Single Parent joining the Air Force!

  1. 0
    Hi! I am a 31 year old single parent of a 5 year old son. I have been looking into joining the air force but concerned about child care and raising a child so young on my own while in the military. I will be seeing a recruiter, but would like some feedback about being a single parent in the military would be like. I currently have a BSN and has 6 years of ICU experience and would like to attend a CRNA program in the air force.

    1. Are there many resources for single parents?
    2. How would work schedules be like? Night shift or days?
    3. Do you work over 40 hrs a week in the hospital setting?
    4. Child Care?
    5. Education and activities for children?

    Any single parents out there in the military? How do you do it? Balancing family and military duties. Any feedback or suggestiobs would be informative. Thank You!

    Am I making a good decision by entering into the military with a young child?
    Last edit by HIGirl1995 on Jul 17, '08 : Reason: grammar
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  5. 6
    Quote from higirl1995
    hi! i am a 31 year old single parent of a 5 year old son. i have been looking into joining the air force but concerned about child care and raising a child so young on my own while in the military. i will be seeing a recruiter, but would like some feedback about being a single parent in the military would be like. i currently have a bsn and has 6 years of icu experience and would like to attend a crna program in the air force.

    1. are there many resources for single parents?
    2. how would work schedules be like? night shift or days?
    3. do you work over 40 hrs a week in the hospital setting?
    4. child care?
    5. education and activities for children?

    any single parents out there in the military? how do you do it? balancing family and military duties. any feedback or suggestiobs would be informative. thank you!

    am i making a good decision by entering into the military with a young child?
    i was in the af for 10 years...got out 3 years ago. i don't have kids but i'll tell you what i know...
    you will first have to understand that the af's needs come first. not your needs, not your childs needs, only the af's needs. your work schedule will be whatever works for the af. your shifts will depend on where you're stationed...at a hospital or clinic or whatever. if you're not working 12s, you'll work about 10 hours/day monday-friday. work usually starts around 7-7:30 and ends 4:30-5 plus pt before or after work. if you work 12s, the schedule is typically: on mon, tue; off wed, thu; on fri, sat, sun, off mon, tue; on wed, thu; off fri, sat, sun. everyone rotates through nights; typically 3-6 month rotations. if there's an exercise (play war), you will work as many 12s in a row as it takes to get through the exercise (everyone usually works 12s in an exercise). exercises are usually 4 times a year and typically last 3-4 days. if you are short staffed, you will work as many 12s as it takes to cover the schedule. when i was in the er, it wasn't unusual to work 206 hours a month. no one calls in sick...like ever...there is no float pool so if you call off, one of your coworkers is coming in and they're not going to be happy about it. i've seen people wheeling their iv poles around at work! remember...the af's needs come first.

    as a single parent (really all parents), you'll have to have a dependent care plan, which basically outlines what you're going to do with your child when you get deployed. count on being deployed for 4-6 months once every 15 months. it's very unlikely it will happen that often...in fact i didn't know a single nurse that deployed that often. but if you prepare yourself for that, then the one deployement every 4-5 years won't seem so bad.

    base schools and day care are awesome. the day cares ("child development centers") open early and stay open late for military parents. i think they're reasonably priced and sliding scale based on your pay. if i remember right, there can be wait lists to get in. there are usually lots of activities for kids. i think the af is great at trying to keep families happy.

    i don't know what to tell you about crna school. that would rock if you could get in to the mil crna school as it is one of the top rated. i just don't know how it would work out with your child. it depends on how the military views the school assignment-wise and whether they'll authorize dependent travel. i would definitely do more research on the likelihood of getting into the school though. i'm sure you have excellent grades and experience and you've heard how competitive everything is. it's just that in the military, there are other variables...like how interested your commander is in you going to the program. if your valuable to the hospital, they can be short-sighted and hold you back from your own goals. what did i say?...the af's needs come first.
    your experience will totally depend on where you get stationed and what your leadership is like. i had some amazing experiences and some really crappy ones. i have days where i fantasize about going back in and days where i am so thankful that i don't have to deal with some of the b.s. (my husband is still active duty).

    super good luck! do your research before you sign anything!
    Last edit by lucky1RN on Jul 17, '08
    sonja77, Sandy_dfw, HIGirl1995, and 3 others like this.
  6. 1
    Quote from lucky1rn
    i was in the af for 10 years...got out 3 years ago. i don't have kids but i'll tell you what i know...
    you will first have to understand that the af's needs come first. not your needs, not your childs needs, only the af's needs. your work schedule will be whatever works for the af. your shifts will depend on where you're stationed...at a hospital or clinic or whatever. if you're not working 12s, you'll work about 10 hours/day monday-friday. work usually starts around 7-7:30 and ends 4:30-5 plus pt before or after work. if you work 12s, the schedule is typically: on mon, tue; off wed, thu; on fri, sat, sun, off mon, tue; on wed, thu; off fri, sat, sun. everyone rotates through nights; typically 3-6 month rotations. if there's an exercise (play war), you will work as many 12s in a row as it takes to get through the exercise (everyone usually works 12s in an exercise). exercises are usually 4 times a year and typically last 3-4 days. if you are short staffed, you will work as many 12s as it takes to cover the schedule. when i was in the er, it wasn't unusual to work 206 hours a month. no one calls in sick...like ever...there is no float pool so if you call off, one of your coworkers is coming in and they're not going to be happy about it. i've seen people wheeling their iv poles around at work! remember...the af's needs come first.
    as a single parent (really all parents), you'll have to have a dependent care plan, which basically outlines what you're going to do with your child when you get deployed. count on being deployed for 4-6 months once every 15 months. it's very unlikely it will happen that often...in fact i didn't know a single nurse that deployed that often. but if you prepare yourself for that, then the one deployement every 4-5 years won't seem so bad.
    base schools and day care are awesome. the day cares ("child development centers") open early and stay open late for military parents. i think they're reasonably priced and sliding scale based on your pay. if i remember right, there can be wait lists to get in.
    there are usually lots of activities for kids. i think the af is great at trying to keep families happy.
    i don't know what to tell you about crna school. that would rock if you could get in to the mil crna school as it is one of the top rated. i just don't know how it would work out with your child. it depends on how the military views the school assignment-wise and whether they'll authorize dependent travel. i would definitely do more research on the likelihood of getting into the school though. i'm sure you have excellent grades and experience and you've heard how competitive everything is. it's just that in the military, there are other variables...like how interested your commander is in you going to the program. if your valuable to the hospital, they can be short-sighted and hold you back from your own goals. what did i say?...the af's needs come first.
    your experience will totally depend on where you get stationed and what your leadership is like. i had some amazing experiences and some really crappy ones. i have days where i fantasize about going back in and days where i am so thankful that i don't have to deal with some of the b.s. (my husband is still active duty).
    super good luck! do your research before you sign anything!

    i just want to thank you for this detailed information. i'm not joining the air force but have to acknowledge such a helpful post. :bowingpur


    i'd like to ask if the father of the 5 year old is involved at all? i do know military families who have had to live with deployment and it can be very tough . . .as it has been since the beginning of time. but if there is one parent available, that can help.

    steph
    lucky1RN likes this.
  7. 0
    I forgot to add...your days off are not necessarily your days off. If you have mandatory training due, you'll be in your days off for that training. If theirs a commander's call on your day off, you'll be putting your uniform on and going to commanders call.
    That was the #1 relief for me when I got out...my time was my time. I wasn't going to get a call on Saturday telling me I needed to come in. I wasn't going to be told at 7am that I needed to stay until 10pm. I love having the freedom to say "no" now.
    Oh, and I'm not trying to discourage you! If you can make it work it could be the best thing you ever did!
  8. 1
    As a military spouse of nearly 30 years (I married a lifer) let me tell you that to get what you want from the military you have to sell your soul to them.

    My husband's career has always come first. As a MWO said to me many years ago, "if the Army had wanted your husband to have a wife and family, we would have issued him one".

    First day of school, graduation from high school, ear tube surgery, driving test passed, first girlfriend, etc., my childrens father has missed them all because his career comes first.

    The recruiters will tell you what you want to hear, then reality hits you and your family.
    Spidey's mom likes this.
  9. 0
    If you choose to join the service the Air Force is the way to go! I'm former Army and I always regretted not going into the AF-you will get treated so much better, the AF is truly family friendly, generally support advancement education wise, better quarters- our last assignment we lived on an AFB so I was exposed to the culture, I had neighbors who were retiring and had 3 degrees all acquired while on active duty-my husband barely had a AA everytime he attempted to go to school, there was an exercise or some big inspection coming up, one time when getting paperwork done for appoval by his commander he asked him 'why do you need a degree?' Duh. My husband is hardly a slacker 27 years in bronze star, legion of merit, awards that go on but it still comes down to Army is first and foremost. My ex stepped out on me before my daughter was born, so I was on my own, overseas in Germany and she came early (preeclampsia) had my eight weeks leave, put in to take more leave besides maternity, denied by my commander he didn't care that I was a single parent, breast feeding, that my daughter was only eight weeks old-there was a field exercise and I better be there boots on-not deployment , just a field exercise, playing war. So off I went for six weeks to run around in the mud days and nights- there were other soldiers in my company who had given birth before I did who had spouses and were allowed to remain in the rear with their newborns-their commanders were empathic-mine wasnt and that was only the beginning of what that man put me through! That said your immediate command can make your life miserable, and yes you are technically on 24/7-being a single parent it'll be hard-you will need the support of family or your son's father-but it can be done. Best wishes to you.
  10. 0
    Thank you lucky1RN for the insightful message! I didn't realize how extensivethe air force would be and how much it would effect my son's life! I will do more research and let you know what happens. Thank you!!
  11. 1
    You cannot enlist into the Air Force as a single parent. Period. Email me at raas@yours.com if you have any questions, I can get you the answers.

    The Army National Guard however, you can enlist in. Remember, getting pregnant once in the USAF is different from having a child already and enlisting. The Air Force reserves you may able to get into. Sorry =[
    Jarnaes likes this.
  12. 0
    You would actually have to give legal custody of your child to a relative and once you graduated from basic training and your advanced training or even officer school as with a BSN you'd be eligible for officer status then you could jump through the hoops to regain custody and remain enlisted/comissioned and even then you have to have an air tight family care plan which is often times reviewed every 6 or 12 months, and yes I too was told to my face by my husband's 1st sargeant the "we didn't issue him a family" line, and all I could do was stand there and bite my tongue and mumble yes 1st sgt as I too was active duty at the time and in uniform.
  13. 1
    I dont think it is lawful to give up your children for the purpose of enlisting. Also, if you already have given up custody, they make you sign a paper stating you're not going to try to regain custody once your in. Check with your LAWYER AND RECRUITER before doing anything;
    Jarnaes likes this.


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