Air Commandos navigate long-distance co-parenting

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Alysa Calvarese
  • 1st Special Operations Wing

It was their 12th marriage anniversary, and the second one in a row spent thousands of miles apart.

In spite of the long distance, they were able to share a meal through video chat and surprise each other with cake and flowers, making the best of their situation.

U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Timothy Dailey, 1st Special Operations Security Forces Squadron noncommissioned officer in charge of standardization and evaluations, was on a deployment for six months and had not even returned home yet before finding out his wife was tasked with a remote unaccompanied tour.

“It wasn’t overwhelmingly negative, it was just, ‘let’s find out the details, and let’s do what we need to do,” said Timothy. “As service members it’s a part of the job. This is what we signed up for.”

As one parent arrived home, the other departed, transforming their duo parenting scenario into a form of long-distance co-parenting, and Timothy had to take on the role of both parents, as his wife had done while he was deployed.

“Be flexible and give yourself the grace to accept that it's not easy being separated for such a long period,” said Master Sgt. Melissa Dailey, 1st Special Operations Wing superintendent and wing executive admin. “There will be hard times, but we will continue to communicate as often as possible and share our feelings with each other.”

Timothy explained how over the years of being in the military he and his wife have learned to balance life during this time; creating reminders, having a shared calendar and a support system, such as his parents, good leadership and base programs.

He stated that his parents live approximately seven minutes down the road from him, and they help take care of the two younger children, ages ten and seven, when he needs assistance.

“I feel very fortunate to have my parents here to help,” said Timothy. “Having that support system of my parents to be able to ask for help picking up the kids when I have to work late has been super helpful.”

Achieving a balance between work and home life is essential for overall well-being and sustaining long-term professional success, and having good leadership has allowed for Timothy to better balance his life.

When Timothy returned home from his most recent deployment, he worked with his leadership to look for different job opportunities within the 1st SOSFS that would better accommodate his family’s current situation. He explained that after applying for various jobs, he received a position that better aided his predicament but also aligned with the requirements of the Air Force.

“Having a good office and a fantastic supervisor that shows that they care, know what you're going through and take the time to check up on you, that’s been great,” said Timothy.

Another helpful resource for Timothy has been the Military and Family Readiness Center. They assist and educate military families during times of deployments and remote assignments.

The M&FRC has the Hearts Apart program which offers monthly events for families of deployed members to connect, childcare vouchers, and resources for spouses and children to gain a deeper understanding of the deployment cycle and prepare themselves for the return of their loved one.

“Adjust, adapt and lean on those around you, you would be surprised by the amount of support that you will get and how helpful that can be,” said Timothy.