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What motherhood has taught me….

A mom shares lessons learned as she juggles her family and career….

Month

March 2017

Defining Moments…

I am honestly not sure why it is I chose to become a nurse.  If you ask my best friend from high school what career path she thought I would have chosen she wouldn’t say nursing, but rather she tell you she was sure I would have done something in journalism – I love to write after all.  I would like to think that I had some epiphany from which I decided that I wanted to help people and thus nursing was the logical choice, though I can’t remember actually verbalizing those words or thinking such thoughts.   Maybe I chose nursing because of my grandparents and my aunt.  Both my grandmother and aunt were nurses and my grandfather was a doctor.  There was always some great (and slightly inappropriate) medical conversations at the family dinner table so quite possibly that planted the subliminal suggestion to pursue such a path.  Whatever the reason, I entered my freshman year of college declaring nursing as my major.

Over the next few years, I worked hard and excelled in both my classes and my clinicals .  However, I found by the summer between my junior and senior years less than fulfilled with the path that I had chosen.  As a matter of fact, I had a growing doubt gnawing at my soul that left me contemplating changing my major.  That’s when my first defining moment occurred.

The call came probably around mid-afternoon on a Saturday – my grandmother (my dad’s mom and not the nurse) had taken a turn of the worse and we needed to get to the hospital immediately.  Now my grandma was a stubborn cantankerous woman who over many years was in and out of the hospital with various ailments.  Yet as sick as she would get, somehow she always rebounded which was ironic since quite often she prayed for death and begged God to take her.  Anyway, I remember getting to the hospital and detouring to the ladies room with my mom and sister while my dad went into my grandma’s hospital room.  We were coming back from the bathroom when we ran into him coming out of her room, tears in his eyes.  I don’t quite remember what it is that he said to us.  All I remember is rushing into her room.  She lay there quietly, breathing shallow, color pale.  There was no rebounding from this anymore.  I took her hand, stroked her hair and told her that everything was going to be ok and that it was time for her to go be with grandpa.  My grandpa, her husband and my dad’s father passed away when I was very little.  I don’t remember much of him but I always gathered that when he died a piece of my grandma died with him.  Now her time was imminently approaching and all I could do was comfort her and reassure her to go be with him.  I remember looking around the room and wondering if my grandpa was standing somewhere in that room waiting for her.  I find comfort in believing that he was.  And I find comfort in knowing that I could share in her final moments, that she didn’t die alone and that she has her family by her side.  After she passed I remember standing outside of the hospital room and my dad pulled me aside and said to me, “If I had any doubts about the career that you have chosen, I don’t anymore as I know you were meant to become a nurse.”

Those words were my first defining moment of my nursing career.  Those words gave my choice a purpose, a passion, and meaning beyond the scope of what I could’ve ever imagined.  I returned to college my senior year with firm belief in the path that I had chosen and graduated with full honors that following spring.

Around ten years into my nursing career I was working as a critical care nurse in a local hospital ICU and now had both some knowledge and experience under my nursing belt.  It was at this time that my other grandma (the nurse) suffered a heart attack and was rushed to a hospital near where she lived.  Her heart attack set off a chain reaction of medical complexities that ultimately led to her passing.  Yet in that final week of her life,  both myself and my aunt (the nurse) became the medical translators to the rest of the family, explaining what tests were what, what lab results meant and what the doctors and nurses were really saying.  We asked the tough questions of the medical team because we knew what to ask and we pushed and pushed so as to advocate to honor my grandmother’s wishes in the face of a relentless surgeon who was too pompous an ass to respect them.  In the end the strength of our family won out and I stood by grandmother’s side when she was removed from life support and quietly passed away.  My second defining moment.

Just recently I took care of an older woman who was battling a very nasty pneumonia.  On the initial days that I had her, she could barely breathe and was scared to death.  And on the worst of the worst days I remember calmly taking her hands, asking her to trust me and in a soft yet firm voice telling her how I was going to help her.  She put her trust in me and I didn’t let her down.  I took care of her day in and day out and a bond formed between us.  I helped her through those lousy first days and I got to share in the lighter moments where humor set the tone and laughter filled the room.  I got to meet her family and through pictures she got to meet mine.  Even after she was well enough to be transferred out of my patient section I still stopped in to see her because I wanted to make sure she was doing okay.  The day before she was to be discharged (I was going to be off that day) we shared a heartfelt moment in which she called me her angel and we both teared up.  I told her that the next time I saw her I wanted it to be because she had come to visit and say hi.

On Friday, I came out of a patient room to a a woman standing with her back to me at the nurses’ station.  When she turned around, I recognized her as, my patient from a few weeks earlier, the older woman whom I had helped.  She gave me a big hug and told me that she had wanted to come back to thank me for helping her. (She also brought me a gorgeous orchid that I pray I don’t kill)  Defining moment number three.  We hugged once more before she left and I couldn’t help but think that there is no greater gift than the gift of knowing that you made a difference in someone’s life when they were at their most vulnerable and most scared.  The connection I had with this patient is the kind that validates why it is I became a nurse and why it is I love what I do.  Her gratitude touched my heart and I will forever remember that on those days in which my challenges seem to overshadow all else.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

More Points I Ponder as a Both a Wife and Mom…The Saga Continues…

  1.  If my toddler is gonna end up in my bed every night then why at least can’t I end up with her upper half snuggled against me rather than her feet kicking me in the head?
  2. Why when I tell my toddler that it’s time to leave the house to run errands or pick up her brothers from school does she suddenly feel the need to go and hide on me?
  3. How is it that my children have the hygiene habits of wild animals – I mean how hard is it to brush one’s teeth?
  4. How is it that I can ruin my kids day just by saying good morning?
  5. He leaves his dirty clothes on the floor next to our bed and empty green tea bottles on his bedside table but has the audacity to comment when the house is messy – apparently my husband likes to live dangerously.
  6. When did my idea of living on the wild side become taking my almost potty-trained toddler out in public in big girl underwear?
  7. How is it that it takes me a whole day to clean the house and about 5 minutes for my kids to trash it?
  8. Why is it that my kids want nothing to do with me until I get on the phone or go into the bathroom?
  9. When did I become the “step-and-fetch-it mom?”
  10. Why can’t I ever sit in a chair by myself – why does someone always need to crawl all over me?
  11. How is it that my toddler has more wardrobe changes that a runway model?
  12. Why, just when I am seconds from falling asleep does my toddler decide that that would be the perfect time to ask for a glass of milk?
  13. Why has my husband yet to figure out that a little help from him would make me a lot less of a crazy person?
  14. Would it be so wrong to just vanish for the day and let them all sort it out?

Raising Awareness to Online Dangers…When Your Parental “A” Game is Really Just a “C Minus”

I consider myself a vigilant parent.  I have to be considering that just about everything my kids do is in some way intertwined with technology – which let me just say that I hate with a passion.  Gone are the days of just reading a book, or drawing, or playing outside and using one’s imagination (despite my best efforts to steer them in this direction).  So much of today’s generation is so highly influenced and impacted by smart phones, online gaming, and various apps that I feel as if we’re raising a bunch of robots instead of human beings.  Even the schools have shifted their focus, utilizing online communication methods that include but are not limited to issuing all students their own email accounts and posting homework assignments on online forums.  Our school has even gone so far as to encourage the use of smart phones in the classroom (give me a break) as a means of accessing educational information.  To that I call “bulls**.  Do you know how many Instagram pics I see posted of kids while they are in school?  Lets just say its enough to make me wonder how much learning is actually taking place.

So with this push to be so technologically advanced, I have had to up my parental “A” game.  While my kids do have smart phones their usage comes with strict conditions.  They also have and a computer which also has its usage rules.  They DO NOT have Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Snapchat accounts which many of their friends have.  And until this school year they didn’t even have email accounts; that was until the school issued each student their own email addresses (something I am not really a proponent of and wish I was given a say in).

So what’s a parent to do when all this technology so readily available?  Well, I routinely check my kid’s text messages to make sure that the content they are texting is appropriate.  My kids know to expect this and know that if I find something that is questionable or inappropriate I am going to ask them about it and if necessary offer up the appropriate discipline.  I also check the websites that they visit for all of the same reasons and with the same consequences.  Seems adequate right – NOPE – not even close.  It seems that the “A” game I thought I had brought to the parental table was more of a C – game.  Why you ask?  Well it seems that despite my best efforts, there were and are many facets of the online scene that I underestimated in my children.  Did they intentional set out to mislead me – maybe, maybe not.  Part of me believes that innocently enough they themselves were mislead while the other part of me knows that I didn’t give them enough credit for their online smarts.

So again I ask, what’s a parent to do?

Ask questions, questions answers, be involved, and be present in all that your kids do technologically.  Set limits on their online time, no matter if it’s texting, gaming, chatting, or accessing the web.  If your gonna read through texts don’t assume that that what your reading is all that there was to read.  Just recently as I was reading through my older sons text messages I realized that what I was reading not only didn’t make sense, but was actually choppy bits of various text conversations occurring at multiple times.  When I questioned my son about this I learned that he’d actually deleted some of his conversations because he didn’t want me to know that he’d been texting this girl with whom I had forbidden him to text due in part to how nasty she’d treated him both in person and online.  This brings us to another point, block numbers you don’t want your kids to have access to.  There is no rule that says your child needs to be accessible to everyone.  Utilize parental controls and block those numbers that your child doesn’t need to be associating with.

Read the content of your kids texts and don’t be afraid to intervene.  On more than one occasion I have stepped in as the parent to ask friends of my kids to please watch what it is that they are saying as I don’t appreciate the content of their texts.  Usually this elicits an apology and puts an end to the petty nonsense that kids partake in.  Once it even warranted me receiving a phone call from another parent and we discussed the matter so as to resolve it.  Kudos to them for also reading their child’s text messages.

Read the content of your kids texts and don’t be afraid to call out a number you don’t recognize and then if necessary – block it.  My older son was getting hassled by a few numbers that I didn’t recognize so I stepped in to inquire who it was that was texting his number.  I got some smart ass response from one of the numbers because the person texting thought I was my son – to which I  revealed that I was the parent who owned the phone and that if he was going to keep harassing my son I would take things to the next level.  The texts stopped but for extra measure I blocked the number.

Don’t assume that text messaging only take place on your kids phones.  With all of the online gaming that exists there are many chat opportunities within games in which players can communicate with one another.  What seems innocent enough with these games can quickly turn ugly.  My older son was playing one such game and deep in conversation with some of the other players when the conversation took an ominous turn. One of the other players started threatening my son.  That was bad enough but turned worse when the player told my son he knew where he lived (and was able to state our address) and that he was going to come after him.  Now I don’t know enough about this particular game or how this chat room in the game works to know how this player was able to identify my son through his screen character, but it brings to light a whole new level of online bullying and a danger than many parents may not be fully aware of.  The long and the short this experience was that I was finally able to identify who it was that was threatening my son and followed it up through the appropriate channels.  My boys have also been restricted on playing any online games which have chat rooms for the very reason that you just never know who is taking to your kids.

And finally, know the websites your kids are surfing, use parental controls on those websites you don’t want your kids accessing, and give your kids credit for being a hell of a lot smarter when it comes to technology than you wish they were.  Do not underestimate what it is they know or how it is they can do something because you will set yourself up for a very big shock and quite possibly some very big trouble.  Case in point, thanks in part to a hair-brained scheme and some peer pressure from a less than stellar friend, that lovely email address that the school issued him, and a few mistruths as to his age, my eldest son was able to create an Ebay account and was actually trying to bid on toys.  It was his father and step-mom who actually got wind of what was going on and intervened before any major damage was done.  Now I don’t want to sound naive, but never in a million years would I have given my son the credit to have pulled this off.  Underestimating my son was my greatest error and thankfully a great eye-opener to all the additional things out there that I need to be vigilant of.

Vigilance, open and honest communication with your kids, and being involved are so key in these technological times to keeping them safe and protected.  With all that is out there, there is never a moment we can be lax, let our guard down, or be complacent in our parental duties.  Our children are smart, resourceful and without fear as to truly understanding the dangers that they may encounter.  We as parents must be smarter, more resourceful and more vested than ever to ensure that our children remain safe, protected and act responsibly in a world that is growing faster than we can often keep up with.

 

Every Husband Should be Just a Little Jack Pearson….

For anyone that’s watched the show “This Is Us” you know what I am talking about.  It’s near to impossible to watch the show and not think “I wish my man was a little more Jack Pearson.”  After all, Jack Pearson is a man who embodies family, love, loyalty, devotion, hard-work, passion, and – well, you get my point.  And while he also has his faults, which help to remind us that he is after-all human; all together he is a man that women all over have fallen in love with.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my husband.  But there are things about him that I wish I could polish up a bit.  And while I am not intentionally trying to compare him to Jack (it’s not fair in a sense to compare him to a man that doesn’t actually exist), it’s hard not to wish that he possessed more of Jack’s endearing qualities.  I mean, who wouldn’t love a little more romance, a little more passion, and definitely more family time?

For women, we value intimacy in our relationship.  We need the passion, the love, and the emotional connection because ultimately that is what adds meaning and value to our relationship.  In order for there to be an us, there needs to be a foundation capable of supporting us.  This foundation needs to be full of not only big things such as love, trust, loyalty, devotion and hard-work; but also those little things that many times get taken for granted or get lost in the chaos of everyday activity.  We need the love notes, the flowers, the surprise dinner plans, and the thoughtful gestures that acknowledge our needs.

Jack Pearson gives us pause to reflect on what it is that makes “our us,” and what “our us” can be if we just take a moment to appreciate the person we fell in love with.

Entitlements of a Mom….

Motherhood comes with many entitlements that may not be understood by some – but will definitely be understood by other moms.  They are as follows….

  1.  It is perfectly acceptable to hide chocolate from both your kids and your husband and then lock yourself in the bathroom to eat it.
  2. If I want to have cookies or chips for breakfast then I am going to despite the fact that I have strictly be forbidden my kids to do the same.
  3. If you are going to demand that I drive you to school (which btw is within walking distance) before I have had a chance to put myself together then yes I will do it in my pajamas, braless, with my hair matted to one side of my head – and watch out because I might even get out of the car, kiss you goodbye while shouting hello to your friends.
  4. Any mess made by me will be cleaned up when I damn well feel like cleaning it up.  Any mess made by you better be cleaned up when I say it needs to be cleaned up.
  5. Dinner options will be selected by me 95% of the time and if you do not like what has been chosen then please feel free not to eat it (that goes for my husband as well).
  6. Occasionally my “crazy” will come out in the form of a spastic freak-out that most certainly will involve curse words and yelling.  Please be advised that this is not the time to ask me anything and that for your safety you should just leave me alone.  Chances are either you, my dear children, or you, my wonderful husband have driven me to this moment so the least you can do is let me have it in all it’s glory.
  7. “No” is a word that I can use and will use when deemed necessary and appropriate so as to protect you, guide you, and ensure that you act like decent, caring, respectful human beings.
  8. I will make my bed when and if I feel like it.
  9. I do not have to like your friends and I will voice my opinion about who you are hanging out with, calling, and texting.
  10. School work is not optional so you can bet your ass I will be up yours to make sure you are getting it done.
  11. Occasionally I might actually get to sit down.  If you find me as such, leave me in this position until I decide it’s time to get up.
  12. If I want to buy something for myself then I am going to because I usually don’t (have you seen my wardrobe lately?).

House Sold on a Contingency… Life Hangs in the Balance….

A while back I posted that we were looking to move and had put our house on the market.  Keeping the house clean was no small feat with three very active kids (and one messy husband – sorry honey but you are) who own way to much stuff and (despite my best efforts) still can’t clean up after themselves (mom fail).  To date, after some aggravating negotiating we accepted an offer, made it through attorney review and are patiently waiting for our buyers to sell their home so that we can start looking (officially) for our new home.  Yep that’s right… We are living in limbo…

So, while we wait “patiently”for the green light to move ahead,  I’ve been looking around our house and have come to the very obvious conclusion that we own way to much crap.  There is just no way I can pack up this entire house by myself (because you know that will be the case).  Just thinking about the enormity of the task is overwhelming in itself…lol.  Thus I am in a major purge mode.  My kids are under advisement that the time has come to  part with things that they have outgrown and donate those items to the charitable organization we usually donate to.   I myself have been going through my stuff in an effort to lighten the load.  Hopefully by the time we can move forward with the actual packing up portion of this process we will have reduced our stuff greatly.

More to come in the near future.  Fingers crossed that my buyers get an offer very soon….

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