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Ask An Army Spouse: Should I Move Home During Deployment?

Dear Army Wife,

What do other Army wives suggest during a deployment, staying or moving back home? I am weighing my options right now and I would like to know the pros and cons.I have to seriously consider it because I was offered a job where I am from. Also,my parents offered to let me live rent free for the year to save money. Is it really worth the hassle?

Also I would be storing my belongings at our current duty station and just bringing back the necessary things so I wouldn’t have to move a whole house hold of goods.

What should I do?

Signed,

Dreading the Next Deployment

ask-army-spouse-deployment

Dear Dreading the Next Deployment,

I think it depends a lot on the situation at hand though I must say I’ve only heard horror stories about moving back home during the deployment. Though that could just be because those with great stories aren’t as apt to share them with everyone.

Save Money

One, even though it would be rent free, I think it’s worth considering moving back home to be around family but maybe not necessarily moving back IN with family. I think it can be very difficult for any parent to see their child as an adult when living with them and truly not play the parent-child role. Of course, you know your specific situation better than anyone else and whether there’s a risk of falling back into this role.

If you did move back in with them or your rent is less than what you are paying now, you could certainly save money. Since you mention that you have a job offer back home, I’m assuming you aren’t working now. Combine all of those factors together with his extra income during deployment and you could put away quite a bit of money (or pay any debt you have). So there’s certainly a strong argument where that’s concerned.

Access Information and Support

Two, I personally always stayed at his duty station when he was deployed (four times). I felt I had more access to information and support from people who had been there, done that by staying where I was. I did visit my parents more often when he was deployed (they were only a few hours away) but was glad I still had MY home to return to after the visit.

The people in my hometown simply didn’t understand the whole Army process with deployments, etc and it gets old when everyone you see has this look of pity on their face with a sappy “how are you doing?”. You don’t endure that as much in a military town. The support is there but the pity is not as much – I think mainly because you’re around others who have been through it and have a better understanding of what to say or not to say.

On the other hand, while you’ll certainly never forget he’s deployed, you may be able to distance yourself a bit from the constant reminder of everything military if you move back to your hometown. It really just depends on how you deal best.

Consider Your Kids

Third, if you have kids, I would think long and hard about making another big change in their lives with switching schools, leaving their friends, familiar surroundings, etc. The teachers in a military town also seem to be more equipped to handle the challenges of deployments with kids simply because they’ve been exposed to it more.

Ultimately, it’s up to you. And now, I’ll open it up to opinions from others as this is based solely on me and the few friends I know who have moved back.

Good luck!

About the author: Stacey is an Army wife of a soldier who joined in 2003. He has since been medically retired but she continues to provide information to Army wives and families to make their adjustment to the Army lifestyle easier. Connect with Stacey: Facebook Twitter Pinterest

{ 7 comments… add one }
  • Latoya January 17, 2012, 4:28 am

    well im not in the military…but my fiance is.Hes deployed now and i wish he would come home NOW…Its hard everyday not seeing him or having him home.I talk to him but its bot good because im always crying..I wish this deployment was over eberyday hes gone..the only good thing about it is…he will be home to me very soon…

  • Tara Bain February 3, 2012, 11:02 am

    I went home to live with my mom during my husband’s second deployment and there were definitely pros and cons. The biggest pro was being able to save up money – we were able to pay off a good amount of student loan debt and were able to save up and buy a used mini van in cash when he came home. However, by the end of the deployment, I was completely stressed out after living with my mom for months. We had also packed all of our belongings in storage and it turned out that somehow mice got in the storage unit and it was a HUGE hassle to disinfect everything. I was glad that we were able to save up money but if we had to choose again, I would probably do it differently.

  • Kylie February 11, 2012, 8:06 pm

    My husband is currently deployed and i did move home suring the deployment. If you have established freindships on base of in the area you live in, then stay there. Its a huge stressor trying to move home and you really dont need that when the stress of the deployment is already enough. Moving back with family is just not a good idea. Whats more important saving money? or your sanity when you need it the most? Just stay home (base). Hope this helps 🙂

  • Becky March 2, 2012, 10:50 pm

    I have moved home twice during deployments and I find it comforting to be at home. I have two small children and they enjoy having the extra family around when Daddy is not. It is extrememly stressful moving right before he leaves but for us it is worth it in the end. Oh and we do like all the money we save!

  • Krista Brunken April 4, 2012, 1:08 am

    Each person has a unique situation that may lend itself to staying put on post or moving home. I have done both and each was the right decision for that particular deployment. When living overseas my husband was deployed and the closeness I shared with the other spouses on post has been unparalleled. I am currently living back home while my husband is deployed. I chose not to live with my parents so I could have my space and my parents could maintain their normal. It is the perfect situation. I am not saving as much money as if I had lived with my parents, however, we are enjoying each other tremendously. As Suzy Orman says, “people first, then things, then money.”

  • JessicaRockow May 8, 2012, 10:59 pm

    There are pros and cons to to whichever decision you make during a deployment. During our first deployment during Operation Enduring Freedom I stayed at home with my family. We had not PCS’d yet and staying home seemed like the logical choice as I had just finished my undergraduate degree and did not know what a military town would have in store for me. It helped keep me supported and distracted to be at home. Yet, I had no idea the kind of support that would be available to me until my husband returned home and we officially moved to Fort Campbell. After a year and a half in TN it was time to start thinking about receiving orders and sure enough, we did. This time I was concluding my MBA and had the potential to to get a great job in a market in my hometown as opposed to staying in my mediocre job in TN. The decisive choice came down to contemplating between the incredible support I had in my new home in TN and the potential opportunity to throw myself into my own career for once. Ultimately, I decided to move home for the second deployment but this time it was much harder. I now knew the support available to me in TN and suddenly the family who loved and voiced their pride for my husbands career as a soldier seemed to me unknowing and confused about what I was dealing with. For us, with no kids and a bright career for the both of us, moving home was the right decision for me during this deployment but maybe next time it won’t be. Be very aware of what opportunities that may be available to you during the deployment and if you are self aware of the support you need, use that. Next time, with kids, maybe I will need my army support or maybe not. But one thing is for sure, moving home is not as easy as it seems because being alone in a crowd can be more lonely than being alone with others who are alone too.

  • BJ May 11, 2012, 10:57 am

    I can certainly see the potential benefit of moving home, but I can see the con’s pretty seriously as well.

    For instance will your parents try to parent your children in a way that would not be consistent with your styles and that of your spouse? Will your parents try to be the “grandparent everyone loves” and constantly give your children everything they ask for, rather than only that which is good for them. (My mother in law will give my children candy at the drop of the hat, and often faster than that. To me this is a very bad thing, my children live a very healthy life style and we do not want to destroy that.)

    One of the big services you receive on post is the Chaplaincy. If your chaplain has deployed with your spouse then you will certainly have other chaplains on post you can visit. Further is something, God forbid, does happen to your spouse while away it will be your chaplain who comes to your door, not some guy who has no idea who you are, nor why you are living where you are when your spouse is stationed miles away. He/she may infer stress in a relationship that is not there based on the distance, etc…)

    Personally I also take comfort in the fact that I can go to any commissary in the world and expect the same Germany Chocolate cookies in that blue box, and the same types of coke, and the same brands of… well… fill in the blank. Where ever I am my diet, and cooking style, does not require much in the way of adjustment when I move, where as to go home to a tiny little town where we are from, well everything would be different there. The streets are not even paved (not that I mind, but to give you an idea of the massive differences that would take place by moving home.)

    If you do not live in the housing on post you may consider just moving on post while your spouse is away. The time to unpack boxes will give you something to do each day in the beginning, and that can help take your mind of the absence of your spouse. Personally finding things to take my mind off of my absent spouse is always nice. Further on post you still spend your housing allowance, but at least the other bills are covered like electricity etc.

    Good luck in your choice, I just thought I would point out some of the pro’s to staying on Post while your spouse is gone.

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