It was a big day for our family. Everyone headed down to campus to watch me graduate. I am a graduate nurse! More to follow.
My days of clinical are filled with mothers, and their precious new babies. I care for these women like they were my sister. I come to the postpartum floor and I am handed a set of names, I read all about them in the medical record, and I start to make a plan about how I can best support and care for them that day. Then, I stand outside their door, take a deep breath and every single time I take a second to say to myself, ” I love you, whoever you are, and I will give you all I can in the time I am here.” I am devoting my life to motherhood, to taking care of women in whatever stage of motherhood they are in. At the moment, it’s only post delivery.
My immersion into my life’s work has left me thinking about our greater community of mothers. When I had my daughter I was a bit unsuccessful at finding a group of mothers to relate to. Many of my own friends were not having children (ever, or not yet), and even though I did some ECFE (early childhood family education) classes, I just didn’t make “mommy friends”. I am a pretty introverted when it comes to making new connections, and keep my friends to pretty small numbers.
I have a better connection to other moms now that more of my friends have decided to become moms as well. I have also met many other parents through the parent center on campus, and every day I put on my scrubs and head to the floor I see more and more moms. The one aspect of motherhood I wish I could alter is the mommy guilt. Most moms I see have it in one form or another. For me personally, it’s the guilt of being a student. My time at home has to be split between family and homework. My schedule has to be altered to help me be successful in school. I feel guilty for missed bedtimes, missed homework help for my daughter, and looking at my computer instead of absorbing the time with my children. The new moms may feel guilt for a labor that ended in cesarean section, breastfeeding that isn’t going well, or missing their older children at home for the couple days they are on in the hospital. The point being, if it’s not one thing it’s another. I am not sure we will every be without this form of mommy guilt, because it’s a reflection of our desire to love and raise our children as best we are able.
The ugly side of mommy guilt is the guilt and negativity that is expressed to other moms. I see it in nasty comments on blog pages, and the looks given across the playgrounds. This is the side of mommy guilt I wish I could erase, the little (and sometimes big) digs we make at each other. We each know our kids the best, we each do the best we can in the circumstances of our own lives. I am not saying every mom is perfect, but aren’t we hard enough on ourselves already?
Lets try to remember that we don’t know the whole story when that mom looses her temper at the playground, and be kind when one of us shows up for school pick up time with less then perfect hair (or the sweats I have been doing homework in all day), and not give nasty looks to the mom who is formula feeding her small baby. We do our best. We love our kids. Lets extend support and appreciation instead of up turned noses or nasty comments. Just a thought. I love motherhood and moms, but mommy guilt I could do with less of.
It’s time to write. I mean, really it is. I have two papers coming up (one is due this Sunday at 2259), and I have been experiencing a bit of writer’s block. Truth is, I really have no idea what the heck these papers are… I have only received partial instructions on the farther due dated paper, and I am still trying to formulate what the teacher is asking me to say on the one due Sunday.
I figured that time is getting desperate, so it’s time to use my first line of attack for writer’s block which is posting on this blog. I would love to tell you all about the amazing experiences I have been having in my clinical immersion this semester, but I can’t. It’s between me, my preceptor, and my patients. I CAN say that I have finally started to feel that I am gaining clinical skills. I have removed staples from C-section incisions, removed catheters (have yet to place one..), removed many saline locked IVs (have yet to place one…), and my assessment skills are improving every day. Best of all, my preceptor is an amazing resource for helping me to teach mothers to breastfeed. She is a breastfeeding resource nurse, and we spend a good portion of the shift supporting mothers in their efforts to breastfeed and hopefully send them home feeling confident and empowered. Well, I am pretty passionate about it. Enough about that.
In the home front we are hitting the phase in our children’s lives of being very busy. My daughter has started to attend gymnastics lessons once a week at a fabulous gym. She is excelling and thriving there. I love to see her glow from her sense of accomplishment and grow stronger every week. She needed this, something to be good at. She has also started swimming lessons once a week. She loves it when she gets in the water, but fights me the whole way out the door. Ugh, kids. I waited this long to put her in swimming for two main reasons. 1) I am a former swim instructor. No way I am paying for baby classes because they are mostly for teaching parents how to play safely with their baby in the water. I already know how, because I taught the class. 2) I can teach my kids just fine how to acclimate the water and float, kick, and blow bubbles. When they are young they still will listen to mom and dad. I did teach my girl to kick and float and dive under the surface, but now she is reaching the age where I try to teach her till I am blue in the face, but she will hear it clearly the first time from a stranger. Most kids learn stroke development from a teacher better than mom and dad. (yep, I observed this with my students as a swim teacher too) It seems I suddenly have very little time with my Little One, and it makes me sad. I spend many of my weekend days at clinical and now two of our week nights are busy. I knew this day would come, but I don’t have to like it.
As for my Little Man, he took two sessions of indoor soccer for 4-6 year olds through the YMCA this winter. My ever loving husband coached for him and I enjoyed seeing them have that time together. Little Man is no super star, but he does have a heap of natural talent for sports in general. It will be fun to watch him decide what he enjoys and develop that talent as the years go by. I can’t get over how much he has grown this year. I can’t believe he starts Kindergarten this fall!!!
Where has the time gone? Well not to writing my paper, but maybe I have knocked loose some of my mental blockage. It’s back to work time. To all of you in blogger land, remember to cherish the day. It will soon be gone.
Well, I did it again. With the best of intentions, and plenty of time, I was down to the wire in completing my homework. I had a paper due to an online drop box and got it submitted with maybe a second to spare last night. I do better work under pressure, but I never like cutting it so close, and I get so frustrated with myself every time it happens. Make no mistake, it happens often.
My procrastinating behavior hearkens all the way back to my elementary school days when we diagnosed my learning disabilities and attention deficit disorder. I have learned over the years how to work with my learning style and lack of focus to be the best student I can, but it still gets the best of me at times. It’s aggravating at best. I am not going to make myself promises I can’t keep about never doing that again. I know it will happen again, more than once.
The good news is that in just a few short months all these assigned papers that I never seem to know how to write will end. I will get to rejoin the multitudes of people who work for a living. My day-to-day challenges will shift from homework due dates and NCLEX prep back to job related stresses, matching work schedules to the kids’ schedules, and other “adult” problems. (well, that is the plan, we are praying I find work soon after graduation!!!) It’s helpful to remember,but doesn’t make these late night rushes to finish any easier right now. Well, we all have our own unique challenges. I seem to have scraped by once again. I hope you are rising above your own challenges more successfully than I. Happy Monday!
I had my first clinical with my preceptor, and I couldn’t be happier with where I am! I am actually on the same unit that I spent 6 weeks on in my Junior year for my OB clinical. The result means that I feel like I have an idea about the way things are run and how to find what I need already. Better than the floor it’s self is the nurse who is mentoring me on the home stretch of my education. My favorite part is that it’s so obvious that she loves what she does. Not the money, the hours, or the location. (yes, those are good too…) but she loves her WORK. I see a person nearing retirement who still has the same passion for maternal newborn nursing that I feel, and it makes me hopeful, excited, and self assured.
I hope for myself, that I can navigate my career with the same dignity and grace, and with the same love of the job that this person has managed. I have so much to learn from her, and I am excited to be starting our work together. She will be helping me master my assessments of C-section incisions, newborn vitals, and computer charting. But, she is also mentoring me on frame of mind, involvement in professional organizations, and work/life balance.
Right now, I love what I do. I know if I am mindful of my family and my career, I will still be loving it in decades to come. Happiness is seeing a glimpse of your future and being excited for it.
I haven’t written is quite some time. It’s been so busy! I took a big break from any activities that took time from either my school work of my family this fall. As a result, I had the highest semester GPA of my entire time back to school! 3.6 never felt so good. I was extremely excited, but man, I have never worked that hard for class in my life.
I only had one writing intensive course, but I did more writing for all my classes than I had done to date. I know that this semester will bring it’s own unique challenges and stresses, but I hope that the majority of my undergrad writing is behind me now. I wrote a large final paper for my anthropology class which was worth 70% of my grade (how was this NOT a writing intensive class?), I created my senior thesis, and I wrote extensively for my 6 credit clinical course as well. Those 13 credits felt a lot more like 18.
Next week, I begin my final semester of my BSN program, and I couldn’t happier. I will be taking a leadership course, as well as my second 6 credit clinical. The nursing department was able to place me in my dream clinical, a birth center in a large hospital that has both Midwives, and high risk antapartum. I should get the chance to be exposed to the full gamete of birth experiences from very healthy and totally natural, to emergencies, special circumstances.
I feel that if I apply myself and put my best foot forward, I will be well prepared for the work that lies ahead. I am hoping that come May (yikes!) I will be a attractive potential employee candidate for any labor and delivery department in the state. Along with working my butt off on my classes this semester, the terrifying job search will begin. By the end of February, I plan to have my resume edited to my satisfaction, and a handful of references to be proud of. Then, it’s application time!
It’s a big year ahead. Graduation, employment (hopefully!), baby???? (God willing), new house???? (new to us anyhow). The future has never looked brighter, or foggier. It’s exciting, terrifying, unpredictable. Happy 2013 everyone. Thanks for coming on my journey thus far!