PCSing is stressful whatever the circumstances, but having to do it without your service member by your side can make the stress that comes with moving even worse. However, spouses move by themselves all the time. For whatever reason the service member just can’t be there to help with the move.
When my husband joined the Army he was sent to Germany and my son and I had to wait in the U.S. until all the paperwork was taken care of. I know that sometimes they send everyone over together but that just wasn’t the case for us. We waited 4.5 months to join him.
A very long 4.5 months in which I had to get all the paperwork we needed submitted, schedule the move, clean out the apartment, get the car ready to ship, drive the car to the shipping location and fly alone to Europe with my son.
That move was one of the most stressful moments in our military history. I was also brand new to military life which complicated the whole process. I wasn’t sure what to expect and I didn’t quite understand how the military worked. I made some mistakes but looking back I think information like this would have really helped me.
Here’s a short guide to PCSing alone.
- Make lists. Create a PCS binder to keep everything together. Find out what you need to do and when you need to have it done by. Put everything on a calender. Then, make everything you have to do that day for the PCS a priority. Keeping organized will go a long way in getting you through it.
- Make sure your Power of Attorney is up to date and won’t expire during the PCS. The worst thing would be to have the POA expire during the process when your husband is on the other side of the country or even the world. You want to be able to do anything you might have to do and you will need a POA to get that paperwork done.
- Ask for help. Can one of your parents, siblings or best friends come out and help you? I am not sure what I would have done without my parents coming out to help me during the moving process. They watched my toddler while the movers came. My mom helped me drive up to St. Louis to drop off the car. Not everyone will have this option but if you think someone might be able to help you in this way, ask for it.
- Talk the PCS over. Make sure you and your service member is on the same page. If one of you is going to be picking out your new home, make sure you are clear on what you are expecting. Make sure you both know what your expectations are. Talk the process over when it starts to feel a little too stressful. Remember that others have done this before and you can too.
Whether you are PCSing to the next state over or going overseas, there is going to be a lot to do. By staying ahead of the game, keeping organized and talking with your spouse about what needs to be done, you will make the process a little easier.