I have one child with ASD and another (who hopefully will not have ASD or be special-ed) on the way. I have two jobs: one per-diem (casual) and one via agency. I tell both when I'm available and they get me whatever work they can. Since I have chosen to limit my availability to certain days/shifts at this time in my life, I find that the workflow can be feast or famine...but even in famine I usually score at least a few shifts each month.
It helps that I already had a few years' experience (and I'll admit that my gaining that experience required some sacrifices on all of our parts) so both per-diem and agency were viable options for me. It also helps that we can cope financially if I don't work full-time.
I admit balancing work and parenting (it's not just a mother issue--fathers can feel it too) can be frustrating, especially since my availability limits me in a lot of ways. And as much as I love my family, I'll admit that at times it seems unfair that I'm limited. Sometimes I wish I could just throw myself into my career full-bore without having to worry about kids and family and what not. I see others do it, and I wonder why I can't. But we live across the country from most of our extended family, and it's not easy setting up new support systems when the better half's career requires frequent relocation on our part.
If I could have changed something, I would have become a nurse much earlier in life, so by the time I started the family I'd have had several years' of a well-developed career already on the clock. Even a couple of years earlier would have been fine as I would have missed the start of the downturn of the nursing job market...
But things didn't work out that way. IMO, life seldom follows our desired blueprint.
Overall, I don't regret choosing to focus on family right now, especially when my little one needs me there. I won't lie: some days I'm more OK with this than on others
But I've made the choices I feel are best for my family at this time, and I just have to take the rough with the smooth. And to be honest...the family is more important to me. Yes, my career matters matters a lot to me too, but if I had to chose one, I'd rather do what's best for the family.
It's not easy to balance the desire for family and career. And it's normal to feel conflicted at times. It means we're human, IMO.
I am consoled by the fact that in a few years, the kids will be older and at least the elder child won't be as dependent on me. Also, the better half will be retiring, and he plans to take on the majority of the house and family duties. We decided that at that point, I'll have carte blanche to pursue whatever in nursing that I want. So knowing that things will ease in the future helps me cope when I am frustrated.
Hang in there!