I would like to start this article with a true story from my past. I was a nursing student when my daughter was a toddler. I was the class president and in charge of the pinning ceremony. We planned a great ceremony, right down to the smallest detail. More than 300 people came to celebrate the success of their loved ones. I was the mistress of ceremonies.
When I got up on stage to the microphone, all was quiet except for my daughter who screamed, “Mommy! Mommy!” I quickly said, “She hasn’t seen me in a couple of years. You will have to excuse her.” Of course I was joking, but we all know that having small children and being in nursing school can be a challenge. Going to school full-time, working part- or full-time, and clinical rotations can make you feel like there are just not enough hours in the day for your children.
Five tips to help you get through:
Take weekly mini-vacations. Plan a day or a few hours each week to spend with your children. Notice I said 'plan.' Do not let anything interrupt these plans and do something special with your children. It doesn’t have to be Disney World. Just be with them. Take them to the beach, the park or the library.
Take time-outs daily. You really can’t study 24/7. Take short time-out breaks and spend them with your children. It will help them and you. Tickle them for a few minutes, read them a book, or turn on Sponge Bob and just be with them in the moment.
Be a mentor to your children. If your children are old enough, remind them why you are working so hard. It is for the future of the whole family, so remind them of that. They will admire you now and in the future!
Child-swap. You are not alone! I am positive you have fellow students in the same situation. Take turns scheduling afternoon outings with yours and theirs. Your children will enjoy meeting new people and you can study.
Forgive yourself. It is really okay. You are working toward the betterment of the future of your child. They will understand in the long run.
Most of all, hug your children and say “I love you” everyday. Being a nursing student with young kids can be a tough challenge to deal with. But, it can also be the most rewarding as you are already working your way towards managing your time both as a parent and as a nursing professional.
About the Author: Sue Heacock, RN, MBA, COHN-S is an author and has worked in a variety of areas of nursing including pediatrics and research.
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