I get a MOMYS digest for "mothers of many young siblings". One asked a question about what is basic training like. This was my answer.
"Boot camp is culture shock. If a person gets past the first week they'll be fine. Obviously you don't want to yell at your kids and you might not want to do everything, but it's true that there are some things they could do that are the same. Making sure everything is clean and tidy is a major part of it. And it's not their idea of what clean and tidy is, but the TIs. Waking up at 4:30 a.m. Beds made as soon as your feet hit the floor. Clothes hung up the night before (a certain way). Shoes under the head of the bed. (However I wouldn't recommend waking them up at 1:30 a.m. to shine them because your flashlight doesn't reflect back at you :) Yes that's what they did to us). Drawers kept in a certain order with things in a certain place. Teeth brushed as soon as you're dressed. Sinks were wiped out, dried as soon as they were done being used. No trash left in the trash can when everyone left the room. Everything cleaned and shined. Marching everywhere you go. I still carry things in my left hand so that my right hand is free to salute an officer :) and I've been out of the military for over 10 years! Standing at attention when there is nothing to be done. When addressed, saying "Sir/Ma'am, Airmen (insert last name here) reports as ordered", (the 6 magic words), and then answering the question. Reading/studying your BMTM (Basic Military Training Manual) every free minute. Making sure your canteen is always full. In San Antonio, TX in the summer that's just common sense. Learning to work together as a team. If something isn't done right the first time, do it until it is done right. Wearing a uniform for everything. Individuality is out the window. PT - physical training - running, sit-ups, push-ups, pull-ups. (A girl in my flight and I got in trouble one day for wearing our PT sweatshirt with our shorts and t-shirt; it was cool in the early morning. We were yelled at and had to take them off and lay them on the ground. We forgot about them after PT and never saw them again). Showers are group showers, 5 minutes or less, and that's if you got one. We usually got one on days we did PT or if we had to do something special. I'd say in the 6 weeks of Basic we got 12-15 showers. No kidding. Baby wipes became our best friend. We couldn't carry anything in our pockets except for our id card, money list, and 3 - 341s (a piece of paper that we had to turn in if we got in trouble - you did NOT want a 341 pulled). We girls found our sports bra to be pretty handy as a hidden pocket. Finger nail clippers, breath spray, and anything else we could think of went in there. Money was locked in our personal drawer, the key around our neck, and any time we spent money we had to update our money lists. A money list had written on it the denomination of the bills we had and the serial number of each. We had two; one in the drawer and one in our pocket. If we got a BX (base exchange - kind of like a Wal-Mart, a mini-BX was like a convenient store) run, when we got back we had to mark out the ones we used and write in any new ones. Tedious job, made us want to not go very much."
For anyone considering the military, there's your warning. :)
Until next time...