Your spouse has just received orders for a nine-month deployment. You have a 20-month-old and you are six weeks pregnant with your second child. You just moved to your duty station and don’t have very many friends around. What should you do? Go home? That might be a smart choice.
Sometimes spouses do go home for a deployment. They either move out of their current housing or just plan to leave it for a while. They move back in with their parents for the deployment. There are plenty of benefits to this but also some reasons why you shouldn’t.
So, why should you move home during a deployment?
- For extra family support. If you move home, you will not be alone. You will most likely be living with other adults and they can help you and your children. They can be there for you on the harder days and help keep you busy. Being with family during deployment can make the time pass by quickly.
- For familiarity. Being home again can feel like a comfortable blanket. You know where everything is. You know what you can do for fun and you can take your kids around to all the places you used to visit when you lived there. You can see friends you have known for a long time and it can be a great place to spend the months that your spouse is going to be away.
- For safety reasons. Living alone can be scary, even if you live in a nice neighborhood. Staying with family can make you feel safer while your spouse is gone. You don’t have to worry about being in a home all by yourself. Being in a home with other people can take away that fear. There is enough to be afraid of during deployments that your home shouldn’t be one of those fears.
Moving home isn’t an option for everyone. Some spouses do not have family to go home to or don’t want to be with them for the deployment. Others find the military community so great of an asset that they can’t see leaving it. During our second deployment, I took my two boys and we stayed with my parents for about three months over the summer. This was mostly because I wanted a break from Germany and it helped speed up the deployment. We had a great time having fun in Southern California and it was great to spend so much time with my parents especially since we lived so far away from them.
Here is why you shouldn’t move home during a deployment:
- Loss of military community. Unless home is in a military community too, you will lose access to it during the deployment which is the time you need it most. You won’t be able to attend FRG meetings or meet up with other spouses who are going through a deployment. You might start feeling very disconnected to the whole thing yet still feel the sadness of the deployment. This can be hard for some people.
- Housing. Sometimes if you leave your housing for too long you can lose it. You might not be able to come back to the same home. You might have to go back on a waiting list or find a new house after he gets back from deployment. If your kids are in school you might have to take them out if you are not homeschooling. It can be tricky to uproot your kids more often than you need to.
- Not bonding with other spouses. There is something that happens when you go through a deployment with someone else. You bond in a way that you can’t bond with other people. If you are not living in the community it will be hard for you to meet other spouses and bond with them. This might mean that you give up a great opportunity to start friendships that will last forever.
There is no one right answer to the question about if you should go home for a deployment or not. Some people do and have a great experience, others regret it. You have to decide what is best for you and your own family.