WORK/LIFE BALANCE FROM A MOM AND NURSE PRACTITIONER

Ch ch changes

1/21/16


The new year brings about for most of us a chance to set out lofty goals of self-improvement, which may or may not ever be in our reach. I think the new year's resolution is somewhat silly; if you really wanted to change why do you have to wait until the new year to start the change? Regardless of the ridiculousness of New Year's resolutions, I always make them. I usually have a one or two regarding my career goals, finance and improving my health/losing weight. This year I decided to focus them on getting myself out of my comfort zone. I won't bore you by going one by one through each, however the one resolution that will challenge me the most is changing employment. I currently work as a Nurse Practioner in the emergency room, and before that I worked as a RN in the same organization for the past four years. I have actually worked in a hospital in different capacities and roles for the past eight years. The hospital shift work, wearing scrubs, handling bodily fluids, irate patients, and irregular schedules has become my norm. This became difficult after I was married, as my husband works traditional 9-5 hours and I was working holidays, weekends, nights etc. I always thought after I finished my graduate program I would start working outside the hospital, but when I was offered a job in the ER the opportunity seemed perfect. Several influences have been pushing me to leave the acute care setting, and with the new year I finally made the decision to leave to work at a private practice. My family time is important, and being able to work regular hours where I am not run ragged and able to enjoy my time off is important. It's also of importance to me to focus on preventative medicine and building relationships with patients, rather than the lack of continuity of care in the ER. My personality is one that does best in a constantly moving pace, and I do wonder if I will get bored without the excitement of the Emergency Room.
The beginning of this new year has started out a bit rough for me; my son had a bad asthma exacerbation, the new management and workload at my employment,  and stressors with my immediate and extended family have all been taxing. These stressors also made me question what is important and how I see the future for my personal and professional life. For me the move into a different setting is intimidating, however I believe this is the right move for me to grow professionally as well as bring more balance into my life.


Getting outside the bubble

1/1/16


I was recently talking to my close friend recently who has a family member who is suffering from post-partum depression and feels so overwhelmed that she does not want to leave her house. Although I never suffered from post-partum depression, I definitely experienced the feelings of isolation after giving birth. I expressed that to my friend, who is also an ER nurse and has four kids. She agreed that motherhood can be isolating, however says it gets a lot easier as they grow older are more independent and involved in school and extracurricular activities. After giving birth to my son, I really wanted to prevent myself from being isolated. I looked up a local MOMs club and was determined to be involved and make friends with other moms and do activities. The first MOMs club meeting I was able to attend my son was 3 months old and was a Halloween picnic at a local park. Most of the kids were older and were running around on the playground. I awkwardly hung out with the other moms and tried to make some conversation. When a mom showed up with a baby my age I struck up a conversation with her and we immediately clicked. Our babies were the same age, and we started sharing stories and cracking up over all the chaos of being a new mom. She was a working mom too, unlike most of the other moms in the groups, and was soon going back to work as well so we chatted about daycares. I made a point of getting her number and wanted to arrange a play date. Unfortunately we both started back at work, and schedules just got too crazy where we were not able to meet up. The club didn't end up really working out for me. The playdates were often when I worked, and most of the kids were older where my son couldn't interact with them. That seems to be the hard thing as a working mom is having your own social life. The up side of being a working mom, is that I have plenty of adult conversation and stimulation at my work. I have a lot of coworkers who are working mothers, and understand what it's like. I hardly have the energy to make time for outing with my own friends anymore. It seems that the friends that don't have kids, or whose kids are grown, seem to drift due to lack of time and differing lifestyles. In the beginning my husband and I attempted to maintain our life the way it was before we had our son.  We were able to take him on a few trips and even  a camping trip. However, it's hard to get a sitter to hang out with friends, and it's even harder to just take your toddler out to a restaurant. On my days off I have intentions of leaving the house to do activities or playdates, but often don't feel like leaving the house. To be completely honest putting my son in and out of the carseat and missing his scheduled naps is so stressful to me that I would rather just stay at home. I think my friend was right; as my son gets older it will be easier to go places and socialize. He will be in activities,school functions, and we will become friends with other parents. For now I am thankful I have coworkers to socialize with, as well as four or five good  friends from over the years I keep in touch with on the phone and through e-mail. Honestly, having true old friends that know you well is something I can't place enough value on. My husband and I have become closer and work together better, as we are now working together as parents and spend more time than ever together. We've put aside a lot of our petty differences because we rely on each other for so much more now.  My advice to any new mom is your social circle will change, but as long as you have a good support system it won't matter. You will spend drastically more time at home, so learn to be comfortable with that. Know that this phase won't last forever, and you are not going to turn into a shut-in or hermit. Get outside when you can, but don't worry if you just feel like staying at home either.