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Any mums who are in the military about?

(48 Posts)
EuroShopperEnergyDrink Wed 23-Jan-13 02:33:55

Hi everyone

I can't find any information besides the maternity package, but I have an opportunity to start the application process to join the army as an officer. I have an interview next week to ask any questions- but I am reluctant to ask this one sadly for obvious reasons.

I am in a long term relationship and we have spoke about children, they're not currently on the menu now- but will be in about 4-5 years. The maternity package sounds great, but in terms of duties and deployments- how much do they take this into consideration? Is there a chance to maybe apply to desk jobs within the army (logistics, HR) or even maybe the MoD whilst LOs are still young?

Would also need to stay based in the greater London area as this is where DP's work is, (obviously overseas deployments for months at a time is a different kettle of fish)- but having to move any family around left-right-and-centre would be a dealbreaker for me. Am adamant that I would like any children to be schooled in an area near to their father's workplace and don't like the idea of boarding school.

Are all these valid concerns? Does this come up a lot when it come to servicemen/women with families? Or is me being so demanding suggesting that the military life is not for me?

madwomanintheattic Wed 23-Jan-13 04:08:33

The military is not for you.

End of discussion, really.

You need to be able to move wherever they need you, whenever they need you to. Yes, you will get mat leave. But then you will be back to work, and possibly on operational tours, whilst your baby/ ies are little.

You will not spend your entire career in the southeast.

You need to do a whole lot more homework if you don't want to get laughed out of the careers office.

And first of all, you need to choose which particular corps you think might employ you - ie do you have an engineering degree? A medical degree? What is your current career? And why do you want to join the military? (Sadly, to get a decent maternity package isn't adequate)

I'm struggling to work out if you are serious, or are taking the piss, tbh. You obviously don't know anyone in the military, at all...

So, let's see. Over the last twenty years (as a loggie) I've only worked at the mod once - for three months. The rest of the time I've been posted every 12 months to three years. Have served in several different countries.

If you're just doing it for the job security and the cash, try the civil service.

Sorry, I'm usually quite encouraging with folks who want to join up, but you are breathtakingly ignorant, and need to do a whole heap more research before you get anywhere near an interview.

Mothers are expected to be as mobile and as operationally available as fathers. I have a friend who was in Bosnia before her twins were 6 months old. Your husband/ partner would have the same choice as any other military spouse - stay where he is and you head off for your posting married unaccompanied, or leave his job and go with you.

If your partner isn't intending to leave his job, then you need to be prepared to conduct a long distance relationship for the next 16 years, kids or no. He could always keep the kids with him, and you could weekly commute - quite a lot of military personnel choose to live apart to give their kids and spouse some continuity. Others don't, and move their families around with them.

My twelve year old is in her eighth school. grin. I also have an 11 yo and a 9yo. You can put them in boarding school if you don't want them to move a lot, but we chose not to.

I think you need to sit down and give this a bit of thought, as I suspect you really aren't cut out for what the military will demand of you.

madwomanintheattic Wed 23-Jan-13 04:10:17

And I apologise for my honesty. But I think you need to listen up.

Polyethyl Wed 23-Jan-13 05:22:51

I agree with mad woman.
Trying to join the army, but not wanting to leave the London area, is not going to work.

Try a different career.

EuroShopperEnergyDrink Wed 23-Jan-13 05:28:00

I doubt I'm going to get laughed out of the careers office, as I've been approached and my interview next week is a chance to ask questions and them to find out a bit more about me. I am a grad security studies student and met a colonel who was in my uni department who suggested trying for the intelligence corps or the military police as a career due to my degree and my background in fitness, orienteering, the outdoors...ect.

I know of course I won't be able to stay in the SE my whole career confused I will be deployed and posted various places! I just wanted to know that if I was to have a family, they could be settled in one place whilst I shoot off and there would be no need for them to move.

How long do postings tend to be? From the army website they seem to be between 6-9 months, but I'm sure that varies depending on your position.

For you personally- how often do you get to see your family and OH?

EuroShopperEnergyDrink Wed 23-Jan-13 05:31:21

I said based, not staying. I doubt there is going to be many operations in Surrey!

I just wanted to check that my family could stay in one place, and that would be a place that I would return to in between postings/deployment. I know some families move around together all of the time.

I was approached and this was suggested to me, so no- I'm not completely clued up.

Polyethyl Wed 23-Jan-13 05:35:45

Deployments last 6-9 months for example to afghan or the Falklands. But with postings you should expect to move every 2 years. For example from chicksands, to catterick, to Germany, to Wales....
Your partner will either have to decide whether to follow you to Catterick to Germany etc, and then perhaps be alone for 6 months, whilst you are in afghan... or he stays in London, and you only see each other at weekends, and so spend a huge amount of your weekend time traveling home and back.

EuroShopperEnergyDrink Wed 23-Jan-13 05:37:47

Thank you smile that's really helpful. Definitely have a lot of questions to ask next week!

madwomanintheattic Wed 23-Jan-13 05:46:37

Heh heh.

Dh did a stint in int. you do know where int officers end up, right?

Mil police? He heh.

You really would be better off just checking out the civil service, honestly. I get that you are flattered, but being chatted up by a colonel at uni as your first glimpse of the military suggests you aren't really aware of what it would mean.

Officers usually get posted every two years. There are occasional three year postings, there are occasional one year postings. These are not the same thing thing as detachments. They are where you get shot at. A posting could be Germany, Scotland, Canada, and very occasionally the south east. It makes bugger all whether you have children or no, or how old they are, as to when and how often you get posted.

We did request an extension in one job for one year because my four year old with cerebral palsy was due to start school the following year - and we needed to remain in one place because we needed the time for her statement of special educational need to be prepared. We moved country for yr 1 and her statement was rescinded as we left the country.

Dh and I were together for the first seven years of our relationship and didn't live in the same country - either he or I was posted in Germany for the entire time. He is also military. I suppose if he had been a civvie living in London then I would have been in the same country for a couple of years, although I was nowhere near London.

Of course your family could stay in one place. Yu can buy a house wherever you like and keep them there. There's no problem with that. There are currently officers all over the world whose partners and children are living in the UK because they don't want to uproot them. Some of them manage to get home every couple of months for a weekend. And as I said before, you could hop on a train or fly down from Glasgow, or the Hebrides, or wherever - a lot of people do it, but it's a big ask for the parent who has the dcs living with them, tbh. Des your partner know that he will be spending a large percentage of his time as a single parent? Whilst working in London?

Usual rules for a six month detachment mean you would get 2 weeks r &r somewhere in the middle - but this is subject to the military fights running on time, and it's not unusual to lose a day or two this. The AFF we pages have a lot of info about marital strains and whatnot around detachment. Once you have done it a few times it gets easier.

Okay, look.

My overall point is, you don't join the military because some colonel chatted you up at uni, or you think the mat regs are good.

You join the military because your spdesire to serve your country and do something worthwhile outweighs the inevitable personal sacrifices.

Inevitable. Personal. Sacrifices.

No one who joins the military checks up on whether they could conceivably stay in London when their kids are small.

They just don't.

It isn't even a concern. Because they know that they will go wherever, whenever the military wants them. Whether their kids are 6 mos, or 5, or 24.

The military encompasses your entire life. It isn't something you fit in around your childbearing choices.

LtEveDallas Wed 23-Jan-13 05:47:27

Madwoman has it.

Yes you could base your family in one place (in your own home though, not a quarter) and you could be posted to another and commute. But how logical would that be if your family was in (for eg) London and you were Assigned to Paderborn in Germany? Thats a long commute!

Operational deployments can be 4, 6 or 9 months, but are generally 6. You need to be pretty fluid.

Assignments are usually 2 years for Officers, but again this is pretty fluid.

Yes there are places where you could stay/settle longer but these are few and far between, and actually I can't think of any assignments like that for Int Corps.

The maternity package is good, but you will be expected to be fully deployable as soon as you return. In my case it was after 6 months - I went back to work on the Monday and deployed on a 3 week exercise the following Sunday. Not fun. You will also be expected to do duties etc, and these can mean middle of the night call outs.

All officers will have the chance of a 'desk job' - you work 'at staff' as part of your experience, but a desk job will still require you to go on Exercises, MATTs weeks, training and so on.

I have had a great time in my career (soldier not officer) but I think one of the most important quality these days is flexibility. Which I'm not sure you really have? You cannot join up with a set of conditions in mind - you have to go with the flow. Sorry.

EuroShopperEnergyDrink Wed 23-Jan-13 05:50:43

I hate to be a flouncer, but a posters referencing to me being 'chatted up' by a colonel is most depressing hmm

Thanks for all of your comments, I will go along to my interview with a view of asking questions, and 'go with the flow' as it were..

madwomanintheattic Wed 23-Jan-13 05:51:20

Does your dh/dp know you are considering this? I've known a few male military spouses, but tbh most of them do accompany their serving wives, especially if there are kids involved.

Kudos to him if he's happy to keep the not yet born kids in London and single parent them whilst you are living away for years though. Or have you not yet mentioned it?

madwomanintheattic Wed 23-Jan-13 05:53:21

Um, I've been chatted up by a damned sight more colonels than you, tbh. And, um, <chortles> if you can't take that as a wee bit of banter from a serving officer, then tbh, I wouldn't bother. I'm not sure the 'flow' will suit you...

God, is it wrong to hope you get in? grin

Alad Wed 23-Jan-13 05:54:59

The army will demand that it is first above your family life. If you are still keen why not do a short service commission?

LtEveDallas Wed 23-Jan-13 05:55:02

Euro, you'll get a damn sight worse that that if you join up mate. I doubt Mad meant 'chatted up' as in trying to get into your knickers. 'Chatted up' as in persuading you the mil is a good choice smile

(Morning Mad, how's life?)

EuroShopperEnergyDrink Wed 23-Jan-13 05:57:20

Neither us seemed to know the depth of the intensity and sacrifices, I believe that if he would read this thread he'd be most adverse to the idea confused

But y'know, I love him- but I love me just as much. Will keep thinking and learn more. Joining up has been a wild fantasy of mine since I was a little girl...

madwomanintheattic Wed 23-Jan-13 05:58:03

But really, I apologise for the chatting up comment if it upset you.

As a fellow outdoorsy old bird (oh, I actually got turned down for the mountain rescue team because I was a woman btw) with jolly clever degrees and several interested colonels, I recognise the trope.

I don't think he will have been considering you as a mother, though. Just an outdoorsy, bright woman who would be jolly useful on operations. Less so if he knew you were considering requesting several years in London.

Rather enlightened of him, eh?

EuroShopperEnergyDrink Wed 23-Jan-13 05:58:38

Sorry Mad, I'm all bantered out it seems- have spent way too much time scanning ARRSE forums for info/details! grin

LtEveDallas Wed 23-Jan-13 05:59:59

Oh Christ, keep off ARrSE, that is NOT where you want to get your info from.

madwomanintheattic Wed 23-Jan-13 06:01:35

Good, ta. Hey, can you check up on that sex discrimination tribunal for me?
<oops. Might not have been the place to mention it> they must have ruled by now, and I can still find nowt online.

I'm willing to bet your colonel has got a lovely wife at home that's been keeping the fires burning and bringing up his kids whilst he fights for king and country. All good. As long as your husband is going to do the same, there's no issue at all..

And I like you a bit more now you're talking lifelong ambition. Personally I'd lead with that, not 'can I stay in London whilst my children are small?' grin

madwomanintheattic Wed 23-Jan-13 06:02:24

You read arrse, and 'chatted up' upset you? Bizarre.

EuroShopperEnergyDrink Wed 23-Jan-13 06:05:23

I would hope not Lt., started looking at AOSB criteria and ended up on some pretty dark weird corners of it.

Sorry if I see like a humorless flouncy wannabe babymachine, ladies. Although I am horribly clueless, it is something that I deep down at least want to explore as possibility- asking all of these first world problem questions is just another way of finding information and trying to think about how my life would pan out! You have been very helpful.

No upset/offence has been taken- it's very easy for your posts to come out wrong/unfeeling when you have severe insomnia and are navigating on your phone under the covers!

EuroShopperEnergyDrink Wed 23-Jan-13 06:06:45

By your posts, I mean- my posts. Obv.

LtEveDallas Wed 23-Jan-13 06:06:58

(I will Mad, but as you can imagine I'm up to my knees in Redundancies at the moment. Mind you, may make a nice change from staring at slow loading JPA screens! I'll PM you later.

LtEveDallas Wed 23-Jan-13 06:08:50

I would hope not Lt., started looking at AOSB criteria and ended up on some pretty dark weird corners of it

Oh yes, been there, done that grin Mind you, MN is like that sometimes too grin

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