Nursing and being a mother....

  1. 0
    I have been a stay at home mom for awhile now. However, I spent the last few years in school to be a nurse. I've finished my degree and am in the process of finding a job as an RN. BUT, having a strong desire to be a big presence in my kids' lives coupled with one of my children having developed some behavioral issues this past year, I'm now wondering how to mesh being a nurse and mother.

    If I had years of nursing under my belt, I'd jump in as a home health nurse where I can set my own hours....or perhaps a school nurse. But this is not the case.

    I find myself wondering if I should chuck it all and just go work at a preschool so that I can have the summers and holidays off to be with my kids. The last several years were rough on our family with me spending so much time and energy toward school and physically/mentally away from my kids. I was not the best mother during this time and I'm paying for it to varying degrees now. It was difficult handling the stress of nursing school as a family, and I'm not sure handling the stress of a nursing job will be any different.

    I know no one can tell me what to do, but I'm wondering if I could get some opinions on how you feel about working as a nurse and having a family. I've talked to nursing friends who really struggle with wishing they could spend more time with their kids. I have never been one of those gals who wants a career and children. A big part of the reason I went to school was for finances. That is BY NO means the only reason. I have a strong heart to help others as well. But, I find myself feeling like I have to choose between helping my own kids and helping others, mainly because of my one child who has developed some issues over this past year.

    Anyone been in my shoes? If you could change things in your own life, would you do anything differently?
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  4. 4
    I've been a nurse almost 36 years and a mother for much of that time . I have three children, 26, 19 & 17. My oldest son has severe learning disabilities and bipolar disorder and my youngest son is severely developmentally disabled (like a 1yr old) . I also homeschooled my kids for 12 years. Working and raising a family hasn't been easy. For me, part-time work 2-3 8hr shifts/wk was the answer. I worked 25 years of night shift and a whole lotta weekends, so that I didn't have to use much daycare.So, it can be done. I look back on it and I don't know when I slept.

    Good luck. It is entirely possible to be a good parent and a good nurse, as long as you know your limitations. Understand that you can't do it all. You need a good support system and if you have a spouse, they need to be fully on board. There will be sacrifices--you may not be able to cook a 4 course meal every night and you may not make it to every ball game and band performance. But you can stay plugged in to your kids' lives with a little effort.
  5. 0
    Quote from emptyboxcars
    I have been a stay at home mom for awhile now. However, I spent the last few years in school to be a nurse. I've finished my degree and am in the process of finding a job as an RN. BUT, having a strong desire to be a big presence in my kids' lives coupled with one of my children having developed some behavioral issues this past year, I'm now wondering how to mesh being a nurse and mother.

    If I had years of nursing under my belt, I'd jump in as a home health nurse where I can set my own hours....or perhaps a school nurse. But this is not the case.

    I find myself wondering if I should chuck it all and just go work at a preschool so that I can have the summers and holidays off to be with my kids. The last several years were rough on our family with me spending so much time and energy toward school and physically/mentally away from my kids. I was not the best mother during this time and I'm paying for it to varying degrees now. It was difficult handling the stress of nursing school as a family, and I'm not sure handling the stress of a nursing job will be any different.

    I know no one can tell me what to do, but I'm wondering if I could get some opinions on how you feel about working as a nurse and having a family. I've talked to nursing friends who really struggle with wishing they could spend more time with their kids. I have never been one of those gals who wants a career and children. A big part of the reason I went to school was for finances. That is BY NO means the only reason. I have a strong heart to help others as well. But, I find myself feeling like I have to choose between helping my own kids and helping others, mainly because of my one child who has developed some issues over this past year.

    Anyone been in my shoes? If you could change things in your own life, would you do anything differently?
    I took time off when I had my babies and, honestly, I wish I had at least done something part time. Being able to work as a nurse, even if I ended up not doing so, makes me feel better because I want to know I can take care of my family if I need to. One of the things that is nice about nursing is that after a year, many places will consider you experienced. If it were me, I would try to get a year of hospital or skilled nursing experience and then do the home health. Weekends have been the answer for me, as well. My husband takes care of the children when I am at work and I make a point of volunteering in their classes and spending time with them during the week. Another option, if you decide not to do paid nursing work, is to volunteer at a free clinic or hospice inpatient center. Maybe do something education-related. Have something on your resume during this time.
  6. 2
    Have you considered a casual position? I work casual, pick up to .8-1.0 and set my own hours. I'm able to spend plenty of time with my kids, take time off when I need it and maintain a nursing career, highly recommended for those with children!
    Fiona59 and Good Morning, Gil like this.
  7. 0
    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!
    Last edit by Meriwhen on Feb 20, '13
  8. 1
    The hard part for me as a mom was working 12 hour shifts. A weekend of 12 hour shifts was too much time away from my son. He's little yet and they grow so fast so I felt like I missed out on a lot. Now I'm part-time 8 hour shifts and is working a lot better for my son and I. Maybe consider part-time or casual as someone else had mentioned.
    Fiona59 likes this.
  9. 0
    Thanks for the feedback. I am focusing my job searches on part time (less then 12 hr shifts) and casual. However, I still struggle with wondering if this will be too much. I am encouraged by some of your stories. So no one finds themselves regretting working part time/casual? You find that this is a good balance?
  10. 0
    I actually have done full-time since my son was born.

    When he was little, I worked one 12 hour shift during the week (my mom watched him) and every weekend (when my husband was home). He was nursing, so I pumped for when I was gone. When I was back home, he nursed as much as he wanted.

    When he started school, I was full time on nights. I do 3 12 hour shifts a week, and work every 3rd weekend.

    When I am off I switch back to a "normal" schedule---sleep at night, take him to school, etc.

    When I work, my husband gets him on the bus. I come home and sleep then get up early to start supper and meet my boy at the bus. I help him with his homework and sign any papers that need to be taken care of. I help him get his stuff repacked for the next day. I pick his clothes out and have them laid out. I finish supper before I leave and get lunches for the next day ready.

    I like nights because I can do so much more with my son. I can attend school functions during the day and be there is he needs me. I do miss some evening things, but it's a trade-off. I am usually tired as heck and sleep in spurts, but that's okay!
  11. 0
    I have great work/life balance. I'm lucky to have a workplace with lots of available shifts and a desire to "overstaff" when possible so I can pretty much pick my days and hours. One thing I will say is that working makes me a better mom. Going out and working on something that is completely separate from my (much loved) kids just gives me break and makes me so much more grateful for them. I guess change is as good as a rest, I don't regret it at all.
  12. 0
    I know one person mentioned it in here somewhere. Father's go through hell for our families too!! IMO there needs to be a balance, and realize kids don't necessarily need to be micro managed constantly. Sometimes we want to be there for our own reasons. The sacrifices that this Dad (parent) has made would not even make the discussion list for the majority of Mother's I have met in my life. That's all, good day :-)


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