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Everyday Life

Everyday life in the Forces is like riding the Big Dipper (We talk a lot about the emotional rollercoaster within this website) All the amazing ups and equally large downs! 


Whether you choose to throw yourself into the life completely, choose to live in your own accommodation, the minute you become involved with someone in the Forces, everything changes.


You have just joined a club. A big old family of people all going through the same emotional waves as you, that others don’t and probably will never understand.


What families think of service life now has not really changed much over the last 60 years. If you spoke to families serving after the war they would say the same as most of us. There is a real sense of adventure in moving around and seeing the world, and in good times the friends and social life is unbeatable. Not to mention the immense sense of pride you get when standing next to your man or woman in uniform.


The one thing that has changed over recent years is the sheer amount of time they are away. Deployments seem to follow deployments and the casualty lists keep on growing. It’s terrifying for families back home.


Somehow you have to try and balance the good with the bad and remember that this is what they want to do, this is the life they have chosen.  There is no point pretending that it’s not going to be extremely difficult but when things go right for you, it will be the best.


It always makes me laugh when people say “oh, you knew what you were getting yourself into” – how on earth could we have ever known that?!  


Living in Service Accommodation

If you decide to move around and life in service accommodation then you will have to prepare yourself and your children for a very turbulent lifestyle.


Aside from the fact that most married quarters are extraordinarily ugly and run down, there are a lot of positives in being part of “patch” life and being surrounded by people who are going through the same things as you. Quite often you are living near people of your own age and the social life can be brilliant.


There are times though when the goldfish bowl becomes too much and it can put a real strain on your relationships. As a service person you are paid 365 days a year and oh boy does it feel like it. As a partner, you can easily feel second best to work.  It’s not easy to see families around you enjoying a barbecue on a hot summer’s night while you sit on your own wondering why they are working AGAIN.


If you are new to living with the Forces you may find the politics really difficult to deal with. That is perfectly normal. Most of the time, you will be surrounded by good people who, like you, would just like a quiet life, a few parties and a partner at home. Sadly, as with all walks of life, you will get one or two trouble makers.


There can be competitiveness within the patch, there is rank snobbery and there is sometimes just basic bullying. This can be unbearably difficult to deal with, especially if you are home on your own.


If you are having a hard time then why not pop along to our Chat Room or post a note in the Forum. See what other families have done to cope. There will always be someone who has been through it before.


Living in Your Own Accommodation

There is a lot to be said to living in your own house, dipping into Mess life when you fancy it and enjoying all the “good bits”. You will be able to maintain some stability for all the family and most importantly………… no magnolia walls!


You do however, then enter the world of weekly commuting and can spend more time getting home than you actually spend at home.


When they deploy you won’t have the same support of being around neighbours and friends going through the same difficult times. But you are entitled to and should get the same welfare support during these times but it’s difficult to fully utilise the support when you live away.

Everyday life will be pretty much the same as it would be if they had a "normal job". There will be periods while they are away or working late and there will be periods where you get great quality family time. The main difference is the fact that you don't get any privacy. You will probably be working, living and socialising with all of their work friends. This can be brilliant (and mostly is fine) but it also can be quite suffocating and difficult to deal with.