I thought it would be fitting to reflect on life, as a mother, in CRNA school. These are just my own personal experiences, fears, and realities, which may be completely different from your own. Plus, I can't speak for all you Daddy's out there who also balancing life as a parent and as an SRNA.
One of my biggest fears when I decided to go back to school was how it would effect my children. I put off school while they were small because I did not want to be away during that time in their lives. Now they are 6 and 7 years old, in elementary school, and I thought to myself, "it was now or never". Even with the support of my family and my husband, I understood the insane time commitment and worried that my "mommy guilt" would get the best of me.
I am my own worst enemy!
1: MOMMY GUILT. This is a feeling you cannot fully understand unless you are a mother. I'm sure Daddy's have this as well, but maybe on a different level (correct me if I'm wrong). Inevitable (hormonal) changes happen to women when we become mothers...and certain instincts kick in that we just can't shake...no matter how hard we try and deny it! Mommy-guilt is my main one. When I was a working full-time as a nurse and now as an SRNA, I constantly wonder how my kids are feeling when I am away. On one hand I know that I am doing what is best for them, but I still wonder, "Am I causing them some type of life-long psychological harm by being away or by not doing Pinterest arts and crafts projects with them on the weekends??" (haha...of course not, but our "crazy" mommy-brains lead us to think otherwise sometimes...right??)
- At least one hour of "family-time" each day
- One large (most of the day) family activity each weekend.
We also set a final goal:
I am embarrassed to admit that, but that's what this blog is for...right??!
I have to remind myself that everything does not have to be perfect or up to my standards for a little while. All of those extra things CAN be put on hold until school is over. The kids will be FINE without this for a couple years :)
MY PRIORITIES AS A MOMMA ARE: Lot of hugs, kisses, "I love you"s, as well as supportive, positive, and uplifting words! On the flip side, I consciously try not to ever yell or make the kids the target of my stress and frustration.
Oh, and an added bonus....
I couldn't imagine going through this without them. They are my cheerleaders, my motivation, my "mental break from school". They are my constant reminder of WHY I am working so hard and dedicating every ounce of my being to school for these 24 months. IT WILL BE WORTH IT! I will be able to send them to summer camp, afford special vacations, take them out to dinner, and be home for them when school is over. These couple years of struggle will only make the rest of our lives that much better.
But the #1 Priority.....TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF!
You cannot be the mother, student, wife, and woman you want to be if you are not taking care of yourself, especially during this stressful and challenging time. Personally, I am much more present, appreciative, and happy around my children when I do little things that decrease my stress and unwind. Whether it's a run or hike outside, lunch or a beer with a friend, yoga, workout session, or just hanging out with classmates to vent and enjoy some adult time....do what you need to in order to take care of your stress (so you don't bring it home to those kiddos! :) )
We need to all accept that we are not perfect and we are not machines. We are all human with our own emotions, stresses, coping mechanism, and personal issues. It is impossible to be there for those who rely on us when we can't even take care of ourselves.
I want to send out my special appreciation again to those who are helping me through this. I would NOT be able to do this without the help of my husband and family. Having support, resources, and help all make my life as a mom and a student that much easier. We all have our own, unique challenges that we conquer in any way we can!