Moms of older kids, how do you do it?
0Sep 2, '13 by RNikkiFI just discovered the "Break Room" today. It is great to see a more social "world" for nurses to come together.
A little background about me. I've been a nurse for three years. Prior to that, I was primarily a stay at home Mom to DS (now 13) and DD (now 9). I was organized, confident and competent as a mom and wife. I knew my kids' schedules inside and out. I knew the details of their lives with friends and at school.
Since starting nursing school, understandably, my focus had to shift some and DH took on more involvement with the kids, household, etc. I feel like, ever since I started working full time, I have a VERY hard time staying organized at home and staying on top of things (even with using google calendar on my phone)... but more than that, I feel like I have a hard time connecting with my kids and husband and being involved in their lives. I don't mean being a "helicopter" mom... just being connected with them.
I "only" work 3 12s a week, but even on my days off, I'm just emotionally and physically exhausted. There's just nothing left of me when I am home. Complex patients, high patient load (5 to 6 patients with vents/trachs, complex wounds, complex disease processes, etc. is the NORM, but often we have even more than that), clueless management and needy/high maintenance families suck the life out of me at work, and it often takes a couple days for me to recharge.
I feel like I've become just an occupant in my house and have abdicated my role as wife, mom, homemaker... which I HATE feeling that way! I know that I'm doing what I can, but I look at other nurses who have kids the same age or even younger and they're talking about going home at 8 pm and cleaning the house or cooking dinner, going out with the family, etc.... I go home, eat dinner, shower and fall into bed exhausted!
How do you moms do it? How do you juggle such a demanding job and still keep things together at home and actually be plugged in with your kids, husband and other responsibilities??
5Sep 2, '13 by Esme12, BSN, RN Senior ModeratorThose other nurses ...they lie.
No really there are some that are driven in that way. My kids had more responsibility. My Husband had to "pitch in" or I had to work less. That simple. One day when they were small I had worked three 12 hour night shifts (a extra shift) and my husband made a comment about "spaghetti again". I dumped the entire meal in the trash and told him "the kids are fed......you fend for yourself I am going to bed to nap before I go to work. Since the spaghetti wasn't on your menu" I turned on my heel and went to bed. I woke up to coffee a nice breakfast sandwich and a contrite husband.
I also learned to have less shiny floors.
0Sep 2, '13 by Spidey's mom, ADN, BSN, RN GuideI agree with Esme . . those moms lie.
At 36, I started nursing pre-reqs when my youngest was in 1st grade, my second in 5th and my oldest in 7th. Looking back I truly wish I'd cut way back on my hours and focused on being here for my kids. I can see where my being exhausted, frazzled and out-of-touch with their day-to-day lives hurt our relationships.
My first priority has always been being a mom (well, truly 1st should be wife). I veered off that path but I'm back on it. I work part-time and only when my son is in school. I left bedside nursing (acute/ER/L&D) for hospice and I also do school nurse stuff. I get to spend a lot of time at my son's school.
It is a hard thing to do . . .work and be a good wife and mom. In my opinion based on my own circumstances.
3Sep 3, '13 by aknottedyarnOne of the things that made it possible for me to survive was a great partner. I believe with the physically hard work as well as the emotional stress and all the rest having someone else there who can cover some of the bases is almost a necessity. It can be a husband or wife. It can be a relative such as a grandparent for the kids or that aunt or sibling. They can pick up some of the extraneous stuff like cooking, cleaning, carting kids to lessons, scouts, practices, and support their games. As soon as the kids can pick up toys they should get progressive responsibilities. My kids could all fix simple foods at a very early age. They learned that it was better to learn how to wash a load of clothes than to tell me last minute that they needed something special to wear the last minute. Kids are resilient. They do not break from having chores that they are responsible to do.
I won't go so far as to say those other nurses lie. Their idea of fixing dinner may be to microwave veggies and instant mashed potatoes and add that to the rotisserie chicken they pick up on the way home. Nothing wrong with that. Their idea of going out for dinner after work may be carry out from some place nice, or not. If they have the energy to make themselves presentable for an evening out, lord love'em. Don't try it yourself just to be like everybody else.
At the end of it all your kids will remember the lessons you teach them. My kids all turned out OK. They are all responsible adults who know how to keep from starvation. They can cook and clean. They can live independently and earn a living. I think one of the biggest lessons they got from being my children is to share. It has been a family tradition for centuries and they carry it on well.
I used to work 12.5 hr shifts every Sun., Mon., Tues. 8a - 8:30pm. The next day was shot. I would sleep as much as possible and do as little as possible. By the next day I could be human again. I was no longer raising kids at that point. They were on their own.
Just to be sure: Get a check up to be sure you are not anemic, hypothyroid, and your Vit D level is OK. Things can be a bit off and all of a sudden you will not function so well. Probably your body is coping as well as possible but do not neglect yourself.
2Sep 3, '13 by RNikkiFThank you for your replies! I was starting to think it was just me! While I would prefer a spotless house, that is something I've NEVER had... I have kids and I don't want them to live in a museum. my husband does a LOT at home, which helps unbelievably but while I appreciate all that he does, I feel guilty even though I know I shouldn't. I was really referring more to just being plugged in with my kids. I am so exhausted when I come home that I just don't have the energy to talk much with them and I have missed things at their schools just from being an exhausted scatterbrain (yep, that's the medical term! LOL). I just feel like three years, three jobs and one major relocation have completely destroyed our routine and that has contributed as well... *Sigh*... I know it will fall into place. Sooner would be appreciated!
0Sep 3, '13 by Spidey's mom, ADN, BSN, RN GuideI was talking about not being plugged in with my kids. I was exhausted and I did miss games and recitals but the day-to-day stuff of just being there for them was more important and I wasn't there for them enough when they needed me. Looking back, I can see things I should have noticed at the time. I truly regret working full-time. Just to clarify . . . . hope things settle down for you.
4Sep 3, '13 by Medic2RN Senior ModeratorI hear you! I started out the way you did and would mentally beat myself up for things at work and the disorganization at home. My kids are now in 2nd and 5th grade. Obviously, they were younger when I dealt with this problem. I changed jobs and went PRN, so I would have more control of my schedule and would work as much or as little as I wanted/needed.
That worked a little, but the biggest help was my change in outlook. I thought I was in control and responsible for everything. I learned that I am not. Most hospital departments I have worked in have unrealistic expectations for their nurses. We are set up for failure because no one can do all the things management wants you to do in the time frame given. I am a type-A and extremely hard working, conscientious person. It caused me unbelievable grief not to do everything that was expected of me and do it well. I brought that dissatisfaction home with me and it made me miserable. It was not possible - I learned that I am one person and can only do so many things humanly possible in a given amount of time.
That has helped. At home, I delegate more chores for the kids to do and hubby does help out. My house is not sparkling like I want it, but I have quality time with my family and I get all the important things done - the rest go on the 'to do' list when I have time and motivation. At work, patients equate getting an extra pillow with the same importance as a cardiac arrest. If I can't delegate it, then they must wait. (Obviously, the pillow part - lol) And I no longer feel bad about it and stopped adding it to my stress.
Mental exhaustion can greatly enhance the physical. I know, I've experienced it. Perhaps do some thinking about changing your outlook and it may help you like it did for me. It doesn't happen overnight, it's a process. Just a suggestion....
I wish you luck and peace!