Working as a nurse is tough. Working as a nurse when you have a flock to attend to is even harder. Being a mother and a nurse can be a challenge, but one that you can overcome with the right system, approach, and attitude.
Being able to assess your priorities is one of the most important things. Learning how to say “no” is another. However, nursing can be very diverse and flexible as well, and there are ways that you can strike a balance between your nursing career and family life, you just have to know where to look. Here are a few tips for moms trying to juggle their family duties and nursing careers.
Ask Other Mom-Nurses
The best place to start is to ask other mothers in the field how they’re able to cope. Only another mom will truly be able to understand what you’re going through and give you advice based on first-hand experience. They might be able to guide you to valuable resources or give you ideas you haven’t considered. They could give you time management tips, other positions you could consider, or how to make adjustments to your daily routine.
Look Out for Your Children
Being a mom to your children should be your first goal, and they should get most of your care. However, this can be difficult if you’re just getting started and are trying to prove your worth.
No matter what it is, don’t neglect your family and learn how to say no when being asked to do overtime or double shifts. While you can occasionally take them, don’t make it a habit, and let your superiors and coworkers know that you have a family to attend to.
Here are some of the things you should do to make sure that your children don’t feel neglected:
- Make sure that they have someone they love to look after them while you’re at work
- Always schedule quality time with them and follow up on your promises
- Take the time necessary to invest in their education
- Be in the moment when spending time with your children
But, more importantly, always remind them that you’re doing all of this for the family. When you let them know that work is the way mommy is able to buy nice things, they’ll become more understanding, and will be less likely to throw tantrums when you have to leave.
Advancing Your Career
Advancing your career while you’re holding a position and taking care of a family can seem almost impossible but know that there are alternatives. For instance, if you have the experience, then you could consider getting an advanced nursing qualification. You could get an online DNP from a University like Baylor for instance, and get it from the comfort of your home. You could decide to take your classes part-time or take them full-time while getting a part-time shift at work.
One thing about going down that path is that you’ll ultimately be able to move into positions that will be less demanding of you. You could move into administrative or research roles that will allow you to have much more control over your schedule. This could also limit some of the physical stress you have to deal with and won’t have you drained by the time you get home.
However, if you want to go that route, you have to make sure that you’re thoroughly prepared and the whole family is on board.
“We made a pact as a family,” said registered nurse April Wojcik. “I made it sure that they understood that it was a family venture.”
This is how you should approach it if you want to make sure that you get your family to chip in and do their part.
Become a Master a Time Management
You won’t be able to make it if you don’t learn how to become great at managing your time. Doing this alone could be all that you need to alleviate your workload and stay on top of your job and family needs. Here are some tips that will make you better at time management:
- Look for alternative schedule options, and tailor them around your family time
- Have a strict bedtime and wake up routine for your kids and yourself
- Have a calendar for important family events and make it clearly visible
- Ask your partner and children to give a helping hand with the chores
Making sure that your family is involved will be essential.
“I made my family know that it would take an effort from all of us,” said Wojcik. “Life still goes on. Everyone got involved and did their part helping with errands, housework, cooking, and cleaning,” she added.
Take Some Time for Yourself
You also have to learn how to disconnect and make some time for yourself. Nursing can be a very stressful job, and if you don’t schedule some “me” time, you’re bound to crack at some point.
One of the most important things is to make room for some physical activity. Some daily cardio or strength training can be a great way to boost your dopamine and serotonin levels, which will elevate your mood and allow you to sleep better at night.
Another thing you could do is find a hobby. Hobbies are great when you need to disconnect, and you can get the children involved too. Journaling can be a great way to pass the time, but also keep tabs on your mental and emotional state.
Don’t neglect your friends either. Having a solid group of friends will allow you to get through tough times and let off some steam. You need to have a good support system around you, and make sure that you cultivate it as well.
Mom-nurses probably have one of the toughest two jobs on the planet. However, with the right approach, resources, plan, and mindset, this is something you should be able to pull off, as long as everyone’s on the same page.