My husband was a Marine Brat growing up. Actually he was a very nice boy, who aside from setting off a rocket in the living room in 5th grade was fairly well behaved. But his dad was a career Marine and he spent his younger years doing the Marine Corps-tour-o-bases. Prior to his last duty station they always lived on base.
Fast forward years later and now my husband is the career military man. And, thankfully, he's learned his lesson about setting rockets off inside the house. Despite almost 15 years in the Marine Corps, married for almost 10 of those, we haven't lived in on-base housing. EVER. Now, when he was single he lived the barracks when he had to, but the first chance he had to move out, he jumped on it.
It's safe to say: base housing isn't so much his thing.
You also have to keep in mind that we are currently at a small base, and our housing is just an annex ... just a random neighborhood that is deemed "housing." No commissary next door, no hospital or CDC down the street. To me that's one of the perks of living on base, everything is close by. Here? Not so much.
Our old, nasty, mold riddled housing was torn down and bright, cheery, pretty new duplexes were put up with nice new sidewalks and a community center. Still not enough to convince Hubs to make the move next to his coworkers.
We live about 15-20 minutes from base and are pretty much the only military folks in our little village. Whenever people figure out that we are military they always, ALWAYS, ask why we don't live in housing. When I ask them if it's their dream to live next door to their coworkers, instantly their faces are overcome with the "Ah-Ha" moment. You can see it. And now that I think about it, I've never had anyone say, "well yes, yes I would love to live in a close distance to coworkers."
In defense of housing, and trust me I've used these arguments on my husband for years, it would be nice to live in a community with people who are in very similar situations to you. They understand the frazzled look in a mom's eye when she's been solo parenting for a bit, they get when the kids start to go a little crazy from lack of wrestling with Dad. There is an unspoken commodore with other military folks.
My husband is not, nor will he ever be, sold on the idea. He remembers the not so fun aspects of base living. The wives (and even other Marines) who are always up in someone's business. He likes the idea of coming home at the end of a trip or just a day of work and being "just him," not GI Joe Marine. And to him physical separation of space helps with that. Not to mention the duplexes, while new and pretty, are tiny.
And you can hear your neighbors toilet flush. Lord knows I'd totally have to change my parenting style if my neighbor could hear everything.
I'm curious folks, what's your opinion of military housing? Yay or Nay? Does the upside outweigh the downside or vice versa? Did you grow-up in housing and now you're living in it? Are you like us and you've never lived in it? Do share!
Leanne is the mother of three rambunctious little boys and the wife of a Marine. Her days are filled with laundry, shuttling kids around, helping with homework, volunteering, dodging nerf bullets, repeatedly putting the toilet seat down, and tripping over flight boots. It truly is the American Dream. She also blogs as The Mrs. at Trying Our Best. However, since discovering twitter two years ago she has become a twitter fiend @mrs_flyboy .