'All participants in this study had children. Many working spouses reported difficulties in balancing their family responsibilities with employment due to the cost and availability of formal childcare and – because of geographic distance from family members during accompanied postings – a lack of informal support.

'For some spouses, this could lead to internalised conflict about whether or not they believed they were adequately fulfilling their responsibilities as ‘good’ mothers. Some described feeling divided between the competing demands of parenting and work, and guilt about a perceived failure to adequately balance the two.

'This conflict was largely expressed by spouses of officers but was related to difficulties balancing career aspirations with family life rather than to their husband’s position in the military hierarchy:

"… working now, I don’t feel like I do my mum bit as well as I did. And I feel guilty about that … I’m conscious that I’m … not 100% there for them … when they’re home I want to be at home, but I’ve got to be working."

'(Suzy, 40s, officer, Army)'


‘It’s nice to just be you’: The influence of the employment experiences of UK military spouses during accompanied postings on well-being.

Rachael Gribble, Laura Goodwin, Sian Oram, Nicola T Fear

April 1, 2019