I think there’s a common misconception that once your move is complete and you’ve reached your destination that the hard work is done. Honestly, having done more than one PCS before – and now doing one with children – I can say that that’s definitely not the case. The move is so much more than just a physical move. It’s an emotional displacement, and it’s one that I think we’ve all felt to some degree. I think that, for Ryan at least, this is a homecoming of sorts. For me though, it’s a big adjustment, and Spencer’s definitely showed signs of struggling, as well.
We actually pulled them from the daycare they started this week for a few reasons. First, it was much farther than we’d anticipated. Second, he was acting out, not sleeping well, and he seemed really bothered by it. We got the boys into a great new place (the one we’d originally hoped for), and they start Monday, so we’re excited about that. There’s definitely a lot of adjustment going on though, so we’re doing our best to stay balanced. For us, it’s a balance of work and play. Here are four ways we’re working to stay sane post-PCS.
1 // Get out.
It’s as easy as that. It doesn’t have to be an elaborate excursion. Get away from the boxes and clutter. Breathe. We went for a long family walk on the trail behind our home with Danny, and it was the best. Or, for example, today we did a family trip to Trader Joe’s and HomeGoods. Nothing fancy. No frills. Just a breath of something other than unfamiliar walls.
2 // Give yourself some space.
This is a big one – and a hard one for so many military spouses. We pick our homes, then we race to reestablish them in our new duty station. It’s not always that simple though. There are quirks. For example, our house had a lot of damage when we moved in that we were unaware of. We’re missing doorframes and have huge stains on the carpets. I was furious and upset with myself for renting sight unseen, but then I sat back, took a breath, and remembered it’s a 12-month lease. We have incredible neighbors, and we have no timeline set that’s holding us to having everything set in a set amount of time. Give yourself some space to breathe, move, and feel.
3 // Find the good.
A PCS is always a mixed bag of emotions. There’s excitement about the prospect of something new, but there’s fear of the unknown, too. For us, as much as we were ready to leave Fort Drum, leaving our home was an entirely different story. Our neighbors were family, and our home was our home. We brought two babies there. We adopted a dog. We made so many memories, and it’s easy to get hung up on those changes. However, we’re making new memories, too, and it’s so important to focus on that. Find the good in your new duty station. Where are the positives? We’ve found so many new places to eat, share company, and meet new people. For example, we went to FOB Brewery for Father’s Day, and it was such a great experience for Ryan – and it was family-friendly!
4 // Find your tribe.
I can’t express this one enough. I’m a loner by nature. I’m comfortable with silence and being alone. However, in military life and, I’d hazard a guess, life in general, you need your people. You need your tribe. When Ryan deployed, I relied on friends and neighbors like never before. Those people, your tribe, will pick you up when you think you can’t go on. Those people make all difference. We’ve met most of our neighbors now, and they’re absolutely wonderful. We’re so blessed. We also have a family who was in Ryan’s prior unit at Fort Drum stationed here, as well, so that’s been a comfort. It’s the little things. Trust me. My goal is to find a running or workout group here in the next few weeks. Till then, Danny will be my workout gal 🙂
I still have mixed feelings about Fort Lewis as a whole. It’s so big, and that’s scary. But I’m excited, too. I love a good adventure, and this is definitely the best kind.
What sort of moving tips or PCS tips do you have that have helped you?