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Military Moms - Jan-Feb '09! - Page 39

post #761 of 1125
I was in no way trying to say or imply that any branch was better, stronger, easier, softer or harder than another. I was just relaying what my dh says based on his experience. I have no direct knowledge of any of it or opinion one way or another. The Army and the AF have much larger budgets than the Marines. Is the AF a division of the Army the way the Mariines are a division of the Navy?

I did want to add that, although our life is much better in a lot of ways since my dh joined the Marines, recently all the long deployments and separations have taken a toll on our relationship. It's very hard being separated from my dh for so long. It gets very lonely. Every time he goes we seem to become a little more distant and disconnected. It's hard when he comes home because we have to go along with marriage while sort of starting over again. He's been gone so much recently that we haven't had enough time to get back to our previous closeness before he's gone again. I don't think our marriage is on the brink of collapse now but I can see how things could get to that point if the current circumstances continue.
post #762 of 1125
Well DH is AF and they themselves call it the "Chair Force". Many people (who are AF or AF dependents) told me that promotion takes longer in the AF than in other services, I cannot comment on that. DH is non-deployable and cannot even volunteer. He is capsule crew for ICBMs (missiles).
I do think I'm lucky with my PCM: I get to see flight medicine since DH has to be seen by them (PRP status). Family practice is totally overrun and never has time and gives crappy service at our base.
We were civilians and then DH applied to OTS. During OTS we received E5 pay, which was lower than what he made as a 30 hour per week temp at Wells Fargo, but the BAH we got was humangous. We lived in San Francisco, go figure! I stopped working once he was in OTS and I was pregnant, so yes, my 50K is gone, but we still make enough for a nice house, 2 cars and occasional travel to CA and Europe.
We are O1 now and we do not qualify for WIC or any social support. I know friends who have 3 kids who went to OTS with DH and they get WIC. Anyways, BAH is always a huge factor for us. It totally pays for our mortgage plus homeowner's insurance. I think we get a pretty appropriate amount of BAH and it is tax free, yuhuu.
The commissary - it totally depends where you live! When I checked out the commy in Montgomery, AL, it was cheap. The commy in Vandenberg, CA was ok for some items. The local commy is way more expensive than Walmart and Safeway on sale. They always charge 6% on everything, while the local stores don't tax food at all. That's huge! While meat is cheap on base, it's not good quality. The only thing we buy on base are organic tomatoes (Muir Glen is cheap there) and coffee.

@ MW: Air Force is its own branch. It used to belong to the Army during WWII, but after WWII it became its own branch.
post #763 of 1125
Quote:
Originally Posted by nia82 View Post
@ MW: Air Force is its own branch. It used to belong to the Army during WWII, but after WWII it became its own branch.
Ah, ok. That probably explains why I wasn't sure. I probably heard it used to be but isn't anymore. So, the AF budget is their own. That probably makes a big difference in what they have. My dh jokes about how the Army would dump vehicles that had broken down on the side of the road in Iraq. The Marines would come along, pick them up, take them back to their bases and fix them up.

I also wanted to say, as far as the Navy is concerned, I have never met an enlisted sailor who is happy. I haven't known many but I knew quite a few when we lived in VA Beach. I can't remember one saying he enjoyed what he did or being in the Navy in general. That's the one branch I told my dh I did not want him to join because he would be gone so much. I was a bit naive about the Marine Corps.
post #764 of 1125
WOW! Thanks for all the responses. I'll try my best to answer all the questions.

He would definitely be enlisted, since he has no more than a few college credits under his belt. I'd like him to go to school though (he is VERY smart, like nearly perfect ACT score smart) so I guess at some point, he would eventually be an officer (if he stays in for a longer period of time). I can handle the lower income (we have always qualified for WIC now but choose not to get it), I would just really like to stay home. I am training to be a post-partum doula though, so I could possibly take on a client here and there whenever he was home. We also homeschool and DS is special needs, so that's the main reason I'd like to be able to stay home. Plus both of us are really sick of waiting tables and at the rate we're going, we won't be ready to buy a house or anything for 10 years. I guess we just feel like we're in a rut... just "stuck" and this just seemed like a good option for getting out of that rut.

I am definitely worried though because Robert is not the toughest dude on the block. He's just not the macho type of guy. I worry that he wouldn't even make it through basic. I guess there's only one way to find out though.

I'm not too concerned about the medical care and such. DS is special needs so he would need some special services, but I have no qualms about finding other doctors if I don't like the ones they offer me. I plan to homebirth/UC in the future as well, so I wouldn't have to deal with their OBs/midwives (my sister's midwife at Ft. Hood was a rude cow). Are there be any rules against homebirthing on base though? That would be a big concern if I were to get pregnant because I do not want to be forced to birth in a hospital.

We do absolutely know that we would have to get married. We'd just go get the piece of paper though, no wedding for me please! I told them that we'd HAVE to though because there is no way I'm missing out on the benefits. I'd have to work and put DS in public school just because we're not married. No way am I doing that. So married it is.

I know you all are saying that he wouldn't be making that much, but according to this chart, his base pay would be just under $1400 and his BAH would be over $1000. That is a good bit more than we make right now. Don't get me wrong, we have everything we need at the moment, but we have barely any savings, our cars are old and tired, and we don't want to rent this old house forever. I don't know, it just seems like this would help us out a lot financially! Maybe I'm just dreaming though. Oh, and DS gets SSI as well, so I'm assuming we would still get that? We try to save it every month but that doesn't always happen, but with a better income, we could save it all for him.

As far as what he wants to do... He'd really like to get into translating and communications. Don't ask me why, he knows no foreign languages. Maybe he could major in Japanese or something though.

I'm not sure where we'd like to live... I'm pretty open. We both like the idea of traveling to new places and moving around. Like I said, we're homeschooling, so that makes moving around easier too, I'd guess. We'd never have to pull DS out of school, anyway.

I know that all looks a bit disjointed since I didn't quote anyone or anything, but I think you get the idea.
post #765 of 1125
Quote:
Originally Posted by urchin_grey View Post
I am definitely worried though because Robert is not the toughest dude on the block. He's just not the macho type of guy. I worry that he wouldn't even make it through basic. I guess there's only one way to find out though.
FWIW, my dh is very macho (although you might not tell by looking at him because he's small). He had to get a waiver because of his age and one thing that really helped him was his physical fitness. He was a part-time personal trainer and competed in bodybuilding (natural). I was still worried sick while he was at OCS. He suffered hypothermia at one point that I didn't know about until a while after the fact. I think that's one of those things that you just have to go through before you know if you can make it. Some people are a lot tougher than they seem. And, even if he doesn't make it, at least he'll know he tried.

He can get money for school and might even get paid to attend school while he's in. I think they've changed the GI Bill so that it covers family members now. That's nice if you want to expand your education or might be able to use the money for your children. When my dh joined that wasn't the case so we didn't sign up for the GI Bill. It might've been helpful now with an 18yo who might actually go to college.

Keep in mind that the BAH changes depending on where you live. Ours is about $500 short of our mortgage payment. If you live on base, the BAH won't really matter. Unless they've changed things since we lived on base 2 years ago, you see your BAH go in and then right out of your paycheck as it's paid directly to the housing management company on the base. If there isn't a private management company for base housing where you are stationed, you just won't get BAH at all.
post #766 of 1125
Thread Starter 
I just UC'd on post (was planning a homebirth). Around here homebirth is fairly common, my midwife attends them on post pretty regularly. We never discussed it with anyone unless they broached the topic first, I'd recommend the same to you as well. Better to ask forgiveness than permission

Tricare Standard would probably be best for you since you'll have your choice of providers and pay a co-pay (I pay 20% at the moment), and you won't need a referral for services for you DS. You just have to find a provider that takes Tricare.

Doulas are in high demand in the military, particularly post-partum doulas during deployment. My PP doula was a life saver.
post #767 of 1125
Oh, I know the BAH changes... I was just looking at what it would be locally (New Orleans) and $1100 seems like a lot to me. Our rent in the suburbs is only $450/mo. Though, it is controlled and we've had that since late '05, right after hurricane Katrina... but still, the mortgage on a nice house here would be under $700. I know when we moved though, it could be very different, BUT we only have one DS so we wouldn't need a large house. I'd find a way to make it work and only buy within our means. Or just live on base. We could definitely live off $1400/mo with free rent.

Quote:
Originally Posted by KatieJD View Post
I just UC'd on post (was planning a homebirth). Around here homebirth is fairly common, my midwife attends them on post pretty regularly. We never discussed it with anyone unless they broached the topic first, I'd recommend the same to you as well. Better to ask forgiveness than permission

Tricare Standard would probably be best for you since you'll have your choice of providers and pay a co-pay (I pay 20% at the moment), and you won't need a referral for services for you DS. You just have to find a provider that takes Tricare.

Doulas are in high demand in the military, particularly post-partum doulas during deployment. My PP doula was a life saver.
Excellent! That is exactly what I'm training to do actually, post-partum. I'd like to be a birth doula eventually too, but with a small child and a job, being on call isn't possible.
post #768 of 1125
Way to go, Katie! Was your dh home for the birth?

If we have another here, I might have to go UC because I don't think there is anyone who attends home births anymore. A PP doula would've been so nice after I had ds3. Around here the only PP doula I knew of was not supportive of homebirths and was way too expensive for us.

I had ds3 in our house on base. I only told a very few people. That was partially because we were on base and partially because CPMs aren't licensed here. I have heard that some MWs are hesitant to attend births in base housing because it could potentially be a federal offense. I wanted to have a home birth in Hawaii when I was pg with ds2. I was told not to tell anyone because my dh could get in trouble with his command. I don't think there was any official rule on the books about homebirth but it's also not something that's specifically authorized either.

With a teenager and 2 LOs we needed a bigger house. I've been thinking about looking into refinancing to get a lower interest rate although we got a pretty low one. I don't know if it's best, though, because we've only been here for 2 1/2 years so we don't have any equity built up.
post #769 of 1125
Thread Starter 
MW - My DH deployed 2 weeks before she was born and came home on leave when she was about 4 months old, he'll be home for good just before her first birthday. I intended to have a MW attended HB but she missed the actual birth by about 5 minutes, she got lost on the way to my house We had an okay relationship during my pregnancy but her actual care of me was very minimal, I had maybe 5-7 visits because she was always rescheduling and forgetting. Other than hemoglobin testing I had no other testing done other than one ultrasound. I think I knew all along that I'd UC but once we knew he was deploying before the birth I wanted to have someone around. Turns out that someone was going to be me since DS decided to go to bed about 30 minutes before she was born All in all an excellent experience, it healed a lot of my resentment and anger about my DH having to miss the birth.
post #770 of 1125
Wow, Katie! That's fabulous! I think you are one of our resident heros, too. That stinks that you didn't get the support you expected from your MW. I always imagine that all MWs are these wonderful, sensitive, caring people but that's not always the case. The MW I had when I was pg with ds3 was amazing. She became a close friend for me. Unfortunately, she's decided to take a sabatical and, as far as I know, there aren't any others in my area. I don't think I could've done a UC with ds3. I would've been very afraid. After having him, though, I think I might be able to do it. That's all fantasy at this point, though.

I got an email from my dh tonight. Things are getting very close. The anticipation is almost too much to bear.
post #771 of 1125
UG- I see all the details have been filled in.

My DH joined the Army at 34. I cannot speak to the other branches, but basically, although the bureaucracy has been a PITA, it's all been worth it, benefit-wise. I guess we have the benefit knowing what it's like to take care of all that stuff yourself, health insurance, housing, etc. etc. The security, for us, is really great.

I don't know where you're coming from, age-wise, but if you're young, and you have other options, there may be points when you guys are thinking, WTH did we sign up for? If you're older, though, the security and the pride in the job your husband will be doing will more than make up for it.

Oh, and... my husband and I worked humanitarian aid before this. So that's long separations in conflict zones, no retirement, basic health insurance, no living allowance. :P For us, this is way better... though they better get us to GErmany with him soon, or I'll change my tune.
post #772 of 1125
If your partner is interested in languages, he could talk to a recruiter about becoming a linguist (35P in the Army - I don't know about the other services). I don't think you actually have to know a foreign language in advance: I'm pretty sure they make you take some kind of aptitude test that measures how easily you pick up languages, and then if you score highly enough they assign you a language and ship you off to train you in it.

Good luck!
post #773 of 1125
He's 25 (as of Thursday) and I'll be 25 next month. Not sure if that's considered young or not.
post #774 of 1125
Thread Starter 
I never really had an awesome relationship with either of my midwives so I think at this point I'm in the mindset of why even bother having someone around who doesn't really seem to care. I'm sure if I was in an area with lots of midwives I could find someone awesome. I think for future babies I would seek prenatal care and just take it as it comes and see how I feel about UCing again when we get down to it.

25 is ancient in the Army! I feel a granny when I see all of these young 18-20 year old folks around. My DH is older than me, also. He spent about 6 years in college and took a year of prep school prior to that so he's older than most people his rank.
post #775 of 1125
Quote:
Originally Posted by KatieJD View Post
25 is ancient in the Army! I feel a granny when I see all of these young 18-20 year old folks around. My DH is older than me, also. He spent about 6 years in college and took a year of prep school prior to that so he's older than most people his rank.
Ain't that the truth?! I see couples who don't look old enough to drive who are married and pregnant. That was a major culture shock after coming from the D.C. area where most are professionals who put off getting married and having children until their 30s. The divorce rate among enlisted, especially right now, is very high but they are usually soooooooo young it's not surprising. Being married that young is hard enough without having to deal with deployments. 25 is probably mature enough to deal with the stress of military life better, especially since you've already had a life together before the military.

I've recently started reading the book, Nonviolent Communication. In one part the author lists a few professions that require the suppression of emotions. The military is a big one. I think that's the major issue I have right now. As the years pass and my dh spends more time in the military away from us and only with other military guys who are all being tough and not showing any emotion, he becomes less and less expressive when he's home. I need to feel an emotional connection to him. He doesn't understand what the problem is because he's just doing what's normal to him.

Back to having babies, there's no way I would go to the civilian hospital here. That place scares me. As far as I know, I wouldn't be able to see a military doc for prenatal care even if I switched to Prime. They are so overloaded they send a lot of people to civ docs. I have thought that, if I had to, I'd just show up at the Naval hospital here already in serious labor so they wouldn't be able to send me away.
post #776 of 1125
@ urchin: If he starts to work on his BA right away and does well in his job, he can apply to OCS as soon has he has his BA. He can apply as an E1! All that matters are the test scores (there is an officer candidate test), that he has a BA and a couple letters of recommendation. I thought the application itself was rather painless, the waiting is the hard part.

@ katie: can we like switch bases? Homebirth is basically illegal here! CPMs are outlawed.

I agree about the age-phenomenon... I'm nearly 28 and DH nearly 26, we are like grannies here. The other people we know all went through ROTC or the academy and hence are like 23 and mostly single and party people. There are some other OTSers who were priors or civilians like us, but they are over 30 and have no kids... I feel like we are in between the 21 year olds and the close to 40 year olds. It's a little weird

@MW: I agree sooooo much about the emotions. I felt like I got a different man back from OTS. It's like he was brainwashed to not show emotions. He seriously tried to apply military processes to our daily life. He didn't get far with that one, hahaha! You cannot expect a baby nor a wife to work and react predictably like a squadron of soldiers.
post #777 of 1125
Thread Starter 
Midwifery is very murky here as well. We're in the process of trying to change it though. I was actually seeing a CPM, and it isn't very clear whether her status is legal because she's certified in another state. lay midwives are not legal here, and CNM's have to be directly over-seen by an OB. I would not give birth at a hospital again if I could help it, they do the same thing by sending people to civilian hospitals here and I've heard some horror stories.

The way it has worked for us in terms of age differences is that DH's peers at work are childless and unmarried, not really too huge of an age difference but a few years. All of our neighbors have typically been older with older kids, I've only had one who wasn't. To my neighbors I'm considered the young'un in the neighborhood.
post #778 of 1125
When we got to our first duty station we were about 10 years older than almost all the other Lts. We were older than my dh's CO. Now as a Capt. in my dh's current unit the age difference seems to be shortening but I think that's because a lot of the guys are prior enlisted. We're still older than many.

CPMs aren't legally licensed here in NC, either. That doesn't make home birth illegal. CNMs who have MD backup and MDs alone can attend home births. The problem is that most MDs don't support home birth so they won't attend them and won't provide CNM support. I've heard there's one CNM in Ashland, NC who had MD backup and can attend home births legally. Wish that were the case here because then TriCare would cover it.

The home birth laws can be confusing. As far as I know there is no state where having a home birth is illegal. It would be unconstitutional to make a law like that. For example, in NC you are only required to get medical care for your child is s/he is sick. You are not required to take your child for well check ups. So, if you have a healthy pg and a safe home birth and your baby is healthy, you've done nothing illegal. You are not required by any law to get medical care for yourself or your unborn baby while you are pg. I know because my old OB reported me to CPS for having a home birth. Also, many times people have babies outside of hospitals by accident. It would be extremely difficult to determine which were planned and which were not in terms of prosecution. If it were illegal, I doubt you'd have many people openly admitting that they had a planned home birth. It is possible that there could be a regulation against using government properties for such purposes so that it might be illegal in some way to have a baby in base housing. That I don't know about.

We've gone through the "your family is not a platoon of Marines" with my dh. It can be hard for them to switch gears from one extreme to another, especially in the beginning when they've been completely immersed in nothing but taking orders. My dh had a really hard time with our teenager because he was/is about the same age as many of his Marines. They follow orders so why wouldn't our ds? Haha!

Sarah ~ I'd love to read your opinion on that. Do you find it hard to express emotions with your family after being in an environment where you are not supposed to show emotions? What about the giving/following orders thing? I wonder if a woman's perspective and experience is any different.
post #779 of 1125
LOL, yeah, I figure most people join while they are still in high school. My sister went to boot camp the summer after 11th grade, so she was barely 17.

My sister and her DH are one of those young pregnant couples too. They got married at 18 and 19 so that they wouldn't be separated. Then they got pregnant a month before they were due to come home from Afghanistan. I can't talk though because Rob and I moved in together when we were 18 and we were even a bit younger than my sister when we started TTC (and got pregnant on the first try).

The emotion thing does concern me too. Rob is more emotional than most guys so I wonder how that will effect him. I remember my sister got into trouble for showing emotion at a wake and then again when she was searching an Afghani woman who was covered head to toe in burn scars. It just irks me that they are expected to be robots... My sister seems like the same person to me though so I hope Rob can get through it the same way. The biggest difference I notice with my sister is that she lets people tell her what to do way too much. (Particularly with her pregnancy.) I have to keep telling her that if she's going to listen to other people, she needs to at least stop listening to stupid people.

How does schooling work though? If he starts right after basic, is he still going to be bringing in a paycheck? There is just NO way we could make it on my income alone. I have no doubt that he'd do great though. He is way, way too smart to wait tables forever. That is the main reason we are considering this... When we met, he was already in contact with a recruiter (for the Navy though, I think) and we both had scholarships. Love got in the way though and we wound up ditching everything else. Not the smartest move, no, but we were 18, so that's our excuse. LOL
post #780 of 1125
As for money and the commissary, I've found the commissary much cheaper on certain items. Probably the biggest money saver is meat. Meat is so much cheaper on post.
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