Friday, August 28, 2015

How Nursing School is Teaching Me I Don't Have to be Perfect

Rolling into the end of the first week back at nursing school and I…am…whipped. I also realized something last night, something important that I want to bounce off the rest of you mamas out there. See, I’m 32 years old. My oldest son starts high school this year, which means he’ll be a sophomore before I have my nursing license in hand. If I continue my education any further, we’re going to end up going to college together. 

I realized last night that although I’m excited to be going back to school, I’m also embarrassed. Embarrassed to still be a student at this stage in my life. Embarrassed to be seeking an associate’s degree to begin gainful employment at the point where my peers have completed their education-or, if they haven’t, are looking at graduate degrees while building their career. 

My kids’ pediatrician is my age, and one of the girls I went to middle school with is a dermatologist with her own practice. And here I am.

Now, intellectually, I know there’s nothing wrong with this. I slipped in and out of college as my kids were born. I worked for a number of years in a job that allowed me to work from home from the time my youngest was born until he was in second grade. I’m not the oldest in my class by any means-there are a number of women who are re-entering the workforce after staying home with their kids, and many more who are switching careers like I am.

I have three beautiful, fun, well-mannered, well-rounded children. I’m celebrating my 12th wedding anniversary this year. We own our home, and while money is tight the fact that I’m working sporadically while going back to school isn’t killing us financially. All in all, I’m in a good place in life. And yet part of me feels like I have something to be ashamed of, and that, I think, is due largely in part to the way I feel I should measure my success. 

At this point, I feel like I should be as financially sound as my friends without children, as well-educated as those that spent their twenties getting doctorate degrees and MDs, my house should be as clean and organized and decorated as Home and Garden, I should be as crafty as all those moms out there that actually have…well…talent (because God knows my daughter sure didn’t get her crafting skills from me) and as engaged in my kids’ classrooms and education and activities as moms who have one child they’ve been at home with since the day they were born.

And I wonder why I’m stressed.

Right now, I need to take a step back and think, really think, about what success means-and make it personal to ME, not to anyone around me. For me, right now, success means doing well enough in nursing school that I pass my licensing exam and have no trouble being accepted into a bachelor’s and, eventually, nurse practitioner program. It means keeping the house clean enough and organized enough that I’m a raging, raving mess by the end of the week. (I learned last semester that a messy house and an empty fridge really stress me out. You don’t even know.)

It’s having time every night to sit down and eat dinner with my family, and being able to watch an episode of something on TV and tuck my kids in at night. It’s taking Princess C to dance and going to Open House at the elementary and high school on Open House night. It’s seeing the boys do well, and mastering homeschooling to the point where Princess C both enjoys herself and learns at the level I know she’s capable of. It’s saving up enough money to take a vacation someplace besides our parents’ houses, and maybe actually get that rickety garage pulled down sometime before Mother Nature does the job for me. 

These are my goals, and they’re the ones I need to use to measure my success-not anyone else’s. It’s past time I stop expecting myself to be perfect and start expecting myself to be me.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Back to School! (Dear lord, here we go again...)

Hello! Oh, it feels good to be blogging again. For those of you who follow the blog, I’m sorry I’ve been out of touch. When I hopped on this morning to look, my last blog post was December of last year. 

A month before I finally started my first semester of nursing school. Coincidence? I think not! There’s nothing quite like nursing school to suck every last ounce of time and sanity, and make entire months fly by. Don’t get me wrong. I love every second of it. I am WAY past excited to have passed my first semester and be moving into my second, and am greatly looking forward to finishing school 18 months from now (finally) and become an official part of the healthcare team in our community.
But while it feels like nursing school is consuming my life right now, I still have the usual rigamarole of parenting on my plate, including (but not limited to)…drumroll please…


Back To School 

Yep, you know what I’m talking about. Rolling into the end of August, it seems like there’s a never ending line of back to school nights and freshman orientation (dear god when did I get a kid old enough to go to high school?) and supply drop offs. Not to mention shopping for school supplies in the first place.

We’re home schooling Princess C this year due to some medical issues that made school an absolute nightmare for us last year. This is a never-before-tried endeavor that I’m sure you’re going to find as entertaining as we are. Or at least, I hope you will, or you’re probably going to get sick of hearing me complain about it. For the record, I take donations of wine and chocolate any time. I’m also happy to share. So when your own nerves are stretched to the limit, come on over!

The boys, however, will be going back to public school. Mr. A because he’s starting high school, which means Regents classes, and G-money because the thought of having to homeschool more than one child on top of working part time and going to school is enough to induce a full blown migraine just thinking about it, and he doesn’t really want to home school anyway. Which means it’s time to do the annual back to school shopping thing.

I’m one of those psycho parents that does all of their school supply shopping in July, mostly because I know if I wait until August there’s going to be a huge crowd of people everywhere I go and they’re going to be out of what I need. And there’s always that one thing that the kids need that no one on the planet actually carries, so I have to take the plunge and order it online. Which usually means Amazon and two day delivery, but every once in a while we actually find something that Amazon doesn’t carry and have to order it regular express.

A note for all Amazon Prime Members: There are certain things you can order on Amazon and, if you select regular shipping instead of two day Prime shipping, you can score a $5 credit toward Amazon pantry items. I’m working on stocking mine up for Christmas as we speak!

School clothes shopping is another story altogether. Somehow, even though my kids are finally hitting that point where I can reasonably predict what they’re going to be wearing next year, I still can’t get ahead of the clothing shopping curve. It’s insane. Instead of stocking up on clearance items, I inevitably end up paying full price for things they’re going to have outgrown by Christmas anyway.

Which is another topic altogether. A friend of mine asked me an interesting question the other day, and one I hadn’t really ever put a whole lot of thought into. How many school outfits do you usually buy for your kids for the new school year?

When reviewing, I realized that we have a general trend when it comes to school clothes shopping. I clean out everything in their drawers that doesn’t fit (which ends up being just about everything) and then shop until they have five full outfits, one set of dress clothes for concerts, and in Princess C’s case, at least one, sometimes two “girlie” dresses or skirt sets for if she feels like dressing up. The boys get a pair of sneakers and a pair of boots, and Princess C grabs sneakers and some kind of dress shoe. (Her red boots are the favorite right now.) 

What's on your usual school clothes shopping list? Feel free to share in the comments, along with any awesome tips or tricks you have about saving money while you do it-because let's face it, with the price of things these days, we parents need all the help we can get!
 Thanks for listening to me ramble. My goal is to invest more time blogging this year than I did last, and I look forward to sharing more of our misadventures with you! Have a fantastic week guys.