Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Moving With The Military

Recently a friend asked me how I felt about entering the Air Force and dealing with moving on a regular basis, especially with kids. This is something that I have thought a lot about and was one of the things that I had to reconcile in my mind before we decided on this new course for our life.

Something you may not know about me is that I moved quite a bit growing up and people always asked me if we were military and the answer is no. My dad has so many interests and things he wants to do in life that the next big opportunity was always somewhere else and so we moved frequently, chasing the dream. Making friends who had lived in one house their whole lives was always a bit surprising and seemed like the ideal to me when I was growing up and I envied them. I moved 11 times before I left for college, (lived in the same house twice) and lived in 5 states. Interestingly enough, I ended up marrying someone who had only lived in 3 houses before he left for college and two of those were in the same city. As I've grown older I've realized that moving a lot while growing up meant I was challenged and grew in many ways that my friends did not and I had opportunities that some of them never would have had. That being said, there were some pretty tough things about moving frequently and sometimes rather suddenly and unexpectedly as a kid.

The big moves growing up, my 5 mission moves and our 3 moves in one city since we've been married.
So, with all that being said, how am I okay with the Military lifestyle for my kids, you might ask?
 (get comfy as this might be a long post...)

 Well, obviously these are my opinions as an outsider since we haven't started moving around with the military yet but these are some of the thoughts I have had and the plans I have tentatively made in my head.

 Being in the Military, it isn't IF you will move, it's WHEN you will move. I think this makes a huge difference. When I was growing up my parents would assure us that this was where we were going to settle down and so we should make friends and join clubs, etc... Well, it never was the last move and so I began to distrust the things my parents said and I didn't make an extra effort to make friends and since I'm naturally more of introvert than an extrovert I didn't have many friends. Knowing that you will be moving eventually(with the military) means you can plan on ways of keeping in touch with friends and not have the roller coaster up and down upheavals that I did as a child. Also, I think being around other kids who are going through similar things can be a big help for my kids as we move. For me growing up I was always the odd one out whose family moved and no one else ever did and couldn't relate and I didn't ever have a reason that they would understand, like the military.

 I am the youngest of 7 kids and as much as my mom tried to keep up with all of us and the activities that my parents wanted us to do, there just wasn't enough of her to go around. First of all, I am not planning on having 7 kids, I would probably go stark raving mad if I did!! Also, I have started making notes of the things I plan to do to be involved in my kids lives enough to help them make friends and keep those friends. Being an introverted kid I wasn't one to call up someone and ask if they could come over and play(I was intimidated by talking on the phone and I still avoid the phone if possible...) and so I needed the extra push as a kid to make those things happen. (Don't worry, now that I'm an adult I can make friends by myself ;)) Having friends at school only goes so far, if they don't get together for activities outside of school. Making close friendships that last can be a great support as you move around. This might sound simplistic but I do have some pretty detailed plans that I can share if you are really interested.

 I know that I will need to be the rock in my kids lives for a military lifestyle to work for my family. That means that I need to be constantly working on those things that will help me to be even-keel so to speak. Among other things, I have to be exercising, taking time for myself (which I am terrible at ;) and keeping a close relationship with God and my Savior. Somehow if I am doing those things I can be emotionally stable and then I will be more emotionally and mentally available for my kids and my husband. I can't be breaking down in tears every day because I can't handle the stress, or the unknowns. Not that you can't have tears and breakdowns because believe me I am an emotional person and have those some sometimes. What I am trying to say is that those things can't take over my life. 

One of the things that my parents did really well during the years for us was to try to make sure that we were a close knit family. My sister is my nearest and dearest friend (aside from my hubby, naturally) and always will be. We did a lot of activities together as a family and I want that for my family also. Every Monday night we did Family Home Evening, and we spent a lot of time together on Sundays and did yard work on Saturday mornings. I want my kids to be the best of friends and have someone close to their age to confide in that they know will always love them.

Lastly, I want to have a really open relationship with my kids where they feel like they can ask us anything or come to us and talk about anything going on their lives and we will be there to listen and talk with them. If my kids are having trouble adjusting and feel comfortable talking to us about it we can figure out a way to make things better!

So, all in all, I am excited for our new lifestyle and I am excited for the opportunities it will bring our family. I hope that with the experience I had moving around as a kid I will be able to help my kids have a positive experience with it. I am looking forward to helping my kids find ways to thrive in each new place that we live.

 What kinds of things do you do to help your family thrive with a mobile lifestyle?

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