Trying to join with a young family. Any experiences?

Discussion in 'Officers' started by Rhur, Jan 18, 2009.

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  1. I haven't been on ARRSE for awhile, but I was hoping for a bit of advice.

    I have always been interested in joining the Army as an Officer, however I have a young baby, and my husband is also a serving Officer. He is also currently in a deployable posting and is looking at heading out to the sandbox next Christmas.

    I can't think of any easy solution to this, so am looking at closing my currently open application and applying in a couple of years when my husband is in a non deployable posting. Is there any other way? If I were successful at AOSB, do they allow you to defer entry to Sandhurst? I imagine having a quarter at any stage is totally out of the question due to course structure.

    I was also wondering if anyone on here has joined up with a young family, or are currently serving and how they found it. Especially if anyone has any experiences of being at Sandhurst and having a family.

    Thanks in advance.
  2. Once you pass the main board your pass is valid for 7 years, or until the age of 29 - whichever comes first. I suppose it depends on how old you are currently.

    There is no reason that you cannot attempt the main board now, and if succesful go to RMAS in a few years as long as your circumstances permit.

    I have a young family also I'm hoping to join this year, although my other half is not considering joining so I can't offer any advise on that, good luck.
  3. Rhur,

    I went to Sandbags with a young family and to be honest, i hardly saw them apart from the weekend (Sat afternoon & Sun), but that's the choice you make.

    If your desire is to serve, it may be an idea to ask the parents to look after the youngster whilst at Sandbags, but once you commission, you may (will) have to ask them a few more times to care for them.

    If you do pass AOSB, then i believe that you can defer entry for 7yrs.

    If you want any further info, PM me if you wish.
  4. Thanks very much for both replies. I didn't realise you could defer for up to seven years. I'm currently 25 years old, so can't put it off too long .

    At what point in the course were you able to get away for weekends?

    My daughter is only weeks old just now, so I would be waiting until she's more independent of me and able to be looked after by my husband, or if absolutely necessary then my family. However I don't want to leave it so late that she's at an age where she notices my absence.

    My desire to join has never waivered, it's just trying to find the right balance between home and career.
  5. My understanding is that you can go to Sandhurst at any time up until the age limit, after youve passed AOSB. You obviously would have a valid reason for delaying your entry date, so Id say go for it.
  6. I saw them after week 5, but i had a quarter in Aldershot, so that made it alot easier than most.

    The way things are going with the forces, i wouldn't hold your breath until your husband gets a non-deployable posting as there are not many out there any more.
  7. If you are thinking about it, I would you suggest that you get the ball rolling, an application can take a very long time and you are under no obligation to join at any point in the application process until the first day you go through the gates at Sandhurst.
  8. To be blunt - ITS GOING TO BE VERY HARD!

    From your post, and questions may i suggest a frank sit down discussion with your husband. Is he supportive of you wanting to go?

    Think beyond RMAS, thats the easy part!

    For your whole career you will be torn between you child and your job. Its not the same for the men. Do AOSB but dont go to RMAS until you have seen what its like for your husband and you being away on a tour.

    As a Tp Comd I saw the women who had children crying ( as the men do) many a time on tour, as the maternal instinct and bond is so strong. They all signed off ASAP as they knew that they just couldnt do that to their child (and themselves) over and over again.

    Can you see yourself going away for 7 months. with your baby/toddler left at home?

    Do you want to take the chance of being killed or coming back seriously injured? This is real. In a Corps you will find yourself leading convoys through IEDs, can you see yourself doing that? Trust me you feel guilty enough when its just a partner, family and friends left behind.

    Most girls do the tp comd, tours etc before pushing a child out, then they can find a nice SO3 non-deployable job. But you wont be in the position, you will go away, maybe twice in you first posting and having a child wont matter, you have to go. it wasnt long ago that officers were not allowed to marry before they where a Capt, as you are supposed to be married to your Tp!.

    You may end up posted at the opposite ends of the country, on different posting cycles, dont think you get special treatment :( , especially if you and your husband are in different Corps.

    As had been said before, the grandparents/family will be used a lot, is it really fair on them to expect them to look after their grandchild so much?

    Im sorry if this sound negative, maybe someone will come here and say how easy it is and how possible, but i just dont think you will be able to do it.

    Ive been in 7 years and most of the girls who I commissioned with have left anyway. The only 1 left who has a baby, and partners in the Army, has a live in Au pair, but do you really want your child to spend all that time ( or husband :wink: ) with them when you are way. ( she is only staying in, as another friend is doing, to do one tour and leave, just to feel they are doing their bit)

    Some of the things above are why many of the girls leave. Life in the Army is possible as a mum, but ive only ever seen it really work when they are Capts or above and even then is very very very hard.

    Good luck. :D
  9. I'd look for a different career. Your situation would make finding a happy way through almost unobtainable.
  10. Army Policy is that it is the individual's responsibility to ensure care for their children. Bottom line is that you must be prepared to hand over your child to family if both of you were deployed at the same time. Whilst the chain if command might locally try to come up with a solution, the Army (AOSB) will want proof of your commitment if you're to get through.
  11. Perhaps a better question might be - 'Once I get through RMAS what are my chances of ever being able to balance young officer life with that of a Mum to a young child, while my husband is also serving?'

    I echo jerro's post, it will be incredibly hard for you all to strike the right balance. Even married couples without kids struggle to see each other as there is no guarantee of being posted together, add in the complicating factor of (probably) having to do tours in opposition so that one of the little one's parents are 'about' and you are looking at fourteen months of separation! In every three years.

    As for non deployable SO3 jobs, they are becoming more and more rare, and if you stay deployable, you will be deployed!

    Bottom line - good luck, before you leap you will need you and Mr Rhur to work out how you MIGHT make it work and then take a long hard look before you do it. CGS comments and all the press stuff about separation and divorce rates are a real and pressing problem - you will be really stacking the odds against you if you do not have a cast iron child care plan that allows you to raise your child in the way you would hope to.
  12. napier

    napier LE Moderator Reviewer

    When my wife & I met we were both serving captains (me Inf, her QA). Once we started planning a family we realised that we couldn't both serve and still have any chance of a family life. She left, as by then I was a major and close to my Initial Pension Point (although she was arguably a better officer). We now have 2 lovely kids and my wife is considering trying for a 'home only' FTRS job, but only once both kids are in school. We have friends who are both serving (no kids) and who virtually never see each other (currently one in London, one in Glasgow and postings out of synch). Unless you want to run the risk of your kids not knowing who you are when you get back from 6-7 months away, then stay a civvy.
  13. I would think very, very ,very carefully about this.

    In the past few years/decade there has been a throughput of subalterns that were more interested in climbing the greasy pole than in leading the soldiers under their command. I hope and think that 2 simultaneous wars may have cured this a bit.

    There are other things in life and your child needs you. As others have said RMAS would be very hard - and don't forget - your first command needs you to have your soldiers interests at the forefront of your mind, and not your child's interests.


    And you are, repeat, are going to be deployed somewhere probably ending in 'Stan for about 6 months.

    If you cannot do this, irrespective of what Arm/Service you end up joining, then please don't do it. Good luck in whatever you do decide to do.

  14. Join the TA.

    You'll get that military experience in manageable chunks, a tour if you want it when someone is going to be at home to look after the most important person in your life, and you can transfer units whenever your other half is transferred around the country.
  15. Probably very good advice from Angular - that way you stay in charge of your mil life.