it at all. Our rough plan is to see how the dc get on with moving schools etc and go from there. If it isn't working we will buy a house and set up home somewhere and DH will commute. We wouldn't continue something that was distressing the children. However, if the dc are happy we will probably move while they are primary age.
I see what posters mean about trying to sympathise and drawing on their own experience. I guess I am pretty sensitive to it as it is very different to my own childhood. We moved 500m once!
people either comment negatively because they had a negative experience or because they have no understanding of the situation and assume the worst - unfortunately that is human nature.
It is clear from your posts that you and DH have thought about it and considered the implications. That is good, and perhaps you need to counter the negative comments with responses such as "Yes we know which is why we have discussed it at length and agreed that DH will commute should it begin to have a negative impact on the DC's". If they see confidence in you over your choices they will accept your decisions and should shut up
I have friends who had a parent in the forces till they finished high school and did brilliantly in their exams, some went to boarding school for gcse years, some didn't.
I think the hardest time to be moving about would be in the gcse years but thats the same for forces families who may be moving countries and a non forces family moving 10 miles away and having to move school.
my dn was a forces wife(dh no longer in forces) and her sons have turned out really well
we are a forces family too, however we chose not to move with him. I stay and work in my home town with DS, who will be raised here with the local Welsh 1st language school and mrginger commutes on a Friday evening and spends the weekend with us and any leave. It works, but we get judged for this. We get, but what about family life, won't DS miss dad....blah blah fucking blah
you can't win with these people, so just smile and nod and walk away and think to yourself...what a twat. Then eat some cake...
Squeezepast, I'm an army wife and have encountered what you're saying! People always judge, but perhaps have some responses ready? My ds's aren't school age yet either but people still feel the need to comment on my family and our choices. Would they do that with other professions I wonder?
The other thing I get is "you can't complain, you married a soldier"... When I mention that I miss my husband when he's away (as he is at the minute). I've come to realise who my real friends are in the last 2 years.
Ignore what people say... Have some ready made responses ready and remember the reasons why we move so much, dh is army, we go where our dh's are needed
I am the child of a soldier and we moved every three years to different countries in Europe. I can honestly say I think it gave me more confidence in meeting people and making friends. I don't think my education suffered as a result of all the moves. Hard as it might seem, do try and ignore these idiots.
We are a forces family as well, and whilst I haven't encountered a lot of this, I know what you mean and find it frustrating.
However, I am a primary school teacher and having taught in a mixture of forces and non forces schools, I think the moving around can actually make many children more confident. It very much depends on the child, and you will have thought about that in relation to your own children and made the right decision for them.
Although the not a forces child myself, I moved a lot as a child and went to 5 different primary schools and lived in numerous countries growing up. I loved it and now have friends from all over the world from my childhood. I wouldn't change my memories of moving for anything.
I think people also don't realise the support on offer too, I don't even live at camp but can arrange things and get welfar numbers from the hive office if need be, like when I went in to pre term labor while he was away they bent over backwards to help me.
The only time we would consider relocating is of the commute was over 3hours home, but with mrginger's job, he is very unlikely to stray that far as there's only 3camps for the entire regiment, and then if he did want a change of job he would end up one of two camps, which we would then consider the relocation due to the nature of the job and the support network would need to be greater for me and DS.
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