My relationships with my children didn't change after I became a peds nurse. They were 15, 13 and 11 when I graduated and I was already one of those moms that said, "If there's no blood, or no bones sticking out then you'll be fine." I never felt like I didn't have anything left for my kids, because although I love my patients, they're NOT my kids. The interactions are completely different.
Here's a funny story. My oldest daughter and her family live thousands of miles away and we only see each other (face-to-face) once in awhile. When my oldest grandson was 3 months old I flew out to meet him; my daughter was going back to work the following week and she looked like she hadn't slept in a year at least. Her husband too looked exhausted. So, being the warm and loving mom I am (
) I said, "You two should take a break. Go to a movie, or go out for a nice dinner. Or even just a walk. I'll hold the fort here." My daughter looked horrified - "But what if he cries?" she said. After I got control of my rolling eyeballs, I asked her, "You DO know what I do for a living, right? If I can't handle a little crying I have no business looking after sick kids." To no avail. They wouldn't go. That took me another 3 months.
When I first started in PICU, my greatest fear was that one day I'd walk onto the unit and one of their friends would be in a bed. Then that happened... That child subsequently died. So that was out of the way. As they got older then my fear shifted to walking onto the unit and finding one of their friends' kids in a bed. Then THAT happened. And that child too died. In some strange way though, I felt like I was able to support their families to understand what was happening and how to cope with the eventual outcome. I've also provided nursing care to one of MY friend's grandchildren and the son of a coworker. The thing is, you have to know yourself. If you expect working in peds to be too emotionally draining, then don't go into peds.