A blog from Army&You’s winter 2023/24 edition by Roushana Cherryholme

Whilst posted in Brunei my two eldest sons completed their GCSEs, gaining excellent results. One wanted to join the RAF like his friend, the other a football sports college. Neither of them enjoyed having to go to school.

One kept changing his mind about which A-levels he wanted to do, whilst the other could no longer attend his college of choice as our posting was cancelled at the eleventh hour.

My sons were unsure on their next steps, so we decided to steer them towards the military.

After we came back to the UK, they applied through the army careers website, they went for assessments and started!

At all of these points it was very exciting, then reality struck. I was saddled with worry and anxiety. I felt like a terrible mother for parting with my sons.

I was scared of being judged and questioned – had they been pushed into it too much? I cried many a time and my fears kept rearing their ugly head. Being a military wife is one thing, but a military mother is a whole new level of stress.

When your 17-year-old lad passes through basic training with grown men, that brings a whole new level of respect.

My middle son was at Harrogate – he really struggled with the admin and the berating under pressure. It broke my heart to hear him worry, doubting he was good enough. He dislocated his knee on the final exercise but continued on and passed.

Both have now passed out. Thank goodness it’s over! I couldn’t be prouder if I tried, and all the worry and stress has melted away.

One is now 18, out all over the country most weekends, playing football weekly, as sport is his passion.

The other passed his driving test not long after his 17th birthday and is waiting to start his ammo tech course, having just passed selection, where he can learn about niche things and tinker.

As a military mum I can honestly say the forces has been a blessing in disguise and promotes independence. It’s a great starting point for future life choices, especially for those who don’t always fit the traditional educational model of school, college and university.

Roushana is our Best Blogger for this edition – she wins a £25 Amazon voucher. Congratulations!

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