The PCSing Spouse

Where Spouses Help Spouses

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Careers and the MilSpouse: Part 3 Rethinking Resources

Visit Your Local Workforce Development Agency/Employment Commission

 

Welcome back everyone! Now that we have your initial resume created, I promise you will revise it at least three to four times a month while actively seeking employment, let’s talk about local resources that will help you with finding work and/or training. As I stated in the first post, I used to be a Career Developer with a local One-Stop Office in Norfolk, Virginia. If you are not familiar with One-Stops or the local Employment Commission, you are missing a little hidden gem. These agencies are State offices that receive Federal dollars to assist residents in job skills training and employment readiness. At the office where I was located, we conducted employment readiness workshops, had a computer lab that people could use to use to apply for jobs and work on resumes, as well as complete school work. Additionally, we had representatives from other social service agencies housed in our building for continuity and ease of service.  Most of the centers, also called American Job Centers (AJC), also offer job skills training in labor market sectors that are in high demand. All of these services are of course free of charge; however there will be some eligibility criteria for some of the more intensive, one-on-one services. I’d like to touch on a couple of the services that are most beneficial to MilSpouses and Veterans.

While these are not an exhaustive list of services, and they will vary from location to location, the basics should be the same.  The areas I believe are most helpful are: Workshops, Jobs Skills Training, and Employment Services. These three areas are really the bulk of the services that the AJC provides, but some resources not mentioned are hiring events, and the business services. Before moving into each area, I wanted to share with you about a term you may hear and one you should address when visiting these centers. That term is Dislocated Worker, and you will qualify as a dislocated worker if you have moved to a new duty station and not obtained full time employment. A DW is a spouse of a member of the Armed Forces on active duty who has experienced a loss of employment as a direct result of relocation to accommodate a permanent change in duty station of such member. You also qualify as a DW if you were required to go to work due to a deployment.

Workshops: Each center will have a monthly calendar that illustrates the workshops they offer related to job readiness. These could range from resume writing, interview techniques, to on-line applications, and the use of social media in job seeking. All of these workshops are free and usually require you to register with the AJC and sign up in advance. I cannot stress the importance of having a good working resume before beginning your employment search. The facilitators of these workshops are usually all certified workforce specialist who have gone to trainings for these topics. You are able to attend as many workshops as you believe necessary and always feel comfortable to ask questions.

Job Skills Training: This service maybe called an intensive or enhanced service depending on the location, and will require some eligibility requirements. Eligibility is based on household size and income, however in the case of the military spouse, your service member’s base pay is all that is calculated and again, if you are deemed a DW, this information is not counted. If you qualify for job skills training, you will be allowed to receive funding for up to two years in an employment field that is deemed in high demand. The range in training providers and programs offered will vary from location to location and also depends on the labor market demand for each field. By this I mean you are more likely to receive training in a healthcare field than in an arts field like graphic design. Depending on the cap set at the start of each fiscal year, you could enroll and complete the program at almost zero cost, and obtain a certification or even Associates Degree.

Employment Services: Like the job skills training, some of these services will be deemed intensive or enhanced services, it just really depends on the AJC you are working with. This is the service that allows you to work one-on-one with a career coach or employment specialist. Not that I am partial, but I cannot even begin to tell you the wealth of knowledge, resources and support having a career coach offers. When you are assigned a career coach, they will take time to look at your resume and review your work history to determine if you will need any jobs skills training. If so, they will work with you on enrolling for a training program that will assist you in gaining skills that will make you more marketable. In addition to enrolling in job services, your career coach can also work with you on reviewing your resume and cover letter, mock interviews, and of course celebrating the success of being hired. An area that your career coach may be able to also assist is with the partnership of the business services department of the AJC. The business service section works directly with employers and businesses within the community who are looking to fill vacancies or have hiring events. This department usually sends these requests to the career coaches, where they can look for qualified applicants to send directly to the employer.

I was not aware of the vast services that these One-Stop Centers provided until I began working at one, and now that I have learned the many programs and services that are available to MilSpouses, I would be foolish not to share them with you. Here is the link to find your local office, as well as the site for the career one stop.

https://www.careeronestop.org/LocalHelp/local-help.aspx

https://www.careeronestop.org/

 

Until next time,

Empowered Women, Empower Women

 

Keadra is a USN wife by way of Kalamazoo, Michigan who is currently stationed in Northeast Ohio with her husband who is a recruiter. Her background is in Law Enforcement; however, degrees in Sociology and Public Administration brought her to the world of Workforce Development. Keadra’s hobbies include fostering her budding business Kubed, LLC a training and consulting agency, and raising their daughter.

Careers and the MilSpouse: The Good, the Bad, and the Reality Part 2

Part 2 :  Develop a Working Resume

Welcome back! At this point, I hope you have had the opportunity to brainstorm and collaborate with family and friends about your previous work experience you have accumulated over the years and are ready to “put pen to paper” as my Mother would say.  Last week I attended a virtual symposium for Military Spouses that focused on career readiness, education and entrepreneurship, it was AMAZING!!! I was able to gather some great resources and tools that I plan to share with y’all. The symposium was put on by Military One Source and SECO; if you have never been to either of those websites, definitely check them out!

Ok, let’s get into writing your resume. I am sure you have been told your resume is your first “look” from an employer. The purpose of your resume is to draw enough interest from a potential employer to secure you an interview. That being said, there are a couple of key categories that you want your resume to have in order to tell a flowing story that will offer a better chance at you securing an interview. Before getting into the categories, I want to just touch on a few topics that are pretty basic, but may not be that common in knowledge. The first is Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS), which are being used more and more in the weeding out of resumes. It is very infrequent that your resume is being viewed first by the hiring manager, and not a computer program that looks for certain key words that match the position description. Additionally, some of these systems do not pick up on certain fonts, therefore it is best to use the sans serif fonts, and Calibri and Ariel. Once your resume has passed the ATS, you have more of a chance of having your resume being reviewed by the hiring manager or team. Finally, while it may be the dirty side of employment hiring, discrimination is real. Avoid any factors that can lead to discrimination; age, zip code, and employment that may date you and be irrelevant.

Now that we have covered those, let’s get into the categories which are; contact information, personal brand, knowledge highlights, applicable skills, work history and education.

Contact Information: This is pretty self-explanatory; you want to have a way for the employer to contact you. Include your name, phone number and email address. Ensure that your voicemail is clear and professional, as well as professional email, usually your first and last name work well. Additionally, include your city and state, but not the physical address of your home for security reasons. You will also want to include your LinkedIn handle if you have an account. LinkedIn is being used more and more by employers, so if you do not have an account, be sure to create one. The SECO website has some great tools on creating one!

 

Personal Brand: A branding statement is the foundation for marketing your unique set of skills. You may be familiar with an objective statement in a resume. The objective statement tells the employer “this is what I want” versus the branding statement which says, “Here is the value I offer.” Think of your branding statement as your 30 second elevator pitch to the employer. You can use your branding statement to summarize your resume in your cover letter, on various social media outlets (think LinkedIn), as well as answering the “Tell me about yourself question” in the interview. Your branding statement should include the following four elements

  1. Your Specialty       –        Who you are
  2. Your Service           –       What you do
  3. Your Audience       –        Who you do it for
  4. Your Best Characteristic –   What you’re known for

An example of a branding statement is: Highly competent Administrative professional with experience supporting senior level executives in the insurance and financial industries. Known for ability to be flexible and to respond to problems and issues quickly and adeptly. Professional manner at all times and relied upon for confidentiality and handling sensitive materials. Strengths include dependability, strong interpersonal skills and attentiveness to details.

I will attach some worksheets to this post to assist with writing your branding statement.

Knowledge Highlights: These are the major career accomplishments that you have gained in previous work areas.  Think of awards and accolades that you have received in the past and list them here in bullet format. You also can think of recommendations or statements from previous performance evaluations to include in this area. If you have any security clearances, organizational affiliations or specific certifications that are related to the position or employer, this is a good place to list them.

 

Applicable Skills: This area is often called ‘Area of Expertise’ or ‘Core Competencies’. These are going to be your hard and soft transferrable skills. You want to ensure that you are looking at the position description and using the same wording from the description to write your skills. A great tool that we used at my job was Tag Crowd (https://tagcrowd.com/). You can highlight, copy and paste the position description into the field on the website and the word cloud will populate the most important and used words in the description. You should aim for 6 to 9 skills, again, listed in bullet format, ensuring that the skills listed are reflective of the position.

 

Work History: Depending on if you are using a combination format or a chronological format, you will list your employment history, starting with the most recent and going back 10 years. You will want to include the employers name and location, your title and dates in which you were employed. You will want to include 3-4 bullets of position duties under the listed information. Try not to simply state what the job duties were, but what YOU brought to the position and something successful you completed while in that role. If you have limited work experience you may want to list major skills that you acquired while working and the successes and growth of those skills prior to listing your work history. I will include a template of both the chronological and combination format of resumes.

Education: Your education can go in two different sections based on, relevance to the position and the length of time since earning your degree/certification. You will want to list the following information for any degrees earned:

   Degree, Major (if relevant)       20XX

University                                       City, State

If you are still enrolled in the program you list it as such:

College/Training program attending, anticipate certificate/license and completion date.

Finally, if you have you do not hold any degrees, list any relevant on-the-job training or relevant experience in this section as well.

 

I know that this can seem like a lot of information, but if you did the brainstorming, all of this will essentially write itself. It may be easier to write your branding statement after you have written your resume, so your skills are fresh in your mind. I will include some documents that should offer assistance in writing and formatting your resume as well as a practice template for your branding statement. Next time we will discuss visiting your local American Career Center and the free services they can provide.

Until next time,

Empowered Women, empower Women

Attachments:

Branding

chronological template

Combo template

Keadra is a USN wife by way of Kalamazoo, Michigan who is currently stationed in Northeast Ohio with her husband who is a recruiter. Her background is in Law Enforcement; however, degrees in Sociology and Public Administration brought her to the world of Workforce Development. Keadra’s hobbies include fostering her budding business Kubed, LLC a training and consulting agency, and raising their daughter.

 

Military Medical Retirement: 3 Tips for how to help your spouse

 

If you have a spouse in the armed forces, you know that this job can take a toll on their body.  You hear it when they make that groaning sound every morning when they roll over and out of bed, and see it when they wash down handfuls of ibuprofen with an energy drink.

Every workday they will spend at least an hour doing PRT, or Physical Readiness Training. Top minds at the Department of the Army spent years designing this optimal physical strengthening regime that consists mostly of jumping up and down in a parking lot for an hour. Not exactly the kind of exercise that is gentle on the joints of the body.

Add ruck marches, field exercises, deployments, air jumps, and running- miles and miles of running- and suddenly your spouse calls to tell you that this time, it’s not just going to be three days of quarters, or a temporary profile.  This time, the doctors are recommending a Medical Evaluation Board, or MEB.  Now what? Well, don’t despair; with a little bit of organization and motivation, you can go with your spouse into the Medical Retirement process with confidence.

 

Tip # 1: Help a hubby out!

 

Once your spouse has been selected for the MEB, things will start to move very quickly. He will enter the Integrated Disability Evaluation System, or IDES.   He can expect his first phone call within the first week after being given a P3 profile. He will be assigned a PEBLO (Physical Evaluation Board Liaison Officer) who will be his main point of contact throughout the entire process.  The VA will also assign him a MSC (Military Service Coordinator). These two people will be your lifeline if you have any questions along the way.  If possible, you should attend these meetings with your spouse so you can be well informed as to what to expect over the coming months.

First, help by making the initial few meetings amicable.  PEBLOs and MSCs will see many, many clients during the day, and can get in a rut. You don’t want them to see you, and your spouse as just another face in the revolving door of clients they are supposed to support.  If you take the time to ask them a few questions about themselves at the top of the meeting, and show you are interested in them as a person, you can begin to build a rapport, and set yourself apart as someone that they are invested in helping.

Second, take notes.  A lot of information will get thrown at your spouse in a short amount of time.  If you are writing down what is being said, your spouse is free to engage with the person who can really help get this process off to a good start.

Third, ask questions; this one can be tricky because service members (and your PEBLO and MSC will undoubtedly be retired NCO’s) have a culture that frowns on civilians butting in, but it can also be beneficial if you seem knowledgeable and engaged in the process.  The best thing is to go over everything ahead of time with your spouse, so you go in knowing what they know, and you don’t end up repeating questions that have already been answered.

You are his battle buddy in this fight.  Help him keep track of appointments, sort medical paperwork, and most importantly, be there to listen. This will help him feel confident and prepared, knowing that he has thought of everything, and has a solid game plan.

 

Tip # 2: Encourage him to stop being “ARMY STRONG”

 

If he is hurting, he needs to say that he is hurting. This is the opposite of what he has done his entire career, and it will take him some time to come around to.  Remember that his identity has been built around a mentality of “drink water, drive on” and changing that will be hard.  But he needs to be honest about his pain. He needs to make appointments if something hurts or even just feels wrong. The way the military sees it, if it’s not documented, it didn’t happen.

He has probably gotten used to a level of daily pain civilians would not dream of tolerating.  The big shift in thinking he needs to make is, soon he will be a civilian too. If there is something wrong with him that makes it so that he cannot function at the level that is comfortable for him, that is a disability.  It is disabling him from living a normal life, no matter how big or small.

 

Tip # 3: Learn to say “No”

 

The military is a mission-based organization.  That means that there is always something that your service member could be doing to further the mission.  It might be moving vehicles at the motorpool, qualifying at the range, guard duty, staff duty. Whatever it is, it is less important than your spouse’s new mission; to get out of the military with fair and adequate compensation for his injuries. His unit will try to use him as long as they can; however they can. They will tell him he is indispensable at his job.  They might even believe it.  The truth is, commanders, first sergeants and first line leaders say this about everyone, but as soon as they’re gone, they will just fill the spot with the next guy.

No one is going to check his last NCOER when he goes to look for employment in the civilian world. Your spouse is separating from the military. He needs to make it a priority to make his medical appointments, the appointments with his PEBLO, and his VA coordinator appointments. Focusing on ones self is hard for service members that are used to sacrifice, but there are no second chances when it comes to Medically Retiring from the military.

The military was in every part of his life, every day, for the last many years.  Now focus must shift, to ensure that you are prepared to go into the future with a solid plan, and some security for your family.  As a military spouse it is important to not minimize your role in this process, because there is so much that you can do to help. You just have to be willing to do what needs to be done.  And as mil-spouses, that is what we do best.

 

****Welcome to our newest blog teammate Kari Elkins!!!!!

Author: Kari Elkins

www.itdoesntfallfar.com

elkins.kn@zoho.com

instagram@itdoesntfallfar

http://www.facebook.com/itdoesntfallfar/

Welcome (to my) Home!

Homecoming is such an epic event. I spend an entire deployment waiting for it, counting down the days, crossing off dates on the calendar. I plan what I’ll wear, and I get my hair and nails done. I clean the house and cars, grocery shop for all the meals I’ll make him, and give the dog a bath. The week before a homecoming is a flurry of to-do lists and carving out time to get it all done.

 

And then, it happens. It sneaks up on me. I find myself at the squadron compound, in my dress and heels, wishing I had put on more deodorant and not knowing exactly how I got there. The waiting is unbearable, but when those buses pull up and I see my husband step off, all feels right with the world. For about two glorious minutes.

Any seasoned spouse will tell you, homecoming is blissful, but reintegration, that’s a whole other beast.

 

It’s very easy for the new spouse, or the spouse who is experiencing a deployment homecoming for the first time, to be crushed. Dreams of holding hands and running across the beach together while rainbows and unicorns appear out of thin air are quickly dashed away by the sound of “Babe! Where do we keep the laundry detergent?”

 

Prior to this (6th) deployment, we PCS’d from California to Florida. We bought a new house and had our household goods delivered on August 11th. My husband left on September 10th. I was left to organize the house and make it a home. Which I did. My home.

 

For eight months I lived alone in “my” house. I had a routine. It was blissful. Don’t get me wrong, I missed my husband terribly. I had nights where I cried myself to sleep. But most nights I sprawled out on “my” bed and watched Harry Potter or whatever else I wanted on TV.

 

I put everything where I wanted it. I made all the food I like to eat. I got very comfortable living alone in “my” house. And then he came back. And he wanted to live in “my” house. And it is very disruptive.

 

It’s hard not to get irritated when he can’t figure out which light switches turn on which lights, or how to work the remote controls. He can’t find the paper towels/soap/can opener/insert other commonly used item here. It’s maddening when he yells “where do we keep the light bulbs?” or clutters up my kitchen counter with random stuff like his car keys and the mail.

 

And sleeping. What’s that? My nightly ritual of hot tea with honey and a good book in “my” quiet bed has become a fight for the covers and the NBA finals on TV. What is happening???

 

Homecoming is happening. Reintegration is happening. And you know what? It is not fun. It is frustrating and awkward. It is stepping all over each other’s toes and trying to have patience when he can’t figure out how to pre-heat the oven. I am trying. I really am.

 

If you have been through this, you know what I am talking about. And if you haven’t, please take note. Homecoming is a beautiful event. It’s amazing! But actually coming home is not so much. It’s a lot of give and take. I try hard to remember that I lived here alone for eight months and he was here for 30 days hanging TVs on the wall and out-processing for a deployment.

 

So, have patience. Learn to live together again. Give him some slack when he can’t find the laundry basket and moves your towel to a different hook. He’s trying too. I’m still working on remembering that “my” house is “our” home.

Article and pictures by Georgia Jones

 

Surviving a Birth During Deployment

I truly believe the hardest thing I have ever done with my life was entering motherhood during a deployment. There wasn’t anything remotely similar in my life beforehand to prepare me for this and I felt as though I was greatly naive about the entire situation. My husband left for pre-deployment training when I was 28 weeks pregnant, came home for 4 days when I was 36 weeks pregnant, and met our daughter 1 week shy of her turning 5 months old.

 

We had a plan, but our plan really only was for birth and a few weeks after birth, it didn’t extend the entire time of that deployment, and that’s where I feel I could have done a lot of things differently. Hindsight is 20/20 right?

 

At my 4 week postpartum check up, I was diagnosed with Postpartum Depression and things just went downhill from there. I didn’t allot for appropriate rest time. I didn’t let my body heal- and by attempting to do too much, without help I was in a very hard place emotionally and physically. I was having anxiety attacks daily, migraines, nutrition deficiency, and a ton of other issues.

 

Because of my poor planning, I want to share with you some realistic things for mothers out there who are about to embark on a birth during a deployment to utilize and plan for.

 

  1. Hire a Postpartum Doula- while we had one, I did not use her the way I truly should have. A Postpartum Doula can do everything from help around the house, take care of baby so you can sleep or eat a meal in peace, to helping establish some self care. They can cook meals, do dishes and laundry, and assist with pumping, diaper changes, etc. They truly are a helper just for mom.
  2. Arrange for daycare or a mommy’s helper once a week. Once the first month or so has passed and you’re starting to find your new balance, I highly recommend hiring in a sitter or mommy’s helper to watch the kids to give you some much needed reprieve for you just to do something for YOU- this isn’t meant to help with errands or chores, this is purely so YOU get a break mama- because during a deployment, there is no break- we all know this.
  3. Outsource as much as you can– this means grocery delivery, or grocery pick up, paying for a lawn service, house cleaner, etc. Take the weight of everything off your shoulders but helping you through this transition time so you can truly HEAL physically from labor, but more importantly EMOTIONALLY.
  4. Seek counseling even if you think you are perfectly fine– dealing with a home, a new baby, managing work, the house, budget, keeping up a marriage- it’s hard just during a normal deployment, but during a birth a lot of emotions happen and a lot of thoughts, sometimes it’s just nice to speak with someone who isn’t involved just to make sure at the end of the day you truly are OK. Worst case, they send you away with some better coping mechanisms and validate your feelings. It doesn’t mean you’re crazy, it means you’re being proactive.
  5. Ask for a meal train after the family leaves– we had a ton of people bringing me meals after the baby was born, but I really needed that kind of help after my entire family went home. It was the time after 1 month that I really needed the help with meals. So if someone, or the squadron, or anyone offers to do meals- ask for them after the family is gone.

It’s my hope that sharing my story of planning for birth with a spouse deployed that I can lessen another spouse from having a difficult time. It’s a rush of emotions experiencing a new child whereas the spouse will never know them that small, it’s a hard burden to shoulder that- but making sure you- the new mom is supported and taken care of- should be at the front of any deployment planning in these circumstances.

***Welcome to our newest teammate Lauren Cecora!!!

Lauren is a Postpartum Mentor for women who are desperately overwhelmed and over-scheduled. Through her Sanity Saving Tips, free challenges, and book, she’s here to help you regain balance in your life- while making it all effortless. Meet Lauren and Save Your Sanity at www.laurencecora.com.

Settling Into a New Duty Station

Lately, I have been hearing about many spouses having a difficult time finding work and adjusting to an unfamiliar duty station. I am here to share a couple tips that I found to be most useful to me (in no particular order):

  • If possible, use resources that are available to you to get a head start to know the area that  is surrounding you.
    • At our current base, we have access to the Fleet and Family Center. This facility has an abundance of resources (and people!) to help you with your needs or wants. Sometimes, they offer FREE classes on certain topics like New Parent Support, Budgeting for Baby, Resume Writing, and New Spouse Orientation, just to name a few.
    • Use Social Media if you can! Prior to us moving, I sought out the local spouses’ Facebook group page. I found information on what to do in the surrounding areas and made new friends.
    • Ask your spouse to get you in contact with the Ombudsman (if applicable) at your spouse’s new command. He or she may also have some pertinent information for you and your family to assist in the adjustment.

  • When you get to your new duty station, if you are able, go exploring with you and your family member(s)! Make some new memories by finding some local shopping or cuisine. Talk to locals about some common questions you may have!

  • Besides wandering around looking for “Now Hiring” signs, you can look on websites for the local newspapers and set up the automatic search function on job websites. Most of the time, it is FREE!
  • Get in touch with the region liaison for USAJOB’s “Program S”. To briefly summarize: this program will allow spouses (on military orders) to be matched up with job openings based on their interests and qualifications. A resource that can help point you in the right direction would be somewhere like the Fleet and Family Center, as mentioned above.
  • Open yourself to additional interests that can lead to a broad range of job opportunities. I currently have my Associate’s degree in Web Publishing, but have not found employment that aligns with my wants and/or qualifications. Instead, I have looked to expanding into my other interests such as Real Estate, physical fitness, and photography. I can take my knowledge of Web Publishing and incorporate it into Real Estate, specialty fitness classes, and use photography as a marketing tool.

  • Volunteer! It is a way to get to know the area or lead to a path of employment! (Not to mention to pass the time while your spouse is deployed!) I volunteered with my daughter’s new school to get to know the school staff and found out that they were hiring for a position! You do not know until you try and it allows you to expand on other interests and hobbies.

There you have it! Those are a couple of tips to help you with settling into a new duty station or finding employment!

 

***Welcome**** To our newest Blog Teammate Tiffany Kyall!!!

Tiffany Kyall is a fellow Navy spouse trying to find the balance between military family life and building her own career. Interests include but not limited to: technology, photography, real estate, and fitness.

PCSing Checklist

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It can be intimidating when you find out you’re being stationed somewhere new. Even more so, for those of us who have kids. Because of this, I decided to create a checklist of all the things to do when arriving at a new duty station.

 

  1. Housing. Are you planning to live on post or off? If you’re planning to live on, call the housing office immediately when you get orders. Some places will let you sit on the waiting list before you actually arrive. If living off post, decide if you want to rent or buy. If you need help deciding, see my other post on the pros and cons of buying. If you are planning to buy, it’s best to set up your loan prequalificaton and paper work before you leave your current location. This way all of your documents can already be in and you don’t have to worry about it as much in transit. Also, contact a realtor and let them know you’re coming so they can start getting listings together.
  2. Transportation. You won’t be able to make any other plans until you set up your transportation. Are you going to drive? Are you OCONUS and require shipping a vehicle? Do you need a flight? If you are shipping a car make sure you don’t have any recalls on it immediately. Also, consider how you plan to transport your pets and what the out of pocket expense will be to you, if any.
  3. Movers! In some areas, the moving companies need as much notice as possible. We had a friend wait until the last minute and we ended up having to meet his movers for him after he had already reported to the next post.
  4. Finance. Visit finance and make sure you understand how your lodging assistance is processed. (TLA or TLE for Army) Do you need a government travel card? Do you know the rules of how to use it?
  5. Kids. If you have young kids call the Childcare Centers ASAP. If there is a waitlist, many places will let you go ahead and get on it before arriving.
  6. Job. If you’re a working spouse, look into the job market in the area. Update your LinkedIn to that location and make it searchable. This way the jobs may find you before you even apply.
  7. Network with other wives! Get on the Facebook pages for the area and start asking questions. Ask about good areas to live. What’s fun to do? School? In general, wives love to help other wives.

 

Comment on the Post with your Pro-Tips!

If you need help getting prequalified for a home loan, I can help! Just contact me on here or through my work website. https://www.thefederalsavingsbank.com/bankers/christina-baker

Minimalism with Kids

pexels-photo-256468.jpeg

Having a second kid has really highlighted the fact that I have too much kid stuff (and stuff in general). I find myself constantly picking up a rotation of 700 Shopkins off my floor so that I don’t step on one and die. I needed a change and decided to jump on the minimalist home bandwagon. Now, I would love to go all in and turn my house into some sparse super clean dream home but that’s not realistic with a toddler so I had to tweak the plan and compromise in some areas.

 

First, I decided to tackle the kids clothes. I seriously had 8 tubs of stores baby clothes from Aubrey’s last 3 years which is insane, I know. I had my husband get out all 8 and dumped them all in the living room so I would be forced to do it all at once. Then I went through it one by one and if it was from Walmart or some other replaceable store I put it in the donate bag. Then I went through what was left and asked myself if I loved it (Marie Kondo style). If I didn’t, it also went for donation. I gave myself 1 tub and had to relegate the rest to fit into it. It was difficult to take the “but she wore this when” emotions out of it but it helped to have my husband there to remind me that’s why we took pictures. The feeling after getting everything down to 1 tub was pure joy and relief and it encouraged me to keep going.

 

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Second, the toys. My biggest problem with the toys was the mindset that I paid for these and maybe I will have more kids blah blah blah. I justified this by telling myself that my next kid will want his own toys and it sucks to get nothing but hand me downs. I used the same principle with the toys as with the clothes. If it’s cheap and replaceable it goes unless she currently plays with it a lot. Missing parts? Broken? Been in the bottom of the toy box forever? Gone! I also relegated myself to the toy box. What’s left has to fit. I can’t expect her to clean up her stuff if there is too much to fit in the toy box.

 

These two steps have really helped me pair down my clutter. This means I have less to clean up and more time to play. Don’t get me wrong, it is a constant battle because we are constantly buying new toys and have to remind ourselves that if something comes in, something else must go out. It is, however, worth it to to feel like you are controlling the stuff and it’s not controlling you. My home is officially a much happier place and I wont be hauling all of the junk around as we PCS.

Using Your VA Loan

 

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The VA loan is an awesome tool available to military members. But, buying a home is a scary and confusing process for a lot of us.  What follows  is a quick rundown what the VA loan is and how you can use it.

Lifetime Access

You can use it more than once! Although, you do get the best deal the first time you use it.

0% Down

Traditional loans typically require a buyer to provide at least 3 to 5 percent of the homes
price as a down payment. For many first-time home buyers, supplying this amount of money upfront may not be feasible. The VA Loan does not require a down payment. Another big plus is that there is no mortgage insurance required.
Refinancing
VA Allows up to 100% cash-out refinancing for currently owned homes.
VA Streamline Refinance

Veterans with current VA mortgage can refinance to a lower rate without appraisal or employment verification.
First Time Buyers
The best financing available for first-time home buyers.

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The Journey Begins

Welcome!

This site was created by two seasoned military spouses trying to make the Spouse Life less confusing. It has evolved into a huge network of spouses willing to provide their knowledge and support to help each other. If you’ve got a problem, we’ve got the answer. If you’ve got answers, please consider joining the ranks and contributing!

Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

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