TDY’s, and Surviving Parenting Solo
What is TDY? Why are you preparing for it, should I be doing it too? Well if you are married to someone in the military you already know what a TDY is, and why you need to prepare, along with 32892340982349 other military acronyms.
TDY stands for temporary duty assignment in the Army and Air Force. It mainly means travel to someplace other than your home post/base for 1-179 days. So it isn’t long enough to be considered a deployment, but it is long enough to require some changes to your daily grind since you are going to be missing your partner in discipline and housework duties.
So how do you prepare for TDY’s ?
First, you need to get a general idea of how long this assignment is going to be. I say general because actual numbers are rarely given far enough ahead of time to plan exactly, but round about numbers work. Using my husband for example. We have known for about 6+ months he was leaving in Sept to go to the swamps for training exercises for about a month. It was two weeks out before got the leave date(which is early for some TDY’s) I have yet to hear the return date. The Army loves withholding information on somethings that don’t really matter, then publishing massive manuals on other things you would think were top secret. SMH
Second are you going to need to arrange different child care arrangements for the time they are gone? Since I’m a stay at home mom, I don’t “need” other child care options, but I want them. You try staying home with twin toddlers all day every day and not get burned out. No matter how cute, sweet, funny and well-mannered they are, you are going to need breaks, and you should take them! It will make you a happier parent when you return.
My mom is coming up for part of the time handsome hubby will be gone, and his amazing parents will be coming down some too as well. I will be going up to their house for a week while Alena Beana is on fall break. I also have a babysitter on Tues and Thursday for 3 hours. Am I spoiled, maybe, but I function better, get more done and I don’t get frustrated as easy when I have time to myself(even if the time is spent working on non fun cleaning duties) It takes a village to raise a family I tell you….
Now that you know how long they are going to be gone, who is going to help with the little ones and how you will keep you sanity, lets start the detailed planning portion.
The Calendar Plan
Make a calendar of all the events/ important dates that will be affected. Do you need help on any of those dates? Do you need to hire someone to do something you can’t that your spouse would have?
I’m glad he is going at this time of the year instead of the summer because we have a decent sized yard with fast growing grass/weeds and lots of areas to weed eat. My husband mows at least 1-2 times a week as well as weed eating to make sure our edges are crisp. I can mow, I just don’t like it. I’m not a fan of the smell of fresh-cut grass, so you see why I would loathe it…..
Since it is starting to turn into fall the lawn care duties will go down significantly so I won’t be out there slaving during those baby free times as often. If I didn’t have help around, then guess what, I would probably have to have someone come mow because it takes over an hour and I can’t not watch those crazy boys.
Any other home maintenance that your husband usually takes care of needs to be evaluated to see if you can do it, or if you need to find someone else to do it for you.
Next thing to look at on your calendar of important dates is, do you have any events overlapping? Let’s say you have one kid in soccer, and another in ballet, and then of course the worst happens and the baby gets sick making it impossible for you to do anything. Make sure you have told some other parents about your situation so maybe they can take your kid with their kid. No one wants a grumpy kid and a sick kid at the same time if you can avoid it. 😉
Remember the village, we all have to work together to thrive. I can’t stress this enough, especially to my military families, how important it is to reach out and have a support system since we move so often and our families and long term friends are not in the same town to come to our rescue when we need some help.
Do you handle the bills or does your spouse? We have auto pay set up on all of our bills, but they are listed on my husband’s name for the most part. So what happens if auto pay fails and I have to deal with it?!?!?
No worries, I have all the account info saved and filed. This is something you MUST take care of before your spouse leaves, because a lot of the time when they go on TDY’s you won’t be able to contact them for a quick question, let along have them call and sit on hold to straighten something out.
Make sure you know all the bills you have, when they are due, how you pay them, the account numbers, etc. Make a plan to have reminders set on your phone to tell you to pay the bills if you don’t usually handle it, because you will be busier which means it is SO EASY to forget something you don’t usually take care of anyway.
Kids thrive on routines, so try to stick to your typical routine as much as possible. I know my daughter does HORRIBLE with change, even if it is something little, necessary and only for a limited time, she acts out. Which just adds to the stress in the first place. Parenting is hard, solo parenting is the ultimate test of your patience and sanity. Trust me I raised her for 6 years before I married handsome hubby and had someone on my team.
According to the age of your kiddos, how they handle only having one parent home is going to vary. If they are older they could take it as a time to help out more and stay busy themselves while they wait for their parent to return. They also could act out because they know you are solo, let’s hope that is few and far between for most of us! Fighting is not how anyone spends their already stressful solo parenting time.
Now if you have little kids, like I do as well, you might as well accept the fact you are going to be rolling with the punches. This will be the first TDY over a week that the boys will be dealing with. If any if you have suggestions, please do share!!!
The past 3 they have done, I have had my mom here so while they missed their daddy, they had their GiGi spoiling them rotten with attention and we did a lot of fun stuff as well.
We will be doing fun stuff as well this time, but I can’t be going to parks, events, shopping, every day for over 31 days. My house would be a mess, and my bank account wouldn’t be happy.
My plan is to treat the time just like we do now. We do fun stuff on the weekends. During the week it is normal housework, homework, dinner, family time and bed.
So I will stress again, try to keep your routine as normal as possible for the best response from the kiddos. Wish me luck on that working for me. I will let y’all all know how my “plan” goes…..
Long Distance Love
I’m a sucker for sweet handmade things. I try to make sure I do something every time handsome hubby has to leave to remind him he is loved, thought about constantly, missed and appreciated. I almost always tuck handwritten notes in his bag to find later. I may send him sweet texts, buy him something he has wanted, or decorate his mirror like I did last time. I put hello handsome on the top, and I love you on the bottom. The first thing he does every morning is shave so I figured putting that there would be a good way to start his early morning and long days.
I can’t tell you what I have planned for this time since he hasn’t left yet and could read this, but I will do a post on it next week. It’s a good one, you won’t want to miss. You can even do it, without your spouse leaving, just because. We all need some just because gifts every now and then.
I think I have covered everything for what I will be doing to prepare for TDY’s and parenting solo. Do you have any ideas, suggestions or tips? Have I left something out?
I hope you ALL are having a GREAT day!!!