The Juggling Act: Being a Mom and a Nurse

  1. In 2017 our first baby was born. After going back to work I dealt with some guilt, and still struggle some days. This is an article that let's all you mom's who are nurses know you are not alone.

    The Juggling Act: Being a Mom and a Nurse

    2017

    2017 is when the prettiest little baby was born. 2017 was when I found out what it was to love a child. 2017 is when I learned that running on adrenaline and love was somehow enough. 2017 was when I learned what mommy guilt was.

    I remember dropping my 7-week old daughter at my sister-in-law's house before my first day of work after maternity leave. It was a rainy day, a perfect fit for my mood. I decided to come back to work on a Wednesday, although I knew that I would have Friday off. I didn't want to jump into a whole week of work right away - a whole week without my baby.

    I knew before getting married that I would have to work after I had kids, and I was okay with. After all, I had always been a busy body. But I had no idea how hard it would be to go back after having a child. I didn't know the magnetic pull of a baby.

    I felt so guilty.

    Guilt for leaving a little baby with somebody else.
    Guilt for not having our finances in order so I could stay home.
    Guilt for needing sleep even when I was home with her.
    Guilt for feeling somewhat happy at being back at work.
    Guilt for feeling like my job gave me an identity.

    All of a sudden I gained understanding, compassion for moms everywhere. Working moms in particular, as I was one.

    There were many nights I cried as a new mom. I felt inadequate. My house wasn't clean enough, my meals weren't healthy enough and I didn't hold the job I thought I would hold after graduating from nursing school.

    A year has passed and as I have gotten more comfortable as a mom, a lot of those insecurities have passed. The one thing that has persisted is the uncertainty of where I am at in my career.

    As a school nurse, I don't deal with a lot of typical things that one thinks about when you think about a nurse. No IV's, no crazy stories or patients, no 12-hour days, no crash cart, ect. Because of this I often feel like "fake" nurse which causes me to daydream about a different field in nursing.

    Then the mental "back and forth" begins.

    "But it works so well with family and church"
    "But they don't pay me anything"
    "But you are on a salary and maternity leave is sort of paid"
    "But I am going to lose all my clinical skills"

    And it goes on and on and on...

    I wish I could tell you all I have found the answer in the perfect balance between a career and being a mom, but I haven't.

    I have noticed it is easier not to compare yourself to other moms and other nurses and their careers. It is easier to stop reading articles that tell you what is best for your child (as if every family or child fits one mold!).

    Every family, every mom, every nurse has different limits.

    Not every mom can make homemade healthy meals every night. Sometimes macaroni and cheese is good enough!
    Not every nurse can work 12-hour shifts. Sometimes 8-hour days stink just as bad.
    Not every mom can keep a squeaky clean home. Sometimes hiding everything in the closet is just as good.
    Not every nurse is going to work in the hospital. Sometimes school nursing works best .

    As a young mom and nurse, I have a lot to learn still. In the meantime I try my best to be happy and content in where I am currently at. After all, I can't change my situation (which isn't a situation at all) but I can chance my attitude.

    To all the mommy's out there, remember you are enough and those dishes really can wait until tomorrow.

    We are in this together!


    What have you guys done to help balance being a mom and a nurse?
    Last edit by Joe V on Jun 14
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  2. Visit Avill profile page

    About Avill, BSN, RN

    Avill has been a school nurse for about 3 years, and works PRN as a home health nurse.

    Joined: Oct '11; Posts: 280; Likes: 283

    Read My Articles

    12 Comments

  3. by   TAKOO01
    This is a great article and so true. As you say, there is no one right way for every person. We just have to make the best decision in the moment and hope for the best outcome. It is hard to let go of the guilt and second guessing.
  4. by   xoemmylouox
    I know I have felt many of the emotions the OP discussed. I have my good days and my bad ones. I just try taking things one day at a time.

    As for not being a real nurse.. Most nurses do not work in the typical inpatient acute care setting. There are MANY that work in an outpatient setting. None of us is more of a nurse than another. We are all nurses working in one capacity or another.
  5. by   Avill
    Quote from xoemmylouox
    I know I have felt many of the emotions the OP discussed. I have my good days and my bad ones. I just try taking things one day at a time.

    As for not being a real nurse.. Most nurses do not work in the typical inpatient acute care setting. There are MANY that work in an outpatient setting. None of us is more of a nurse than another. We are all nurses working in one capacity or another.
    True. Thank you for commenting!
  6. by   OldDude
    I haven't been a new mom but I've lived with and witnessed a new mom. I think the biggest surprise to a new mom is they didn't have the ability to grasp the
    ensuing, overwhelming, attachment and indescribable bond they immediately develop for that little sweet potato. This is the first sign of motherhood and will develop later into what is referred to as "momma bear" syndrome if a mom feels like one of her cubs is in peril. New moms go crazy for a period of time and there hasn't been a psyche term to describe it, post partum blues, is the ultimate understatement. But they come around and adjust to motherhood and become quite the amazing caregiver and develop superpowers and beyond...even to be able to get past that first day of separation when they leave the sweet one with a "sitter" and head on off to work. I've seen that and it isn't a pretty sight. But they do it; hence the journey begins.

    Good article, well written. Hats off to new moms!
  7. by   JBMmom
    There will always be something to feel guilty about. I will remember forever that I missed my son's first day of kindergarten because it was my first day of nursing school. My oldest cried every Sunday night the semester that I had evening clinicals Monday and Tuesday (and a day job), because I would not see them again until Wednesday. Even now, I just started a 7p-7a job and my 10- year old sniffled that I would be missing bedtime now when I work. But, I'm doing my best to provide for my family, and that's what they need. When I'm home I do my best to really be home, not on my phone or computer, spending time with them, so they know I'm really there. We will all get through, and when they talk about my school / 2 jobs / more school years, they don't focus on the times I missed, they have good memories of times together.

    And you're a nurse, period. Every job needs a different set of skills. Not better. Not worse. Unique. There are many aspects to a job, and one important one is how it fits with your life. You're doing your best, and your kids have a hard working mom as a role model, good work!
  8. by   ruby_jane
    It's not unique to nursing: There is stigma both ways, whether you are able to stay at home 'til they fly or you have to work. I worked very part-time through preschool and kindergarten and went to nursing school when my kids were in first and seventh grade. The stay-at-home moms judged the full-time moms, and vice-versa. I try not to judge other moms, because....glass houses, sister. I tried working only weekend shifts, or working nights, but school nursing provides the best work-life balance ever!
  9. by   boujeebarbie
    This article was well needed. Thank you
  10. by   Avill
    Quote from JBMmom
    You're doing your best, and your kids have a hard working mom as a role model, good work!
    Thank you! *insert crying emoji here*
  11. by   Laura- My Scrubless Life
    Avill! This is so sad. I don't even have kids- and was scared to because I didn't want to miss out on my kids lives.
    Last edit by AN Admin Team on Apr 20 : Reason: link to off-site blog
  12. by   LovegelatoRN
    I'm a mom and nurse, too! I work 26 hours a week, 2 long shifts each week in the hospital. It works well for us because I have some control over my schedule, but school nursing is great because you have summers off!

    There's always a trade off....what I do works for us now, but once my children are school age, I will change specialties to work somewhere other than traditional hospital nursing since floor nursing isn't sustainable as a long term career due to the demands on the body and long shifts.

    I would say....stay in school nursing!! Where I am,it's very difficult to break into school nursing, and you aren't missing much in the hospitals and after 6 months, you will wonder why you left the school 😊.
  13. by   Avill
    Quote from Laura- My Scrubless Life
    Avill! This is so sad. I don't even have kids- and was scared to because I didn't want to miss out on my kids lives.
    Laura, It's bitter sweet you know? Like an emotional roller coaster. I've had my moments, but there are many more HAPPY moments. Hearing them say "mama", seeing all their firsts ect.

    The other day my kiddo didn't want to leave my SIL house (she takes care of her when I work) and I told her I was like that when i was little too and didn't want to leave my grandmas house, so my SIL asked if this was my "mommy sad moment" I told her no, not really. It actually makes me feel reeeeaaaaaalllly good knowing she is having fun when I'm not there
  14. by   Avill
    Quote from LovegelatoRN

    I would say....stay in school nursing!! Where I am,it's very difficult to break into school nursing, and you aren't missing much in the hospitals and after 6 months, you will wonder why you left the school .
    Thank you for that! More of a confirmation They really do treat me good in the schools.

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