Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Work/life balance and school/life balance

One major reason I am looking forward to starting nursing school, is that our current family life, with 3 kids and both parents working full-time, is not sustainable for us.  Some families manage this, are uber-organized and don't mind having a scheduled, planned daily life.  I salute you if you are like this, and if this works for you.  It just does not work for us.  We are not super-organized, and enjoy spontaneity. 

I really enjoy spending unstructured, unscheduled time with my kids.  They are such interesting, loving, little people, and even in the relatively short time we've been parents, we have realized just how fleeting the childhood phase is.  Making the most of 'quality time' just isn't enough.  I so enjoy the spontaneous conversations and questions that crop up when we are drawing pictures together, walking the dog or just having the kids hanging around as I'm getting dinner ready. 

Some people indicate that nursing school is the 'hardest thing they've ever done'.  I agree that it will be work, perhaps more work at times than others, but will it ever compare to the 50+ hours each week that I am away from the family now?  No.  Will it be harder than the science degree I have?  No, especially given that a lot of the physiology courses I have already studied. Will it be harder than working full-time while getting my MA full-time?  I doubt it. 

I believe my nursing school experience will provide the work-home balance that is currently missing in our home life. 

My course load will be somewhat reduced in the first couple years, given that I've been accorded credits from previous studies.  In the first term of the coming two years, I will only have 3 courses each term, and 4 courses in the winter terms -- that's a total of 9 and 12 hours of class, respectively.  Even with study time factored in, my weekly school commitment will be far less than the 50+ hours a week a currently have to devote to my job and commute. 

It is a question of being organized, dedicated and committed to a study schedule. 

My youngest child will still be in school only half-days during my first year of studies.  How I am looking forward to being home in the afternoons with her!!!  And being home when the older two come home from school will make such a difference in our lives.  At the risk of sounding like Mrs. Cleaver, my being home will also allow me to have dinner ready, and we can eat as soon as dear husband comes home from work.  And that leaves the rest of the evening wide open to whatever family activity is on the agenda.  That was the way our family life worked were when I was on my maternity leaves, and it worked beautifully for us.  The difference this time, is that I won't be walking around in that bleary-eyed, sleep-deprived delirium state that newborns bring by subjecting moms (and dads) to months of not getting more than 2-3 hours sleep at a stretch, 24/7, for the first 9-10 months. But I digress....

Our lifestyle changes will be excellent.  One way I can easily rationalize this career decision, is that we've come to the conclusion that regardless of whether or not I'm going to nursing school, I am leaving my full-time job. 

As I said, our current lifestyle is not sustainable, and not healthy for our family. With family being our priority, and having the proven ability to live comfortably off one salary, this is what is best for us. Going to nursing school, is just an added bonus for me. 

And once I start my nursing career, I hope to only ever work part-time and casual shifts (that's the thinking now...this is all subject to change, of course!).  Nursing is a very flexible career, and from the many nurses who I've talked to with families, they all love how the various shifts gives them time to spend at home, rather than doing the 8-5, Monday-Friday drill all the time.

Positive changes for our family coming our way!!!  I am so happily looking forward to them.  And the old saying of "If the momma ain't happy, ain't nobody happy" rings very true.  Things are a changin' for the better!!!


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