How Military Families Survive Frequent PCS Moves

by | Mar 20, 2021 | Military Life, PCS | 0 comments

Today’s guest military spouse is Rebecca Alwine, an army wife, blogger, and writer at I asked her to share her insight about frequent PCS moves.

I’m writing this while sitting in my empty kitchen, watching boxes and furniture slowly leave through the front door. They’re being loaded on the truck, heading for yet another new house. It seemed so exciting the first time when the idea of moving every couple of years was thrilling.

When I met my Soldier, and he invited me on this trip to “see the world” I thought I’d love it.

But here we are, 11 years, three kids, one dog, and six moves later, and to be honest, I’m over it.

Frequent PCS moves are exhausting

Sure, the excitement of living someplace new is still there. The anticipation of meeting up with old friends at a new duty station. Even the stress of finding a new house can be chalked up to the experience. But, I’ve done all of that before. Heck, I just did it seven months ago.

This military family knows what it's like to move twice in the same year. Have you done a back-to-back PCS move? #milspouse #PCSmove Click To Tweet

Yes, seven months ago I was sitting in the same place, (figuratively, of course), watching my stuff loaded on a truck. Like, exactly seven months ago. Then I packed up my kids, my dog, and enough things (so we thought) to trek across the country for a move.

We had an adventure, just as I promised the kids. We explored San Antonio, visiting Sea World and friends. We saw green as we inched eastward, and we arrived at the beach, ready for adventure.

frequent PCS moves

And then life happened. My husband started work, my kids went to school, and we settled into life. The beach was there, but not visited as often as we thought. We tried new things but spent many Saturdays relaxing at home, enjoying time as a family. This duty station was to be a period of rest and family time, and on that side, I’d say we succeeded.

Finding ‘home’ after frequent PCS moves

This house holds some memories for me for sure. My baby took his first steps here. My big kids learned about starting a new school and making new friends. We joined a new church, found a great babysitter, and made some friends.

But we did all of this with the promise of another PCS move hanging over us. We tried not to get too comfortable because we knew this move was coming. We made friends, knowing we were leaving them soon. We bought food and supplies knowing we didn’t need a stockpile. We didn’t even plug in the deep freezer that I so frequently rely on for dinner prep.

As we approach the next duty station, we vow not to live that safe, secluded life. We promise that we’ll get involved, get reconnected, make friendships that will grow with time. Balance our family time with community involvement. Give back to the community, help younger military families grow.

But, there’s no guarantee we won’t be repeating this very move in six months.

Military families learn to thrive, even after frequent PCS moves

I know, there’s always that chance of moving shortly after arriving. But there’s something so very overwhelming and disheartening about moving three times in less than 15 months. Frequent PCS moves mean uprooting your kids, your life, your job so frequently. It makes you doubt yourself, your decision making.

You ask, should I have just stayed here while he did this training on his own? Is 12 months apart worth the stability? Is this a good thing for my family or am I making things harder? Can our family really handle these frequent PCS moves?

But you know what? I don’t regret it. We’ve had more time as a family the last seven months that we did the past five years. My husband was home every weekday by 4 pm. We had dinner together almost every night. Our kids thrived in school. They made friends. We made friends.

We were supposed to be here, even if only for a short time. We are confident that our presence here made a difference in someone’s life. And, really, what more can we ask?

As we like to say in the military community, “Bloom where you are planted,” I encourage you to continue to bloom where you are. Then to transplant yourself into a temporary pot, move yourself to the next place, and then dig down deep into the community and do it again.


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