By Heather Short
When you’re a military spouse and facing deployment, there are so many questions you encounter. One of those questions is whether or not you and your family will remain in town for the duration of the deployment. Some families opt to move back to their hometown while others choose to stay at their duty station. But, just how do you come to that decision for your family?
Staying in an unfamiliar city while their spouse is overseas isn’t for everyone. It just isn’t home. For spouses who choose to move back to their hometown, the familiarity of home often brings a huge level of comfort. Many spouses look to their family and longtime friends for the support they need while their soldier is away.
“While home, I helped my sisters with their children,” Katie Nearchos said. “When you’re around small children, they don’t give you a chance to stop and think about missing your husband.”
For spouses who don’t have children, moving home can mean finding new hobbies to fill their time.
“We didn’t have children for our first deployment,” said Samantha Branch. “But while living with my mother-in-law, she got me into gardening and growing my own vegetables and flowers.”
Whether moving back home or staying put, a deployment can be a great time for families to try new hobbies, not only to make the time pass quicker but to meet new friends.
Plant some roots
Moving from city to city can be a bit of a culture shock for military families, but choosing to purchase a home at your duty station — versus living on post or renting — offers the ability to metaphorically plant some roots. Having your own home also means no rental contracts, and in some cases, a mortgage payment that is cheaper than rent.
Beyond the financial aspect, families enjoy having a residence to call their own and really settle in. It’s often these reasons why some military spouses choose to stay at the duty station instead of moving home during a deployment.
Establishing a daily routine also makes people feel comfortable staying put. Breaking that routine to move (again) can cause additional stress. Parents often like to keep their children on schedule and may be against pulling them out of school to temporarily move.
There are also spouses who have found employment and don’t want to quit or take a leave of absence. In some cases, the simple perk of being around spouses who understand the emotional toll of deployment is enough to stay. For that reason, many spouses choose to surround themselves with fellow military families for the needed empathy and circle of support.
Finances are a motivating factor in whether a spouse will move back home or stay in their current city. Some families choose to move in with family back home in an effort to save money and perhaps pay down some debt. However, it should be noted that the military does not assist with moves back home. Families choosing to move are responsible for any moving costs.
Saving money is an option for families who choose not to move back home, too. Cutting back on things like cable and phone bills can save money during a deployment.
No matter where you live, wondering where your deployed soldier is and what they are doing is never far from thought. The spouses who are left at home always have a phone or computer nearby so that messages home are not missed. There is no right or wrong answer for where to live while your loved one is deployed. It all comes down to comfort, personal decision and what is best for your family.