If your partner is in the military, how many times have you asked yourself that question, upon news of a relocation? It’s been 18 months since my Soldier and I took the plunge and bought our family home with the Forces Help to Buy scheme. After moving back from a posting abroad and saving up a deposit, it seemed like the perfect time to take advantage of the new scheme.
We knew that the new posting would only be for 18 months, which would have meant our children would attend 3 schools in 2 years (well actually 4 but that’s another story!) and the kids and I were likely to be ‘on our own’ for most of it as we were before. It was also important to us to start planning for when his service ends, so for us, the answer was going unaccompanied.
We both saw ourselves living in the countryside, however, it soon became apparent that with 3 young children, work commitments, a fast moving housing market and a few hundred miles between us and our chosen location, it just wasn’t happening. It was so difficult trying to recce places we didn’t know and then trying to arrange the viewings around the agents and kids.
The process went on so long I started to get cold feet…why would I want to move to an area that I don’t know, start all over and be unaccompanied? It would essentially be like another posting (going into the unknown) but the biggest thing that would be missing would be my extended family (and I don’t mean the in laws!), my fellow wives and partners, that I meet wherever I go, who I rely on daily to pick me up, keep me going and understand what it’s like, to not be around friends and family in a place you don’t know (or maybe like), but call home.
So the revised plan; stay within the military comfort zone I know and love, buy a house where we are now, get on the ladder, see the kids through primary school at least and deal with the rest later, when his full service is up.
It’s been hard work, endless DIY and financially there is a big jump between an SFA and your own home (in particular in the South East). There have even been times where dare I say, I wished I could call Carillion Amey for a repair! But, I love the fact that even though I’m off patch, I am still part of Army life. Popping into events and functions or even to someone’s for a brew. It makes you realise how lucky we (the military family) are to have each other for company and those random favours with no question asked. ..I could never imagine knocking on my civvy neighbour’s door and asking them to pick me up some bread whilst they were out, because hubby is at the mess tonight and the kids are in bed, and I might also need them to do the school run as well because he left the car on camp in favour of getting drunk! That happens to other people right?
So, next up we now face the inevitable challenge of me staying put with the kids and whilst he is posted out. We hope to see each other every weekend (when he isn’t on tour or exercise) and of course there is Skype. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t anxious about how we will cope, but that’s the trade-off we made and we feel it’s the right decision for us. As long as he is serving there is always a compromise for families, but we are so proud of what he does that I wouldn’t have it any other way.