Editor’s Note: This article was originally published on the Military Spouse Advocacy Network website.
Just as quickly as the seasons change, we have arrived in the month of June. For many families, this will be a time for children to get out of school, warmer summer months, and planning summer vacations. For many other families, June is the midst of PCS season.
Have you ever moved with the military before?
Do you know where to begin?
How does all of this even work?
The initial idea of a military move is one filled with uncertainty. Change is tough for anyone. I have recently gotten my own news about an upcoming PCS, and was immediately flooded with questions. With every answered question, I developed another question. I became quickly overwhelmed with finding a new job, finding a place to live sight unseen, figuring out what areas were safe, what the new area would be like and many more things that tend to throw us spouses into a tailspin.
How was this ever going to work out?
In these moments, developing a plan is of the upmost importance, but that plan always needs to start with a deep breath. So, after you have taken this deep breath, review these 4 easy steps to help you prepare for a flawless PCS season:
Step 1: Attend a course
Did you know that nearly every installation offers courses to make your PCS as smooth as possible? These courses include information on military moving companies, reimbursement, Tricare, and programs within the military that can assist you with ensuring your family has the resources you need when you arrive. These courses are typically a couple of hours and provide a wealth of information for new and seasoned spouses. Check out your local installation’s website for more information!
Step 2: Plan, organize and plan again
Moves are always full of hiccups, changes, dates, scheduling and phone calls. Find a way to organize the chaos that works for you and your family. Pinterest is full of fun ideas to organize all of those things for a move. A personal favorite of mine is a smooth move binder checklist. This is a central location where I can keep everything I need for an upcoming move. Check out this printable Smooth Move binder here. When creating your individualized move plan, coordinate with your family to ensure everyone understands. Whether you’re having a military moving company move you or you are packing your own truck, plan ahead for the unpacking process too.
Step 3: Lean on MSAN
Did you know that our Military Spouse Advocacy Support Forum has spouses from all over the world? With over 1200 members, there is no doubt we can connect you to someone that either currently lives or has lived in the location you are moving to. We want to make this PCS move easy for you! Check out our support forum here.
Step 4: Breathe
Your mental health is just as important in this move as the move itself. With any move, there is a lot of change happening. Whether or not you handle change well, it is important to take time for yourself. Do something special for yourself. Be gentle, kind, and understanding with yourself and your emotional responses to change. Most of all, don’t forget to breathe!
The Military Spouse Advocacy Network (MSAN) has a mission to create stronger military families through education, empowerment, and support. MilHousing Network is proud to work in partnership with MSAN to help military families PCS better. To learn how MSAN can support you visit https://www.militaryspouseadvocacynetwork.org/.