Joining the reserves with a young family.

Is there anyone who has joined the reserves with a young family? I'm 24 with two preschool children and I'm interested in joining. My partner isn't too keen on the idea of me joining but this is early days yet and I have a lot of fitness to do. I applied to join full time when I was a teenager but never followed through and I've always kicked myself for it. I've been on the website etc but I wanted first hand advice from others who have been in the situation.
 
Is there anyone who has joined the reserves with a young family? I'm 24 with two preschool children and I'm interested in joining. My partner isn't too keen on the idea of me joining but this is early days yet and I have a lot of fitness to do. I applied to join full time when I was a teenager but never followed through and I've always kicked myself for it. I've been on the website etc but I wanted first hand advice from others who have been in the situation.
I don't have a young family but plenty of people who joined the Reserves with me do. They don't seem to have any problem. After all, it's not full time, you can do as little as 27 days a year.
 
Bit of a delay - hope I'm not too late.

I'm only a couple of years older than you. I've just completed Phase 1 (Bravo) and have been at my reserve unit roughly two years (previously came off a zero to hero course for compassionate reasons, not just been sat around on my thumb). I'm newly married (2nd anniversary soon) and my son is just over a year old.

When I met the mrs I had wanted to go regular and it was discussed at length. Even applied, interviewed and passed CBAT, got all the way to the door of being an RAF WsOP before deciding the lifestyle wouldn't fit with what we wanted.

Anyway... to answer your question personally I don't find it hard at all. It balances great for me because I get my military life without having to be away from my family for months or years on end.

A couple of things to consider though will depend on your circumstances. I.e. your job, your relationship.

My previous job was in retail and working 50hrs a week and then going away for a weekend would mean zero family time. If you're okay with that then great, but it's something to think about. I wasn't. To digress, I also hated retail and left it to become self employed so for me the work/family/army balance is pretty much bang on now.
Get your employer on side. Most big employers (especially retailers) give a 2 week annual allowance for reservists - in other words they pay you when you go on camp/training but it's not taken out of your holiday entitlement.

In my experience if you give everyone a decent heads up everyone can deal with it. And just keep in touch with the family when you can. I treat it like a part time job so my drill nights are built into a part of our routine now.

Realistically unless you sign up for ops the most you'll be away from your family is 2 weeks. Bravo is 2 weeks, your trade training is 2 weeks and guess what...2 weeks camp is 2 weeks.
It'll suck for the first 3 days but once you're settled time flies fast. They pack A LOT into reserve courses so you don't actually have time to be homesick. Most people can handle 2 weeks by themselves just make sure the mrs has a lot of support (if she wants it that is). My in-laws are great with that.

And like your man says it's only 27 days commitment a year, although that does include a 2 week camp/training block if you want your bounty.
Which reminds me - big selling point is the money. Not the day rate (works out at about £2.60 an hour when you're pulling 16-18hr days) but the reserve bonus's. So for Phase 1 completion you get £1000, and Phase 2 you get another £1000. Your tax free bounty then starts at £444, £970-somthing, then £1500, £1500 and then £1750 by year 5. It's not bad for pretty minimal commitment especially if it's all disposable.

It's all worth it to have the family cheering at you when you pass off too!

TL;DR - If you want to go for it then go for it, it's a great gig. Work out the life/work balance, sell the benefits to the family. I'm in the same position as you and I've done nothing but enjoy my time in the reserves.
 
wrth gefn yng nghymru

That sounds great thanks for the helpful reply. Basically my only problem is me and my partner are both self employed at the moment and he works 6day weeks and I'm at home with the kids and work from home so we don't have to put the kids in nursery, so it's really whether or not he can sort childcare out when I'm not there. Still got time to sort things out though I've got to sort my fitness out yet ha. Congratulations on your soon to be 2nd anniversary, we just got married last weekend. Best of luck with the future too.
 
Yeah it's tricky. I'm also self employed these days for exactly the same reasons as you - to avoid childcare costs which are ridiculous.

I forgot to say you can break your Alpha course into 4 weekends. I believe it's every other weekend - in other words spread over 2 months and there's usually more choice with location. But you can do the consolidated 7 day one. So you have some flexibility with this if your partner can just work 5 days a week every other week or bite the bullet and go for a week. You could do the 4 weekend Alpha and lessen the blow of the 16 day Bravo.

Like I say with the money you should be sound. Just treat it like a paid holiday (I did at least get a tanned face!). That said, If you're like me and very client and face-to-face based (I'm a fitness and personal trainer) so it can be risky to lose that time with your clients. That said I'd take a guess that most can take a fortnight break or at least keep things ticking over (I didn't lose anyone). We kind of went for that option. The wife took some holiday and worked it around with her parents. So they took him for two days and she took him for three so she only used 6 days holiday. Again, it's whatever works for you.

One last piece of advice if you do go for it. Just get through the first 3 days. Don't look at your phone or be worrying about stuff. Just park it. After 3 days you'll have gotten over the shock of capture and gotten to know your section and have settled down. Back home the same will be true for your partner. My wife got into a much better routine by day 3.

[[So quick footnote - Fitness wise run loads. I mean loads. Not that you do a lot on the courses but it'll help you out. Focus on HIIT (High intensity interval training) and Circuits and do not ignore resistance training It'll help you get through the PT sessions (Reg PTI's love to destroy reservists).
Do a lot of body weight exercises so for example go 40seconds on 20 seconds rest. 1. squats 2.push ups 3. lunges. 4. situps 5. burpess. repeat that 4-5 times. That kind of thing will really help. You won't have time at home to mimic PT sessions with millions of squats so doing the short, sharp, intense stuff would be the best approach. It's what I did and I found the PT sessions somewhat challenging but very doable.
When it comes to tabbing try and get on a cross-trainer (which is great for the hip movement) or a treadmill. On the treadmill set the speed at fast walking pace (5-6mph) and gradually increase the gradient to 16%, hold on to the sides and grind it out - this will help get used to the speed and calf burn on tabs. Failing that just walk a lot with a rucksack or pushing the pram or both.]]
 
I'll just mention that there is more than one sort of Army Reserve. If you find the number of weekends difficult, Specialist Units have a minimum commitment of 19 days (after training) - 15 days Camp and two weekends. There's be extra weekends which will be beneficial to you and your unit but that's the minimum.

Don't be put off by publicised technical requirements - if you have a driving licence for instance, you can free up one of the technical types to allow him to do his specialist work. To use the jargon, you become a "force multiplier". Or your civvy trade may be exactly what the unit is looking for.
 
I've got a way to go with the fitness yet ha so any tips are welcomed.
I have no civvy trade and only GCSEs at grade C but I have got a driving license.
I know it says 27days minimum but how long roughly do you get called out for? Because I'm reading that you HAVE to go on ops for 6-9months and surely if it's saying the minimum is that then that's not taking into account operations? What do they say to you about operations? Or have I just got my research confused with regular?
 

BuggerAll

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
I've got a way to go with the fitness yet ha so any tips are welcomed.
I have no civvy trade and only GCSEs at grade C but I have got a driving license.
I know it says 27days minimum but how long roughly do you get called out for? Because I'm reading that you HAVE to go on ops for 6-9months and surely if it's saying the minimum is that then that's not taking into account operations? What do they say to you about operations? Or have I just got my research confused with regular?
Operational tours are usually on a voluntary basis unless there is a national emergency. Of course you may find that you want to volunteer. The opportunities are less than they used to be.

Why not encourage your other half to join too? Perhaps not the same unit so you can share looking after the rug rats.

Fitness is important but unless you are a total wreck you should not put off joining. Being part of the gang will help with your fitness training.
 
You only have to go on ops if you get an invite. Some people have been in 30+ years and not been mobilised, others volunteer to go on ops year after year.

The call-up is for a period of "up to a year" but it's usually 4-6 months in theatre. Add in pre-deployment training, decompression and accrued leave and you're heading for a year away from your civvy job.

You'll probably get home leave during your tour so look at about 4 months away from your family.

That's presuming that the rules haven't changed much in recent years, if they have, someone will jump in to correct.
 

wild_moose

War Hero
You only have to go on ops if you get an invite. Some people have been in 30+ years and not been mobilised, others volunteer to go on ops year after year.

The call-up is for a period of "up to a year" but it's usually 4-6 months in theatre. Add in pre-deployment training, decompression and accrued leave and you're heading for a year away from your civvy job.

You'll probably get home leave during your tour so look at about 4 months away from your family.

That's presuming that the rules haven't changed much in recent years, if they have, someone will jump in to correct.
And even then only if you ask for an invite.


WM
 
And even then only if you ask for an invite.


WM
You may want to check the rules. While some people may have requested compulsory mobilisation, a lot of us just got told "Turn up on Monday".

Regular CO opened his welcoming address with "l'd like to thank you all for volunteering...". We all looked at each other - WTF?
 
That's okay then. Haha yeah my husband's response to me telling him I'm looking at joining the reserves was "hey why don't I join up too then we can both leave the kids." ....:neutral: so I'm researching my ass off so I can educate him.
 

wild_moose

War Hero
You may want to check the rules. While some people may have requested compulsory mobilisation, a lot of us just got told "Turn up on Monday".

Regular CO opened his welcoming address with "l'd like to thank you all for volunteering...". We all looked at each other - WTF?
Fair enough - I wasn't aware there'd been that position since 2003 when Iraq kicked off (which isn't exactly relevant to now). Happy to stand corrected if that is the case - although I was referring to practise rather than the rules which obviously exist for a reason
 

mullers

Old-Salt
I left a couple of years back after my other half fell pregnant with our first. She wasn’t really into the idea from day one and neither was any of my family, whilst they didn’t object they showed no interest at all, that was always the tough part for me. When she fell pregnant i got a lot of grief and wasn’t really left with much choice other than to leave.


I was ok about it at the time but now I miss it to the point I am seriously considering re-joining, though I’ve got some timber to shift and fitness to regain.


Parading and weekends weren’t an issue for me, the unit was close to work so it didn’t interfere and weekends were fine because I never had any kids at the time. You also have to take into consideration the phys. Overall it’s a big commitment if you have young kids.


From my personal experience, I’d say the reserves favour guys with either no kids or those whose kids are older. You have to consider how your mrs will be with you not being around but also how you will be with being away from the kids. Girlfriends and wifes rarely see it as a good thing, they just think it’s time away from the family, p*ssing about with your mates and guns.


Obviously once the cadre is over the commitment can be less but it depends on the cap badge, some maybe ok with you doing one weekend a month others will really want you to try and do most weekends which can at times be every two weeks. You get summer holidays and xmas though.

It’s a great thing to do but you need to get your priorities right, it’s not always easy and if you are getting grief at home then you could just jack which you will regret. Maybe worth waiting a few years until the kids older and you can dedicate yourself to it. Obviously only a decision you can make.
 

fran91

Crow
Hi kaybee... just wondered if you'd made a decision about joining?

I've recently been thinking about it but haven't mentioned it to my husband yet as I know he won't be overly pleased. We don't have kids yet but his job means he works a lot of hours so we don't get to spend loads of time together as it is.

Like you I don't have any "skills" so not sure what job role I would be able to do.
 
Fran91 Just pop along to a ARC (Army Reserve Centre) and find out, having no qualifications isn't a bar to anything, and in the forces you can do equivalence qualifications as well, the local unit will have role in something, RLC, REME, RSigs, Int, etc, thou you can belong to a long distance one.

The 27 days is to qualify for the years bounty, although you don't have to do the 27 days, you still get paid for the time you do attend, also the 27 days is a minimum, you can do up to 180 on a ADC contract
 

BuggerAll

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
Fran91 Just pop along to a ARC (Army Reserve Centre) and find out, having no qualifications isn't a bar to anything, and in the forces you can do equivalence qualifications as well, the local unit will have role in something, RLC, REME, RSigs, Int, etc, thou you can belong to a long distance one.

The 27 days is to qualify for the years bounty, although you don't have to do the 27 days, you still get paid for the time you do attend, also the 27 days is a minimum, you can do up to 180 on a ADC contract
There are also Nationaly Recruited Units where the commitment is only 19 days a year - although the opportunity to do more is there. No evenings etc.
 

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