Living on a military installation is vastly different from living in the general community. Military life is one of constant movement. Things can change at a moment’s notice, and when your partner suddenly gets deployed, your whole world is shaken up.
The most significant decision throughout all of this is, should you and the family remain at the installation in your partner’s absence or should you relocate back to civilian life. Here are some factors to consider to help you make the best decision.
Stay at the Installation
There are excellent reasons to remain at the installation, such as family time, finances, medical access, and your support system.
If you have children at school, uprooting them can be extremely disruptive. They have friends, relationships with teachers, and a sense of belonging in a like-minded environment. They are already dealing with not being able to see one parent for an extended period, so any sense of routine and normalcy will benefit them throughout this time.
Moving them to a civilian school, where their peers may not understand their situation, could harm their education. Military school kids tend to get higher scores on tests, according to the NY Times. Is it worth possibly reducing their level of learning?
Relocating is a very costly experience. Keep in mind that you’ll be doing it twice, the second time when your partner returns. If you decide to move back in with family to reduce costs, you still may be up for storage fees.
Remember, at the installation, you and your family are most likely covered under TRICARE. Check with them to find out the implications if you leave to return to civilian life, as you may no longer have access to this level of medical access.
Military installations are communities where everybody is in the same situation. Everyone knows what you’re going through. Never forget for one second how important this is. There will be days when you may need to lean heavily on this group. While keeping contact, if you leave, is, of course, going to happen, it’s not the same as having them on your doorstep.
Leave the Installation
Perhaps you have decided that you and your family should leave the installation until your partner returns, and that’s ok. Still, there are things you need to remember, such as returning to live with family, arrangements that you need to make, and who to remain in contact with.
Living with Family
What seems like a nice idea to return to the extended family needs to be carefully considered. Do the family members really have the extra room for all of you? Think about things like, will there be a bathroom shortage, and if there are other children in the house, will they be unsettled by the new long-term guests?
You may own or rent property in the area and now need to sell it or possibly break a lease. These are legal matters that you need to deal with. The people at Diamond & Diamond Real Estate highly recommend getting professional advice before dealing with landlords and salespeople. You really need to get your head around all the implications of this move.
Living away from the military community doesn’t mean leaving them. It is of the utmost importance that you stay in regular contact with your partner’s unit contacts. For your own wellbeing, you should also keep in touch with your friends and other military spouses.
Making the Right Choice
There are a lot of factors to consider when deciding to stay or go. If uprooting your children, creating a financial burden, losing medical access, and leaving your support system are out of the question, then the right decision is to stay.
If, however, returning to the safety and comfort of your extended family feels the right thing to do, then make really sure there will be minimal disruption for them. Get professional advice so that moving doesn’t become a legal hassle, and remember to keep in constant contact with the installation during this period.