Military Spouse

8 Tips for Your PCS Move Without Your Spouse

Article by: Jenah Wieczorek, Base Advocate

PCS-Solo-PicIt’s the night before a PCS and all through the house not a creature is stirring, except you because you are one giant ball of nervous energy. Did I forget anything? (Of course you did.) Will the mover’s arrive on time tomorrow? (Laugh hysterically because you know the answer.) Should I have made more lists? (Roll over, get out of bed, and start making more lists.)

PCSing always brings about anxiety, but what happens when you add in the extra worry and stress that comes with making the move WITHOUT your spouse? Reducing the stress of this seemingly monumental task, however, is possible if you plan ahead!  Follow these 8 easy (okay, helpful… we hope) tips to help you prepare for your solo-PCS move. Hold on tight… you can do this!

  1. Enlist Help- Now is not the time to put that super-hero cape to work. We all need help at some point, and PCSing without your spouse absolutely qualifies. Whether it be a friend or family member, ask for help. There should be at least two sets of eyes on the movers when they are in your home. A good approach would be to park that friend in a chair with the clip board and let them check off all the numbers on the boxes, so you can focus on the progress of the pack-out and placement of items in your new home.You may also need help with the kids or your pets during a part of the move, someone to help you get all the stuff you are donating out the door, or simply a friend to help you organize your thoughts and prioritize. Reach out and ask, and then vow to pay it forward in the future the next time a friend needs the same.
  2. Copies of POA & Orders- First of all, double check to make sure you have the appropriate Power of Attorney documents for your move. Not all companies will accept a general POA and require a special POA  for specific services.Then, make sure you have copies and they are kept safe. While you might feel the need to print multiple copies of each, three sets should be more than enough. One copy on your mobile device, one set printed and with you while you travel, and then a back up set because, well, you never know.
  3. Do You Have Access To All Accounts? Don’t wait until the week of the move to try and turn off or transfer your utilities and bills. Call ahead to see what they need from you; this is where that POA and copy of orders will come into play. Make sure you can access everything from the cable, internet, power, to water, sanitation services, etc. Do you have access to all of the credit cards and bank accounts you might need when traveling or setting up new services? Store all of the passwords in a secure location and make sure that your spouse has added you as an authorized user to all accounts well in advance of your move.
  4. Label Your Rooms This is one of the easiest and most recommended moving strategies. In theory, it can give the packers and movers a sense of respect for your family. “I’m not just packing a kid’s room. These are little Ruby’s toys.” The labels will also help the unpackers with placement of items at your new home. Labels or not, make sure to download our “Movers Notice”, print it out and give it to all the members of your packing and moving team so they know you are looking forward to a positive experience with their company… but you do intend to hold them accountable for how they treat your belongings.
  5. Food For Thought Making healthy choices during a PCS move can be challenging. You and your family need to take breaks for lunch and snacks throughout the day, and it can be tempting to utilize take-out or fast food frequently, leaving you sluggish. Preparing meals and snacks in advance is key. Some suggestions would be frozen lasagna and bagged salad, pre-made sandwiches and chips, fruit, waters, etc. You can also keep your crockpot in your things to carry with you in the car, giving you some no-fuss, healthy dinner options during packing and after you arrive at the new location. These meal options also make great lunches for the packers and movers if you choose to feed them.
  6. Outsource Outsource as many services as your family can afford. If you can drop Scout at doggie day care, do it! If you have the means to hire a babysitter or use the CDC hourly care for your kids, do it! You will be under enough stress without having to run around all day saying “Where is the dog? Kids don’t touch that!” Hire someone to take care of the lawn and to do the final cleaning of your home. It will greatly reduce your stress during a solo-move.You can even outsource some of the research involved with your PCS move by visiting PCSgrades and registering for your FREE account! You can read and submit reviews on real estate agents, lenders, neighborhoods and more… and they are reviews you can trust. We have a community of active duty, veterans, and military spouses sharing their honest opinion of so many of the services you need when you are relocating. Take the guesswork (the Google work) out of getting the real scoop about your new home, register today.
  7. Entertainment Keeping small children from getting bored during the move process is important, not only for your sanity, but to keep their minds off of what is going on and reduce their anxiety about the process. Have the kids decorate the moving boxes in their rooms with crayons or washable markers. It can provide hours of fun and psychologically speaking the movers might be more careful with boxes covered in hearts and stick figures, so win-win! Kick everyone out into the back yard to play if the weather permits. (This might be a great time to hire a neighborhood teenager to come play with the kids!) Charge up the laptop or DVD player and have a special movie night on the air mattresses that are now your beds. Wherever the kids go make sure the animals are there too, so you don’t have to keep tabs on both.
  8. Make Lists You can never have too many lists, and during a move they can be a lifeline. In addition to helping you remember the many small details that must be taken care of, they can ease your stress and make you feel accomplished when you can check items off that list. Sometimes I even write things on a list that are already finished just so I can cross them off! It’s a great way to stay organized and your brain will be going a thousand miles a minute as it is, so write down those “to-do’s” as soon as you think of them and sleep a little bit better tonight.

Having to navigate a PCS move without your spouse presents some challenges, yes. But by asking for help, outsourcing some of the busy work, making lists and doing some much needed prep work before-hand… you can have a successful solo-move that doesn’t leave you stressed, overwhelmed and frustrated.

What tips would you add? How have you successfully navigated a PCS move without your spouse?

Read Next: Put Your Movers on Notice the Next Time You PCS

569aa6d8-a66c-4162-94bd-1a460aab9a94Author Bio: Jenah Weiczorek is a military spouse and an active volunteer in the military community. She recently joined the PCSgrades team as a base advocate and as a social media manager.

 

 

 

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Senate Armed Services Subcommittee Hearing on Personnel March 26 #KeepYourPromise

NMFA

When you break a promise you’re tampering with the delicate formula upon which the strength and vitality of all – volunteer force is based.

The National Military Family Associations continues to fight for Military Families in this budget  battle. Members of NMFA team will be joining other organizations to testify before the Senate Armed Services Subcommittee on Personnel next week March 26, telling Congress to KeepYourPromise Tell National Military Family Association, what do you want Congress to know? The National Military Family Association is counting down the days until they testify before the Senate Armed Services Committee on Wednesday. Tell them what you want Congress to know about how the proposed budget that will  affect Military Families at Info@MilitaryFamily.org.  For a listing of the members of the committee http://www.armed-services.senate.gov/hearings/active-guard-reserve-and-civilian-personnel-programs_03/26/14

The American Military Spouse Choir….On America’s Got Talent

The American  Military Spouse Choir appeared on NBC’s America’s Got Talent last night.

They spoke frankly about deployment. They talked about the power of  healing that comes from music. Then they talked about the power that comes from  reaching out. “What we have together is more than a singing group,” one spouse  said. “It’s a sisterhood.”

“We have to come together or we wouldn’t survive,” said another.

They stepped out in front of that audience and sang, “Ain’t No  Mountain High Enough.” Go ahead and watch it, you will me amazed by the talent!

The American Military Spouses Choir (previously known as Homefire) has given a VOICE to American Military spouses through music. Their first single “The Promise” was commissioned by famed Producer David Foster and written by Charlie Midnight (“Living In America”), Jay Landers (head of A&R for Universal Music) and Bernie Herms (writer and producer for Natalie Grant).

Do One Thing Every Day That Scares You…

do one thingBy: Williamsburg Military Insider

I came across an amazing article I wish twenty years ago I was given this advice as I graduated College and became a Military Spouse.   This means more to me now than it did when I was younger. Makes so much sense!  The lessons are truly some of the best you could ever hope to learn.  Myself, like most others, took way to many years to let them fully sink in. But,  today as I read this amazing article written by Mary Schmich “Advice, like youth, probably just wasted on the young, I come away with a smile and a challenge to my self;  Do one thing every day that scares me!   There are a lot of days I am complacent with life and do the same routine day in and day out. No more!  I am going to start simple, I am going to initiate a smile and wish a total stranger a good morning.  This puts me out of my comfort zone, I am going to make it a habit and add new tasks everyday!   And yes I agree with the Sunscreen.

Check out Baz  Luhrmann’s 1999 music single “Everybody’s Free (To Wear  Sunscreen)” based off of the 1997 Chicago Tribune column  “Advice, like youth, probably just wasted on the young” by Mary  Schmich

What’s that you say, Mrs. Robinson?

When I read this article this morning What’s that you say, Mrs. Robinson?.  I could so relate, I wanted to share. I felt like I stepped into the pages of my own life.   As Lisa Smith Molinari  wrote “What’s that you say, Ms. Robinson? Being a military spouse doesn’t qualify as “work experience?” Let me put it to you this way: If you have something that needs to be done, ask a military spouse to do it. I promise, you’ll be surprised by what we can do.”

Taking Back your Home! Tackle the Clutter in 2012!

By:  Williamsburg Military Insider

I was lucky to of had my husband home for two weeks over the holidays. With the start of 2012 we created a new to-do list along with new goals and resolutions to make our lives more enjoyable, stress-free and organized; Along with renting an uhual and overhauling our home. Disable Veteran’s were very happy to see us coming.   We have not moved for four years and our normal is every 18 months, after four years we were amazed at what we accumulated.

Is your home your home company ready?  Many might find this a funny question but as many of you in the Military someone is always dropping by. I do not like the last minute scramble.

I find that I’m much more organized when my husband is deployed. The routines of the house run much smoother, the dishwasher always seems to be empty, beds made, bathrooms clean and company ready. When he is home, that is a completely different story. I seem to be herding children when it comes to keeping the house clean and organized. I don’t know if it is because my free time is spent “hanging out” with him, or actually doing things outside our home. I suppose it is a combination of both.

In any case, as 2012 starts I’m kick starting my home organization routines and thought I’d offer some favorites that I’ve used in the past and some new ones I recently came across online.

Perhaps together we can take on the clutter.

Simple organizing tips to have more time with family:

  • Create a morning and evening routine – My new favorite website Pinterest has some great pins on this topic. You can view one of them here. Your routine can include: spending 15 min de-cluttering, making lunches, laying out clothes for the next day, exercising, etc.
  • Do 1-2 loads of laundry per day – Start one load in the morning and when you get home from work or have a break in your day place the load in the dryer. Do one more load before and after dinner prep, folding while you watch a favorite TV program.
  • Create a weekly meal plan – Cooking seven nights a week might not be realistic, so pick three to five nights where you will cook, leaving the other two for leftovers and a pizza/take-out night.
  • Tackle one room in your home per day – Create a chores list organized by day.
  • When you think of something you need to do, write it down – This saves so much time!! When you write down all your errands you can better plan your outings.

These five steps are a good jump-start into organizing our homes, creating daily routines to save time.

This weekend I hope to have more time with my family and spend less time cleaning!

Additional resources:
Winter Organizing Tips – via MarthaStewart.com

I am a REALTOR with Liz Moore & Associates Also; I am part of the Liz Moore & Associates’ Military Team which specializes in homes for sale in James City County, Newport News, Hampton, York County, Poquoson, and Williamsburg, VA as well as surrounding markets. I offer Active Duty friendly support to families relocating to Langley Air Force Base, Ft. Eustis, Yorktown Naval Weapons Station, and Cheatam Annex. When you PCS to Hampton Roads, VA you will find that I understand that when a family member joins the military, the entire family belongs…thank you for serving our Country, and I look forward to serving your real estate needs!

When you are transferring to Langley AFB, Ft. Eustis, Yorktown Naval Weapons Station or Cheatam Annex, if you’re interested in buying a home for sale call 757-651-3763  or e-mail me at jenniferhernandez@lizmoore.com

Military Spouse Moving to Hampton Roads, VA Have You Checked Out The….Military Spouse Employment Partnership

by Williamsburg Military Insider

The MSEP program only began serving spouses of all military service members in June. Since then, it has provided employment to some 5,600 military spouses. Before it was MSEP, however, the program belonged to the Army, and was called the Army Spouse Employment Partnership. That program had been in place since 2003. Combined, the two programs have placed more than 90,000 spouses, said Tony Stamilio, deputy assistant secretary of the Army for civilian personnel and quality of life.

 MSEP program does more than provide spouses with gainful employment. It also helps businesses find skilled employees, it helps families, and it even helps the military. It positively affects readiness and retention. These companies support military spouses in their employment and career efforts by offering jobs that are portable.  That means the companies provide support and commitment when a military spouse moves, their employment opportunities will continue with that company.

The MSEP program website can be found at: www.msepjobs.com

I am a REALTOR with Liz Moore & Associates Also; I am part of the Liz Moore & Associates’ Military Team which specializes in homes for sale in James City County, Newport News, Hampton, York County, Poquoson, and Williamsburg, VA as well as surrounding markets. I offer Active Duty friendly support to families relocating to Langley Air Force Base, Ft. Eustis, Yorktown Naval Weapons Station, and Cheatam Annex. When you PCS to Hampton Roads, VA you will find that I understand that when a family member joins the military, the entire family belongs…thank you for serving our Country, and I look forward to serving your real estate needs!

When you are transferring to Langley AFB, Ft. Eustis, Yorktown Naval Weapons Station or Cheatam Annex, if you’re interested in buying a home for sale call 757-651-3763 or e-mail me at jenniferhernandez@lizmoore.com

Active Duty Military Life is Like a Box of Chocolates…

By: Williamsburg Military Insider

We’ve all been there in the back to school open houses, standing in a group of civilians talking about their families, they ask what you do and you smile, “We’re military”. You see the look, you know what I’m talking about, yes, that look. They respond, “Oh I just don’t think I could do it.” This always cracks me up one side and down the other. What do they think? You are a glutton for punishment? They act like it’s a physical choice of yours to be a part of this lifestyle. Any military spouse knows, it’s not that you like to move around twenty billion times in your life, that you enjoy having the movers trash your new girls brand new Ping Pong Table, or even that you enjoy living most of your life as a geographical bachelor/bachelorette, better known as a single, married person. Or maybe you enjoy the single parenting life of a married person? You don’t choose it, sometimes it chose you, and sometimes it just is. It’s what you do. So here are some tips to help you do it with grace, do it with style, and  in the end you might end up actually liking it after all (well except for that being alone and the Ping Pong trashing action).

Seek out friends & support

  • Join OSC/ESC
  • Volunteer
  • Attend neighborhood functions
  • Participate in your Squadron’s groups & events

Remember, some of your best friends and contacts you will make in the most unlikely places. Never stop growing, and never stop seeking new contacts.

Don’t be afraid to seek help when you need it

  • Chaplains, Military Life Counselors, even Financial Counselors
  • Friends & neighbors

Look, everyone has issues, and if they say they don’t, then that is an issue in and of itself. Do not be afraid to seek help and talk to someone about your life. Even the happiest person or couple has things that they need to talk about once and awhile.

Be positive

  • No negative attitudes allowed (exception: longer than 24 hours – hey, we all have our days)
  • Make yourself the “glass half full” kind of person

Remaining positive about your lifestyle choice is almost always a sanity-saving endeavor. At least it has been for me. Sure there are times when life throws you curveballs (more so than normal in a military career because SURPRISE! you’re not in control).

Focus on what you want and go for it

  • It’s your life too
  • Empower yourself

Just because you are a military spouse doesn’t mean you can’t have your own life and career outside of being married to the military. Choose work or a volunteer position outside of the home if that is what makes you feel “complete”.

Communicate & Share

  • Share everything with your spouse (that includes your feelings, but also, parenting, the wash, paying the bills, and feeding the dog)
  • Develop a loving relationship full of touch and expression ( Honestly the best perk J )

This is the key to a successful marriage in the military. There will be times when you will be on your own without your spouse. That doesn’t mean that you will be doing it all alone, unless you make it that way. Make a conscience effort, in presence or not, to communicate openly with your spouse about everything. Parent together, do finances together, be a “team”.

Forest Gump says it best, “Life is like a box of chocolates – you never know what you’re going to get”. And yes, my friend, that statement rings even more true for military life.

I am a REALTOR with Liz Moore & Associates Also; I am part of the Liz Moore & Associates’ Military Team which specializes in homes for sale in James City County, Newport News, Hampton, York County, Poquoson, and Williamsburg, VA as well as surrounding markets. I offer Active Duty friendly support to families relocating to Langley Air Force Base, Ft. Eustis, Yorktown Naval Weapons Station, and Cheatam Annex. When you PCS to Hampton Roads, VA you will find that I understand that when a family member joins the military, the entire family belongs…thank you for serving our Country, and I look forward to serving your real estate needs!

When you are transferring to Langley AFB, Ft. Eustis, Yorktown Naval Weapons Station or Cheatam Annex, if you’re interested in buying a home for sale call 757-651-3763 or e-mail me at jenniferhernandez@lizmoore.com

Defense Lodging System (DLS) up and running for your next PCS

By: Williamsburg Military Insider

For your next PCS move or just family adventure.  How neat is it the Defense Lodging System (DLS) now features an online reservations system.  www.dodlodging.net.  So far 68 AF Inns are in the system and all should be in the system by Dec. 2011

I am a REALTOR with Liz Moore & Associates  Also; I am part of the Liz Moore & Associates’ Military Team    which specializes in homes for sale in James City County, Newport News, Hampton, York County, Poquoson, and Williamsburg, VA as well as surrounding markets. I offer Active Duty friendly support to families relocating to Langley Air Force Base, Ft. Eustis, Yorktown Naval Weapons Station, and Cheatam Annex.  When you PCS to Hampton Roads, VA  you will find that I understand that when a family member joins the military, the entire family belongs…thank you  for serving our Country, and I look forward to serving your real estate needs!

When you are transferring to Langley AFB, Ft. Eustis, Yorktown Naval Weapons Station or Cheatam Annex, if you’re interested in buying a home for sale call 757-651-3763    or e-mail me at jenniferhernandez@lizmoore.com

New Military Spouses…A Few Tips from Seasoned Spouses

By: Williamsburg Military Insider

Advice seasoned military spouses would give to new spouses. Here are the very insightful hints. To start is two of my favorite quotes that get me through every day:

  1. “You must do the thing which you think you cannot do “–Eleanor Roosevelt.
  2. Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass….It’s about learning to dance in the rain!  Vivian Greene
  3. Always have a back-up plan for the back-up plan to your back-up plan.
  4. Learn to patient if you already are not, almost everything involves a “sit and wait”
  5. Always take down a rank/name, date, time and summary of the conversation when speaking to someone on the phone or even in person!
  6. Regardless of what branch of the military you are affiliated with, no matter what base you are at, or even what your active duty sponsor’s job is…..the military will ride you but to make you… HURRY up and get everything done and then make you wait days, weeks, and even months to do their end of whatever it is you are trying to do.
  7. Trust your GUT. If something doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t. Talk to someone else, do something else, but go with it.
  8. Allow each duty station, each person you meet, and each career opportunity given to your soldier, to enrich your life, your knowledge, and your circle of friends. Every place will have good points and bad, but it’s only as great OR as miserable as YOU make it!
  9. Enjoy him while you have him because you never know how fast he will deploy!
  10. Trust your soldier, he loves you. Some people will try to undermine your relationship, especially during times of deployment.
  11. Pray daily and love strong.
  12. Get things in writing if they say you will get something
  13. This isn’t for the weak hearted or minds… Trust and faith go a long way! Throw out the pens and keep a pencil handy, nothing is permanent! Enjoy, it CAN be a great adventure!
  14. Always look for the blessing, not the difficulty of every new change
  15. Learn to embrace it and just enjoy it as it comes.
  16. Never be afraid to ask “What does that mean?” – And don’t let anyone make you feel stupid for not-knowing. Sooner or later someone will try.
  17. Try to think of questions, because most of the time you will not get an answer unless you know the question.
  18. Learn your spouse’s social security number! You’ll need it everywhere.
  19. You are nothing without a Power of Attorney.
  20. Stay away from drama. Don’t get pulled in. It costs just too much energy.
  21. Rely on my more seasoned friends for a lot of questions your husband might not even know the too, it’s answers to. Nice to know an answer is usually a text away.
  22. Don’t believe it until you have orders IN HAND. (Even then be cautious)
  23. Logistics, planning, and communication are how you’ll survive.
  24. Surround yourself with positive and inspiring people. Not the ones that drag you down.
  25. Hope for the best, but be prepared for the worst.
  26. “Bloom Where You are Planted!”
  27. Don’t believe everything that’s being said.
  28. Learn to ‘hear’ to everything that spouses tell you but to ‘listen’ only to a few things.
  29. Be dedicated but don’t ‘lose’ yourself in this military life.
  30. Don’t take ‘no’ for an answer. Dig deeper if you have to.
  31. When you go to see the military hospital, try to learn as much as possible about what might be wrong and the treatment you might need…….
  32. Be ‘nice’. There is so much bad and negative going around don’t contribute.
  33. Get an education and support your husband.
  34. Be proactive. If others help you be grateful.
  35. Learn about your base. Use the resources offered to your spouse and family.
  36. Take advantage of the FRG and OMBUDSMAN’s knowledge.
  37. Meet the “higher ups” in your command so they can put a face with the name.
  38. Learn not only about your base, but the surrounding area(s), the surrounding communities many times offer different groups/organizations you can get involved with, plus if you start researching the area you will feel more comfortable/prepared for it as well. I always look at maps and try to learn some of the main roads, where some of the stores off base are, the malls, children’s stores etc.
  39. Take advantage of moving every so often and TRAVEL! Not everybody has the opportunity to see the world.
  40. Get out on your own, without your sponsor; learn about the surroundings and area around you.
  41. Learn to be independent and don’t rely on your sponsor for everything because he will not be available for you at all times, especially during deployment.
  42. During deployment, don’t move back to your family in another state, if you don’t have to. Ask them to visit you, take trips to see them every once in a while, but once again – learn to be on your own.
  43. Get involved in the community, ex. spouses’ club (great way to meet people who can be great mentors, friends, and support).
  44. Ask questions, if you don’t understand something. There is nothing wrong with being curious and interested in learning.
  45. Attend different classes Family Services offer to you.
  46. Take time for yourself
  47. Everyone’s experience with the military is different; some couples never see each other, while others drive each other crazy being constantly around each other.
  48. Just because you have orders doesn’t mean they won’t get changed or cancelled at the last-minute.
  49. Learn about OPSEC and PERSEC
  50. Know that it CAN happen that he CAN’T tell you what’s going on at work.