Lately, I’ve been feeling that it’s deployment season in our circle of friends. Either this one is leaving or this one is coming home, or this one just reached the halfway mark. For the military families that have an upcoming deployment in their future, we try to provide all of the support we can. It’s not easy and it never will be.
A couple of weeks ago at a military ball, the question popped up from one of the military spouses, “Should I move “home” during his next deployment?” Before I knew it, there was a full on debate.
“Yes you should, you’ll save money and have more help at home”
“No, you shouldn’t. Put your big girl panties on, home is where you make it.”
…I had no answer. I’ve been lucky enough to have been close to family whenever my husband deployed. Then I thought about what it would be like if I didn’t have family close by during a deployment. Moving home seemed really tempting.
Here’s what I gleaned from that friendly debate about military families staying or moving home when their loved one is deployed.
Staying Put During Deployment
Staying put means not having to do all of the other things that come with moving (packing, forwarding your address, notifying everyone who has your address, finding a new home, etc.) The military already moves your family enough, why add another move?
Experts say kids tend to thrive on routine and structure. Keeping them in the same school with their classmates, sports teams, or clubs (this goes for you too!) bring a sense of normalcy.
Medical Care and Other Services
If you’re near a base, you know you’re near medical services with TRICARE. You know you’re covered with a doctor, dentist, and any other specialists. Going to a non-military town may make it more difficult to access care.
Your loved one is gone, and that adds an additional stressor in your life. If you don’t have a support system, not having him or her around can add additional stress in your life.
Then there is the potential for isolation. If you’re not the type of person that puts themselves out there, a deployment may make you seem even more isolated. That is that last thing you need right now.
Moving Home During Deployment:
Your family and friends back home provide an immediate support system for you during this rough time. Good family and friends may not always understand military life but they will be there for you no matter what.
Help with Child-care
If you have kids, this is a big PLUS! And a common reason why military spouses move home during deployment. You’re in a new town, and it’s hard to trust others with your kids. It takes a village to raise one, and you know you have your village back home.
Living alone is scary enough. There are strength if numbers if you decide to move in with family and friends. If anything, it will give you some peace of mind.
Uprooting your family temporarily
Military life is one big roller coaster of changes, why add another big drop-off, especially a temporary one at that? Will the move be worth the hassle?
No independence (or privacy)
If you move in with family, then you’ve kind of inherited some new roommates who may not be the best fit. Living with your parents when you were younger is one thing. Living with them as an adult? I don’t know about that one.
The jury is still out on whether or not you save money if the family moves home. On the surface, it would appear that you would if your family charged little to no rent or the cost of living is significantly lower in your home town. However, others argue that with the cost of storage, cleaning and moving out, then moving back, and then potentially a new deposit on another home, you might not save as much money as you would believe.
One consensus that this whole debate resides on could be the topic of kids. If you have school-age children, it may not make sense to move them in the middle of a school year. If you have younger children or no children at all, then what would be the harm in moving back?
Questions to help you decide:
How much help will you really have? Your family might say they’ll help, but do they work full-time or have busy schedules as well?
Have you done a full cost analysis and compared the two choices in terms of finances?
Even if you move, is there still a way to stay connected with the FRG or Ombudsman while you are away?
I’m not here to sway you either way, just want to help you decide. Will you stay put or move home for the next deployment?
What are your thoughts? What worked for your family?
The Real Secret to Getting Through Deployment as a Military Spouse
Create a Deployment Binder: Printable Checklists for Military Families
8 Legal Documents to Update Before Deployment
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This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of MSB New Media & Unilever. The opinions and text are all mine.