Military life is full of surprises, but sometimes the biggest is how much your extended family doesn't understand.
Surely, when you married your service member, your parents, siblings and grandparents realized that you wouldn't be living next door for the next four to 20 years. So why does it still seem like such a burden to tell them you're moving?
Over time, you'll get a little better at breaking the news and they'll get a little better at receiving it. Here are tips on how to tell your family you're moving -- again.
Timing is everything.
Some people need a lot of time to adjust to news such as, "We're moving to Germany!" Others don't. Depending on the relationship you have with your extended family, you may choose to bring them into the conversation early or wait until your plans are set.
Make sure you're on the same page with your spouse.
The last thing your parents want to hear is you crying because "they're making me move so far away!" Yes, they know you love your spouse and that you truly want to be with them, but they're also going to want to protect you from that hurt. And if the in-law relationship is already rocky, this isn't going to help.
Let your family know the plan.
That includes the plan for moving, your estimated timeline and when you'll be set up for visitors. Maybe your new destination will place you within a few hours of their location and you can meet up, or you can take a few extra days to visit them.
Ask them to help.
If you're doing a Personally Procured Move (PPM, also known as DITY), why not see if your parents want to come help? They could help you pack, drive, help with the kids and even set up your new house. Chances are, they've wanted to be involved in this process before, and this is a great opportunity.
Play up the positives.
Maybe it's not your hometown, but it could be somewhere fun. Sure, duty stations such as Hawaii and Germany tend to attract more visitors than southeast Arizona, but there are still fun things to see and do everywhere. Make a list to send to family members talking about visiting.
You may have seen others' cute photos revealing their next duty station. Maybe you're inspired to make your own: boxes labeled with the state and your kids posing inside them. Or a piece of art that features your next duty station. All are great options if you have time and want to be creative with your PCS announcement.
But what it really comes down to is that your family wants to hear from you what's going on. They want to know before you post on social media, and they want to make sure you're happy. Aside from you moving in next door, this is the best-case scenario for them.
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