Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Life as a mom in nursing school

 I can finally write this post. Now that the end of semester 3 is over (well two more days) I feel like I'm now  a seasoned nursing student. I have experienced enough of being a mom + nursing student + trying to bring in some type of income to say this... IT'S HARD. Like really, really HARD. Like mental strain HARD.
  It has been physically and emotionally difficult, especially since I have been going full time since the beginning of August (besides Christmas break). Don't get me wrong, I knew it was not going to be easy, but the difficulties I predicted and the ones I have actually faced..... boy was I off.
  Don't take this as I'm complaining, more of a vent if you will. And maybe an explanation to those who I have seemed to completely lose contact with due to this crazy routine. And to my close friends who I never see any more (Liz, Alicia, and you know who you are). I know I am blessed, but I have worked extremely hard to get where I am today. And I know I have to work extremely hard to get to where I'm going next. I feel very fortunate to be able to chase my dreams and be provided with quality education so easily. I know many people on this earth could only dream to be in my position.
These are the straight up shit parts of being in nursing school while having a family.
  1. I missed my first-born's first day of kindergarten. That burned. I was able to see him get on the bus, but that was it. That crushed me all last summer, knowing that I had class on that day, and no I could not miss it.
  2. My house is a disaster 90% of the time. The dishes and laundry are always done, but clutter and toys everywhere. There are days that I simply don't have time to clean. I just step over the crap. The things that get cleaned are the things that would start smelling if left unattended. Hence the dishes and laundry getting done.
  3. To bring in any sort of decent income I need to work on top of school. I try to pick up hours at the hospital, but I'm pretty limited to what I can work when most shifts are 12 hours and I'm at school Monday-Thursday. Although Tony picks up most of the slack, I still need to be able to pay for daycare, studio rent, gas and insurance, and help pay utilities and such. I'm so happy we are pretty much debt free or else I would be so much more stressed about finances then I am already. Thank goodness for my photography business and Young Living.
  4. From about 5am to 11pm I am constantly doing something. There are never days where I don't leave the house anymore. School is typically in the morning then I get Dominic from the sitters and Cameron off the bus. At night I *try* to study, clean, and edit. But then I have children. Which always trumps everything. And this, is the hardest part. Trying to juggle the mix of being a mother, a student, and bring in an income is stressful and exhausting. If I'm not doing something/paying enough attention to the kids, I feel "mommy guilt". If I'm spending all my time with the kids and not doing anything else, I'm falling behind on editing, the house is getting more messy, or I get anxious that I didn't study enough for the upcoming test. Being with my kids and fulfilling their needs first is always desired, but sometimes I simply have to put my needs first. Going back and forth between that stuff is draining. Most weeks I can let the mommy guilt part go, but there are sometimes it hits hard. I no longer question myself "am I making the right choice?" because yes I did. Going to school and ensuring a better financial stability for me and my family is what needed to be done. Going to school NOW means not working 40-50 hours a week to make ends meet LATER. But it still is distressing.
  5. Me and Tony maybe actually "see" each other a total of 2-3 hours a night. And during those hours is when I'm juggling all the above mentioned. It was worse during the beginning of the winter semester, when he was also in school 2 nights a week for 5 hours. On those night I didn't see him at all. And neither did the boys. On the weekends I'm usually working. And if I have a weekend off, it usually winds up to where he is working.
     Being a mom in nursing school is by far the most challenging thing I have done thus far in my 26 years. Nursing school by itself is a formidable task by itself. I have learned many things about myself during this process. I appreciate free time more, I have learned to multitask to the extreme (bathing the kids, editing pictures, and writing up a nursing care plan, and stuffing my face all at once), I plan special outings with the kids and soak in every minute of it, and certain priorities come first.
     Over the last 18 months I have taken this day by day, minute by minute even. Although my children are small and may not remember me even being in school (Cameron probably will), I hope they take away from this that:
  • You CAN be a parent and a productive member of society. No your life is NOT over when you have children (its actually just beginning!).
  • You don't need to throw away dreams in exchange for parenthood. You can have both.
  • Support systems are very important. Care and love the ones around you, because those people will be there for you when you need it. I have the down right best support system. Child care has never been an issue. I credit all my success to them.
  • If you want something, then GO GET IT. Ignore that tiny voice in the back of your head that tells you that you can't. Or its too hard. Or you wont succeed or you are not "good" enough. And if you have to, ignore others tiny voices. Follow your dreams and the universe will open doors for you.

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