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Forces sweethearts

DH wants to join army can I still work as a nurse

6 replies

WafflingDreamer · 20/06/2019 08:22

My DH is in the army reserves, hes always wanted to join the army but wasnt eligible until more recently. He signed up as a reservist so we could be sure he enjoyed it, he adores it, his real job is rubbish minimum wage but he's from overseas and came to the UK with no qualifications. Clearly for him joining the army is a good move and I get it

I love my job, I am a sister in a childrens department (quite a niche area) DH and I work opposite shifts so I am currently at home a lot with our 2, 3 and 4 (nearly 5) year old. We dont rely on any form of childcare other than my DM helping out once a week for a few hours.

If he enlisted would it be possible to still work? Is it possible to survive financially with 3 kids and me not working (at present we live in an expensive area and I am the bigger wage earner) I guess night shifts and weekends would be almost impossible to do.

I love him and I want him to follow his dream but at the moment it feels like I'll have to give up my dream for his. If I know I can still at least nurse and find reasonable child care then perhaps it wont feel like I'm sacrificing so much

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LunaAzul · 20/06/2019 08:25

If you move with him quarters are cheaper than private rents - or they used to be when we lived in quarters.

I have friends who were nurses and travelled with their husbands. Some employed fully, others as bank staff. I guess it depends where you are posted to.

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Bluntness100 · 20/06/2019 08:27

With his increased salary can you afford childcare or can your mother do it?

You don't need to give up, but the question is can you organise child care to allow you to keep working, as he will be posted elsewhere.

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franklymydearidontgivea · 20/06/2019 08:50

Yes of course you can still work, families do make sacrifices for their military spouse, but are adaptable and make it work. I would recommend he thinks carefully about which branch of the armed forces he joins as deployment, separation, location and frequency of moves is v different. With the increase in super garrisons he may find that he can be in the same location for 10 years, but that would depend on regiment etc. The RN has something called home port agreement which means that families can stay in one location, which has advantages but deployments are longer and more frequent.

Quarters are slightly cheaper than private rented accommodation, but the gap is closing and they are very frustrating in terms of getting maintenance carried out and the lack of choice.

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Birdie6 · 20/06/2019 09:48

You can still work, but you do have to be aware that the non-military partner always takes a back seat to the military partner , when it comes to work. I was in a similar position to yours , I'm also a nurse and he was in the military police. I ended up travelling with him, and had a series of jobs in local hospitals which ended my career prospects entirely. He had the career and I had some unrelated jobs.

A wit once said "If a soldier was meant to have a wife, he'd be issued with one". You'll know what that means when you've been a forces wife for a while.

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WafflingDreamer · 20/06/2019 10:30

Thank you all for replying. I guess my main concerns would be

Organising childcare is always difficult especially as in my role I am expected to attend emergencies and by the nature of that I cannot guarantee I would finish work on time. My mum currently helps and is amazing but I wouldn't expect her to travel to help out or have the kids more than she does already as shes very near retirement age and they are exhausting!! I would potentially be happy to take any role nursing children but maybe only a clinic job or something would fit in well with affordable childcare.

If I couldn't find childcare to suit unsociable hours I'd have to do something else I guess as I imagine a new soldier isnt going to earn enough money to support a wife and 3 kids.

I'm really worried about agreeing to this and ending off in a really bad financial situation.

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avalanching · 20/06/2019 11:06

I have lots of friends who are nurses with soldiers, considerations:

  1. Army basic pay is crap and takes a few years to build up
  2. MQs are cheap so you could make a substantial saving there if you are in an expensive area, although they are not as cheap as they once were depending on the grading and it could potentially take you away from your mother, you will to consider the impact on postings and moving around on your family and career also.
  3. You have to plan childcare like he's not there, they go away frequently on ex and deployment (depending on role) so you can't base your childcare on the hope he will be there, even weekends. He will be away the majority of the time he is training and you won't be able to live with him in basics, possibly phase 2 depending on length (but not always ideal if it's a temporary posting). I pay for after school club on Fridays even though DH finishes work midday Fridays 9 times out of 10, because he can get sent away on courses etc. A more flexible form of childcare like childminders may be more appropriate.
  4. Many of the nurses I know with small kids work part time and set shift patterns and then pay above and beyond if the childcare they require is out of 9-5.
  5. TA is not always a realistic experience of military life, the reservists on my DH's last deployment lived the life of Riley and were treated very differently to the regulars, didn't have to do the unpleasant tasks, were treated with much more flexibility, so I'd be careful doing a like for like comparison.

    Sorry that all sounds rather negative, I've actually had a very positive experience as a military spouse and my career has developed very well despite the difficulties, but I have always wondered how those who work shifts cope. But as I say I have friends who manage it, a lot of it depends on the role he has, but with most jobs it's usually more difficult and less flexible when you are starting out.
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