Essential Mental Health Strategies for Nurses

Essential Mental Health Strategies for Nurses

Nurses are a critical part of the healthcare system during public health emergencies. They are highly trusted, compassionate, and willing to go to great lengths to protect their patients. However, with no clear endpoint, COVID-19 is not a typical public health crisis and has created a range of mental health challenges for nurses.

Today’s nurses are working under a cloud of fear and stress, which can lead to physical and psychological symptoms. However, there are steps that nurses can take to minimize the effects of high-stress levels and keep themselves and their families balanced.

A Two-Pronged Approach to Managing Stress

Stress levels cannot be managed through mental health strategies alone. Making healthy lifestyle choices can directly affect an individual’s outlook on life, energy levels, and mood. These five tactics can create a positive impact on mental health:

  1. Eat regular meals – focus on whole foods that decrease inflammation and build immunity
  2. Stay hydrated – choose water instead of caffeinated beverages, which can cause headaches and mood swings
  3. Exercise regularly – a simple walk with the dog can keep anxiety and depression symptoms at bay
  4. Limit alcohol consumption and refrain from smoking
  5. Make sleep a priority and practice good sleep hygiene

When it comes to managing stress levels, a nurse’s mental health is just as important as their physical health. Incorporating these self-love strategies into your daily routine can help:

  1. Practice meditation and/or mindfulness exercises
  2. Make time for relaxation
  3. Take mini-breaks throughout the workday to practice deep breathing
  4. Keep in touch with friends and family
  5. Limit exposure to media coverage of the pandemic
  6. Lower expectations of yourself and others, reminding yourself that “done” is better than “perfect”
  7. Practice positive self-talk, such as “nurses have a purpose and make a difference”
  8. Talk it out with colleagues or a supervisor, because nurses don’t have to walk this road alone
  9. Accept help when offered, and ask for support when needed

Help Children Manage Stress

Nurses with children at home have a responsibility to help them understand and respond to our changing world. Children may pick up on the stress that a parent is feeling and struggle to understand what is wrong. Children need to receive reassurance and guidance that’s centered around safety, consistency, and love.

Here are some tips to help children manage stress:

  • Maintain a consistent family routine – establish set bedtimes and meal times
  • Include children in conversations about the pandemic, but keep their age in mind and help them navigate their feelings
  • Set family rules for proper hygiene
  • Make routines fun for kids – consider singing during handwashing or developing games for wearing masks
  • Remind children that the situation is temporary
  • Allow children to help out around the house to give them a way to contribute – young children can carry dishes to the sink and help tidy up, while older children can take on bigger chores such as cleaning and yard work
  • Reassure children that the parent is safe in their job

Additional recommending reading:

Symptoms of Excessive Stress

Nurses should self-monitor their mental health status on a regular basis and take action when necessary. Symptoms of depression can include:

  • Sleep difficulties
  • Persistent crying or sadness
  • Feelings of hopelessness

Nurses who are forced to make clinical decisions that conflict with their ethical training may experience signs of moral distress, such as feeling guilty or ashamed. Other symptoms to watch for include:

  • Difficulty with decision-making or memory
  • Emotional outbursts
  • Risky behaviors
  • Withdrawal from social interactions
  • Unexplained physical symptoms such as headaches, palpitations, and gastrointestinal issues

Nurses experiencing moral distress or consistent symptoms of depression should talk to their supervisor and seek professional help. Early intervention can be critical to working through moral dilemmas and extreme stress. Nurses seeking to connect with a mental health professional can contact their insurance provider for options in their area.

Mental Health Resources

Anyone experiencing suicidal or homicidal thoughts should call 911.

The American Psychiatric Nurses Association lists the following crisis hotlines:

It’s Okay to Take a Break

Nurses who have decided to step away from bedside nursing amid the pandemic should keep in mind that they are not alone. Taking a break and hitting the reset button can be the difference between a nurse developing serious mental health problems and a nurse maintaining their sanity. Some nurses may use this time to further their education from the comfort of their home by enrolling in an online nursing program. An online program can keep the nurse’s knowledge current while potentially offering a pathway to a better position and higher future earnings.

Self-care is vital to a nurse’s health and well-being, especially in the face of a pandemic. Nurses can fill their mental health “bucket” throughout the day using tools of the trade, and perform regular mental health gut checks to ensure that they get the help they need when they need it.

Cindy Blye, RN

Cindy Blye, RN

Cindy Blye is a nurse-turned-writer with experience in Newborn Intensive Care, Pediatrics, and Case Management. Her works include pediatric nurse certification review materials, policies and procedures, training materials, nursing blog articles, health and wellness articles, and local business reviews. Cindy has three grown children and lives with her husband in North Carolina where she enjoys spending time with her family, gardening, and cooking.

Raddish Kids Review: A Kid’s Kitchen Subscription Box

Raddish Kids Review: A Kid’s Kitchen Subscription Box

*This Raddish Kids review contains affiliate links

If you want to go right to the Raddish Kids discount code, click here.  (There are two discount codes ATHOME gives you $15 off a 6-month subscription and Chef20 gives you $20 off a 12-month subscription).

Raddish Kids Review:  A Monthly Kid’s Kitchen Subscription Box

Historically, I have never been that interested in ordering subscription boxes for myself  – or my kids. But then the COVID-19 shut down forced me to think differently about everything I do, especially went it involves how I parent.

Suddenly, my children’s preschool was canceled, my husband began working from home, and not only did I not have childcare so that I could work, but overnight I became a homeschooling mom as well. God, I suck at homeschooling.  In many ways, this feels like the most defining moment of my world as a parent.  I kind of feel like I suck all the time in the parenthood department.  I keep thinking, how do I fix this?

I think many working moms in my position are in the same dilemma.  What do we do with our kids now that they are home – all the time? Fortunately, there are resources out there for parents like me.  So long as we find then and utilize them.   I, for one, have always needed help in the cooking department.

Also, I have a two and 4-year-old, one of which is a particularly picky eater.  S eats better when she as at school, and now that she’s at home she is a particularly challenging eater. Until one day, I tried this cool monthly subscription – perfect for homeschool teaching.

What is the Raddish Kids subscription box?

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A small box is delivered monthly with all the tools you need to teach your kids to cook.

Radish Kids is a cooking club for kids – a monthly culinary cooking opportunity delivered to our doorstep.  It has nurtured our kid’s confidence (and mine!) in the kitchen.  The photo above is the first box we ever received from the subscription.  It has helped us have delicious cooking experiences from different cultures that I would never have been able to give my kids on my own. It is designed for kids from ages 4 to 14, but that hasn’t stopped my two-year-old from joining in on the kitchen fun.

This small box is delivered with everything needed to help turn my children into little chefs. I talked with them about it a week before it arrived, so they were so excited when it was finally shipped to our doorstep.

What comes in the Raddish Kid subscription box?

Here is a photo of everything that came inside the box – all of the recipes, grocery list items, fun games for the kids, and even their own whisk (with instructions for use)!

But the best part is that each box is delivered with a new children’s cooking utensil so they can start building a little kitchen of their own. I also love that this delivery subscription comes with unique games that help get my kids excited to cook.  My daughter is in the process of learning her letters.

What a better way to fortify her learning than with fun food games! I can teach her about math, with a measuring cup, and teach her about different cultures as well.  She is learning (as am I) that the kitchen is a great place to learn from home. But most importantly, she is feeling confident in the kitchen!

Games make learning to cook more fun for kids.

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The Raddish Kids subscription comes with fun games.

Benefits of using Raddish Kids monthly subscription:

  • It allows us to make new memories and brings our whole family together in the kitchen and at the table.
  • It is a cooking class delivered to our doorstep each month.
  • It is helping me be a better cook for my kids.
  • It gives me a chance to teach math and science, all while helping my kids discover new cultures. They want to learn because they like the food they make.

Each recipe card comes with a grocery list.

raddish kids kids review,  kids kitchen, kids subscription box, kits for kids,

I usually set everything out and assign jobs when we cook together.

This is actually from the first night meal we ever prepared together- Pad Thai Noodles!  I got it all set up before I brought my kids into the kitchen.  I got all of the ingredients set up , so when they came to the kitchen, I could just tell them what their jobs would be.

My kids got to learn about salty and savory foods (Soy sauce), sour foods (lime), sweet foods (brown sugar), and spicy food (chiles).  My daughter was able to adjust the Pad Thai to taste by adding drops of soy sauce to a bite and testing it. There were also detailed instructions on how to use a whisk properly.  It has been a great cooking skill that my daughter used when we make eggs in the morning.

How to help a picky toddler try new foods:

raddish kids kids review,  kids kitchen, kids subscription box, kits for kids,

She was very proud of her new whisk skills.

My daughter is what you would call an extremely picky eater. I have to serve her something several times sometimes before I can get her to try something new. And she is very particular that nothing on her plate is touching anything else. We’ve gotten in the habit of catering to her in that area, which is 100% our fault – because now getting her to try new foods is very hard.  We are working on that!

The Thai pad dish was a good one to start with because there are several different ingredients mix into a single bowl. My goal with this particular meal was to have her mix everything together, so she would be more open to eating it, especially if she was proud that she prepared the meal herself.

Even my two-year-old has fun with this (but it does get messy!)

Here is my 2-year-old wishing the brown sugar, soy sauce, and lime mix. The instructions were clear for kids to learn how to mix the sauce:

  • “Wrap your dominant hand around the handle.
  • Point your whisk to the center of your bowl.
  • Rotate your wrist to make a circle.  Keep your elbow still.”

But my son is two, so I let him do it however he wanted.  But my 4 -year-old was able to follow those directions clearly. I was just happy that they w both able to participate. (The instructions have a “skill check” for kids who are old enough:  “What is the difference between whisking and stirring?  What would happen if you stirred eggs with a spoon instead of a whisk?  What great questions for kids who are learning how to whisk eggs for the first time.)

I taught my daughter how to crack an egg.

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Here I am teaching my 4-year-old daughter how to crack an egg for the first time. Usually, she would think this kind of task was “gross,” but because it was attached to an outcome, she was more than eager to achieve a positive result! She loved it and was so proud of herself.  After each egg, she yelled out to her, Dad, “I just cracked an egg!!”

I love that I can help her build her self esteem and teach her how to prepare foods that she eats every day at home (even if there are a few eggshells I have to dig out!).

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Proud to learn how to crack an egg.

I got the noodles ready ahead of time so the kids could focus on preparing and cutting the vegetables for our Pad Thai dinner.  All while Oliver continued to whisk the sauce – for about 10 minutes. This was also an excellent opportunity to teach our kids about handwashing when they prepared food.  One of the best ways for us to make this habit stick is to have step stools in the kitchen.  Otherwise, it makes it almost impossible for us to expect them to get in the habit of washing their hands independently.

We have two stepstools in the kitchen (for each kid to help us with cooking), and at least one in each bathroom, so they can wash their hands on their own.   They know to wash their hands for 20 seconds every time they use the bathroom, and every time they prepare food. raddish kids kids review,  kids kitchen, kids subscription box, kits for kids,

Here his how the Raddish Kids monthly subscription works:

Per the company website:

“Raddish is a cooking club, culinary lesson, and mealtime solution all-in-one.  We make cooking and sharing a meal fun for the whole family!  Young children work alongside an adult, while older kids and teens indulge their culinary curiosity! And it’s perfect for picky eaters — kids who cook, eat!  A new kit is delivered to your doorstep every month. Each kit features a unique culinary theme! We also email you a shopping list prior to delivery. “
And then you start cooking!

There is no doubt that the kitchen is the tastiest place to learn.  My kids have been able to develop new cooking skills and confidence in the kitchen while our family builds memories together. There is no better way to teach kids at home than that.

Here is how to order your Raddish Kids subscription box:

If you are interested in trying out Raddish Kids, here is a code for you!  Remember that there are two discount codes:   ATHOME gives you $15 off a 6-month subscription and Chef20 gives you $20 off a 12-month subscription). Additional recommended reading:

6 Best Anatomy Coloring Books (2020)

6 Best Anatomy Coloring Books (2020)

During the COVID-19 shut down in California, I found myself looking for more creative outlets at home. I’m not sure if it was the fact that I suddenly had to home school my two and 4-year old children, or I had been suppressing the urge to start coloring, but I found my self doodling in my daughter’s anatomy coloring books almost as frequently as she was.

I first discovered anatomy coloring books as a nursing student many years ago.  At the time, I was overwhelmed with the sheer amount of information I was expected to memorize.  I wasn’t sure why, but putting markers on paper helped me remember the anatomy and physiology better then anything else could.

I later learned that coloring the body and its systems is the most effective way to study the structure and functions of human anatomy according to research. 

Here I am now, in the middle of a global pandemic, and I’m coloring again.  My point is that coloring isn’t just for kids. I think coloring with a crayon or marker should be considered a relaxation or stress-relieving technique.  I am surprised that I am just figuring that out now.

A great anatomy coloring book has every body system

•  The Integumentary System
•  The Skeletal System
•  The Muscular System
•  The Nervous System
•  The Endocrine System
•  The Circulatory System
•  The Lymphatic System
•  The Digestive System
•  The Respiratory System
•  The Urinary System
•  The Reproductive System

By coloring each of the body systems, you can learn how the systems effect and work with one another.

Benefits of coloring

Reduces stress and anxiety – coloring helps to relax the brain, in a similar way that meditation can.  In fact, coloring can be a type of meditation in itself.  When you color, it forces you to be still and quiet, which can help generate mindfulness – especially after a stressful day of work, school, or parenting.

Improve focus – Coloring requires attention and allows you to live in the moment.

Improve sleep – Coloring is always better than looking at blue-light electronics like cell-phones; it also much better than browsing through social media, which can cause more stress and keep you awake at night.

Coloring a kidney will help you understand it’s anatomy and function.

Colors and meanings

Since color impacts memory, it is important to know what different colors mean or symbolize.

  • Red: anger, passion, danger, vigor
  • Green:  money, eco-friendly, peace, environmentally friendly, jealousy, envy, fertility & healing
  • Blue:  peace, knowledge, cool/cold, trust
  • Black:  mourning, elegance, death, evil, negativity
  • Purple:  spirituality, royalty, wisdom, intelligence
  • Yellow:  clarity, intelligence, energy, freshness
  • Pink:   girly, romantic, feminine, playful
  • Orange:   warmth, joy, success, balance, freedom

Emotional and Psychological Meaning of Colors..

 

 

6 Best Anatomy Coloring Books:

 

#1.  The Yoga Anatomy Coloring Book: A Visual Guide to Form, Function, and Movement

ORDER NOW

This fun mix of coloring book and instructional guide demystifies anatomy for the yoga enthusiast!  This book is great for yoga teachers learning anatomy used in all different yoga poses.

The creator of The Yoga Anatomy Coloring Book is a yoga instructor, licensed massage therapist, and anatomy teacher Kelly. The workbook provides an entertaining and informative journey through the human body, focusing on the bones, joints, and muscles used in yoga.

After an overview of helpful terms, Kelly covers the skeletal system, joints, and connective tissue, followed by the muscular system. Each anatomical feature is illustrated with a beautiful black-and-white drawing of a yoga posture, or asana, to color.

Coloring the bones and muscles, and their names, will help you to remember their location and function, and 32 perforated flashcards enable readers to quiz themselves and study yoga anatomy on the go.

#2.  Kaplan Anatomy Coloring Book

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This anatomy coloring book features detailed illustrations of the body’s anatomical systems.  Plus, Color Guides on every 2-page spread offer instructions for best coloring results so you can study effectively.  The Amazon description states this coloring book has:

  • More than 450 detailed, realistic medical illustrations, including microscopic views of cells and tissues
  • Exclusive perforated, flashcard-format illustrations of 96 muscle structures to color and study on-the-go
  • Clear, descriptive overview on the page opposite each picture, with key learning terms in boldface
  • Self-quizzing for each illustration, with convenient same-page answer keys
  • Full coverage of the major body systems, plus physiological information on cells, tissues, muscles, and development

 

#3.  The Human Body Coloring Book: The Ultimate Anatomy Study Guide

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The Human Body Coloring Book takes an interactive approach to human anatomy that will help users learn, understand, and revisit the subject with ease.

Drawing on an unparalleled library of state-of-the-art specialist anatomical illustrations, The Human Body Coloring Book is structured system by system for ease of use, with comprehensive coverage of the human body from cell to system.

The Human Body Coloring Book is a unique study aid that provides students with an innovative approach to learning. At the same time, the opportunity to self-test maximizes the ability to recall knowledge.

#4.  The Netter’s Anatomy Coloring Book: Second Edition Updated Learn by Coloring

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This Netter’s Anatomy Coloring Book provides realistic drawings, clear descriptions, and must-know terms for an easy way to learn and master anatomy.

You can trace arteries, veins, and nerves through their courses and bifurcations,  and memorize bones and muscle groups.

This book also claims to help learners develop a better understanding of the integration of individual organs in the workings of each body system throughout the human form.

Additional key features:

  • Illustrations small enough for quick coloring, but large enough to provide you with essential details
  • Tips for coloring key structures and quizzing yourself with end-of-section review questions
  • Accompanying tables that review muscle attachments, innervation, and actions
  • Understand the role of anatomy in medicine

 

#5.  The Princeton Review Anatomy Coloring Workbook, 4th Edition

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Another great book that helps with a concise understanding of anatomy.

The Anatomy Coloring Workbook includes:

• 126 coloring plates with precise, easy-to-follow renderings of anatomical structures
• Comprehensive explanations of the pictured structures and anatomical concepts
• An introductory section on terminology to get you started and coloring suggestions to assist you
• A glossary of standard anatomical terms
• New injury & ailment appendices, with additional memorization techniques

 

#6.  Anatomy Student’s Self-Test Coloring Book

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This Student’s Self-Test Coloring Book includes hundreds of anatomically accurate line illustrations to help you learn the human body.

Coloring the anatomy systems helps you learn the shape and location of each body part, making it easier to visualize, retain the information. In addition to clear explanations and instructive content, it features

  • New to this edition: Clinical points text boxes to illustrate the medical significance of the structure
  • 144 two-color pages that lie flat for easy coloring.
  • 16 new pages of text
  • Extra-heavy paper that minimizes show-through
  • Includes every body system and part
  • All parts labeled with correct anatomical names

 

Conclusion

Any of the anatomy coloring books on this list are very detailed and helpful for learning.  Or, if you just need a coloring outlet to relieve stress that also allows you to learn something new, any of these works perfectly.

Additional recommended reading:

 

5 Best Nurse Jobs For Moms

5 Best Nurse Jobs For Moms

What are the best nurse jobs for moms?

Having a baby changes everything.  New mothers may want to think about alternative nurse careers that provide more flexibility for their growing family.   It is possible to be great in both areas.

Fortunately, there are so many flexible nurse careers out there for nurses who are ready for a change or just want to step away from the bedside.

Becoming a mother is a full-time job in itself.  Depending on your work-life situation, you might want to consider working in a nursing field that is more flexible and offers you the balance that you need.  Childcare can be a challenge for nurses, especially for moms who work 12-hour shifts.

In no particular order, here are 5 of the best nurse jobs for moms:

#1.  Per diem nursing

The best nurse jobs for moms- per diem nursing

#1. Best nurse jobs for moms: per diem nursing

To work “per diem” means to work “by the day.” Per diem nurses are essential to every hospital organization because they allow the administration to fill in gaps where they don’t have enough nurses scheduled to work.  It also will enable nurses who don’t have a very flexible schedule, like new moms, to pick the exact hours and days that they can work.

Per diem nurses are often required to work a specific amount of shifts each month.  As a per diem nurse myself, I am required to work a minimum of four shifts in a thirty day period.   However, I can ask to work as many shifts as I want.  It puts me in an excellent position to earn money-  I work on all of the days that I have childcare scheduled, and I don’t have to worry about being scheduled on the days I don’t.

Also, per diem nurses are usually able to call off within a specific time frame before a shift starts.  For example, if my child becomes sick 12 hours before the start of a nursing shift, and I know I will be unable to work the next day, then I can cancel myself.  It leaves a lot of wiggle room for me to schedule or unschedule myself when I need to be at home with my children.  Most working moms don’t have that kind of flexibility, and it helps relieve a lot of stress.

The one drawback to per diem nursing is that you are only paid on the days that you work – you don’t have an allotment of sick days.  Also, if the facility does not need any additional staffing, then you might get canceled.  Which might not be OK if you were depending on the money you were going to earn that day.

Why being a per diem nurse is one of the best nursing jobs for moms:

  • Total flexibility over work schedules
  • Ability to call-off at the last minute
  • Higher per hour pay then career nursing

 

#2.  School Nurse

The best nurse jobs for moms- school nurse

#2.  Best nurse jobs for moms:  school nurse

School nurses work in educational facilities, including public and private schools (K through 12).  They support students and staff who become ill at work or need other kinds of medical attention.

Also, many school nurses are educators and teach various health topics to kids, such as healthy eating and the importance of physical exercise.  School nurses address the physical and mental needs of students, which helps them succeed in school and sets them up for success in the future.

Becoming a school nurse is an excellent job for nurses who are mothers because you would work during regular school hours -the same hours that your children would be at school.  It also means that you wouldn’t have to work weekends, night shifts, or holidays.

Many school nurses find the career rewarding because you are able to help start kids out on the right health track from their early years.  Many studies show that long term health has a greater success rate when children are taught healthy habits from an early age.  School-age kids are impressionable, and nurses can make a significant impact on how they take care of their health as they grow up.

Why being a school nurse is one of the best nursing jobs for moms:

  • Only work during regular school hours (no weekends, nights or holidays)
  • A rewarding career helping children develop healthy habits from a young age

Additional recommended reading:  

 

#.  Case management

The best nurse jobs for moms- case management

#3.  Best nurse jobs for moms: case management

Case management is another great opportunity for working moms because you can help patients through planning, care coordination, facilitation, and advocacy of patient’s medical needs.  Case managers collaborate with all outside aspects of patient care to make sure the patient stays safe and gets the care they need.

According to the Case Management Society of America, “Case Management is a collaborative process of assessment, planning, facilitation, care coordination, evaluation, and advocacy for options and services to meet an individual’s and family’s comprehensive health needs through communication and available resources to promote patient safety, quality of care, and cost-effective outcomes.”

Additional recommended reading:  8 Things I Wish I Knew Before I Became A Nurse

#4.  Telehealth nursing

The best nurse jobs for moms- teleheath nurse

#4.  Best nurse jobs for moms:  teleheath nurse

Telehealth nursing is when nurses can give nursing care, information, or advice to patients over the phone.  It also helps to improve efficiency in the healthcare system and help to treat patients in remote areas who otherwise would not be able to receive care.

Telehealth nurses work in hospitals, doctors’ offices, and for corporations.  It is becoming more widely used in recent years due to improvements in technology and an ncreasing need to help patients remotely.

Why telehealth is one of the best nursing jobs for moms:

  • Ability to work remotely from home
  • Able to help patients without having to work strenuous shifts in the hospital

#5.  Advice Nurse

Best jobs for nurses - advice nurse

#5.  Best jobs for nurses:  advice nurse

When patients are not feeling well at home or have a question about a medical issue, advice nurses are used to help field questions via phone.  One of the most significant benefits to patients is that it helps them determine what kind of medical care they need before they come into the hospital.

Why advice nursing is one of the best nursing jobs for moms:

  • Flexible hours
  • Sometimes a work from home position
  • Less strenuous then 12-hour work shifts at the hospital
  • Ability to help patients remotely

In conclusion

There are so many alternative nurse careers for nurses who are moms.  In fact, that is one of the best reasons to become a nurse – the nursing profession offers so many unique career opportunities that other professions simply do not.

Take care of your family first, and fit your nursing career in a way that serves your family best.  Good luck!

Additional recommended reading:

Working Mom Guilt Is Stupid.  Here’s Why.

Working Mom Guilt Is Stupid. Here’s Why.

Do you feel guilty because you are a working mom?

Many working mothers worry if their kids will end up OK.  Especially when they are constantly “leaning in” to the workplace and home at the same time.

But the kids will be alright.  Truly.  Even if you have to spend many hours away from them every day.

The reality is that 70 percent of mothers with kids under 18 work outside the home, and 40 percent are breadwinners.  With the high cost of living in some cities, many moms have no choice but to work.

There is, however, good news, according to recent evidence.  Many studies show that having a working mother is not only suitable for financial reasons – but the situation has several positives for kids and the family as well.

Additional recommended reading:  Simple Mom Self-Care Goals You Need Now

There is no need to have working mom guilt, according to several studies

* Post contains affiliate links.

As an ER nurse, I often see firsthand how lucky I am just to have healthy children.

Every single day I work with the parents of kids who are unwell. It’s hard to feel sorry for myself as a working mom when I see how hard they struggle. It’s a perspective that I wish more people had because it puts the challenges of working motherhood into perspective.

There are so many societal pressures about what mothers should be doing.  Many of these pressures have become unspoken rules that we find ourselves following even though we don’t realize it.   Likely, we are just so ridiculously busy that we don’t have time to examine these thoughts and feelings to see if they are even true.

But these insidious thoughts about working mom guilt feel genuine, and that’s why we feel so guilty about them.  But while our children are the centerpieces in our lives – especially when they are little – it doesn’t mean that they can’t function without us looking over their shoulders each minute of the day.

My kids don’t need me every time they color in their coloring books or create art; they don’t need me spoon-feeding them their meals.  They will figure out a way to get in their mouths if they are hungry.

They certainly don’t need me welcoming them with Pinterest-friendly snacks every time they come through the door.

Giving our kids space also gives them autonomy to learn on their own, in their way.

Children build self-esteem by figuring out how to do things by themselves.  It makes them feel good,  and they like to repeat the things that make them feel good about themselves.  It is a recipe for healthy personal growth and self-development.

Maybe, as mothers, we just need to get out of our kid’s way and let them do their thing.

And finally, for once and for all, let’s just stop feeling guilty.

there is no need to have working mom guilt, according to evidence

Working mom guilt is unnecessary, according to evidence.

Here is more evidence for those with working mom guilt:

#1.  Studies show that daughters and sons benefit from having a working mom

According to a Harvard research study, daughters of working moms are more likely to advance in their careers, and sons of working moms go on to spend 50 minutes more each week caring for their own families.

As a working mother of both a daughter and a son, it was good to hear that working would positively benefit my children’s participation in both work and home. The study showed that having a working mom did not influence the future careers of sons one way or another.  However, mother’s employment is essential to how much their sons participate with their own children later on in life.

The take-away is that working mothers have a chance to help their daughters be more financially independent as adults -and teach sons to participate as fathers.

#2.  Kids of working moms are just as happy

The same Harvard study later showed that kids of working moms wind up just as happy in adulthood as the children of moms who stayed home.

The belief that having a working mother is somehow damaging their children is just not true. For mothers with concerns that their working outside of the home is somehow making their children unhappy, this should bring some relief.


#3.  Working moms may be happier

The outrageous amount of multitasking that many mothers are required to do to have a career and care for children can be overwhelming.  However, despite the challenges that come with finding a work-life balance, many moms who work say they’re healthier and happier than moms who stay at home.

This tells me that mothers can – and should-  do what makes them happy.  If that means staying at home, great!  If having a career works better for you and your family, then that is OK too.

#4.  Being out of the workforce for even a few years causes women’s earnings to plummet

Many women already earn 70 cents to the dollar than men in similar jobs.  But add time taken off for childbearing years, and women are also paying something known as “the mommy tax.” Being a stay-at-home mom costs a lot of money.

Ann Crittenden wrote a book called The Price Of Motherhood:  Why The Most Important Job In The World Is Still The Least Valued.  She makes a few interesting points: about the cost of mothers leaving the workplace:

  •  A couple with a total income of $81,500, and two equally capable partners, could lose as much as $1,350,000 in lifetime income if they have a child.

And another about how stay-at-home mothers receive fewer benefits then nannies:

  • Nannies qualify for Social Security benefits, but mothers at home do not. Unpaid caregivers are not covered by the same social safety net that covers other workers.

Additional recommended reading:  3 Healthy School Day Breakfast Ideas For Kids

It is OK to enjoy being a working mom

Don’t succumb to the guilt of being a working mom. It’s OK, really.

Being a working mom often provides many women with cerebral stimulation that they don’t get at home.

I love being an emergency room nurse and a science geek at heart.  I am challenged and stimulated while I am working with patients in a way that I’m not at home.   I have had the opportunity to see more disease states, complex injuries, and unusual diagnoses than I ever could have imagined even existed.

It would not be an exaggeration to say I learn ten new things every day at work. Also, I am surrounded by some of the most intelligent people I have ever met. Many of my co-workers have the same drive for helping people I do. They motivate me to keep learning.

The bottom line is that it is essential to do what is right for your family.   Doing what works for you to keep your family functioning, healthy, and happy is what matters.

It may mean lowering the bar in some other areas of our lives.  There is no winner for the cleanest house.  Saying that your home is messy because you play with your kids is a privilege.  And I am so grateful for that privilege on the days I don’t work.

Whatever kind of mom you are – free yourself of the judgment that what you are doing is wrong or bad.  And funnel that energy into creating a family life that engages, inspires, and invites joy into your days.

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3 Healthy School-Day Breakfast Ideas for Kids

3 Healthy School-Day Breakfast Ideas for Kids

Do you have a hard time coming up with healthy breakfast ideas for the kids before they head off to school?

School mornings can be fairly hectic if you’re a parent. However, even though getting your kids on their way to school is time-consuming and challenging, the odds are good you’d still like to provide them with nutritious meals.

The odds are also good you don’t know how you’ll find the time every morning to achieve that goal. If that’s the case, maybe it’s time to check out the best meal delivery service for kids. In addition to that option, check out these recipes. They offer nutrients your kids need, they taste great, and you don’t need to spend your entire morning prepping them.

Here are easy and healthy school-day breakfast ideas for kids to start the school day off on the right foot.

Breakfast Parfait

Breakfast parfait made from Greek yogurt and granola topped with fresh berries.

Sure, parfait may not be the first meal that comes to every parent’s mind when they think of kid-friendly breakfasts, but making this option appeal to your children is easier than you might think.

All you have to do is grab a clear plastic cup and fill the bottom of it with honey. Use your judgment to determine how much honey you should use. While you don’t want your kids to consume too much sugar, the sweetness can help you sneak in more healthful ingredients.

One of them is yogurt. Greek yogurt offers a range of health benefits. These include supporting bone health, providing your children with much-needed protein, boosting their gut health, and much more. Add a few spoonfuls to the cup, making sure the honey is thoroughly covered.

You’ll add fruit next. Options to consider include raspberries, blueberries, or banana slices. Finally, top the whole concoction with your child’s favorite cereal.  This is a healthy breakfast idea that your kids will love. 

Homemade Breakfast Sandwiches

An egg, ham, and cheese breakfast sandwich will keep you full until lunch.

True, making your own breakfast sandwiches during busy school mornings might not seem like the smartest idea, but this recipe is still worth considering because you can make these sandwiches ahead of time and freeze them. If you have a little bit of spare time on the weekend, set it aside to prep these for the week ahead.

Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees. Spray a muffin tin with non-stick spray and crack an egg into each muffin mold. Gently pierce the yolk of each. Bake the eggs for 10 to 15 minutes, or until they have set, then gently slide them out of the molds. Next, slice English muffins (one for each egg) and add a slice of cheese (your preference), three slices of ham, and an egg. 

Wrap these in plastic and freeze them. When you’re ready to heat one, remove it from the plastic, wrap it in a paper towel, and microwave on 50% power for about one minute. Then, flip the sandwich over to the other side, and microwave again on full power for another minute.

Breakfast Casserole

Make a breakfast casserole in a slow cooker and wake up to a delicious breakfast.

Sometimes, the best breakfast ideas for kids begin in the slow cooker the night before. 

This recipe is worth keeping in mind for two reasons. One, you can make it ahead of time in a slow cooker, so you don’t have to rush to whip up a meal in the morning. Two, it can yield very big servings, making it a perfect option if you have a lot of mouths to feed.

Spray your slow cooker (this recipe is for a 6-quart slow cooker) with non-stick spray. Add half a 30 oz. bag of hash browns. Then, add a half-pound layer of browned and drained breakfast sausage. Next, add a four oz. layer of cheddar cheese and a four-oz. layer of mozzarella cheese. Then, repeat the entire process, starting with the hash browns and using the same measurements. Finally, whisk together 12 eggs, half a cup of milk, and salt and pepper to your liking, drizzling the mixture over the contents of the slow cooker. Cook on low for eight hours and wake up to a breakfast your family will love.

Again, if you’re a parent, busy mornings don’t need to prevent you from feeding your family well. These simple recipes prove it!

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