Parenthood: It’s magical; it’s messy, and it’s hard. Pair parenthood with a career in nursing, and a mom or dad may find it challenging to balance family life with work life. On top of that, if you are a single parent, we understand that maintaining this delicate balance between work and family time can be even more difficult. The good news? There are many ways a nurse, single parenting or not, can meet the demands of a nursing schedule while making time for their children. In fact, finding a good rhythm between family and a busy career can help you flourish in both areas of your life!
Read on for some great tips on how to harmonize your nursing career with your home life.
The Home Is Where the Heart Is: Carving out Family Time
Every parent knows the feeling of returning home after a long day at work and receiving a few juicy hugs and kisses from their children—unless, of course, they have teenagers (ha). In either case, home truly is where the heart is, and spending quality time with your family after a long nursing shift can be the perfect antidote to a stressful day at work. As a matter of fact, research demonstrates that spending leisure time with family can improve family bonding and have a significant impact on overall health. This leisure time can include anything from playing a classic board game with your kids, going out for a walk, or settling down at night and reading a favorite story before bedtime. Ultimately, carving out family time when working as a nurse can help tighten the bond between you and your children. This strong bond will not only make your kids feel good, but you will be able to thrive in your nursing career knowing that your home base is cared for.
Make Nurse Friends and Schedule Playdates
Friends make the world a little more bearable on challenging days—especially as a nurse. Some evidence supports that nursing is one of the hardest careers out there, so it’s logical that nurses should have a robust support network. Making friends at work, outside of work, and yes, even online can help grow a strong support network. Furthermore, making a few “parent friends” can help alleviate the isolation that parents sometimes feel. Having parent friends implies making time for playground and coffee dates, with and without the kids, or setting up some time to chat with friends on Zoom. Additionally, forming relationships with individuals with kids can lead to future family-care drop-offs; in other words, a nearby parent could offer to look after your kid while you're on shift and vice versa. Regardless of the number or type of friendships you make, building and maintaining bonds as a nurse will help keep you steady and moving forward—both in your family and career.
Choose a PRN Career
Many registered nurses (RNs) transition from a full-time nursing position to per diem or PRN nursing because of the flexibility PRN nursing offers. Per diem nursing is when a nurse only works as needed and often fills in last-minute. Per diem nurses generally cover shifts according to the needs of a medical facility. This flexible schedule allows a nurse the freedom to choose how much and how often they want to work—which can be a huge perk for a mom or dad with children. Moreover, PRN work often means higher pay per hour, which provides a certain level of financial freedom. PRN nursing, therefore, is a popular choice for parents who want to earn enough money to support their families while still having enough time outside of work to focus on their kids. Knowing that they can choose a shift or refuse a shift (according to their schedule) is one of the main benefits of deciding to become a PRN nurse. With that said, if you are interested in a PRN career, check out our Nursa blog to learn everything you need to know about short-term PRN nursing jobs.
Let Go of “Parent Guilt”
Wondering if you are a good parent after picking up another fourteen-hour shift? Stop that thought in its tracks because guess what? You are doing a great job! As mentioned before, nursing is one of the most challenging jobs in the healthcare industry, and parenting may just be the most difficult (yet rewarding) profession on the planet. Therefore, if you are juggling a busy nursing career with family life, you are already succeeding, even if it feels like you are drowning at times. One of the best steps you can take to achieve a more harmonious work-family-life balance is to give yourself a break. In other words, go ahead and let go of “Mom, Dad, or Parent guilt.” Trust us; it doesn’t serve you. Instead, try to remember that you are doing the best you can at the present moment. And, by incorporating the tools above, you can start to find an even greater equilibrium between family and work—and hey, have some fun yourself while you’re at it, okay?
A Mom or Dad and a Nurse: A Superstar Combination
There will be times when finding a healthy balance between parenthood and a nursing career can seem impossible. In the long run, however, making your family a priority while also keeping your career driving forward can boost your overall happiness and make life a lot more enjoyable. Plus, nothing beats the memories you will be able to create with your family after finding a great life-work balance. Use a few of the tips mentioned above, give your family a big hug, and tell them how much you love them. Oh, and in case you forgot, you are doing great!
Are you a nurse with a family? How do you balance work life with family time? We always love hearing from our readers. Give us your feedback, and leave a comment below.