Little adorable monsters who thrive on routine, familiarity, and consistency just don’t make great PCS companions. While I myself have offered tips for PCSing with children, read many of the same type of blogs, and have moved 7 times now in 11 years – 5 of which have been with children, I have never –until now- PCSed with a 2 year old. It’s a whole new beast. Seriously, in my utter exhaustion only 6 days into our 4 week transition to our new duty station, I make no attempts to offer advice. I have no wise words on how to make the best of it, I can barely say PCS without needing a nap (which wouldn’t ever happen anyway because why would my 2 year old need to nap when there are hotel hallways to be explored).
PCSing with a toddler does not feel like a simple Permanent Change of Station but more like I Probably Can’t Survive. How has my sleeping-through- the-night, good-natured toddler turned into a blue eyed, hotel night shrieking banshee? My nightly self-commentary has been going something like this: “Sweetie, I know we’ve slept in 4 different places in the past week. Get it together kid, lay down and go to sleep. It’s 4am, I don’t care what time zone we are in, yes we have been through three of them but everyone in the U.S. is sleeping somewhere, so please for the sake of mommy’s sanity and ability to keep her big girl panties on, please go to sleep.”
Ok. Maybe I’ve lied. I am not this patient at 4am in the morning but who wants to admit to anything less, right? In all honesty, I envy my toddler’s ability to unabashedly show his emotions, his frustrations with our transition and his desire to control the world around him because really, I feel exactly the same way.
Here are 10 things that I have learned on our journey so far… Read more >
As every military family knows – a PCS can be challenging and stress inducing. (Hey, wait… P-C-S: Personally Challenging and Stress inducing. Well that makes a lot of sense now!) Thankfully as the military community continues to network and grow in personal relationships and through social media, we have a plethora of resources at our hands to help plan, conquer and divide (quite literally). Whether you are planning your very first PCS or your fourteenth, there are always new ideas out there to help the process go smoothly.
As an Army spouse, I’ve moved 8 times in the past 12 years, and have done everything from watch in horror as my newlywed lingerie collection came tumbling down the staircase; to sitting in a hot, empty German house and breastfeeding a 7 day old baby as odiferous German moving men meandered around me. By honorable mention, I have made an epic 20 hour drive with a 3 year old from the East Coast to the armpit of Hell (Fort Polk, Louisiana) – by myself and arrived at our new rental house that had sat vacant for 6 weeks amidst the sweltering Louisiana summer. Close yours eye for a moment and envision black widow dens in the living room, mold growth in the fridge worthy of hazmat suits, and a swarm of maggoty fruit flies moving around inside the microwave.
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We have PCS’d 5 times in the last 8 years, and 3 of those moves have been with small children. (Wow, does that thought make me want to run to the liquor cabinet.) Ten months after our last move, I finally have my head together enough to share some tips that make it a bit easier to handle a PCS while your “helpers” shadow you during those weeks surrounding the move. (Or at least keep your happy hour to after naptime.)
Things to Prep
Remember that TLC show where the people had big tarps on their lawn to separate all their stuff into “Keep”, “Sell”, and “Donate” piles? That’s you right now. Obviously keep the things your child still uses and likes, as well as those a future sibling might need. But that ridiculously loud battery operated nose sucker you tossed in the garage to hide? You won’t miss it. Is your last baby going to outgrow the swing in a month anyway? Sell it now. Use CALL DIBS to sell or give away the stuff you won’t need. Consider donating some of your books and easily cleaned toys to charity, to your pediatrician’s office or a Caribou Coffee kid corner (love those).
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The Call Dibs Team is commited to making Call Dibs useful and user friendly. We are always receiving comments and questions, and do our best to put your feedback into action and make the app work for you. Part of what makes Call Dibs unique, is the users ability to “see” who they are transacting with by viewing their Profile.
When setting up your Call Dibs account; keep in mind that creating a thorough user profile with a picture has proven to increase the amount of success you will have when selling items because visual familiarity is comforting and gives us a point of reference. Below is a step by step guide to putting your “best face forward” and successfully completing your user profile.
When you create an account with Call Dibs you will be asked to fill in the following fields:
- Name: First and Last – only your first name and first initial of your last name will appear to other Call Dibs users
- Email – currently this is only being used to log in and to reset your password
- Phone – This is for our records but will be used for future upgrade and only used at your discretion.
- Affiliation – This is important because you are claiming your branch of service and status
- Password – This is to login to your Call Dibs account
- Picture – Option to upload a picture, aims to provide those you are transacting another layer of personal identification and accountability.
Security is top priority at Call Dibs. We are using the same and best practices and security measures that many of the well-known mobile and web apps are using. (i.e. Twitter, Facebook).
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My kids are 5, 3, and 2. No day is dull, but some are a bit more mind-boggling than others. Yesterday was one of those days when there were several seemingly premeditated moments that annoyed me at the time, but lost some of the spiciness after the day was over. There were also a couple cute ones that I brushed off in the moment, but that seemed much sweeter after bedtime. … Read more >
As military spouses, we often hear that there are “tons of resources” available to us. However, finding them and determining which are the most helpful can be challenging. Through our efforts to provide Call Dibs to military families across the globe, our Call Dibs team of MilSpouses has come across some incredibly helpful and very entertaining websites and blogs along the way.
We’ve compiled this list of some sites and blogs that we’ve come to know and love. Some of them mainstream, and others off the beaten path, but all with content pertinent to our lives as military spouses.
Hope you find something that suits you, and please feel free to add any that you like to our comments section, so we can share!
1. FB Group: Oh, the Places We Go
A group for the military community to connect with each other and help one another navigate new places and the military lifestyle. The wall is full of questions and answers about specific duty stations, figuring out Tricare and Space A flights, available homes for sale/rent, tips and tricks for PCSing, and much more.
Part of Military.com, SpouseBuzz is a collection of military spouse bloggers. They write about our lifestyle, issues and problems in our community, and hold an annual summit in Washington, D.C., to make connections to all the different branches and experiences to continue building their site. Read more >
Would you invite a stranger into your house?
In general, my answer is no. If I open the door to solicitors, carolers, or even Girl Scouts, we talk at the door and that’s that. When I used Craigslist, I would always arrange a public meeting and have someone come with me (or at least be on the phone) during the exchange.
However, I recently sold some baby clothes through Call Dibs DC to a male military spouse. He said his wife was stationed in Monterey, and he was out in DC on business. He was browsing listings for his infant son, and was interested in several of my items. Our schedules really weren’t matching up to meet out somewhere between his job, my kids’ naps, and the awful DC traffic we’d end up sitting in, so I told him to just come over to my house. Then when he arrived, we invited him in for a beer. Read more >
When I married my husband, I found myself in a situation all too familiar to a new military spouse. I needed to navigate Navy life as a newlywed, living on the opposite coast from my hubby. He was deploying from a unit on the East Coast, but my job and support system were on the West Coast. Unfortunately, I learned the hard way that not being better informed inadvertently made more work for both of us than was necessary. I’m writing this in the hopes of curtailing some of your frustrations, so that you may learn from my misfortune.
I encourage you to get the items listed below organized and keep them in your possession when PCS-ing. I have found that by keeping them in an accordion folder vs. a file folder lessens the likelihood that smaller items ie: social security cards will get lost in transit. Also, keeping docs in a small fireproof/waterproof safe can be helpful when PCS-ing by making it easy to grab if you need to evacuate due to hurricanes, earthquakes, tornados, tsunamis, or fires. “Fate favors the prepared” J –Louis Pasteur Read more >
I don’t know about you, but I love coffee. I usually drink decaf, but I still need that cup in the morning to get my rear in gear. Of course, that was always something I overlooked in my early PCS days, and cranky was not a good color on me mid-move.
No more! We have finally crafted our PCS bin (66 qt) that fits nicely in the car and has everything we want for those few days (or a ridiculous month and a half, as we had to wait on a recent PCS). If you’re flying, I would totally sacrifice a suitcase of clothes to include this as one of my checked bags (just remove the necessities, pack carefully, and duct tape it shut). Of course you can hit the store once you arrive, but it’s things like these you may not think of, and it’ll save you from having to go BACK to the store every 5 minutes to get yet another phone charger.
medical records, identification (birth certificates, ss cards, passports), marriage license – to prove you belong to this travelling zoo
orders and HHG paperwork from the moving company Read more >
Finding a new job isn’t easy. Add to the regular challenges the transient lifestyle of a military spouse. It’s not always as glamorous as our civilian friends might think. Case in point: the dreaded job hunt. There are many challenges that military spouses face when it comes to resumes and interviews, as discussed in our previous blog ie: Frequent PCSes, a lapse in employment to raise children, living abroad where licensing or language barriers were an issue. Whatever your challenge, there are a few simple ways to give your resume a face lift and capitalize on the amazing experiences you have been privy to as a military spouse. Here’s what we think you need to know in order to put your best foot forward.
- Keep it simple: Your resume is the first thing a potential employer is going to see when you are being considered for a position. Choose a simple, straightforward font and easy to follow formatting.
- Update your email address: Are you still rocking your firstname.lastname@example.org email address? Time for a change. That may work socially, but it’s a good idea to get a slicker, more professional email address to handle correspondence with potential employers. Move over cutiepie, email@example.com has arrived. Read more >