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The Problem With Settling

Photograph by Getty Images/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

When we jump into this crazy military lifestyle, most of us are prepared to move every 18 months to three years, we know boxes will go unpacked for decades, favorite dishes will be lost and we are going to be in a constant state of getting ready to move, moving, unpacking and finding a new rhythm in a different place that is now home. It’s unsettling. For families with school age children, it can be extremely disruptive. But what happens when those move schedules are lengthened and we are forced to begin calling someplace home—and settling into the community?

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It’s strange this feeling—almost of being stuck. Stuck in a home that was never supposed to be a long-term choice, in a neighborhood that I don’t love, but would do in a pinch. We think about moving. About finding a different house to rent, possibly buying and putting some paint on the walls and planting an in-ground garden, but then the maybes pop up: maybe we will move in six months, maybe he’ll get deployed and I’ll move to Paris for awhile, maybe this home is fine and moving would be too hard.

The list could go on forever and yet here we are, still without any new information or plans. The lack of information, the unknown orders that could, just maybe, come down the pipeline next week is the hardest part of our life right now.

I often wonder if this is what it’s like for "normal" families. Do they wonder when they will move next? Plan their home organization by how easily it will be able to be packed and later unpacked? Are they always waiting for the other shoe to drop?

At some point though, we need to make a choice: choose to live and experience our community or sit around speculating about what's next.

I wish I were more carefree. That I didn’t worry so much about the nitty gritty logistics of life and my own career that are so often left up in the air. In reality, it is this worry, this obsession with a plan and agenda that makes this life of unknowns that much more seamless. The battle of the maybes occasionally wins, and lulls us into submission and stagnation. At some point though, we need to make a choice: choose to live and experience our community or sit around speculating about what's next.

I’ve really struggled with this over the past few months. It is approaching that point in which we were expecting to move—probably not to our dream home, but maybe a more permanent spot while we wait out my husband’s current contract and decide what’s next for our family. Even though there isn’t much to do until a bit more information comes our way about what the future weeks and months hold, it is important to keep remembering to focus on the now, appreciate the community that we have, the friends we’ve made, and the school baby girl attends.

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Sure, I will still occasionally Google studios in Paris or tickets to Greece, but I am also looking for fun fall festivals to attend as a family, local spots to add to our Savannah bucket list and weekend getaways to take advantage of before we move away, and likely, never return. Whenever I start getting a little too “what if” on the brain, I force myself to think “what would I miss” or “what would I wish I’d done” and get a little more centered back into reality.

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