Balancing Nursing and having kids

  1. Hi all,
    I am thinking of having kids within the next few years but sometimes I can't imagine taking care of people all day at work, coming home emotionally and physically exhausted and then taking care of kids. I love kids and I love my job but it seems really tough. For any nurses who raised kids while working, how did you do it? Did you cut back your hours, leave acute care, have a super supportive partner, or pretty much just suck it up? I have a coworker who was a single mom of 3 and worked full time plus over time. Her kids are grown up now and she is still so positive and energetic. What is the secret of people like her?? #lifegoals
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    About LibraNurse27, BSN

    Joined: Sep '13; Posts: 80; Likes: 163

    18 Comments

  3. by   brownbook
    My youngest, I only had two kids, was 5 when I graduated from nursing school.

    I found nursing to be a great career for mothers and families. My partner was supportive.

    Working 11 pm to 7 am eight days a pay period, every other weekend, I felt physically and emotionally fine. Was always home when kids got out of school, never missed a school event, went on school field trips.

    Working in a 24/7 industry gives a parent so much flexibility. A co-worker worked every Fri., Sat., Sun., 12 hour shifts, so he could be home all week with his kids. (Not sure what his wife did, if she even worked?)

    I cannot imagine working 8 - 5 Mon. to Fri. and dealing with kids, schools, doctor appointments, Little league practice, girl scout meetings, etc.
    Last edit by brownbook on Jun 10
  4. by   traumaRUs
    Our sons were 5 and 10 when I graduated from school. I worked 3 12's night shift and my husband worked days. Worked fine - we make a good team and we shared our home duties. However, when he got deployed it wasn't so much fun - miserable year is about I can say. As they grew it got better as they were more independent.
  5. by   Pixie.RN
    I happened to transition from bedside ER into a Monday-Friday educator position about eight months before I got pregnant. The pregnancy was unexpected after previous losses combined with my age, but a happy occurrence beyond measure! Our daughter is almost 11 months now, and it's not easy. My husband is a medical student (about to go into third year), he's in his dedicated study period for Step 1 (USMLE) which is the most important exam he'll ever take, so we joke (but not joking) that I am a single mom right now. He helps as much as he can. With no family in the area, I have no idea how we'd work things if I were still working 12-hour shifts. Our daycare is open from 0630 to 1830, so that doesn't work! And my husband wouldn't always be able to pick her up either because he has some later stuff at school, plus third year he'll be rotating on services and has no idea what his schedule will be. I am not in love with the M-F thing because I miss having weekdays off, but it's what works for our family. I am so grateful for my daughter, you have no idea. The best part of my day is in the evening when I can rock her to sleep in our rocking chair after we read a book. She is amazing.

    You just make the time when you can, and it works out. While she is playing in her playroom I am right there on my laptop, grading papers/posts for my online teaching job, or writing papers/posts for my schoolwork. I am just wrapping up my first DNP course and feeling encouraged that I can fit everything in. The laundry is done, the house is not a pit. I am tired, but whatever! It will all be worth it.
  6. by   cleback
    Honestly, if you're leaving work most days emotionally exhausted, you're probably a little too invested in your patients. For me, work is work. Yes, there are some days that get to me and I break down, but that's definitely not the norm. Most of my emotional energy is spent on my family. So maybe some wider professional boundaries or better self care/renewal is in order.

    But you'll be fine. Parenthood is full of adjustments and I have no doubt you'll find your way.

    Edit: I stayed in acute care after my son was born. Switched to mostly weekends because of lack of daycare. I also work in a clinic. Clinics are definitely easier to juggle with daycare schedules. I have yet to talk with a mom nurse who actually found a facility willing to work evening hours.
  7. by   meanmaryjean
    Quote from cleback
    Honestly, if you're leaving work most days emotionally exhausted, you're probably a little too invested in your patients. For me, work is work. Yes, there are some days that get to me and I break down, but that's definitely not the norm. Most of my emotional energy is spent on my family. So maybe some wider professional boundaries or better self care/renewal is in order.

    But you'll be fine. Parenthood is full of adjustments and I have no doubt you'll find your way.
    This. And nursing is no different than any other job really. Millions of women combine motherhood and career- and and have for decades. Also- I'm assuming this child will have a father?
  8. by   LovingLife123
    You just do it. The days where I'm completely drained, my family lifts me up. Coming home to the smiling faces of my 3 boys changes my whole day and outlook. They are always excited and happy to see me.
  9. by   GeminiNurse29
    Had my first in between semesters in nursing school and survived. Helped that my spouse is supportive. I worked nights before and while it's rough, you also make more and can afford at least part time daycare. Like others pointed out, nursing is a 24/7 field so there's actually more flexibility in terms of what kind of schedule you want/need.

    You'll also have to learn to accept some things like messy house or take out food here and there. I have 3 under 5 and have accepted that my house will not look close to perfect.
  10. by   MedEm29
    Hi!

    I am a single mom of 2. Im 31 and my kids are 12 and 8. It took me 9 years to get through school, doing gen ed classes one at a time then going full time through the actual nursing school portion. My kids father has been absent throughout their lives and I have no siblings locally to help. I went to school while they went to school and then my parents helped watch them while I worked a few evening shifts as a nureses aid a week.

    Once I gradutated I luckily got into a New Grad program where I was a nurses aid. I currently work 7p-7a 3 nights a week on a cardiac/tele floor. I am someone who needs a good night sleep and I won't lie it was very hard to get used to overnights at first. I still feel like I'm adjusting and there are nights were I struggle to stay awake (thats when I start doing laps down the hallways). All in all doing nights allows me to see my kids more often than the day shift. If I worked 12 hr days I would not see them before or after work because I would be gone by 5:45am and home after 8:30.

    It also allows me to see them on holidays such as Easter and Christmas. If i group my days together I can see them for a few hours on the days I'm working and then I have a stretch of 4 days off where I can fully enjoy them. It allows me to volunteer at their schools now and then which they love. Yes it can be hard but loving the people I work with and caring for patients makes me look forward to going to work. It's not forever and it pays very well.

    I don't have the biggest support network but we make it work. They stay with my parents overnight while I work. My parents put them on the bus and get them off the bus so I can sleep. I stop by and have dinner and say "Hi" before I head back to work again. I try to get a 2 hour nap in before work and then try to get 5-6 hours sleep in between shifts (which is not really enough for me but thats what coffee and chugging water is for).

    I hope this glimpse into a single mom's life with limited support helps! I would say its worth it and I do get to see my kids a lot for working 36hrs a week and being able to afford a place and to pay my bills is a big plus.

    Good Luck!

    -Emily
  11. by   AnonymousNurse45
    I had my 2 children in mid-30s, right after starting acute care/ hospital job. It has been the biggest challenge of my life. I work full time Fri-Sat-Sun, and my partner works Mon-Fri. We use hospital affiliated daycare once a week (Friday), it opens at 05:30, which allows me to arrive to work on time at 06:30. I hate getting my 2 toddlers out of their beds at 05:00 in the morning.
    The biggest challenge is a lack of family support. Also, due to the student loans, we are not able to have kids in daycare for additional days, so there is no recovery after 3-12 hr shifts. There is no respite for either me or my partner, we are either working or parenting alone. I am not positive or energetic. My friend works less shifts per pay period, but constantly complains about financial limitations.
    It may sound very grim, but everyone's situation is different
  12. by   DowntheRiver
    Whatever you decide, don't wait too long. We waited until I was 30 to try to have kids with no luck at 32 and *ta-da* my husband has Male Factor Infertility. We will now have to try to surgically repair it and if not it is IVF for us. I'm not saying to have kids if you are not ready but don't keep putting it off thinking you'll be able to later on. My husband kept saying "where we're older and have a bigger house" over and over again and guess what? Now we're older, have a huge house, and no kids it.

    I just want one, boy or girl it doesn't matter, just one.
  13. by   Pixie.RN
    Quote from DowntheRiver
    I just want one, boy or girl it doesn't matter, just one.
    *hugs* I know that feeling. I wish you all the best!
  14. by   TruvyNurse
    You just figure it out. You learn to adapt and where things aren't working you make changes. 6 to 2 works well for me now with little ones. I will have my FNP in February and hopefully will be on more of an 8 to 4 for when my kiddos are in school. I have had to turn down some awesome job offers because it would clash with daycare or my husbands schedule but I wouldnt trade my kids for anything!!

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