8 Cons Of Living a Military Lifestyle| Air Force Family
After 6 years in this lifestyle these pros and cons lists are pretty easy to make!
This life doesn’t just effect the active duty member but the entire family as well. So it’s imperative to know not only the pros, but also the cons of living a military lifestyle before you pick the military as a career..
So here it is, my 8 cons of a military lifestyle, enjoy!
1. Being away from friends and family
This will be different for everyone depending on where you’re stationed.
Almost all of our military career and life has been spent overseas, away from family.
Isaac didn’t meet any of our family until he was 6 months old and up until he was 2 1/2 he only saw them maybe twice.
I see my family and and friends once a year, sometimes once every 2 years. And for a girl who loves her mama and her bff, this is a hard one.
In the one year that we were stationed in NC, we got one years worth of holidays with my in-laws (which was wonderful).
Other than that in the last 6 years, 5 of them has been spent just Tom, Isaac and I. Birthdays, Christmases, thanksgivings, etc.
This has definitely brought us all closer though. We try and make things as special as we can for each other.
2. It’s hard for the non-active duty member to have a career
I’ve openly mentioned this a time or two, but this one I think is one of the biggest cons of living a military lifestyle for me personally, and for other “spouses” (I prefer life partner but we’ll save that for another day lol).
I had a lot of plans before joining the military and none of them involved me not having a career or being a stay at home mom or a stay at home anything.
But this lifestyle will force you to get creative when it comes to your career.
Really anything that allows you to work from home and take your job with you anywhere you go is ideal. But how many people actually find a job that allows you to work from home and still make good money? Oh, and that something being something that you actually want to do.
So many factors.
Lets be honest, no-one wants to be the one to have to settle on what they do with their careers because the military takes priority…So make sure you’re ok with it possibly being you who has to, “roll over” and change what you’re willing to do while you and your family are doing this whole, thing.
You don’t want to have any resentment later in life with your partner, so really get honest with yourself and what’s most important to you.
*I’ve listed some books that have helped me create my new path at the bottom of this post. 💕
3. Friendships are hard to make/keep
I am absolutely a girl who needs her friends.
I want sleep overs, I want girl dates, I need romcom movie nights, I need someone to drive around with and sing to the radio with, I need a girl friend to just be ugly with and do nothing with.
Thankfully I have always had those close friendships my entire life. So to go from having my best friend living right around the corner (literally), to basically having no friends at all other than Tom, it gets pretty lonely (when Toms not around).
It’s not easy to make friends when you only live someplace for anywhere from 1-3 years.
Typically the cycle goes:
- Year 1. No friends whatsoever
- Year 2. Still no friends but maybe start meeting more people or finally get a job in new location (it takes a long time to get a job while overseas).
- Year 3. You make some kick ass friends, some of which already have orders and leave before you. Then you get orders and everyone goes their separate ways.
But, as time goes on (I haven’t gotten here yet), everywhere you go there should be someone you know already there.
The military world is a small one.
4. Work schedule? What’s a work schedule?
This is job specific. Some jobs in the military do have set hours, but definitely not everyone.
This is probably the most frustrating thing in the world, but there really aren’t any set schedules for a lot of jobs. Tom works on the flight line so it’s shift work, yes. But schedules change like crazy and they almost never come home at the same time.
One week they may be on nights, the next they may want to switch them to days. One week they might work 8-9 hrs, the next 12-14. You just never really know.
This can be especially inconvenient when you can kids and you’re working full time as well trying to work around daycare hours or school hours, etc.
Also I need to point out that every squadron is different, every command is different, every flight chief is different. Some places are going to go easier on you and others will work you like a dog.
Thankfully, so far, it seems like Toms new workplace cares a little more about work life balance than other places we’ve been to.
Just learn to roll with it.
Ok maybe this is the biggest of the cons of living a military lifestyle…Thankfully we have avoided this so far but now that we are here in the UK, I know it’s going to happen. It’s not if, it’s when.
I don’t think I need to put too much explanation into why this would suck ass, other than I actually love my husband and enjoy his company and most of all, we have a 4 year old son…
6. It’s expensive AF to PCS overseas
We spend so much money every time we PCS. I’ve never PCS’d within the states but I’d imagine it wouldn’t be much different.
Yes, when you move, they give you a “moving allowance” and COLA (cost of living allowance) when overseas. They will also give you a pay advance if you ask for it to pay your first and last months rent. However, you still have to pay that back, it not just given to you.
Our average deposit for rent as been about 3k…cough that up every time you move, blah.
When you first move you’ll be in a hotel for 2-4 weeks. Sometimes you’ll have a kitchenette, but if not, you’re in a hotel with no kitchenette or fridge.
Can you even fathom having to buy food from a fast food restaurant or a restaurant for every meal for 2-4 weeks? (We had lots of PB&J’s)
Imagine having to basically start all over every time you move. All of your things are on a boat for 2-3 months so when you move you have to buy things like:
- A car or two (if you aren’t shipping yours) (at least 2-4k)
- Cleaning products & broom
- Basic seasonings
- Pots and pans
- New dishes or a shit ton of paper or plastic ones
- pillows, sheets, blankets,
- Air mattresses
- Restock pantry and fridge
Then, if you’re overseas, what items can you not plug into the wall even with an adapter? Now go buy one of those too. It’s crazy.
SO, word to the wise, make sure your savings is nice and plush. Or, as soon as you get orders, start saving.
I’ve heard people say they’ve spent anywhere from 4k-10k on their move. I think 5k is a realistic number.
7. No Pets
Ok, before anyone freaks out, yes you can have pets in the military. Of course.
We love dogs and would love nothing more than to have a fur baby. But this is something we have decided, and a lot of military families have to decided to not have because of how much we move and travel.
This is completely up to you and will depend on if you already have pets. But for us, I don’t feel like we personally have the lifestyle for a dog.
We move a lot, travel even more and bringing a dog overseas is very expensive. Depending on the time of year you move and the breed of your dog people pay anywhere from 2k-5k each way!
Many airlines won’t let short nose dogs fly in the summer, so if you get orders to leave in the summer you have to find someone to keep your dog and then send them to you when the summer ends.
If you already have a fur baby, the money is more than worth it. But we would rather not put ourselves in that situation. It really sucks. 🙁
8. You’ll have to give your plant babies away…
This one’s a bit of a lighter one of the, “cons of living a military lifestyle”, but why not throw it in there.
I love having plants in my home and have so many, “plant goals” of having a nice big fig tree, or a monstera (Swiss cheese plant), etc.
I just love the look of plants in my home and unfortunately after building my collection in our first home, I realized I had to leave them all behind when we moved.
Now, I will only buy one or two knowing I have to give it away when we leave.
So, it’s a fake plant life for me…
ANY lifestyle you choose will come with it’s cons.
I don’t say any of this to complain or be negative. We know the life we picked, we knew what we were getting into, we wouldn’t keep doing it if it weren’t worth it to us.
It’s all a big give and take. I just want people to know what to realistically expect before signing up for all of this.
Do your research, make your own pros and cons list, and do what’s best for your family.
If you and your family are living a military lifestyle, comment your cons to help some people out!
I also have a pros list here, so add your pros to the comment section there so we aren’t just throwing the negative out there.
Some books that have helped me in carving out MY new path.