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Think Twice Before You Move Into a PMQ

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Hey all, you can call me Kay. I am a young mother with a lifetime experience, good and bad.

What You Should Know From my Personal Experience Living in a PMQ

Being an ex-military spouse, I know from experience that when first moving to a completely new place (in my case, another province) with your significant other, you want to be frugal money-wise. Since you have to move so far, normally you don't want to bring bulky appliances with you.

In my situation, we were just starting out when I moved to Quebec. We had little to nothing for appliances and I mostly just had clothes and keepsakes. We had to purchase most of our appliances since the PMQs do not come furnished and in Quebec, it is typical to have no appliances included in rental housing/apartments.

With that being said, most people will not want to rent a place off-base when they compare the cost to renting a PMQ, which is significantly lower.

Before I get ahead of myself, for readers who are non military families, or someone who is not familiar with this term, a PMQ is an abbreviation for "Permanent Married Quarters" or is also known as "Private Married Quarters".

PMQs are usually located near or on every military base to provide convenient housing to military members that have families or are starting a family.

Now that you know what a PMQ is, lets get down to why you should think twice about moving into one based off my personal experience.

When I moved here, I had no job, I was 8 months pregnant and six and a half hours away from home. Being a new family, just starting out, a PMQ was a deal breaker for us, a must. Of course we wanted to save money and have convenient housing for my ex's job location, however, I did not know I had no rights living in that house as a non-military member, what military members like to call "civilians".

When I say "have no rights living in that house", when my ex-husband and I had a bad separation, I literally had 2 weeks to find a place to live and get all my belongings out. Yes, you read that correctly. I was forced to leave the dwelling, the place I called my home, with that little notice because I had no authority to stay in that PMQ. Not to mention the most heartbreaking part of it all, we shared a son together who had to witness his mother's departure because I had no choice in the matter.

Just think, if I didn't have a job, and a great support system of friends, how would I have got through that trialing time? Would I have been forced to the streets or the nearest shelter? Would I have been deemed an unfit mother because I did not have a place for my child to live? How would any unemployed mothers/fathers, without any financial independence gather the money to live on their own and find a place to live within two weeks time? This would be unbelievably unrealistic under those circumstances to succeed being put in that situation.

I hate to be the pessimist and I am not telling you to anticipate your relationship will fail, but it is good to be prepared. When it comes to your family life, security means everything and independence is hard to come by in the military lifestyle with all the moving and the unknown that's ahead.

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Now, don’t get me wrong... it’s not that there is no benefits to living in military housing. Of course there are tons of positives, but I would be upset if I didn’t share my own experience and this happened to another person.

Please don’t be offended by my experience. I’m just trying to enlighten others who may get into a similar situation. Ultimately, the decision is up to you but at least you know your rights and the consequently results of what could come.

Our First PMQ

Remember to be sure to have your PMQ inspected. In our case, we lived in this particular house for 4 years and had no idea there was a severe black mold problem...

Remember to be sure to have your PMQ inspected. In our case, we lived in this particular house for 4 years and had no idea there was a severe black mold problem...

Basic Military Moving Tips

My recommendations from my experience moving in the military. I am sure everyone has their own recommendations but this is what I personally found handy during my military move. Remember, you may need to prepare to have no furniture for at least 2-4 weeks!

Basic Needs:

• Pack your blow up mattress and if you have a cat, I am sorry your blow up mattress may die. This happened to me, so I’d suggest bringing a foam top for protection as well

• Bring your small appliances that will come in handy while you wait for the movers to arrive such as:

  • Coffee machine
  • Toaster
  • Toaster Oven
  • Kettle
  • Hot plate
  • Hair tools (blow dryer, straightener or curling iron/rod)
  • Don’t forget the other items you’ll need while waiting for your belonging to arrive such as:
  • Any valuable personal belonging or fragile items that are irreplaceable. This includes jewelry, artwork and breakables (items tend to get damaged by military hired movers if they’re not careful enough. This doesn’t always happen but best to be safe and not sorry!)
  • Any open liquids or liquids in general. This is a requirement of the military. This includes not only your cleaning products but your alcohol too.
  • A couple of dishes, cups and silverware/utensils (or disposable dinner ware works as well!)
  • A spatula and ladle
  • Towels
  • 1 Boiling Pot and a Frying Pan
  • Dish cloths and wash cloths
  • Pillows and Blankets
  • Garbage bin
  • Cleaning products and garbage bags
  • Vacuum
  • Broom and Dustpan
  • Cooler to store food, or better yet a mini fridge if you have one and can bring it in your vehicle
  • A Lamp (I know it sounds strange, but sometimes PMQs come unfurnished and usually do not have fixed lighting installed)
  • For entertainment, I’d bring your laptop, tablet/iPad or computer. Even your gaming system if it doesn’t require a TV that you may not be able to fit in your vehicle with your other personal belongings
  • Lots of clothes. You may need to go to the laundry matt while you wait for your washer and dryer. Hopefully you can meet a nice new neighbor who can help you out though
  • Of course if you have any animal family members moving, remember to bring their belongings with you and maybe some toys to keep them entertained
  • For families with children, make sure to bring all the items you’d need to make the move a smooth adjustment. It helps to bring their favorite toys, blankets or room décor.

Join a Military Support Group on Social Media!

If you are feeling lonely, isolated or just want to meet new friends who can relate to your recent move, I would suggest searching for the Military Facebook Group that is affiliated with your new posting location.

If you are not sure, you can always reach out to your current "Military Family Resource Center" to receive more information about what groups and resources that could benefit you in your new location!

This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.

© 2020 Kay

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