Working as a nurse is already tough but it can turn into an absolute nightmare when you have to pile family obligations on top of it. Having a big family can be fulfilling, but it’s challenging. If you want to survive both roles, you will need to adjust your lifestyle and be better at organizing your life. You’ll also need the cooperation of everyone in your family, especially your partner if you have one. Here are some life management tips for nurses with big families.
Start with a Meeting
The first thing you should do is get everyone together and work on a plan. If you notice that not everyone is pulling their part of the weight, you need to put your foot down and assign tasks to members of the family who are old enough to perform them. Even the youngest ones will need to start doing things like cleaning their rooms and putting their dirty clothes in a designated area.
Let everyone know that their help is needed, but also tell them that they need to review their expectations. If they’re complaining about the lack of quality time together, listen to their concerns and look at ways that you could work some family time into your schedule. This brings us to our next point.
Build a Schedule
If you don’t have a family schedule, you need to make it a habit right now. You should have a weekly schedule at the very least, but a daily schedule will make things even easier.
Scheduling will allow you to plan for events well in advance and not get blindsided. Your weekly schedule should be somewhere everyone can see it. You should also encourage members of the family to put events on there so that you don’t miss anything.
Learn How to Prioritize
In addition to setting a schedule, you also have to learn how to set priorities. Some tasks will be more important than others, and if you want to get everything done, you should start ranking them in order of importance on your to-do list.
For instance, doing something like filing your taxes will take precedence over buying a gift for a young niece of yours. By doing things this way, you’ll be able to get the most valuable tasks done even if you don’t have time for the rest.
We understand that big families often value stability, but there might be better opportunities out there. This is why we suggest you look at other states, cities, and towns around the country to see if there could be somewhere that would be a better fit for you and your family.
You could even consider moving to a rural area. There is a huge demand for nurse practitioners in rural areas around the country. You could end up finding a perfect place to raise your family. You could get much more space than you currently have and be closer to nature and the community. You may also like the slower pace of life there. So, do your research on different areas and look at things such as life quality, cost of living, wages, and other things such as crime rates and the state of the real estate market if you intend to buy property there.
Have a Routine
You should have a set routine both as a nurse and as a family. This way you’ll know what to expect every day. You’ll also be less likely to be late when you know how much time it takes to complete routine tasks.
The first thing you should do is set strict meal times. These may slightly change depending on circumstances, but you should always be eating around the same time. Another very important habit that you should try to work into your routine is meal preparation.
You could make things simpler for you by having one or two days of the week where you prepare meals for yourself and the rest of the family. This way, you’ll be able to cook in batches and always have something on hand when you need it.
This is not the only thing you can prepare in advance to save some time, however. For instance, you could pick out school and work clothes for the week in advance as well. This might seem a little bit extreme to you, but you’d be surprised at how much time you could save if you or your kid tends to be indecisive when it comes to dressing. Every minute you save counts, so consider the option if things get chaotic in the morning.
Know Your Limits and Don’t Feel Guilty
You can’t be everywhere for everyone at once, so don’t be too hard on yourself if you can’t attend some of your children’s events. Some events should be priorities over everything else, but you can’t expect to be there for every soccer game or school day they have. You may even have to make hard decisions and take them out of certain activities if you feel that’s too much responsibility.
If you feel like you can handle activities on top of work, then there are many approaches that you can take. You could let each of your children choose one activity they will participate in, for instance. This way, everyone will be happy, and it won’t seem like you’re playing favorites.
You also have to think about yourself first. This might sound selfish, but if you have too much on your plate, everyone in the family suffers. So, make some time for some self-care before you think about caring for everyone else.
Don’t Overuse Your Training
Having the kind of knowledge of the human body you have as a parent can get you out of many sticky situations. If you notice that one of your children is coming down with something, you could be able to identify the symptoms and save money on doctor visits. But don’t forget that medical visits are important for children, so don’t rely on your training too much. Having an impartial set of eyes looking at the situation could give you a more empirical assessment.
Use Your Support Network
You don’t have to do everything alone, so don’t be afraid to ask for help. Whether you need to drop the kids off at the last minute because you couldn’t find a babysitter or need someone to pick up the kids after school or practice, having people you can call whenever you need will take a lot of weight off your shoulders.
Your employer could also end up being one of your biggest supporters, so reach out if you feel like you’re in over your head. They might have programs made specifically for people like you. You might also be surprised by how much they’ll be ready to accommodate you if you need to alleviate your workload or take days off, especially if you’re a valuable asset. Don’t expect that you’re a burden to them, they’d rather have you some of the time than not at all, so if you can’t take it anymore, ask what they can do.
Don’t Completely Separate Your Work Life from Your Family Life
A lot of people will advise that you set a clear barrier between home and your work, but it’s impossible to pretend that you’re not a nurse when you get home. Nurses have a job like none other, and your family could be enriched by some of the stories you have to share. Maybe it’s a tale about a young patient that was able to stay positive and overcome a major treatment, or funny stories about patients or people you’re working with.
Letting your children see where you work and get a tour could be a great idea as well. Introduce them to some of the people you’re working with. Once people at work get acquainted with your family, they’ll understand why you need some time off from time to time and will be less resentful. Your children could also see what you’re doing first-hand and have more respect for the profession.
One thing you have to do, however, is to remember that your children aren’t your patients. Patients will push you to your last nerve, but you can’t let that interfere with how you treat your children. Be mindful of your mental state once you come home if you had a particularly tough day, so you don’t take it out on your children.
Don’t start mistaking your patients for your children either. You don’t have the same control over them and any outburst from you could cost you your job while exposing your employer to legal repercussions. Even if your patients act like children or worse, you have to follow protocols and remain professional at all times.
Juggling nursing work and attending to a big family is one of the toughest things any human can do. It’s still possible, however, as long as you’re organized and everyone is doing their part. You also have to know your limits and be realistic about what you can handle.