New New Step Dad, Mom in nursing school, too much?


  • Specializes in Psychiatric, Emergency, Public Health. Has 2 years experience.

This is my first post to these boards and I do apologize for the length.

I have an aboslutely wonderful friend of eight years. He and I both went through divorces during those eight years. His was some six years ago and mine was about three years back. We had known each other a very long time, but it wasnt until two years ago that we began to see each other as more then just friends. I am proud to say that I married this wonderful man last March!!! I could not be more pleased with my choice of husband. He is adoring, supportive, responsible, all out wonderful. He is all these things to me and to my three darling little boys from my previous marriage.

Here in lies my problem. Nursing School. He knew this was in the cards and no one was more excited and supportive of me when I finally entered nursing school after five years of preperation (three years completing general education and nursing pre-reqs and another two years on the waiting list)

I have to work full time. I have my three boys to take care of and my ex-husband has only paid his child support once this last year. Just not a reliable enough income to raise a family on. So I work full time, go to nursing school, and I am a newlywed. I knew Nursing School would be tough. I knew I would struggle and that the next two years would be among the most stressed out I would ever be. I am lucky atleast in that my current job is flexible and pays well (better then most LPN's) I warned him of all this. I warned him that most nursing students are advised not to work while in the program. He was fully informed, but unfortunately not as prepared as I had hoped. He expected that I would be stressed out constantly and under extreme time constraints and he knew being a step-father was not going to be a cake-walk. He knew all these things, but knowing and experiencing are such different things. He became the primary care giver to my three boys and while he loves them and they love him it just hasnt been an easy transition. I've felt guilty. The transition would be easier if I were able to be home more. After all I am the connection between this man and these boys. But I cant quit work and lord knows school is not going to ease up just because I need it to. My dear husband has been a trooper. He's prepared kids for school and preschool. Prepared breakfasts, dinners, lunches. Helped with homework, read bedtime stories, tucked kids in. Taken days off work or worked from home when my kids or I get sick. He does more then half our housework and he works more then 60 hours a week. Like I said. He is amazing. He did his best to support me, but... He broke down two months ago. I saw this man that I love brought to tears. Tears for feeling guilty as well. He is tired, burned out, and hates not seeing the person he just committed to spending the rest of his life with. He felt guilty for wanting me to quit school. He promised that he would continue to support me and to cheer me on, if it was that important to me, but he is suffering and he wishes I would quit. He did not ask me to quit, just admitted to his feelings. I make a good living now, not as good as RN, but good enough to meet all of the financial goals that he and I have made even without completing my degree. This fact alone keeps him from worrying about our need for me to graduate at this time.

I arranged to take a hiatus from school. Just a little time to get my boys, me, and my husband more accustomed to just being a family. I have been told that as long as I return to school within the year I will be able to continue in my program without any further detriment, but if I postpone any longer then I will be placed back at the end of the waiting list (which is now 5 years out) Its been 2 months now (about half a semester). I need to let my school know what my expected return date is very soon so I cant put my decision off much longer. I feel physically so much healthier without the stress of nursing school and I guess it shows. My dear husband cant stop commenting on how much more I am smiling and how how he keeps catching me singing. He has been so much happier and so have my kids. Things have been amazing. I finally feel like a newlywed and so does he. He'd like to look at growing our family more, as he'd like a child of his own, but we cant progress in that till I make a decision.

I am at a crossroads now. I love my family more then anything in this world. I dont want to ask my family to go back to the same level of stress we were at. I dont want ask my husband to make so many sacrifices that he regrets marrying me. Family is always first. But I have never wanted anything more strongly for myself then to complete a Nursing degree. I worked five years to get into the program! I sacrificed so much time already! So much money invested in education! I worked my way towards this during my first marriage and after my ex-husband left me and the boys to go join a rock band. I've sacrificed so much. I dont know if I can walk away. I was doing well in school and love the profession so much. I have cried almsot every night since I went on this hiatus because I am terrified that I will never get to go back. I'm also aware of what a great benefit me being in the nursing profession could be to my family. But is it worth it if I risk my family for it? I dont want to do something that will put my kids at risk of watching Mom go through another divorce.

So here are my options; 1. I go back to school and finish my RN degree and risk putting my husband through another breakdown. 2. I go back to school for one more semester then take a transition to LPN course. Its not what I was shooting for and it pays less then my current profession, but atleast it would be nursing. or 3. Quit school, keep my current job as a Registered Polysomnographic Technologist (atleast its in health care and I do enjoy it---but who can work the night shift forever), and just enjoy being a wife and mother. 4. Wait beyond the one year mark and have my name placed back at the end of the waiting list. Maybe in five years when my kids are older things will be a little easier on the family.

My husband says he will respect any decision I make and that he will do all that he can to make me happy in my decision, but will he feel that way in another year and a half? Is it fair to ask him to take so much responsibility for another man's kids while I run off to complete my degree?

Does anyone have suggestions on how I can minimize the impact on my sweet family and still manage to complete school?

Your guidance or opinions would be much appreciated.


446 Posts

Specializes in ER, ICU, Medsurg.

After reading your post, I can't help but get this feeling that you are scared. Now, I don't know you from Adam and I don't want to step over some imaginary line here but my guess is that you are scared to lose your husband because of your past experience. So based on that assumption, I'm going to offer you this advice:

1) He loves you. He loves you when you're upset, when you're ugly, when your hair is a mess, when you have dragon breath first thing in the morning, and when you are singing and skipping around the house. RN school is temporary. If he married you enough to KNOW that he will be involved in raising another mans children, he loves you enough to stay with you for the time it takes you to complete school, through THICK AND THIN. If he loves you that much, he wouldn't even think about leaving you beacuse you are pursuing YOUR dream.

2) He loves you enough to WANT you to be happy. What is going to make you happy? If you are not happy with yourself, there is no way you can make anyone else happy. Ever hear the saying "If mamma ain't happy, ain't nobody happy?" Will its true. If you yourself are not happy then that is eventually going to start running downhill and effect the rest of your household. Of course, you love your family, of course you love your husband but if you are not doing what is going to make you happy then eventually there is going to be some resentment building up. (however unintentional).

3) This one is a little more depressing to think about. What if God forbid something happens between you and your husband. You are again a single mother. Would you be able to go back to school and work and take care of the kids by yourself?

All these are just thoughts but my advice is to do it. RN school is temporary, your marriage is not. If he loves you and you love him you will see each other through this. Do what makes you happy

Good Luck


17 Posts

You have to do what's right for you.....but at the same time you've got to take his feelings and needs into consideration as well. Stress can cause ALOT of issues in a relationship and you have to decide if you're willing to take the chance that it could cause irreversable damage to your relationship. You don't want to resent him if you don't go to school, but you don't want him to resent you because you choose to go back either. I don't want to be negative, but it's a possibility. Maybe you two can come up with some ways to make it easier on both of you next go round with school. Could you possibly only work part-time or not work at all? Could you possibly get a part-time nanny or family member to help out a bit with the kids? It's going to be a very hard decision for you to make, I can see so many pro's & con's on both sides. Good luck to you!


1,051 Posts

Specializes in ER/Ortho.

How much longer do you have left? My program was 16 months long, and I have about 13 months left. You can do anything for just a year or so!!!! It's not forever. I have heard it's much easier to do when your kids are younger. I know my son is 13, and he misses me not being here as much so I know it doesn't get any easier as they get older. If it's something you want do it, and get it done with. Think how great you will feel a year or so from now when your a nurse, and can spend time with your family.


1,194 Posts

Specializes in Cardiac Care.

"This too shall pass and NS doesn't last forever" However, If you want to be a nurse you know how much stress its going to be. Have a family meeting with everyone even the little ones and let them discuss their feelings. Then talk about how much more you can do once you are an RN LPN? and only have to work 3 days a week, think of the happy things at the end of the tunnel. If there aren't any and you are better off where you are now then you have made your decision.

Good Luck!!


34 Posts

Specializes in ER, Med/Surg, MICU.

Don't give up all that you have worked so hard for! He said that he will stand by you with your decision, well then trust him to do so! You only have a year and a half left? That will go by before you know it! And the closer you get to finishing school, he will know that these rough times are almost over too. He will be just as excited as you are when you graduate LOL! And in the meantime, always shower him with praises and compliments (men do really need that!). Let him KNOW that everything he is doing for you and the kids means the world to you. Shower him with affection. Set aside special time alone for the two of you to keep your relationship healthy and fulfilling for BOTH of you. Also, keep reminding him that he is making ALL of your dreams come true: a wonderful husband, a wonderful "dad" to your boys, and supporting you in getting your dream job as an RN (which is going to be quite handy as this economy goes down the dumps!) Look him in the eyes and tell him that you love him - every day, several times a day. Tell him how much you need him! Also, most men want to feel like "men". It is very important that you give him that! Even though he is doing traditional "mom" activities while you are in school, give him those things that men "need". Ya know what I mean??? Let him feel and know that he is "tha man"!

When you tell him your decision to remain in school, ask him if he has any suggestions to make things easier for him (like you working part time if at all possible, financial aid/loans, babysitters, etc.) Let him know that you are willing to do anything you can for him like he does for you.

I also agree with the post above that if, God forbid, something happens to your husband or your marriage down the road, then you would be soooo relieved that you completed nursing school when you could. You would be able to support yourself and your kids, college for the kids, etc. etc. etc. Would you be able to do that on your salary now and the economy getting worse every year?????

I gave you this advise, for what it is worth, based on what has worked for me and my husband. I was divorced and then married the man of my dreams on 7/7/07. One month later I started nursing school. I have 3 kids that he is helping me raise. I graduate in May, and we are sooooooo excited! The first 2-3 semesters were a little rough, but now that I am nearly done with the 4th semester with only one more semester to go, the finish line is definitely within site. Time is starting to fly by now! I keep reminding my husband, with a wink, that I am going to make all of this up to him BIG TIME! I tend to try to lighten up things with smiling, humor, laughing and cutting up, and that really helps A LOT!

Nursing school is never easy on anyone, but we just trudge through it, and in the end we will reap the rewards! Your husband and kids will too! Remember, it is only 18 months to get there! This is nothing compared to the rest of your life! With a little effort you can do this! Just try to make things the best that they can be with you and your family during this time. Keep smiling and singing!

Anyway, I hope this helps!

Good luck girl, and hang in there!


304 Posts

Has 2 years experience.

Hmmm... Well, I may be swimming upstream here but I am going to be the voice of dissent. Please don't flame me; the OP wanted opinions and here is mine:

Your marriage is new and this time may well set the tone for how it will develop over the years. I realize you are pursuing your dream but at this point there is now a new husband to consider, not to mention your three boys. I know he said he'd stick by you but obviously he didn't realize how difficult NS is (did any of us?? My goodness, it's the hardest thing I've ever done, and I'm only in my first semester!). Add to the stress of nursing school the difficulty of joining an existing family and wow -- what a recipe for hardship.

You mentioned the possibility of becoming an LPN first -- this sounds like a viable plan. It's a more circuitous route than you'd hoped but you could still become an RN down the line and as you said, it's still nursing. You are young and your children will grow quickly and you and your husband can lay a foundation for a lifelong partnership and then you can pursue your goals at less hardship to your family. I know that personally I could not have devoted the necessary time to nursing school while my children were still young -- they're 16 and 13 now and that has made a world of difference.

In the end, it's your decision. My opinion comes from the fact that I have been married 23 years and my husband and I have both had to make tough sacrifices from time to time -- in fact, one of the reasons I'm just now in nursing school at 43 is that his job requires so much traveling and so much of his time that he could not help with our children enough when they were younger to allow me the time I would have needed to devote to school. He's made a few difficult sacrifices for me as well.

This is just my :twocents:! The very best of luck to you, whatever you decide.

allnurses Guide

Spidey's mom, ADN, BSN, RN

11,302 Posts

I'm going to swim upstream with you 2B . . . .:coollook:

Another failed marriage will be devastating to the kids.

Make a strong family unit first. Your husband obviously struggles with this. Maybe some family counseling would be of benefit.

I wish you the best.


Specializes in Orthopedic, Corrections. Has 5 years experience.

Sounds to me like you are happy now, while on a break from nursing school. I am going to school full-time, but do not work, and this is the hardest and most stressful time of my life. My husband works second shift, and takes care of our girls (ages 3 and 4) while I am at school. Motherhood is riddled with guilt, but the guilt has trippled since I started NS. My hubbie gets home from work at 3am and has to get up with the girls when they wake up arround 8:30 or 9. Not the sleep he was used to and he can be grumpy with them if he's not careful. I go to school and study, and then clean and try to spend time with them so I don't tottaly miss these two years of their lives. I keep telling myself that I am doing this for them, and it is only temporary, but some days it is hard, and I want to quit. I tell myself that waiting untill they are both in school would be easier on us all. I will stick it our though. Just letting you know that I understand both sides. It is hard. I wish you and your family the best and will be praying for you guys. What ever decision you make know that it is the best decision because it is the best one for you.


157 Posts

The LPN route seems like it might be a good option to look at. When you get into a position with that, you could start taking a bridge for an ADN or BSN. The employer will generally pay for a lot of classes too. If nursing seems to be where your heart is, then maybe you could compromise and go in little steps...


209 Posts

Well, as a single mother raising 2 kids on my own I have a few questions/ suggestions:

I personally don't think it is fair to put your new husband in the position of taking care of everyone in the house... it is just toooo much for a man to do

Why can't you take out some loans so that you don't have to work full time?

I would think with 1 person working full time, you working part time, plus school loans, and a budget you would be able to make it and not work full time and save your new husband from a nervous breakdown

I agree with a previous poster... if this marriage fails, will you be able to support your children the way you want? This thought is what helps me get through school... I want to be able to take care of my children without the help of anyone.


1,051 Posts

Specializes in ER/Ortho.

I have talked to people who are going the LPN route. At most LPN programs there is still a long wait list, then you go for a year so it's almost as long as you would go to finish up if you went back to your original program. In addition, if you wanted to bridge you would have to then get into a bridge program and go another year. Overall it will take much more time away from your family. The LPN programs in my area are just as demanding as the RN program I am in if not more so. It seems that the LPN programs here got all the hospitals that are farther away because the RN students are in the close hospitals.

I am a single mom, and it is really tough to not be as available for my kids. I know that its for all of us, and I really believe it in my heart. When I worked full time I would leave for work at 7am, and get home at 6:30pm, and that was on a good day. I also put in an evening a week, and some saturdays, and made less than half the pay I will make as an RN. When I graduate I will work 3 days a week, and can be a full time mom 4 days a week while making more than a lot people will ever make. I can also choose the weekend option and just work full time on weekends, and be off all week. In the event of an even more severe economic situation I can easily get extra shifts bring in aver $2000 a week. I hope one day to meet a wonderful man, but regardless of if I do or don't, If I do and it doesn't work, it doesn't matter because I will be able to take care of us.

I would reconsider how short of a time will effect the rest of your life. It's like have put so much into it, and your down to the last few pushed dont give up.

Get a calander and with your husband mark off the each week, each month,and watch the time go by until you graduate. Every time you make it another month buy something sexy, and give him a thank you present, or take him out for a special night of something he loves.

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