Welcome to the MilHousing Nation podcast where we are having real conversations that matter for wherever the military has taken you. We are bringing you stories from real military spouses who not only understand the challenges; they are also harnessing the opportunities to build lives they can love. From new spouses to veteran spouses, you’ll get tips, tricks, and actionable steps that will help you along your military life journey. Now here is Ashley Peebles.
Welcome everyone! This is Ashley Peebles, and we are so thankful that you’ve joined us today on the MilHousing nation podcast where we dive into the uniqueness of the military family journey by helping you build a life, a community, and a home that you love when you are not in control of where you will call home next. Today, on our second episode of 2022, we are gonna be going over new year, new career, and major transitions. I think that is something that we all go through all the time in this life. And for that we’ve got a special treat for you today. We’ve got a co-founder of MilHousing Network with us today, Ms. Lindsey Litton, welcome!
Ouuu, I am so excited, thank you Ashley!
I am thrilled to have you here today because we are such good friends and we have actually been together through major transitions in our lives over the last few years. I showed up at MilHousing Network during a major transition in my life and you were one of the people that talked me through that. You were one of the people that coached me through that. You were one of the people that got me through one of the hardest times of my life. So, I’m really excited that you are the guest today and that you are the one talking about this because you are someone that I am confident can get our listeners through it too. So, let’s start out! I believe that we’ve got some new listeners here in 2022. So why don’t we start out with what is MilHousing Network? Tell us about that.
Yeah, so MilHousing Network, we help military families get connected with the PCS resources, tools, and connections that they need to make their next PCS an easy one. We created the network, so it was co-founded by myself and Karina Gafford to military spouses that were just on a mission to help support our community. What I’ve noticed over the years that as military families we are constantly living in transition. We are not only moving all the time, but it’s also transition as to deployments, TDYs, and you name it. Military spouses are resilient, and we have to be because our life is full of transition. So, I love that I am here to talk about transition because it is something that I feel as a seasoned military spouse. And I’ll try not to sound like a saltine cracker military spouse, but you know after living this life for 15 years, you learn a couple lessons on how to do it well. And I will just be vulnerable and say like I didn’t do it well in the beginning, and I don’t necessarily think that I’ve done it right all the time but over the years I have figured out ways to cope with it so that you don’t just survive this military life. I would love to help people thrive in our military life.
Ouu, I love that! And I love that in the beginning of my military spouse journey I always heard people talk about seasoned spouses. It is so odd that that is who I am. It’s so odd that we’ve been at this for almost two decades. I had someone ask me the other day on the call “When do you finally feel like you are a grown up?’’, and I’m like I’ll let you know when I get there. Alright so next let’s go ahead and let’s move into the conversation about these major transitions. So, when you are moving, when you are PCSing, when your husband is going TDY, when you are having a new baby, when you’re adopting a new child—all of these things that happen withing a regular normal life. When it happens within the military life, everything is amplified. So, with those major transitions it affects everything. It affects our mental health, it affects our health-health, it affects our career, it affects our family, our dynamics, our marriage. Let’s dive into talking about how we can stay resilient during those moves, and really just the things that you talk to people about and tell people about when they are going through these major transitions.
Yeah, it is you know, military lives, it’s funny because our civilian counterpart while they have their own level of transition, we in the military are constantly teased with it, and there is this almost like dark cloud that kinda hangs up over your head like uuuh, I am only here for three years, I gotta make the best of it, we are going to be moving, you know and sometimes that dark cloud will not allow you to just be. Then you’re safe to just be in that local community, and it will not allow you to form meaningful relationships because you are kind of holding onto—well it doesn’t really matter cause we are going to move. So, you know some of the tips that I really want to talk about is you know, build your community no matter what. Even if you’re only going to be there for six months, it’s better to get connected and form relationships, and to feel that sense of community than to not. I can’t tell you how many times I see military spouses, they post on Facebook like, whatever I am only here for a year, I have zero friends, I don’t want to make friends, I am just staying in my house, I am just hanging out and I am doing my thing. You’ll miss out on an opportunity to form really amazing relationships, and one in particular for me is when my husband was deployed to Germany—yes I know, and all of our army spouses, navy spouses listening are like oh air force, ok, but listen—it was you know we were away from him, we decided me and the kiddos, and the kids were little, we’re gonna go over and spend a couple months with him while he is deployed. So, we did it and there was another military spouse that I had met there, her name is Stephanie and she and I formed this amazing relationship while you know just in that two months we started traveling together. I didn’t speak a lick of German; she spoke a little bit more than I did because she was actually stationed there. We had three kiddos in the back of a Ford Focus going a 120 miles an hour on the Autobahn. It was some of the best moments in my military journey just getting to know her. And we traveled together, we experienced together, and that deep connection that we had given it was only two months, you know we have been friends and now she lives in Denver, and I am in Colorado Springs, and we still see each other, and it’s almost like we are still traveling a 120 miles an hour on the autobahn together. You know it’s just a blessing to be able to connect with people. So, the best tip that I have for you is lean into your community, do not guard your heart, really open your heart up and get to know people while you’re there. The other thing is you know obviously when it comes to PCSing and transitioning where you are going to live is a big component of the success that you’ll have on that move, right? That is one of the biggest stressors because if you can nail where you’re gonna live, if you’re gonna live on base, off base, rent, buy, whatever you’re gonna do, if you can solve that one puzzle piece, everything else kind of floats into place after you’ve solved that problem. So, you know that’s when MilHousing Network can come in. We can definitely get you connected with the right resources, we have PCS guides, we we’ve got Should I Buy, Should I Rent you know, we’ve got Cost Tool Comparison, Take a Look at Your BAH, look to see what it can serve you off base if you choose to rent or buy, and make those educated decisions. Again, you know don’t always assume that if you’re not going to be in the area for more than you know three years, that finding a home isn’t a good option. Take a look at it, get connected, understand what’s right for you and your family because you might be missing out on a wealth-building tool if you decide to wait until you’re retired to buy a home. And I can just say that from my own experience, and I can say that from the experience that we have helping the hundreds of military families who have purchased home—take a look it. It’s still a really awesome opportunity even though the market is crazy. I will say the market has been crazy but that doesn’t mean it’s all markets, so find out if it makes sense for you and your family. And Ashley one other thing that I want to talk about before we move on is just wellness. As military spouses we are always you know serving our community, we are volunteering, we are serving our spouse, we are serving our kids, and the one person that usually gets neglected is ourselves. So, I just ask military spouses to really reflect on that, understand what kind of self-care you can build into your schedule because the constant transition, the constant TDYs, the deployments, the moving—it will take a mental hold on you. And you know, you hear these stories of these salty older seasoned spouses and it’s just because you just get tired, and you just get tired of carrying that emotional load. So, take care of yourself so that you can be in it to win it and you can be strong and you can serve your family from a place of wholeness and not from a place of obligation.
Huh, sister, that is good, in fact if it all comes from being tired, I don’t know I mean I think we all knew that. Really glad you highlighted it so I can take care of myself and not be a saltie, that’s wonderful. I love everything that you just went over. The fact that we can build our community in order to take care of our mental wellness, to take care of our health-head. If you had been anywhere and gotten sick while your husband’s deployed, you need a community to help take care of your health right there and help take care of your kids. So the other thing, the other piece of this transition is we’ve moved, we’re building our community, we have found the home, and you are so right the fact that when we find that things start falling into place so that you can build your community, taking care of ourselves, but there are a lot of military spouses out there that need a career, and they need a job, and it is so hard to transition that. So, one of the things that I wanted to ask you about today is, why is real estate such a great you know business and such a great career and job choice for military spouses?
Well, it’s such an interesting topic Ashley, you know, I think to really understand you know careers and then to jump into real estate, I want to take a step back and just look at the landscape as a whole. Well since COVID at the end of 2021, 3.5 million people, primarily women have exited the workforce because of burnout. So, let’s address outside of military wives you know spouses, primarily women, have been left with a lot of the obligations of COVID, right? Taking care of the kids, the e-learning, the constant transition of are we going to be in school, are we not going to be in school, and then you tack on work on top of that. It just caused so many people to burn out that they are literally stepping out of the work force. Now, to take a look at what happened with military spouses, when you take that holistic view and then you shrink it down to what happened with the military spouse community. We were hovering around 28% unemployment rate for military spouses which is extraordinarily high. Now, past you know the Covid years, and not that we are out of it, we are hovering around 40%, so almost 50% of military spouses are unemployed and big part of that, which is why I harp on wellness is that you know it is very difficult to as a military spouse to get connected into the community, to quickly find a job only to leave it a year or two years later, that a lot of military spouses are left with like why even bother, I’m gonna go back, I am gonna get another degree, or I gotta find something that’s more flexible. Well, real estate tends to be very flexible, and there are so many career opportunities within real estate that don’t even have to do with sales side, that you can kind of make it a win-win no matter where you go. And just real estate is just one of those career fields and what’s cool about it is that so they decide like oh, I want to get more information on getting my real estate license cause I love sales, I love helping people. Well you could do that in your current market, then you could take the test again when you move. You only have to take the state test cause military spouses have reciprocity on the national side. So, you can take your state test wherever you go, and you can grow teams. You could literally grow team no matter where you PCS. That’s one way to skin the cat for lack of a better of analogy. Sorry cat lovers. But there are also other things that you can do in it. Military spouses love support roles because you know there is more boundaries in it. So some of the support roles that you can get in the real estate spaces you know transaction coordination, you can help, essentially what that is it that it helps the real estate agent process their paperwork, makes sure that deadlines are being met, that you’ve got all of your paperwork and deposits have been made, and they are checking all the things for the real estate agent so that real estate agent can focus on sales. There is also administrative role, customer service role for real estate agent. And those roles often times don’t have the obligation of carrying a real estate license, so you could literally help agents all over the country in administrative position or administrative activity no matter where you go and that’s virtual. There is marketing support—real estate agents are always looking for support on their Facebook pages, Facebook groups, some posting and sharing, open houses and you know all of that good stuff. So, if you’ve got a knack for marketing, you know marketing to real estate agents and supporting them is another opportunity. And then you’ve got things like staging, that’s usually more creativity and fun, and you know you can build a staging business no matter where you go. And then there’s photography. I mean there are so many things that you can do, in real estate when you look at it, and it kinda goes hand in hand with military life cause even if you’ve lived in base housing, you know a thing or two about moving, and chances are you can even make a difference supporting a real estate agent with your knowledge on how to move.
I mean if that doesn’t make people that are looking for a job at least look into the real estate market to see if there is a space for them, I don’t know what will because I’ve been working with MilHousing Network for a couple years now and I didn’t even think about all of those different ways that you can be involved. Like I knew you could be a real estate agent, I knew about transaction coordination, but I never thought about the other pieces of it, so thank you so much for breaking that down for us today, Lindsey. I loved everything that we’ve talked about since we’ve got on here. So, if people wanted to connect with you, if they wanted to continue the discussion about major transition, need a little help, career, everything that we’ve talked about today, how can people get in touch with you, how do you want them to reach out to you?
So, there’s several ways, you know definitely get in touch with, you know if you are looking for a real estate agent, go to our website at milhousingnetwork.com, you can start a chat that’s going to pop you into our Facebook private messages and we’re gonna get you connected. We’ve got amazing staff of military spouses that is always ready to serve, and we’ve been there and we’ve PCSd with it. If you are stuck, and you’re looking for help, and you’re trying to figure out what to do next, you can always connect with me directly. I am easy to find on Facebook—it’s Lindsey with an e, Litton, and I’d love to have a conversation with you about what you are going through and how you can find support. You know as a seasoned military spouse I have been blessed to meet so many other amazing spouses through doings in our community that sometimes it’s just an introduction away for you to have that epic connection with someone that can take you to the next level, and if you are newer spouse and I know sometimes that’s intimidating, reach out. I would love to connect to you and make sure you are supported on your military spouse journey.
That is wonderful, and from someone that has walked the journey with Lindsey, you guys are not going to be sad that you have made a new friend in her. She is always a blessing.
So, thank you so much for joining us today, Lindsey! I appreciate you; I appreciate everything that you do for our military spouse community, and for everyone that’s listening, thank you so much for being a part of the MilHousing nation. We truly appreciate you. The MilHousing nation is where you always have a community, no matter where you’re stationed. Thank you so much and we will see you in a couple of weeks.
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