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Advice needed from RAF wives

(71 Posts)
fluffyducks Wed 21-Feb-07 14:54:51

My DH is looking into going the RAF and the recruitment office have been really pushing 'we're family friendly' and I want to know if that is true. We have 2 DD's, 1 and 2 y.o. and as my DH is my only support at the moment, I am obviously very concerned about what support there is when he is away, is there any organised by the RAF? I'm also worried about what I'll do when the kids are at school, are there any restrictions on wives working, what jobs they can take etc? I'm also unsure about what happens during the initial training, will we be able to see him at all, how long might he be away from us? I'd also like to know what it's like living on base/off base. I'd really appreciate any advice you can give me. Thanks in advance.

flossie64 Wed 21-Feb-07 15:05:47

I can omly talk from my experience ,but there is quite a lot of support out there if you choose to live in MQ's but if you choose to live in your own house you tend to make friends outside the RAF. As with anywhere you live ,you have to be a bit pushy cos at the end of the day people won't run after you to be your friend. Sorry if that sounds harsh Idon't mean to be.

fluffyducks Wed 21-Feb-07 15:29:25

Thanks for your comment, I think my initial message may have painted me as the shy, retiring type which I'm not. My question about support was more aimed at help available when DH is posted/training and I have the kids 24/7 for maybe 6 months or more. I don't have any family to help out and in order for me to have a day off, my DH looks after the girls. Is there help with childcare on base?

flossie64 Wed 21-Feb-07 15:39:51

On most bases there are Mother and toddler groups and creche / playgroups . If you know where you will be goiong contact that base 's HIVE and they will be able to e-mail loads of info . I got 13 folders of info ,from doctors to shopping! do you know where your going?

fluffyducks Wed 21-Feb-07 16:02:10

My DH is still at the application stage and so we don't even know yet whether or not he will get in. It would just be such a huge change to our lives that I want to look into what impact it would have on my 2 DD's and myself. I want to support my DHs ambition but I want to go back to work when my girls start school and I want my girls to be happy and have a good education. I need to find out where compromises are going to have to be made and what limitations there are when you're partner is in the RAF. For example, whether or not the RAF have any control over family life/career choices if you live on base.

flossie64 Wed 21-Feb-07 16:46:37

They cannot have any control over your career , you are not joining up . There are implications though , cos he will be away sometimes at short notice and maybe for long periods, so you would have to accept that . Although you find they o, on the whole go away as a crew (if they fly) or as a unit in other jobs . What does he want to be?

PetitFilou1 Wed 21-Feb-07 16:51:24

Fluffyducks There is a reason why lots of forces kids go to boarding school and also a reason why lots of forces wives are SAHMs or teachers or nurses (because you can easily find jobs wherever you go). I'm married to a RAF doctor so don't have a usual experience (I have never had to live on a base - I currently live on a 'patch') but those are points to bear in mind. On the other hand, you will have support from all the other wives/partners who live around you when your dh is away but you do have to get in amongst it and push yourself forwards a bit as flossie says. You will need to be fairly tough to cope on your own when your dh is away. I feel a bit out of the 'official' support network where I am (although am friendly with lots of my neighbours) but I know there are things you can tap into if you need to.

saltire Wed 21-Feb-07 16:52:48

Well, ahving been an RAF wife for more than 13 years i can tell you my experiences. Is he joining as on officer or a Junior (I hate that word used in this context) rank?
If you live on base in amarried quarter there will be lots of support, sorry to say if you,live off base then the people you socialise with/live next to will be civilian. I say this because sometimes when your DH is away you do need support, and often that can be got from his section/squadron, or your neighbours, because they will have been in the same boat.
They cannot influence your career, but be prepared for the fact that your DH will be away on exercise and detachments (which last 4 months), so you may need a career that is flexible. There are usually playgroups, creches etc on most camps, you won't however get any finacial help from the RAF for

I'm not sure about the training, as DH was in when we met, but it is a Halton initially, then depending what trade he does it may be on another station.

saltire Wed 21-Feb-07 16:54:06

Depending what rade he does, he may go off in a squadron on detachments, in which case all the other wives will be in the same job, but some trades they go off on their own.

flossie64 Wed 21-Feb-07 17:02:05

I lived off base in a civilian village , but every other house was a forces one cos there were 2 bases so close together so most of our neighbouhood had good understanding of the support we all need nowand again. Where I live at the mo is different ,but I joined a gym ( sad eh) and have made tons of friends there. None are RAF /army but all of us support each other still.

fluffyducks Wed 21-Feb-07 18:36:31

Thanks for all your messages. My DH would be going in as an intelligence officer, and training would be at Cranwell initially and then at Chicksands. As for me I'm a scientist not very flexible really, I don't think I'd progress much if I kept moving on. I am open however to changing careers, the problem is who would look after the kids while I retrained?. Something that really concerns me is that there doesn't look to be any support for us as a family while DH would be training and the information is ambigious as to how often we would be able to see him.

saltire Wed 21-Feb-07 19:07:56

A woman i know has her DH at cranwell, she initially stayed here, her DH was a Corporal. However she has applied for an MQ at Cranwell, so as far as I know she is moving down there however her DH will not get home at weekends, even though he is on Cranwell. Another woman i know has chosen to stay where she is. It's just the way the course works. It's for a few months, but if that's what he wants to do then it's the way it is I am afraid.
Many of the Military wives i know do childminding, work in creches etc, so that childcare is covered if the Dh goes away on detachement.
You will be fine once he passes out though, loads of things to do for officer's wives.

MilaMae Wed 21-Feb-07 21:52:53

My father was in the RAF and we moved a lot-every 2 years, don't know if that has changed now, a question you may want to ask as we hated it. When we got to secondary school age the choice was boarding school or dad to do an office job MOD in London as we had to have stability for exams. We desperately didn't want to go to boarding school so he went for the office job which he hated, being away from a squadron and planes. Just a couple of things to bear in mind. Are your kids also outgoing as walking into a new school every 2 years is tough?? It wrecked my mothers teaching career, she chose to be a SHM to give us some kind of stability, it was hard getting teaching work anyway as schools need stable staff. She got quite lonely on camp(I'm sure that has improved though). Also bear in mind that you would want to somehow keep in the housing maket as you'd have nothing when you left. Sorry to sound so negative but I thought a grown up childs opinion would be useful. Hopefully somebody will come along and say things are different now.

flossie64 Wed 21-Feb-07 21:59:14

I have 2 friends married to pilots in the RAF they both ars scientists. I suppose it depends what field you work in but they never seemed to struggle to get work, even in the far north of scotland!!Also my neighbour here is a physicist and her husband moves around with the police,but she can get consultancy work quite readily.If you move to Linvcolnshire you are well placed for work as you can even get the train to London from Newark in 1hr 15mins

FluffyMummy123 Wed 21-Feb-07 22:00:10

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FluffyMummy123 Wed 21-Feb-07 22:00:36

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flossie64 Wed 21-Feb-07 22:07:04

icod ,Idon't want to disagree with you but , my husband was front line flying for last 14 yrs and theres not many 20 something pilot 's wives in the nimrod world!We're all much more mature (or should I say worldly wise than that)!

FluffyMummy123 Wed 21-Feb-07 22:21:22

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MilaMae Wed 21-Feb-07 22:47:58

My mum hated the continual socialising and snobbery that came with being a Wing Commanders wife. She didn't enjoy living in the officers quarters either, I'm guessing you're allowed to paint the walls now and don't have to put up with orange nylon sofas!!! Seriously though I thing the kids are often the ones that are over looked in all this.

fluffyducks Wed 21-Feb-07 23:12:18

Milamae - thank you for your input, my childrens happiness and ability to fulfill their potential is my greatest priority, that is why I gave up work to stay at home with them and I will continue to do so until they go to school. However, I think that my childrens happiness is related to whether or not we their parents are happy and fulfilled too. I'm trying to see if it is possible to balance all our needs with DH in the RAF. It greatly concerns him too, he is worried that signing up could destroy our family, we are very close, and I think that unless I give him the thumbs up to follow his ambition he will reject the idea, but where would that leave us if he always thinks what if?, would that maybe not do greater damage to our family?

alibubbles Thu 22-Feb-07 07:23:54

I was an air force brat, I went to 12 schools, but I learned to make friends very quickly, and looking back at school reports, I was the brightest in the class everytime I went to a civilian school - don't know what happened when I got to secondary school!

Father had left the RAF by then but went into Air Traffic Control, so did the Gatwick, Stansted Heathrow moves and the wrong times. I really wanted to board.

My DB did, at the boy's school to you iCod. (so did DN and he was senior grecian 4 years ago - a pilot in USA now, repeating the service life)

shosha Thu 22-Feb-07 07:41:42

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FluffyMummy123 Thu 22-Feb-07 08:45:52

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shosha Thu 22-Feb-07 09:33:57

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fluffyducks Thu 22-Feb-07 10:55:26

Are there any wives/husbands/children of forces who stayed put in one place and didn't move around with postings? Can it be sustained?

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