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Dealing with the “Wait” While Waiting on Orders

“Hurry up and wait.”

You’ve heard it. We all have. And, it’s pretty much the truth.

Waiting. Waiting on orders. Waiting on movers. Waiting on kids in school pickup lines. Waiting on TRICARE referrals. The wait list goes on and on. We, as military spouses, do a lot of waiting.

But, the waiting can wear on you. It heightens anxiety and leaves you in a state of uncertainty. Try as we might, waiting and worrying doesn’t stop the wait, so what’s a milspouse to do while waiting for those orders to drop?


Stay Connected


One of the worst things when PCSing is saying “See ya later,” to friends who have become family. We have a tendency to get a case of FIGMO (Forget it, I’ve got my orders … or the more risqué version that I won’t say here) and completely check out, friends included. 

Enjoy spending time with the friends you have around you. Take advantage of what could be bonus time together before heading off in separate directions.

If you’re moving, consider those that are staying behind. It can be a challenge to watch everyone else head out as you hunker down. This also applies to friends who are not military-connected.

Spend quality time together while you wait for news of the next chapter.


Explore and Stay Busy While You Wait


Remember that bucket list you created? (If you don’t have one yet, it’s not too late!) 

Take time to get out in your local area: try the Michelin Star restaurant you’ve been meaning to check out, take in a gallery, or hike the backcountry. Maybe you’ve got a list a mile long of things you haven’t been able to see (sometimes the says seem to drag on, but the years fly by, or perhaps your time has been cut short), so pick and choose what you’d like to check off. Someday you’ll look back and remember these moments.

And, then there’s the stuff you know you’ll miss. The mom and pop restaurant that makes the best green chile stew, the trail filled with poppies every spring, the local brewery with the best happy hours, you know the ones I’m talking about. Revisit old favorites. Get your fill while you still can. 


Be Productive


Now is a great time to start the pre-PCS purge, or tidy up your space (we all get that itch after a while). I like to go through closets and areas that are a little more hidden, like under beds and closets in guest rooms.

Why carry extra items along on your journey? Clear up your space and declutter so that unpacking in a new area is easier. 

Finish up those UFOs (unfinished objects, no little green aliens here) sitting on your workbench or craft table. I once made the mistake of having a stack of quilt blocks on my sewing table instead of wrapped up in a block-saving tote.

They arrived in a heap at the bottom of a box of shoes, wrinkled and dirty. 


Allow Yourself Grace


Several years ago, while my husband was at schoolhouse, everyone was getting orders and as the weeks went on, it felt like we were among the last to find out where we’d be headed off to.

Once he finally had orders in hand, we felt relived. And, then they changed … within a day. (But that’s another story, for another day.) It was hard. I was so excited for friends, but also really bummed we didn’t have news to share. 

Now, as I sit, yet again, waiting for my husband to say those famous words, “Babe, I have news,” I know I need to be gentle with myself. It’s okay to be worried, it’s okay to be frustrated, it’s okay to be tired of waiting.

I’m still waiting, but while I wait, I’ll take another walk along the ocean and look out for dolphins. It could be a long wait before I get to see them again. 



*For more from Sheila, visit her M:M Author Page.




  • Sheila Rupp

    Sheila Rupp is originally from Michigan and is married to her high school sweetheart. She is a copy editor and writer with almost 20 years of experience. Like many military spouses, Sheila’s career has varied greatly over the years while staying within the communications field. Sheila has a bachelor’s in Journalism and Mass Communications, and a minor in Professional Writing from the University of New Mexico. Sheila is a military spouse of more than 18 years. Having spent the first 17 years as an Air Force spouse, she is now a proud Space Force spouse after her spouse transitioned to the newest branch. She serves as a Key Spouse and enjoys volunteering for a local nonprofit arts organization. In her free time, you’ll find Sheila on hiking trails, curled up with a good book, watching her daughter dance, or traveling the globe. Sheila is currently based in Los Angeles, California, where she lives with her husband, teenage daughter, and dog.


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Supporting Our Military Children

Supporting Our Military Children

One thing that has been most important to me, as a military spouse, is figuring out how to best do this life while supporting our children with the changes and difficulties. When my children were very small, there were many times that my husband was away, and I had to parent my children alone.

Mission: Milspouse is a
501(c)3 nonprofit organization.

EIN Number: 88-1604492


P.O. Box 641341
El Paso, TX 79904


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