Freaking out - sorry, very long — The Bump
Military Families

Freaking out - sorry, very long

Hi Ladies (and potentially gentleman as well), I actually posted a similar post last year and now I'm back in the same position again this year.

My DH is wrapping his doctorate in psychology and applying to internships all over the country. His top choices are primarily military sites (all branches). We'll find out on 2/22 where he matches. If he matches with any of the military sites, he will be commissioned as an officer late Spring, attend officer training this summer and we'll be re-locating late Summer to either DC, Ohio, San Diego,San Antonio, Seattle or August.

We totally made this decision as a family, and while I really want to support my husband because I know this is a great opportunity for him and I am proud of him for wanting to serve his country as a military psychologist, I am kind of freaking out too.

In particular, I am worried about uprooting our now 20 month old son and what this means for my own career. Right now, I am a full-time working mom with a job I love and have worked really hard for. Also, my son attends daycare part time while DH is in school and works part-time. We love his daycare and so does he is. If we re-locate, I will likely stay home for a little while until we acclimate and we also plan to have second child soon.

My last concern is that we currently have a lot of family/social support. We have a lot of family close by who are really good to us and I don't know what I'd do with this.

Sorry this is so long but I guess mostly I'm just looking for some idea what to expect and to hear from anyone who has shared this experience.  Particularly, I am interested in learning how easy/fesabile it is to have a career and raise a family with all of the uncertainty about where we'll be living from year to year and  the demands on my husband's time from the military.

 Any advice, thoughts or tips are much appreciate. TIA.

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Re: Freaking out - sorry, very long

  • I have uprooted once for my hubby's career and am getting ready to do it again by the end of this year. I'm a teacher and it is tough to get used to one school's system and then leave a few years later. Many businesses/companies around the military bases understand that that is what happens and they work with you.

    It was very important for me to keep my teaching career while following my husband. I am already sacrificing by following him that I needed to make sure I kept working and doing what I love. We have a 20 month old who is in daycare full time and while I love the daycare, I'm sure I will find another one I love in another area.

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  • The key to making military life work is flexibility.  You can't expect things to be the same, or predictable.  Just go with the flow.  Move wherever you need to move, then get whatever job you can get there.  Realize that housing and recreation options will be different everywhere.  The more open minded and proactive you are, the better it will work.  Embrace the new and don't get hung up on comparing it to the old.  

    Believe it or not, moving away from your support network can actually have some benefits.  It will probably strengthen your relationship with your husband and allow the two of you to really define your own relationship and how you raise your kids, without getting caught up in anyone else's expectations.  I personally really like the freedom of that and believe our marriage is stronger now because we did move away and had to do it on our own.  It can be lonely trying to make new friends, but if you make an effort it will happen.  Everyone else is in the same boat in looking for friends. 

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  • imageCarnation77:

    The key to making military life work is flexibility.  You can't expect things to be the same, or predictable.  Just go with the flow.  Move wherever you need to move, then get whatever job you can get there.  Realize that housing and recreation options will be different everywhere.  The more open minded and proactive you are, the better it will work.  Embrace the new and don't get hung up on comparing it to the old.  

    Believe it or not, moving away from your support network can actually have some benefits.  It will probably strengthen your relationship with your husband and allow the two of you to really define your own relationship and how you raise your kids, without getting caught up in anyone else's expectations.  I personally really like the freedom of that and believe our marriage is stronger now because we did move away and had to do it on our own.  It can be lonely trying to make new friends, but if you make an effort it will happen.  Everyone else is in the same boat in looking for friends. 

    Ditto all of this.

    I gave up my full time teaching job in NY when H and  I did our first PCS.  I couldn't get a teaching job so I got a job as an admin asst for a company and was able to work from home.  Now we moved again and I am at least subbing for a school district, and happy to be using my degrees again.  I don't know what we will do when the baby comes because the cost of childcare vs sub pay isn't really worth it.  I have been scoping out jobs on base too and some will utilize my degree.  I actually just mailed in my application for one the other day.

    Flexibility really is key.  I don't think about the career I gave up, or the friends and family I left.  This is our life and the life I chose and I am happy with it.  While it's easy to be tied to a place for things like a job and daycare, the most important thing should be your family, and you can find your own happiness within that wherever you move.   

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  • I am going to assume that your DH isn't already in the military and if he is then I apologize for the assumption. 

    The military has a way of making things very difficult to plan as far as family is concerned. My DH is a Marine and is stationed in Yuma, AZ. (If you're not familiar with the area it's about 15 min from Mexico and 30 min from CA). I am a cosmetologist so luckily I was able to find a job when we moved here. I absolutely love my job and I am going back to school for Nursing to pursue my ultimate goal of being a Neonatal NP. As long as you have a career that is mobile you will be fine. I know more military spouses that are SAHMs than working moms but that's mainly because of the unemployment rates in military towns.

    Wherever you move, you will eventually find a great support system. The wives I've met here have been more supportive than some of my friends back home because they understand exactly what I'm going through. You will have to be okay knowing you will have to move whenever the military decides to change his PDS. No matter where you go, you will make the new town your home and you will find more support than you would imagine.

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  • I'm going to be honest.  It is exhausting.

    I have a Masters in counseling that I worked very hard for and I love(d) my career.  My husband has been commissioned almost 11 years and we have been married 10.  Before we had kids, I did uproot and move my career (and license) state-to-state.  Now, since we are in a very mobile portion of DH's career (eg: we are only at our current duty station a total of 12 months), I have decided that staying home with my 2 and 3 year old makes more sense.

    It is very hard to have a career as a military spouse.  Doable?  yes.  But frustrating I think for the vast majority of us.  If you have a job that can telecommute and move with you that is the best scenario. 

    Being away from family and friends is also hard.  That being said, the military becomes your "family" in a way.  I am always amazed at how easily military spouses make friends.  It doesn't really make me miss my family any less, but it softens the blow of moving.

    Your kids will adjust.  At 20 months your kiddo will do just fine.  I am honestly more worried about when my kids get to be elementary school aged.  We moved once when my DD was 18 months and my son was 2 months.  They were totally 100% fine.  This time they were 2 and 3.5 and it took a few weeks for my 3 year old to adjust and get back to her happy self.  We are moving in December and I'm sure DD and DS will both struggle a little leaving their preschools and friends and bedrooms.

    Military service is definitely a family commitment.  Have you talked about these concerns with your DH?

    I write a pretty honest blog if you are interested.  The link is in my siggy (Keep Calm and Have a Cosmo).

    Married 6/28/03

    Kate ~ 7/3/09 *** Connor ~ 11/11/10

    4 miscarriages: 2007, 2009, 2013, 2014

    *~*~*~*~*

    No more TTC for us. We are done, and at peace, as a family of 4.

    "Suffering has been stronger than all other teaching, and has taught me to understand what your heart used to be. I have been bent and broken, but – I hope – into a better shape.” — Charles Dickens

     

  • The uncertainty of military life is hard, I won't lie.  My husband and I have been married for 6.5 years and we are living in house number seven (only one move was local).  My son is 3.5 years old and living in house number three.  I won't even tell you the portion of LO's life that my DH has been deployed.  

    I am a SAHM, by choice, which is good because finding/keeping a job would be challenging, given my DH's career progression.  But, if I were of the mind to work, one can make it work, but you have to be flexible and determined.  

    There are wonderful aspects of being part of a military family.  We are currently living in Germany and my son attends a local (German) kindergarten.  My DH has a rewarding career.  And, when he retires, in less than 2.5 years, he/we'll have his retirement benefits and time to build second careers for both of us.  

    As far as support systems.  You have to be proactive and build your network with each move.  This, for me, is the tiring part, but it is vital.  

    Good luck with matching.  I hope that both you and YH are happy with where he matches! 

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  • While you wait for other responses, I thought I?d share my own thoughts. If you are considering staying at home with your child for a little while ? I think that?s a fantastic idea. I was also a SAHM; at that time, my husband traveled a great deal and my career took a backseat. It?s really quite a balancing act with many hats a mother wears. Just realized that you are not alone and whatever decision you make will be the best thing for your family. Take good care!
  • Thank you for all your responses. I really appreciate it. Sorry I have not responded sooner. Unfortunately, my grandmother passed away last night so things have been a little hectic.

    To answer a few questions - no, my husband is not currently military; and yes, DH is aware of my concerns. We talked through all of this at length before making the decision to move ahead. I think it's just now that it's becoming more real since we recently had to rank all of the sites last week that it's really set in how much of a change this will really be.

    I am choosing to be optimistic and think of it as great opportunity for all of us but I am also trying to be realistic and arm myself with as much as information to make the transition as smooth as possible. It's just hard because there's so much we can't possibly know or plan for since neither of us have much (really any) exposure to military life. Obviously, we've done all the research and have a general idea of what to expect but it's definitely helpful to hear directly from others who have been there done that. 

    Thanks again for all the feedback and advice. I will have definitely have to work on the flexibility thing as I am extremely type A and a compulsive planner. I prefer to think of this as an opportunity for personal growth in this sense because I know there are things about military life that will most definitely challenge me.

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  • I actually want to thank you for posting, as I'm in the same boat husband starting to go through the process, and we won't know where we'll be.

    I can tell you, though, that having taught at several schools in my career, I'm always surprised at how easily I've managed to make friends at each workplace despite being shy. Hopefully the online community will help, too!
  • Like everyone has said, flexibility is key. My husband has been active duty for 10 years and we are at our 5th base, so we have moved a lot. He just went through OTS this past fall so we are transitioning to the officer side where his career field PCS's on average every 2 years. Some of the bases (Eielson AFB in Fairbanks, Alaska) have been very remote, while others (Hill AFB, UT, Little Rock AFB) are located in great areas with lots of job options. Just be prepared to live in places you never imagined yourself! Also, the longest notification we got before a move was 3 months. As for your career, if you can get a base that isn't too remote, you'll be fine. It sounds like the first potential bases you listed would be an easy career transition for you but there are several remote bases out there too where jobs (and even Target!) are scarce! But, wherever you end up, you know it's not permanent and just make the best out of each situation and you'll be fine! For what it's worth, I have absolutely loved the military lifestyle! We've visited and lived in places we never would have seen if not for the Air Force!
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