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Common Misconceptions About Military Family Life

We’ve been living the military lifestyle now for a good number of years and I still get asked random questions all the time from people outside the military environment.

There are quite a lot of assumptions made and the misconceptions really are quite off the mark.

So I thought I’d write a blog highlighting some of these whilst setting the record straight.

Military houses are free!

No they most certainly are not! It’s just like civvi street where you pay rent every month on the house. The only difference is that you can’t really decide which house you want. You do get a very small choice of houses but let’s be real... They’re all pretty much the same.

They can actually be quite expensive as well depending on what sort of house you live in and what CAAS (Combined Accommodation Assessment Scheme) band you're on. This is things like how many plug sockets you have in each room, how many toilets you have, how remote your house is etc

We’ve never actually rented a home privately but I assume renting an equivalent house to what we have at the moment on civvi street would probably be more expensive. HOWEVER quite often (like us) military families will own a house as well, so having to pay the mortgage on our family home and the military house rent too really adds up!

We always live on camp

This one depends on where you’re posted to. If say it’s an overseas posting like the Falklands, all of the military families accommodation is on camp. If there isn’t a camp, like here for us in Scotland, the military accommodation is just normal houses on a normal street.

When we do have to live on camp though, I suppose it has it’s pros and cons...


- You’re within walking distance of the mess (the bar)

- You’ll usually have access to a free gym and again it will be within walking distance.

- The serving spouse will probably be within walking distance of their workplace so therefore you’ll only need one car for the family, if any at all.

- There’s an added sense of security, you’re surrounded by barbed wire and there will be guards on the gate.

- There’s usually a great community atmosphere, everybody’s in the same boat and there are always things to do.


- You have to go through the gate security to get on camp, by this I mean show your ID every time. You may even have to show it leaving camp as well, depending on where you are (Northern Ireland for example).

- It’s a bit of a ball ache getting visitors, you can’t just have people turn up at your house whenever you like, again they have to go through gate security and you’ll have to sign them on to camp, and maybe even book them in, in advance.

- The camp could be in quite a remote area and therefore you may have to drive quite a way to go anywhere.

- You’re completely submerged in the military lifestyle which can take away any sense of normality.

Health care is all free

It is for the serving spouse (and quite rightly so) but for the non serving spouse, it’s not free. We like everybody else have to find our local clinic/dentist and register.

This again can get quite annoying because we move around every 1-2 years so that means we have to let the clinic know we’re leaving and then find a new clinic in the new area and sign up all over again. This goes for our children as well.

If posted overseas though, it will be included. The whole family is registered with the military medical centre and any treatment/medication is then included.

We LOVE the colour magnolia

I can’t speak for all military families but I definitely do not love the colour, I’m not saying I hate it, hate is a strong word but it’s not up there with my favourite colours...

Yes the houses are covered in magnolia but let me tell you, that is not by choice! It’s just not worth changing it, as you are supposed to get permission to paint the walls, and then you have to return them back to magnolia when you move out... We’ve barely ever spent longer than a year in each house, so the hassle of painting the walls twice in a year just isn’t worth it!

All military spouses are female

Well just by being on my website, you will know they are not... Some people do just think it’s all about the military wives but there are plenty of military husbands too!

There is a hierarchy among military spouses

Some like to think there is lol and if you’ve seen any films like ‘Military Wives” then you might think there is too.

Not in my world though... A spouse is a spouse, It doesn’t make a difference to me who your husband/wife is or what job they do (I mean that in the nicest possible way)

Some believe the spouse wears the same rank as their partner which is ridiculous!

If you said to me “do you know why my husband/wife is” please excuse me for laughing at you lol

Military Spouses don’t work

Most of them do and some have really good jobs as well. The ones who don’t probably have a very good reason for it and chances are it’s not by choice. The lifestyle comes with sacrifices...

Some jobs just don’t facilitate you moving around every year or so and because of this many a spouse have given up some incredible careers, me included, and I can tell you it’s one of the toughest decisions ever.

There are plenty of places that can help spouses get work now though like Recruit For Spouses and there are now plenty of workplaces who recognise the talent pool within the spouse community. They therefore try their best to facilitate all of the uncertainty and moving around.

There’s a bunker under the house

This is one of the more weird ones I’ve been asked...

I would love it to be true but unfortunately it is not. We did have the next best thing though in Germany... We had a massive cellar which we converted into a bar/gym and I was VERY happy with that!

These are just a few of the common misconceptions that I’ve heard and been asked about but if you can think of any more, let me know and I’ll add them to the list!

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