My family is my life. I too have two small kids, 1 & 2 yrs old. I'm not going to tell you nursing doesn't offer challenges when it comes to balancing family and work. With small kids, nursing does put a damper on holidays because, unless you have one of those wonderful M-F /holiday off jobs, you never know if you'll spend the holiday with your family or with someone else. How do I cope with it? When kids are small, time means nothing to them. My first child's Christmas was done at my and my husband's work convenience, ei; Santa came early. We were lucky enough to be off the second year (i put my foot down and refused to work it two years in a row). You can also work nights, and deny yourself sleep for holiday time with kids. Another way I cope with it is this: I work with kids, and I always remind myself that the kids in the hospital would also rather be home for Christmas. Nursing is a profession that requires sacrifice. Your family learns to sacrifice. I quit work after my second child because of the same things you're concerned about. After four months, I realized I was not cut out to be an at-home-mom and happily returned to work. Nursing teaches you that it's about quality time, not quantity. Yes, I cry weekly, on my way to work , especially when one of the kids cry as I leave. But I don't think that's specific to nursing, that's parenting in today's society. Also, something I've come to realize is that I do my kids and husband no good if I don't have something that is MINE. Nursing is mine, it is not directly related to family, it's my outlet. Nursing is more than a career, it is a passion. So, to answer your question, yes it is that bad, but it's worth it. I wouldn't trade nursing for any other career. My family is as rounded as the average, and my kids adapt to most any situation-which I think is due to the adverse sides of my job. Also, with no intent to knock the LPN's, but I agree with the previous post that recommended you to go to the RN program. You're no more a nurse with a RN, but it offers you much more flexibility with career opportunities(for scheduling, school nursing, etc). You can do it, you can balance family and nursing!!
Good luck, mommy!!!