The street lights come on, colors sound, and suddenly you hear a chorus of voices filling the evening air.
“Johhny and Aiden, time to come in!”
“Sydney and Mariah, dinner!”
Kids scatter from the playgrounds while doors open and shut quickly as children sort themselves into the correct house. Bikes are left leaning against fences and neighbors sit down for spur of the moment glasses of sweet tea on porches.
Make the Most of Your On-Base Mayberry Neighborhood Life
Living on-base can feel a lot like living in a Mayberry neighborhood. Everyone knows everyone else, kids play outside almost all the time and there’s always someone there to lend a hand.
It seems like this simpler lifestyle could go on forever, but the years in your on-base Mayberry neighborhood are limited. Sure, you could end up in another similar situation, but then again you might not.
Right now is the best time to make the most of your incredible military community.
Kids Play Outside All the Time
In a lot of on-base neighborhoods, the kids are always outside. Like, all the time. They’re riding bikes, chilling at the playground and catching air at the skate park. Some are building forts or playing a pickup soccer game.
This isn’t something that happens in off-base neighborhoods. Houses are more spread out, playgrounds might not be within easy reach or it’s just not that safe.
On-base, it’s pretty safe to let your child run to the within-shouting-distance playground with their friends for a bit. Or to let them run down the street for an impromptu playdate with a neighbor.
There are always other kids to play with on base. In fact, it’s hard to find a neighborhood without children at all. From infants to high schoolers, there are usually a whole group of kids in a similar age range.
Borrow a Cup of Sugar
Or grab a can of peas or a bag of nuggets. Seriously, your neighbors are here for you in ways that just aren’t a thing off base anymore.
It’s not uncommon for cul de sacs to have a community text message or Facebook chat. Send a quick message to your neighbors about literally anything.
Run out of an ingredient? Send a message and then just run across the way to grab what you need.
Neighborhood messages have been used to find a last minute sitter, figure out playdates, and even get quick checks at the mailboxes. No need to leave your house and check your box if you’ve got a neighbor headed that way already. It’ll save you the trip only to find an empty mailbox!
Find Support 24/7
What do you need help with? Chances are good that you can find what you need right in your on-base neighborhood. From tutors to yard care to babysitters, you’ll find resources within easy reach.
Many military neighborhoods use social media to connect. Members can post anything they need 24/7.
It’s definitely not uncommon to see a post from a military spouse looking for a date night sitter or wondering about the trash schedule. Social media groups make it easy to connect, find answers and support each other.
Easy Ways to Socialize
Base housing is usually organized based on rank/grade, which means that
On base, it’s not unusual to have spur of the moment BBQs or weekend fires. With a neighborhood text message or every family outside in the afternoon, it’s easy to make plans together.
You’re together almost all the time, you see each other every day. And getting together is simple.
Ask a neighbor about dinner plans, then suggest combining your grilling to make it into an impromptu party!
Or talk with other parents outside after school to make plans for a kids’ playdate or parents only fire.
Holiday Community Spirit
Whether you’re overseas or just across the country from your family, you’ll still be able to celebrate with people you love! Most military neighborhoods end up celebrating all the holidays, big or small, together.
Every holiday turns into a giant potluck with every family bringing their favorite sides and desserts to share. All the kids play together all day long.
After living on base, it might feel weird to not have a giant all-hands Easter egg hunt.
Having a giant potluck to celebrate with your neighbors make holidays far from your childhood home easier and more festive.
Make Separations Simpler
On base, it’s easy for families to band together and make deployments or TDYs simpler for everyone.
Combining families for dinner, swapping playdate locations and generally working together has saved military spouses on the home front more than once. Living on base makes finding support and teammates so much easier.
Everyone is in this together, dealing with stretches of solo parenting or missing a spouse. Finding your own battle buddy helps families stay sane and survive separations.