**Mastering Long-Distance Co-Parenting: How Air Commandos Stay Connected**

HURLBURT FIELD, Florida – Celebrating their 12th wedding anniversary, this marked the second consecutive year that they were separated by thousands of miles.

Despite the physical distance, they managed to enjoy a virtual meal together, surprising each other with cake and flowers, making the most of their circumstances.

Tech. Sgt. Timothy Dailey, a noncommissioned officer in charge of standardization and evaluations for the 1st Special Operations Security Forces Squadron in the U.S. Air Force, had been deployed for six months and had not yet returned home when he learned that his wife was assigned to a remote unaccompanied tour.

Timothy expressed, “It wasn’t overwhelmingly negative, it was just a matter of understanding the details and doing what needs to be done. As service members, it’s part of the job. This is what we signed up for.”

With one parent returning home as the other departed, their parenting dynamic shifted to a form of long-distance co-parenting. Timothy had to step into the role of both parents, just as his wife had done during his deployment.

“Maintaining flexibility and allowing yourself the grace to acknowledge the challenges of prolonged separation is crucial,” shared Master Sgt. Melissa Dailey, the superintendent and wing executive admin for the 1st Special Operations Wing. “There will be tough times, but we will strive to communicate regularly and openly share our emotions.”

Timothy highlighted how, over their years in the military, he and his wife have honed their ability to navigate life during such times by setting reminders, maintaining a shared calendar, and relying on a support system that includes his parents, reliable leadership, and base programs.

He mentioned that his parents reside just a short seven-minute drive away and are instrumental in caring for their two younger children, aged ten and seven, when additional assistance is required.

“I consider myself fortunate to have my parents nearby for support,” Timothy remarked. “Being able to count on my parents to help with picking up the kids when I have work commitments has been incredibly valuable.”

Striking a balance between professional responsibilities and family life is paramount for overall well-being and sustained career success. Timothy credited his supportive leadership for enabling him to achieve this equilibrium.

Upon his return from deployment, Timothy collaborated with his superiors to explore alternative job opportunities within the 1st SOSFS that would better suit his family’s needs. After applying for various positions, he secured a role that not only accommodated his situation but also aligned with Air Force standards.

“Having a supportive work environment and an exceptional supervisor who demonstrates care, understanding of your circumstances, and takes the time to check in on you has made a significant difference,” Timothy acknowledged.

The Military and Family Readiness Center has also been a valuable resource for Timothy, offering assistance and guidance to military families during deployments and remote assignments.

Through programs like Hearts Apart, the M&FRC organizes monthly gatherings for families of deployed members to connect, provides childcare support, and equips spouses and children with resources to navigate the deployment cycle and prepare for their loved one’s return.

“Adapt, adjust, and lean on those around you; the level of support you receive and its impact may surprise you,” advised Timothy.

Date Taken: 02.15.2024 Date Posted: 02.15.2024 14:38 Story ID: 463972 Location: HURLBURT FIELD, FL, US

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