Yesterday I worked my last full-time day as an RN (for now). And it all started with an Insta photo.
Just a couple of months ago I didn’t think it was possible to be able to stay home with my kids. I was working full-time and although three days a week doesn’t seem like much, those 12 hour shifts can be incredibly tiring, especially in a fast-pace, high-demand intensive care unit like my place of work. You are on your feet all day, constantly going and thinking and it is physically and emotionally exhausting. It always takes a day or two to recover and I found myself becoming short-tempered with the girls and more lazy than I like to be. Even on my off days it was hard to just muster up the energy to get off the couch to sit in the floor and play, let alone clean the house or do laundry. I would often get irritated over the little things when I know all they wanted was attention. I didn’t like this person I was becoming but I didn’t see any way out. I could feel myself being tired and just not as happy. (I honestly don’t know if I could call myself depressed but I could feel myself heading that way.)
Until one night I was soaking in the tub after work, scrolling through Instagram, when I came across a friend’s photo (below). It was this picture of two sweet little girls’ dresses. It would probably seem so simple to most but her caption somehow hit me like a ton of bricks.
Another girl commented that you will never look back on this time and say “I wish I hadn’t stayed home with my girls.” I started bawling my eyes out right there in the bath tub because all I could think is “I wish I could stay home with my girls”. I eventually pulled myself together and went to bed.
But it was still weighing on me pretty heavily in the morning and it stuck with me most of the day. I was hesitant to mention it to David at first because I honestly didn’t think there was any possible way that we could afford for me to not work full time. But the guilt of not being able to stay home and give my girls 100% was eating at me so eventually I broke down to him and let him know that it was bothering me so much. [All these years that we’ve been married, you’d think I’d learned by now to just communicate what I’m feeling and not try and keep things bottled up…]
Over the next couple of days we looked at all the finances, crunched the numbers and decided “hey, this might actually be an option!” We decided that I would change my status to PRN (work “as needed”) at the hospital and cut down on my work days so that I can spend more time at home with the girls. Thankfully my manager was very understanding.
There are a few reasons we ultimately decided to make the switch to PRN.
1. Every single reason for me not to do this were material reasons. We wouldn’t be able to save money for a house as fast. We wouldn’t be able to go on as many vacations as we wanted to. We wouldn’t be able to shop as much. We ultimately decided that my time with the girls (and my sanity) is more important than these things.
2. I was reminded when I saw this post that they are only this little once. I enjoy their innocence, their wonder, and their imagination so much that I know I’m going to miss it like crazy when it’s gone. I can see Raley starting to become more mature in some ways and I already miss certain things she has already grown out of. I know that these are the times I will look back on and wish I could have back. I want to be as present as possible during this time.
3. I want to give them the absolute best of me. Like I said above, I didn’t like this tired, lazy, irritable version of myself. It wasn’t until all of these emotions came crashing down that night that I realized that the source of all of it was work. On days I work I’m gone from the house for nearly 14 hours a day. They’re still asleep when I leave the house and almost ready for bed when I get home. I hope that by not working as much I will wake up more rested and just generally happier. I have been working on being more patient and more present in the moment. I have also been working on letting the little things go and remembering that they are 3 and 1 – they are going to make messes…it’s not a big deal!
4. Maybe, just maybe, I can have a clean house again. (ok this isn’t a big part of our decision making process, just an added bonus!) I always feel guilty trying to clean the house when the girls are asking me to play with them. So most of the time the housework suffers because either 1) I’m too lazy/tired to do it and 2) I’d rather be spending time with the girls. I really hope that I can come up with a cleaning schedule so that I can do a little each day and it not be quite so overwhelming.
My hope for this new stage in life is that I will be happy and loving, and in turn, my kids will be happy and loving. I hope that they will grow up with a mom that they enjoy being with and that they are comfortable talking to. I want them to know that I am there when they need me, but I also hope to teach them to be independent. I hope that I can find a balance between housework, playing and learning with the girls, and spending time with my husband. I want to be always present and soak up all the precious things they do on a daily basis. I hope to sit in the floor and play, without the TV on, or run around in the backyard playing tag. I hope to have more time to spend with friends. I pray that I will be a better wife and a better mother and a better, happier, less tired version of myself (with a cleaner house).
This just goes to show that you never know who you will impact, for better or worse, with your social media posts!
Thank you, Kayla for sharing that photo. It takes courage for you to share your journey, but it is so appreciated. I can already tell that you have literally changed my life for the better, and it’s barely even started!
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