Moving Home During Deployment: Is it Smart?
By Angela Caban
As deployment day approached, I expected the usual questions; Where was he going? Would he be safe? How long would he be gone? However, among those questions of concern, I was surprised to be asked by friends, family and, even, strangers another question: Will you be moving home while he’s gone?
I have read various blogs, spent plenty of time in military spouse groups, and talking to coworkers and friends. I knew that this was the path a lot of people took. Yet, from the beginning, when this deployment materialized, I knew this was never happening for me.
The first and most important question you have to ask yourself, before making this decision, is where is home for you? Where is your heart?
The problem for me was that a big important piece of my heart was heading to Iraq, and I certainly couldn’t join him there. However, when I said my wedding vows, I knew home was wherever we made it. Right before my husband left for deployment, I took a good look around our home, and knew I would not want to leave. I loved that house, and I loved our neighborhood. The idea of giving up our home, which was all ours, together as a family, to go live in a spare room at my parent’s house with two small children just didn’t appeal to me.
While not moving home was my personal choice, if you are thinking about doing so, you and your spouse have to sit down and weigh out the pros and cons. This is a big decision to make, especially when the deployment is looming over you, and you have a lot on your plate. Moving home seems logical and a great way to get that additional family support, during this time.
So, if you are thinking about moving back home, during a deployment, consider these scenarios to help you make your decision wisely:
Take your time
Don’t rush into making a decision. If you are thinking about moving back home during your spouse’s deployment, wait until after he or she leaves to decide if you will go through with it. How many times have we made rash decisions out of emotion? The pre-deployment state is a very emotional time. Take your time before jumping on this.
Living on base
Keep in mind that if you are considering moving while your spouse is deployed, you are willingly giving up your house on base and will be put at the bottom of the housing list upon return. Many spouses, now towards the end of this deployment, are realizing this hard fact.
Rent or own
If you own your home, you could always discuss the option of subletting or renting for a short-term period. If you rent, you will either need to continue paying for a home you are not living in or moving altogether to a new home, once your spouse returns.
The logistics of moving
Military family or not, the logistics of moving is chaos, and whether you have kids or not, the overall idea of moving alone can be a nightmare. Also, consider if you want to stress yourself and your service member right before departure? Where would you put all your stuff? You could store it in a storage facility. But, keep in mind, this will cost you monthly.
Support and community
A lot of spouses move back to their hometowns, so that they have the support of their family, which is a great option if you have it. However, consider the military family yours as well. Sure, my family can be supportive, but they certainly don’t understand deployment like my friends do. If you live near a military base, you have your FRG and spouses clubs, as well as other military organizations for support. Even if your hometown is a military town, it’s still a far cry away from the support of your spouse’s unit.
Who this affects
If you don’t have any children, this will be an easier decision to make. If you have kids, how will this affect them? Do you have to pull them out of school? Are they young enough where you can just pick up and leave without it making a difference in their lives? If this is something that will end up adding more stress and work on you, you may want to consider staying put.
Consider this. Where are you in life? Do you really need to move in order to feel supported? While I love having my husband around, I do know that I can take care of this house and myself. If you are an independent, married person, you most likely won’t feel comfortable not having your own space.
About the blogger
Angela Caban is an Army National Guard spouse, mother of two, freelance writer, published author and branding expert. In 2010, she founded the Homefront United Network, a military spouse and family support blog created to assist spouses who do not live near an installation, and she is also co-founder of SpouseTalks. As a branding and digital influencer, she has created content for A&E, Lifetime Network and PBS. Currently, Angela serves as a Community Manager for USAA, writing about her experiences in deployment and military life.