Many families make the decision to PCS separately for a job, children’s school schedule, deployments and detachments. Recently, I asked some of my friends and fellow military affiliated bloggers, four questions about moving ahead of your active duty spouse. Their answers may help you make a decision about your family’s upcoming move.
1. Don’t even think about moving ahead of your spouse unless you have/do…
2. What surprised me the most about the process was…
3. If you could tell one thing to others who are about to move ahead of their spouse it would be…
4. Would you move ahead of your spouse again? And why?
Vanessa, San Diego CA:
1. Don't even think about moving ahead of your spouse unless you have found your dream job. This job needs to motivate you to get out of bed every day with sheer happiness, even while living in a hotel alone for 8 weeks with your dogs because the military keeps delaying your spouse’s move and of course he's on DET so obviously the dogs have to stay with you in the hotel (sarcasm).
2. What surprised me the most was the sheer freedom I felt from the constraints of military spousedom. What a ride.
3. One thing I would tell another spouse that's about to move is to make it count. Shake free for a bit, make amazing connections, go out to lunch by yourself, smile at everyone, and do the dang thing like you know you can.
4. Would I move before him again? In a heartbeat. I landed my dream job on my own timeline, signed on the dotted line during escrow knowing that he trusted my judgment, learned how to make no joke real life decisions without anyone to help me, and had the support of the best man I've ever met, one I'm proud to say is my spouse. When it comes down to it, we are in an equal opportunity world, why should the military impede that for us?
Shannon, Lemoore CA:
1. The Navy dictates my husband’s life and sometimes we have to make the difficult decision and not let it dictate our (the spouses) lives. I was lucky enough to find a job that advanced my career I just had to move to California, alone, and live in an apartment in Fresno (an hour away from base) where I knew no one!
3. I would definitely tell someone that moves before their husband that you have to be prepared to be extremely outgoing and set yourself up for success. I picked an apartment that had a big gym and then I went to the gym just so I could meet people. I put myself out there and joined a hiking meet-up. Also, reach out to anyone you may know in the area. Facebook is a great tool to communicate with old friends you may have lost contact with over the years. I found out from Facebook that a girl from my college sorority lived 30 minutes away from my new "home." After sending her a message about living in CA for a few months without my husband I got an invitation to her house for Easter Sunday dinner!
4. I would do it again if the opportunity presents itself, but it's probably easier to move together if the timeline allows it. Since we moved separately, our stuff went into storage which is just another opportunity for things to break. If I could do it over I would be home when the movers packed our house. I had to work so my husband was there and he did a great job, but I would have been a little more diligent about the way things were packed.
Kristen, Killeen TX, www.ifthesaddlefits.com
1. Don’t even think about moving ahead of your spouse unless you have living arrangements (a place to stay) figured out.
2. I was surprised by how much I missed having him around as I set things up. While I tend to do the majority of the unpacking and sorting, I missed having him there to basically agree with me on whatever I wanted. It just felt weird having him not be a part of the process. He said later that house never felt like home to him.
3. Sometimes, it's the right decision, even if it is hard and creates more work. You have to be able to assess each move and make a choice based on your needs at the time.
4. Yes, although it was difficult, our life would have been infinitely more difficult if I hadn't. For background, I was pregnant when my husband was at the 6 month career course and finishing his masters degree. My due date was less than two weeks after his report date to his new duty station so I moved ahead of him by two months (June 5th, he reported Aug 5th). It turned out to be a really good idea because our son made an early entrance on July 27th. I was able to come home with a newborn to a house that I had already started setting up - although I wasn't completely unpacked because I couldn't move half the boxes in my eight months pregnant state! Now that our son is five, I would move ahead of my husband if I felt it would make for a smoother/easier move for my son. Hotel/transient time is really hard on him.
Have you PCSed before (or after) your spouse? Please share your thoughts and experiences in the comments.
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