Guest Post: 5 Tips for Communicating Through Your Next PCS

I’m so excited to be introducing you to Becca from Making Room! Becca contacted me back when I had asked for people willing to write guest posts for my blog while I took my month-long blog hiatus. I’m so glad she did! I have thoroughly enjoyed reading her blog and seeing all the interesting sights of Italy. You see, Becca’s husband is in the military, and they were stationed in Italy for a few years. They are now in the middle of a PCS back to the states. Becca writes about their experiences in Italy but also discusses topics such as, simplicity parenting and the art of hospitality. Today, she is taking over my blog to talk about how to successfully communicate during a PCS. Please be sure to stop by Becca’s blog and show some love!

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5 Tips for Communicating Through Your Next PCS

My aunt grabbed my arms, her blue eyes sparkling in the low light of the reception hall. “This is your wedding day, and I have three pieces of advice for you. Never forget them, and I promise that you’ll have a great marriage.”

My new husband Elliott and I leaned in to listen.

“They are: communicate, communicate, communicate! Three times for emphasis. If you really learn to communicate, you guys will almost never fight. And I promise you won’t regret it.”

Four-and-a-half years later, her words ring truer every day. A lot has happened since our January wedding night, including two overseas moves on orders with the U.S. Army: once for Elliott to live for a year in Egypt alone, and once for us to live for three years in Italy as a family.

The road has been rocky at times. And yet, strangely enough, if we talk through the rocky times beforehand, if we share our expectations, if we make time to communicate, we can get through almost anything as a team. Together, we can make sure the challenge – moving, birth, buying, discipline, vacation – is done with grace, and our family still gets to eat, rest, laugh, and be loved, too.

As I write this, we are in the middle of another huge move (PCS) with the Army, this time from Italy to California. The past week has been awful: selling our cars, packing up our furniture, stuffing our suitcases, selling odds and ends, checking out of our house. Add the fact that we’re in a foreign country and that we have two small children, and you know we’ve been exhausted, stressed out, and short-tempered.

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However, when we’ve taken the time to share our expectations and make a game plan before each day, we’ve been calmer, more peaceful, and actually able to enjoy the process. Imagine that!

Here are some examples of how communication has helped us during this PCS (so far!). As Elliott and I talked beforehand about this move, we decided on five things to avoid a stressful move:

Get Rid of Stuff // Before the movers came, we went through every room in our house and tried to get rid of everything we don’t use on a regular basis. We also sold a lot of furniture that we know will not fit into our new house in San Diego. I felt so much lighter and more organized by the time the moving company showed up to pack everything.

Make a PCS Binder // I took all our important documents and put them in one place: in a binder, divided by colorful tabs, slipped into plastic sleeves. We have everything in there: Elliott’s military orders, our social security cards, our passports, our final utility bills, the shipping documents from the moving company, our last will and testaments, our birth certificates, our marriage license, our vaccination records, everything. All in one place, all protected, all organized, and all easy to hand-carry with us on the plane to our new home.

Get a Babysitter // Some of you will be able to relate to this: I’m a stay-at-home mom, so I always feel guilty about hiring a babysitter! During this move, though, I have dropped my kids off at our wonderful babysitter’s house not once but twice: when our house was full of movers, and when I was doing a final cleaning. It’s been better for all of us, especially my kids. Frankly, I should have done it more often.

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Plan Ahead with our Food // Like most busy moms, I make about 20 meals over and over. In the past year, I’ve started doubling a lot of those recipes whenever I make them, and then I freeze the other half of the meal for another day. During this busy final month in Italy, I have been so grateful for that container of frozen chili and that disposable pan of baked chicken.

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Take Time to Rest // Whether it’s a Sunday afternoon nap, or a date night with your husband, or a weekend vacation, take time to decompress and truly rest. Right now, I’m writing this from a little rental on the beach. We checked out of our house on Friday, and we’re resting here before we fly out of Italy forever on Tuesday. My entire family has visibly relaxed this weekend, and we are ready to face the next leg of our PCS transition.

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Communicating with your spouse takes time and effort, and Elliott and I are a work in progress. As a girl, I would often prefer to bottle my emotions inside and hope Elliott can read my mind. As a guy, Elliott would often rather not talk through every detail. Communicating takes sensitivity, humility, and honesty.

Imagine the alternatives, though: yelling at your kids, or going into silent mode with your husband, or accidentally packing your passports with your bedroom furniture because you didn’t talk through the moving details. I can easily imagine those alternatives because I’ve seen two – and almost three! – of them just this week.

So here’s to a fresh start. Like my aunt said: “Communicate, communicate, communicate! I promise you won’t regret it.”

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  • Becca :: Making Room in Sicily

    Thanks so much for featuring me, Lydia! We’re in the middle of our PCS now and I am thankful for God’s grace every day in our marriage. It isn’t always easy, but the rewards are great!

  • Angelina

    We are going through our first PCS right now and I can clearly see what you mean. I hope we’ll get this right and be able to go forward stronger. Thank you so much for sharing your experience! Cheers, my website