Your soldier comes home from work and mentions the “D” word. He hands you papers and a wave of worry overcomes your body. To anyone not in the military, this would sound like divorce. But we know all too well as military girlfriends, fiancés, and wives; I’m talking about deployment.
Along with orders comes a long to do list, and a question that some spouses consider:
"Do I move home or stay during deployment?"
While some of us tend to look at our PCS move as home, others still consider their parents' house, their hometown, or their birthplace their home. For me, New York is just somewhere I’m living right now; it’s not my home.
When my husband told me he would be deploying, I thought I would try and stick it out in New York. I thought I would get a job, stay busy, and be surrounded by a wonderful support system of other wives going through the same thing I was.
However, for me this was not the case. I felt more alone than ever. My family and I are very close and with my husband leaving, me moving, and finding out I was pregnant all in a matter of a few weeks, it was hard for me to be in an unfamiliar place on my own.
Consider these things when deciding to move home or stay during deployment
Support system: Do you feel that you’re surrounded by a good group of people to support you mentally and emotionally? Since we had only been in New York for a month before he deployed, I hadn’t met enough people to feel comfortable turning to them for advice and support. Although my family at home wouldn’t understand the emotions I was feeling with my husband being deployed, I knew they would help keep me upbeat and positive. Some people worry that moving back home or being away from your husband’s post will keep you “out of the loop”, however, I still received emails from my FRG. You can always contact Rear-D via email and phone if you have a question or a problem.
Children: If you have children in school, it probably isn’t easy to pick up and move everything. If deployment overlaps with the summer, you could always consider taking an extended vacation instead.
Job: Depending on whether or not you are employed, you have a few different options. If the company you work for has other offices or branches, you may be able to request a transfer, in which you would relocate and continue to work for them in a different location.
If that’s not the case, you may need to weigh the pros and cons of continuing to work at your job. Because deployment pay is significantly higher than normal pay, you may be able to take a hiatus from your current job and find a job closer to home. I found a seasonal job near my parents’ house, which kept me busy as well as brought in some income.
FRG contact. Like I mentioned above, living away from post does not mean you will be out of the loop. To be honest with you, I found out more information from my husband while he was in Afghanistan than from my FRG stateside. Although this is not the case for everyone, you can still receive emails, phone calls, and contact Rear-D for any information you need or questions you may have.
For us, the deciding factor was the emotional support I would receive while home. That is where my family was and where I felt most comfortable. I have friends that chose to stay near post because they felt like that was there new home, and couldn’t imagine living with their parents again. Although I would miss my own house and space, that wasn’t as important to me as the comfort and support I’d otherwise receive.
It all comes down to personal preference, and where you are going to feel most comfortable. Don’t ever feel like moving back with family or friends makes you weak or that you’re throwing in the towel. Your soldier needs you to be just as strong and mentally prepared as he is, and only YOU can decide where you can be the best you can be.
Deployments are no fun but the better prepared you are, the less stressful they can be for all parties involved. Do you stay or move home during deployment?
photo courtesy of Chelsea Hickey, USMC Wife