A PCS usually brings its challenges. Scouting for neighborhoods and desired schools usually hover at the top of the list.

But what about a nationwide housing shortage?

Supply is short, but demand is high. And when the United States government says it’s time to relocate, you’ve no choice but to join the race of competing bidders or rental applicants. 

My husband eagerly looks forward to his new assignment. He animatedly talks about returning to the desert, and he reminds me of the benefits that accompany a move back west. My mom and aunt will be just a few hours from where we land. His brother and family are just a state away.

These are good things, but I’m finding it difficult to marinate in the positives when we’re moving near Joshua Tree, a city whose Airbnb market has exploded since the last time we were stationed in the Mojave Desert. Rentals are almost nonexistent, and the prices of homes have beefed up since we were there almost six years ago.

Joshua Tree National ParkJoshua Tree and Yucca Valley, in my opinion, are dreamy with their painted sunsets and wild and free personalities. I understand why people want to be there. I want to be there too, but when vacation rentals and people moving from the city to take advantage of lower living costs (not that I blame them) have sizably altered the real estate landscape, it’s all too easy to be wary.

Our current home has four bedrooms- a room above the garage and three downstairs.

The boys have shared a room the entirety of our three-year stint in Jacksonville, NC so that the upstairs could serve as a second living space and a place for the three kids to be sent to play when they were just one more argument from sending me to the moon. Our younger boy has liked bunking with big brother, but big brother tells us he wants a room of his own. He says he’d rather not share a room with someone who usually makes a mess, and while it was our intention to separate the boys at the next duty station, I’m seeing that present circumstances may not have allowances for a legitimate fourth bedroom. From what we’re currently seeing, three bedrooms are the standard and four bedrooms fly off the griddle while still sizzling. 

We may not get a dedicated laundry room, but that will be okay.

We may not get a home that’s 2,000 square feet and above, but we’ll survive.

Sometimes expectations need to be re-evaluated. Sometimes a PCS shakes us from our standards and our comfort zones. Sometimes it removes us from our most favorite house and most often into the unknown, but we all make do and learn to thrive because that’s just what we do. 

I try to remember these words during this time: “In their hearts, humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps.” Proverbs 16:9

If you’re too PCS’ing during this housing shortage, I hope you’ll let yourself cry if you want to. Losing a listing before you get an offer on it stinks. So does being rejected because you’re unable to fly across the country to house hunt, and the seller accepts the other party’s offer because they were able to meet in person and form a connection.

It all stinks, it’s all hard, and it’s all unavoidable.

In all of this, I wish us the fortitude to persevere just five minutes longer. Michael Buble really does sing it best, “I just haven’t met you yet.” PCS friends, our houses are out there, we just haven’t met them yet!

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Jeannette is a mom of three ages eight and under and wife to a Marine Corps EOD tech. They’ve been married twelve years and they’re back in Jeannette’s home state for what might be their last duty station. Her husband has served twenty-three years and a lot of their conversations involve what may be next. Jeannette can usually be seen stifling a yawn and so she follows a very predictable coffee drinking schedule of 7 a.m., 12 p.m. and 3 p.m. In her free time she likes to read, jot down her thoughts and make lists and get her steps doing YouTube exercise videos whenever time allows. Jeannette recently celebrated a year with the Military Mom Collective.