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Surely being focused doesn’t make me selfish?

  • Comments (21)

I know some people disapprove of me doing my nurse training when my children are so young, I wonder at myself at times and ask myself if I should have waited. But I was shocked beyond all comprehension when someone told me I was selfish, career orientated & would walk all over anyone to get what I wanted, including my family.  The thing that horrified me the most was that someone had actually formed this opinion of me. I love my children, I love my course.  Both of these things make me who I am.  But to be personally attacked, to have someone inform me that I was selfish for wanting a career shook me to the core. 

I love my nurse training, I know exactly where I want to work when I qualify and I know what path I want my career to take.  Surely being focused doesn’t make me selfish?

I love my children, I want them to be proud of me, and I want to give them the best out of life.  I want them to grow up knowing they are loved and adored by their mother.  Yes, I miss out on parts of their days because I am on placement, yes I may miss getting them up or putting them to bed, I know all this.  But the time I do get with them, I file away in my heart so I can look back at them and glow with pride and love and thinking of them gets me though a tough day at placement or university.

My relationship has suffered as I have progressed through the course.  But it has suffered because I am stressed as I struggle to cope with all the responsibilities of being a nurse, a mother and a partner.  We’ve been together 10 years now, he has supported me and encouraged me when I have bad days, been proud of me when I have good days, cuddled me when I just needed human touch and put up with me when I have been in foul moods.  I appreciate everything he does for me, I may not show it and I possibly don’t tell him as often as I should do that I am grateful, but most peoples relationships have ups and downs. 

I have done some serious soul searching; it’s not a nice experience having your personality attacked.  I will not apologise for wanting to train as a nurse, it is who and what I am.  I have missed out on bits of my children’s lives, but I punish myself enough for doing that, I don’t need other people to pile more guilt on.  I have my faults, I am strong willed and at times don’t realise that people may not see things the same way I do.  I am organised, I have to be.  Being organised does not mean I am a threat to other people. 

But I will never, ever apologise for, or regret starting this course.  I acknowledge that it has changed me, I have grown and developed and some people may not like these changes.  But the thing is, I am happy with who I am.  I have looked at myself; I have acknowledged my faults and changed what I can.  I have realised that I can’t please everyone.  Two things make me who I am, my children and my course.  Just because I am a mother of 2 young children, I am not less of a nurse.  Just because I am a Nurse, I am not less of a mother.  I am both intertwined. 

  • Comments (21)

Readers' comments (21)

  • Anonymous

    I would like to say many of us face the same struggles in our every day life, but rather than write a blog which would have taken a few hours to do, wouldn't time be better spent resolving issues at home?

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  • Anonymous

    I wonder if this comment was made in practice or by someone more personal. It seems to have hit the mark. Do you feel that any of it is justified? If so it seems a reappraisal of your life and values is needed.
    I'm not sure there is a 'right time' to undertake a nursing course when you have children. Mine were older teens and although I received a lot of comments along the lines of "what a good idea to wait until they are more independent" I personally think it would have been easier when they were younger, as at least I would have known who they were with, and that they were safely tucked up in bed if I was on nights! My partner was, and continues to be my rock. Always there for the children if I couldn't be. If you and he are having problems it follows that the children will suffer.
    I have also loved my course, but I would not have risked my relationship, or my children's happiness to finish it. They will always come first and my nursing is the icing on the cake. Good luck.

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  • Like the person above I waited until my children were older but I respect you for doing your training now.
    Sometimes I wish I had done like you and done my training when I was younger however the time was not right.
    If you are enjoying the course and you are well organise don't let anyone upset you because you can have both and it will make your relationship with your children special.
    I too have learn alot about myself and such has finding out that I am dyslexic and is now half way though my course and have not fail any of my examines, which has brought me great joy.
    So I say to you keep holding your chin up and don't let anyone make you feel gulity or stop you from achieveing your goals because you did not take this course on lightly or to quit no time will ever be the right time.
    This is an opportunity that you may not have again because there will always be something that will happen even if you were working and once you are qualified you will be able to do the hours that are suitable to you and your children.
    But remember that to keep harmony with your partner because it needs both of you to raise your children. You both will have all the time together so do not let an argument get in the way of your relationship always try and sort things out before going to bed. One thing you have learnt in this course is how important communication is so why don't you remember that and enjoy the course because you have worked hard to get this far.
    I also wish you all the best in both your professional and personal life because you both will make it.

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  • I completed my nurse training nearly 5 years ago. My girls at the time were 4 and 6 years when I started. Like the writer people commented to me. I took time with my girls, I requested only early shifts in the week so that i could read them bed time stories, my husband was often not home early as he is self employed so it was imperative that i did that to show them that they were loved. My evenings were spent studying and Sunday was my family day. We made sure that we had a 2 week holiday every year and based it around activites that we all love. Like the writer my husband was, and still is extremely supportive and proud of me. I hardly spoke to him sometimes, we made the effort to eat meals together with the girls as much as possible. Now, looking back I have no idea how I juggled it all, but on discussing it with my girls who are now happy, well balanced confident 12 and 14 years olds. They tell me they think my job is good, they like to tell their friends what their mum does, they remember the bed time stories, they loved the cuddles, they say that it hasnt affected them, they feel and know that they are loved. My younger daughter says that it showed her that you have to work hard to gain anything good in life. It has pushed both of them into looking at respectible careers, one wants be be a police officer, the other working within forensics, I dont know if my training while they were young has influenced this but I do know that they are not resentful and they have not missed out. So I say to you ignore the critics, work and play hard and show your children what you can do!

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  • As a first year student nurse studying at the same university as you, I feel that I'm more able to reply to your blog in a more personal way because I actually know you.

    I have said before and no doubt will again to every mother (and father if they're the main carer of the children) that is undertaking the three year nursing course whilst they have young children at home, that I'm not sure how you manage both roles in your life.

    I also know how hard you work and how hard you study and also how much you dot on your children and to hear someone say to you what they did, leaves me assuming that they don't know you well enough (or indeed at all, for I do not know who made this remark).

    All I know is that you're an excellent student nurse who puts her heart and soul into her placements and studies whilst being a fantastic mother. Okay, so you're not there every waking moment to interact and develop your children into civilised human beings, but my mother was and she was shockingly bad in the role of motherhood, so much so that we haven't spoken since 1991.

    My opinion, for what's it's worth is the important aspect of being a parent is offering your children quality time and not quantity of time. This I know, you have balanced very well as a student nurse and a mother combined and for a single guy with no kids such as myself, I applaude all that you do and in the way that you do it.

    It's a pleasure to know you Katie, keep on doing what you do.

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  • I am from Jamaica
    I have 3 kids, i went to nursing school when they were ages 4,5 and 14, I had to live on school campus for 2 years, I always go home on weekends and sometimes in the week, weekends were very special for us , we would have quality time, i was also a part of the PTA executive body for the smaller children, i am now working for 1 1\2 years now, my eldest has just completed her A levels, and the younger ones are well adjusted, what i do with my children we would have family meetings, I would inform them of changes, such as going to school, (their daddy worked overseas for approx 6 months per year). Yes I do miss certain times with my children but i try to make the most of the weekends when I was at home. Do not let anybody's comment put you down, When my daughter started high school I decided that I need to show her that she can be whoever she wants to be, because if I can do it she can too. So go for what you want and continue to love and take care of your children and your spouse while you get your career!!!!

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  • I am in awe of anyone who can do both.
    I waited until my children had left home before studying nursing, and I struggle at times.
    Good on you for having goals.
    Don't allow anyone to make you feel bad about your choices.
    Everyone has an opinion, but you are the one who is living your life.
    Go for it.

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  • I can appreciate your feelings, as I know I contemplated returning to nursing whilst my daughter was younger. However your comments and feelings do not just apply to student nurses, as though I was not doing my training I was studying and then working. It is hard being a working mother (in any area) but I can appreciate that it is much harder to do training with the combination of both studying and working. I am now in my third year of studying but have been supporting my teenage daughter at the same time. I agree there is no right time to do it, but making sure there is time for your family (as you are doing) is important.

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  • Anonymous

    I also did my nurse training several years ago now when my children were very young (my son was 2), and I am dismayed at the negative comments this person has given you. This can only be an expression of their own insecurities and perhaps jealousy. I never received anything like this (although I often wondered if some staff on placements thought it), and most treated me like any other student nurse. My son is now 20 & my daughter will soon be leaving school and of course there are times when I look back & wish that i had spent more time with them when they were younger, however I would have had to work anyway, so why not do something fulfilling & that I enjoyed? My children have not suffered from it & my son is an independent, responsible young man. Since qualiyfing, there have been very few opportunities for further academic study due to training funding cutbacks etc. until I took a couse recently, and I then wondered if would have been able to under take the commitment of nurse training at this stage in my life if I hadn't already done it when my children (and I) were younger & I had more energy! So enjoy your training, treasure your time with children & try not to take your partner too much for granted!

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  • Anonymous

    Well done Katrina! I too have two children and am due to qualify this august. My kids were 8months and 5yo when i started and I still dont know how i've managed it!

    Yes, you've got to be organised.
    Yes, you've got to spend QUALITY time with your children.
    Yes, my husband breathes a sigh of relief when a placement ends or i am on annual leave.
    No, these things dont make you a bad mother or a bad nurse.

    i've loved my training and cant beleive its almost over but i'm definately looking forward to a couple of months of being a fulltime housewife and mum before(hopefully) finding a job!!

    keep going, the end is in sight,
    all the best

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