Before I start, I'm not really looking for advice on the decision at hand, I know it is one that only DH and I can make. I'm more just looking for different people's experiences in the active duty military lifestyle.
DH is currently in the Army National Guard and has been for over 7 years. A couple years ago when he reenlisted (shortly after we got engaged) he wanted to go active duty but, admittedly for my own selfish reasons, I asked him not to so he stayed NG. While those reasons all still exist (increased chances of being deployed, possibly being stationed far away from all of our friends and family, and having to move every few years), with the recent birth of our son, I'm wondering if maybe he should try to go active now (not the easiest process in the world but possible).
When our son was born we decided that child care of any kind (daycare, nanny, etc) was just not a good option for us for various reasons so I became a SAHM. I was a nanny before DS was born but I was no longer needed with that family and have not been able to find another family willing to let me bring DS with me to babysit. DH works for a company that installs Comcast and he makes good money with it but unfortunately, there is not always work available and if the company has no jobs to give him, he doesn't work for the day which can put a major damper on his paycheck. We're kinda stuck in that area where we make too much money to qualify for much government help but not enough to cover all of our expenses, despite doing everything we can to keep them down. I'm worried that if we keep going this way, we could end up losing our house or car or both. So, for financial reasons (and because I know it's what DH really wants) I'm thinking of discussing the possibility of him going active duty. I don't want to have to struggle to take care of our son. As any mother would, I want to make sure my son has everything he needs and I simply can't come up with any other options right now.
However, I know very little about the active duty lifestyle, which is where my question for advice comes in. DH spent most of the first year of our marriage in Afghanistan so I have experienced a deployment and know its difficulties. But what has it been like for you being stationed away from friends and family? I'm worried about not knowing anyone and just being alone all the time. What about moving every few years? How difficult is that? And how about the lifestyle's effect on your children? DS is only 2 months old so it won't mean anything to him now but I'm worried that once he's in school, it'll become more difficult. Do you live on or off base? Which is easier for you? How do you discuss deployments with your children? Especially when they're younger and can't quite understand why Daddy is gone.
I know the experience is different for everyone but I'm the kind of person that doesn't like to make a major decision without being fully informed so I'm just looking for some insight on the lifestyle so I can know more about it. TIA for sharing.