PCS Season 2017

Some of us have lived this and others are new at it – PCSing. Permanent Change of Station. This is probably the highest-rated stressors among spouses, both new to the game as well as the experienced. There are tons of tips out there to survive your first, or 5th, military move. Our first PCS wasn’t the greatest and wasn’t the worst but we definitely learned a few lessons for next time. For example – make sure the experienced packers do NOT include your glass shelves with your husband’s truck hitch. 

I’m an organizer by trade and lists are my favorite. Here are a few items that should be included in your PCS season checklist:

  1. Take a deep breath. Moving is stressful but it’s also a new and exciting time for you and your family. Bloom where you are planted!
  2. Research your new duty station. Hawaii? Germany? Yes please! Bring on the new experiences, culture, and maybe a beach and a beer. I had so much fun researching Marine Corps Base Hawaii that part of me was ready as soon as we had orders. Volcanoes, beaches, and Mai Tais! adrian-benea-205697
  3. Get your movers and packers lined up. Decide if a DITY move is right for your family or if having the military move you is a better choice. There are pros and cons to both so make sure you weigh them both carefully. Also, be sure and keep a watchful eye during packing. Every mover is different and you do not want to have your items arrive in a condition that would have been better if your 2 year old had packed.
  4. Pet Situation. OCONUS moves as well as Hawaii require certain tests and flight requirements for your pet. Make sure you know the rules and regulations for your new area.
  5. Housing. On base or off? House or an apartment? Again, there are pros and cons to  both but make sure you make the best choice for you and yours. Opinions and recommendations are great but don’t weigh them too heavily up front. 
  6. Join Spouses Facebook Page. In this day and age, everyone is on Facebook. Join the page and get acquainted with others in your new area. You can even line up play dates, coffee dates, and potential babysitters!

wordswag_1492027543503There are hundreds of moving tips out there because each of us military spouses have had our own unique experiences. Embrace the change and open yourself up to every new experience coming your way. Moving is never fun – regardless of when it happens. Just know there is a light, and maybe a glass of wine, at the end of the tunnel.

MCB Hawaii and Lejeune Resources

If you happen to be moving to Jacksonville, NC or Marine Corps Base Hawaii some great pages to check out are:

Michelle is a virtual assistant by trade, and a military spouse by love. Her husband Sean is a pilot in the Marine Corps, and they have been married for 4 years. Learn more about her virtual assistant services here: MichellePen.com.

Tips for Surviving the Love Holiday Solo

It’s Valentine’s Day…and your significant other is with his other love, the military. Sometimes she can be pretty stingy with their time, but it’s up to us to make the most of every moment.

What do you do? Well, you could eat chocolate, drink wine, and watch sappy movies guaranteed to turn you into a hot mess. And let’s be honest, nobody, and I mean nobody, wants to see that. Puffy eyes aren’t great for impromptu Skype calls.


You could channel all that love into something productive and sweet to show your Valentine how much you were thinking of him/her while they were away.

Suggestions for Valentine’s Day

Some options to keep your chin, and your spirit, up during the love holiday:

  1. Girls Night – there is nothing better than surrounding yourself with those who know your plight as well as you. Civilian friends and family just don’t understand what it feels like to jump at text or consider showering with your phone. These ladies (and gents) will laugh and cry and get excited for the reunion with you.
  2. Pinterest Projects – it’s really hard to beat some silly, albeit corny, deployment boxes. Channel those sad and depressing feelings into something that will perk you and your favorite guy/gal up. Trust me, you can get pretty creative. My husband and I celebrated our first Valentine’s apart. I turned that time into tacky/corny poster board with some of our favorite songs – I did mention these could be super corny, right?
  3. Pamper Yourself – Granted, you don’t need a special holiday to pamper yourself. BUT it’s a great way to unwind and relax. Everyone needs some R&R on occasion and what better time than now. Plus Massage Envy offers a military discount.

Hang In There, Solo MilSpouse

One couple’s reunion post-WWII

One thing to keep in mind no matter how you decide to celebrate on the 14th, just remember that your lover’s absence is temporary. Whether its deployment, a training, or boot camp – they will be back in your arms soon. It doesn’t have to be a holiday for you to show them how much you love and missed them. Trust me, nothing beats that 3rd, 4th, or 5th first kiss.

Michelle is a virtual assistant by trade, and a military spouse by love. Her husband Sean is a pilot in the Marine Corps, and they have been married for 4 years. Through multiple relocations, appliance mishaps, deployments, and internet outages Michelle has built a vibrant, thriving independent virtual assistant business for herself. Her own experience as a military spouse gives her unique insight into the multitude of challenges facing her fellow military spouses who want to have a career of their own, but struggle to find gainful employment local to the base they find themselves stationed at. These challenges inspired her to start MilSpouseJobs.com.

She has also been nominated for Military Spouse of the Year. Michelle on LinkedIn.