Being a nurse helped prepare me for motherhood.
Nothing can prepare any parent for the insanity of parenthood, because it’s impossible to understand its complexity until you’re there. However, after working as a nurse for so many years before having my children, I do think it gave me a tiny edge.
As an emergency room nurse, I work in a lot of unusual and often stressful situations involving the health and wellbeing of my patients. Admittedly, I’m exhausted on my days off, and sometimes I feel guilty for working such long hours.
But even though I often feel overwhelmed with my crazy life as a working mom, I am so grateful for how my experience as a registered nurse has helped prepare me for motherhood.
Additional recommended reading: Is Nursing A Good Career For Moms?
Toddlers can act just like miniature psych patients.
In the ER, I deal with every single type of mental and psychiatric disorder ever documented in the literature. We work with everything from homicidal schizophrenia to depression or anxiety and everything in between.
Some of the most exciting conversations I have with my two-year-old remind me of similar situations and conversations that I have had working as a healthcare professional.
For example, I have watched my toddler throw herself on the floor in a fit of tears because I didn’t peel the banana “the right way” (believe it or not, I have had similar conversations with patients). I guess you could say that I have had a lot of experience with having irrational discussions over the years.
As a result of my experience working in an ER with an acute psych ward, I have almost no reaction when my toddler melts down or breaks into a fit of rage out of nowhere. I have had too much experience dealing with angry, irrational patients. Having composure and speaking with respect is always the winning choice and warrants the best response in both scenarios. (When a nurse gets mad back at a patient, the patients yells louder. It’s the same with toddlers).
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I stopped worrying about things that aren’t worth my worry.
As a nurse and mom, I am generally more concerned about the things that might seriously injure or kill my children. Sure, a broken arm would suck, and no mom wants to see their child in pain. But a broken bone won’t kill you. Like, for example, falling out a window in a home that hasn’t been childproofed could.
I want my home safe from the significant injuries, but I also don’t want to helicopter-parent them from ever injuring themselves.
(But I also have an irrational fear of swimming pools now too as a direct result of my experience as an ER nurse, so I suppose being a nurse and mom has also made me a bit paranoid as well).
The way I see it is that kids grow and learn so much through play. If they are playing right, they are going to get hurt once in a while. Minor injuries are a part of childhood, and having them can help kids grow and develop resilience to other things that happen to them out in the world.
Additional recommended reading: 9 Tips For Working As A Nurse While Pregnant
Being a nurse is a constant reminder of how lucky I am to have healthy children.
I have had the privilege of working with pediatrics as an emergency medicine nurse. As a result, I have watched a lot of parents deal with their children’s chronic illnesses, life-threatening injuries, and so many other medical-related issues that can keep kids in the hospital for weeks, months, or even years.
It makes it hard for me to complain about how busy my life is as a working mother. Because in reality, when you have healthy children, you have everything that you need.
As a working mom and nurse, I see a lot of the bad things that can happen, and it makes me more grateful for the things I have. It is all a challenging balance. But it is also an honor and a privilege – and it has prepared me for motherhood in a way that nothing else really could.
Addiontial recommended reading:
(This post contains affiliate links. My disclosure page is really boring but you can find it here.)
Ahhh, springtime is finally here! The days are getting longer, the sun is out and I want to be spending as much time as I can doing things that matter most to me. Like spending time with my husband and kids.
But I have to grocery shop, meal plan, and cook dinner for my family! Ugh, there is just never enough time. As a working mom (I’m an ER nurse) I already have a hard time coordinating everything I have on my do-to list.
That is one of the many reasons Sun Basket meal delivery has been such a blessing for us.
My husband and I started using Sun Basket three years ago when I was pregnant with my daughter. Since then I have introduced the meal delivery system to several other families who have found the same value in it that we have.
Admittedly, I do not enjoy meal planning. And I have never thought of myself as a very good cook. Fortunately, with Sun Basket meal delivery I get simple recipes, organic nutrition, and an easy way to prepare a healthy meal in 3o minutes or less.
If having scrumptious organic home cooked meals regularly without a ton of hassle is something that interests you too, please continue reading about the 9 reasons Sun Basket Meal Delivery has brought great value to our family.
Choose from 18 healthy & delicious recipes a week from Sun Basket! Save $45 if you order today!
Sun Basket Meal Delivery Review By A Mom, RN
What is Sun Basket?
Sun Basket is a healthy meal kit service that delivers organic produce, clean ingredients and easy, delicious recipes for cooking at home. We have it delivered to our doorstep once a week and has completely revolutionized dinner at our house.
I have almost zero extra time (isn’t that every Mom’s dilemma?). Bottom line: Sun Basket meal delivery has made it so much easier for me as a Mom to ensure that my family eats a healthy diet. In fact, I don’t know how I could feed my family this well without it.
How does Sun Basket work?
You sign up online and pick the recipe option to your liking (vegetarian, paleo, gluten free, family options). You can also select exactly which meals you want delivered. Then a box is delivered to your doorstep with every pre measured ingredient you need along with a detailed recipe. Simple and easy, just the way I like, er, need it!
I have tried nearly every meal delivery system, yet I always come back to Sun Basket.
I wont say which ones we have tried but you have probably heard of them. I stopped using them because on several occasions there was at least one ingredient that had already gone bad. Yuck!
I just didn’t feel that I was getting the same quality that I did with Sun Basket.
Sun Basket Meal Delivery Review By A Mom, RN
Sun Basket Meal Delivery Review: 9 Reasons Sun Basket Brings Great Value To Our Family
Healthy nutrition is so important to me. As a registered nurse I have spent a lot of time taking care of patients with preventable chronic illnesses. I am constantly trying to teach my patients how to take better care of themselves by eating well and getting enough physical activity.
It is well documented that eating a nutrient rich diet is vital for good health, well being and even prevents many chronic illnesses from occurring in the first place. Good food provides our bodies with the energy, vitamins, fats and protein we need to thrive.
We need to take more responsibility for their own health and well-being. The best way to prevent chronic illnesses and most cancers is to not get sick in the first place!
Sun Basket helps me provide good nutrition for my family because:
- It keeps me from ordering take-out, which is usually not very healthy, &
- It keeps me from making something fast and less healthy at home, like a frozen pizza (don’t judge, life gets busy, yo!)
2. Time savings
Sun Basket delivers of ALL of the ingredients I need to make 3 dinners per week. That means I don’t have to spend time hauling my kids to the grocery store to buy food for those meals.
I also love that our meals are already pre planned so I don’t have to figure out what I’m going to cook that night.
Most importantly though, Sun Basket meals take 30 minutes or less to prepare with easy to follow recipes. Which means I get to spend more quality time doing things that I love, like playing with my little ones.
You can get 50% off Sun Basket Family Meals HERE!
3. Money savings
Since I am getting only the meal ingredients I need, I don’t have to buy an entire block of Parmesan cheese (for example). Plus, ordering take-out or eating out can start to add up over time.
4. The greens are often fresher then at the grocery store
I am a big fan of fresh, organic produce. I can even taste the difference between organic and conventional produce a lot of the time. That is why I appreciate that Sun Basket ingredients come directly from the source. There is nothing I hate worse then buying spinach from the grocery store and having it turn bad the next day!
5. I want my family to eat as organically as possible
100% of Sun Basket’s produce is organic and they only use responsibly raised meats free of antibiotics and added hormones.
Also, Sun Basket uses sustainably sourced seafood that is listed as “Best Choice” or “Good Alternative” by the Monterey Bay aquarium’s seafood watch program.
6. I get to cook meals that I never would have made otherwise
Last week I made Havana shrimp mojo tostadas with cabbage slaw. This meal was so good, I couldn’t believe I actually cooked it myself! The recipe was super easy to follow and looked, dare I say… fancy? Like, restaurant style fancy. I used to steer clear from seafood because I never felt comfortable cooking it. Now I make a different seafood recipe at least once or twice a week!
7. Good customer service
There have been two times that our delivery was shipped 1 day late due to traffic issues in Los Angeles. Both times we were notified immediately and offered a credit if we decided not to accept the box. Not a deal breaker for me as the shipments did arrive fresh. LA traffic truly is off-the-charts insane so unfortunately its par for the course here. Other then those minor inconveniences the service has been exceptional.
8. Sun Basket makes it easier for us to have quality family time
The most important benefit for us that has come out of using Sun Basket is that it allows us to sit down as a family for our meals, no excuses! Dinner is my favorite part of the day and I love that it gives my husband and I a chance to reconnect and talk about whats going on in our lives. It keeps us connected. Its like having a date night in.
9. Sun Basket has helped me become a much better cook (And I am teaching my daughter too!)
Sadly, for my husband and children, I am not a culinary genius. I’m not horrible in the kitchen, so long as the recipes are simple and easy. My specialties usually involve a Nutri bullet and just mixing ingredients in a bowl (what can I say, I like to keep things really simple!).
Cooking has become a family experience for us. My daughter helps out by tearing greens, mixing dry ingredients in bowls, mashing veggies, and even dashing our meals with salt and other spices. It is a real treat to watch her get excited to cook! She is learning the value of cooking with healthy ingredients and we have a great opportunity to teach her where her food comes from (so she knows that food isn’t created in a grocery store).
I am constantly learning about new ingredients and cooking techniques. And looking like an expert chef to boot!
Sun Basket discount for first timers!
If you haven’t tried Sun Basket yet, you are in for a treat… click this link for a big discount:
Choose from 18 healthy & delicious recipes a week from Sun Basket! Save $45 if you order today!
Join us for dinner anytime!
Tonight we are having lemon-pepper salmon over Greek salad with artichokes and olives. My recipe says it will take 20 minutes to prepare and I know I have every ingredient I need, so I am not stressed about it.
Its Saturday evening and I am looking forward to enjoying a wonderful, nutritious meal with my family on the back porch… with a nice glass of wine of course. Join us for dinner anytime!
As an expecting Mother and registered nurse, I will soon be confronting one of the biggest downfalls to being a per diem RN: unpaid maternity leave.
In fact, as a per diem nurse, I receive absolutely zero benefits outside of my regular hourly rate.
So why be a per diem nurse, you ask?
Per diem nursing has been a game-changer for me because it gives me the scheduling flexibly I need to be a working Mom. Per diem means: for each day. As a nurse, I am literally employed “by the day.” Essentially, I can schedule myself to work any day I want.
Zoe is going to have a lot more responsibility soon in her next role as big sister.
I became a per diem nurse out of necessity due to scheduling and childcare issues. The telemetry unit I had been working on was unable to give me a set weekly schedule. This made it very difficult to secure a regular nanny or plan for daycare for our daughter.
Every month I would request the schedule I needed to make my childcare situation work. Unfortunately, I would inevitably still be scheduled on many days in which I had no childcare available to me.
I had a choice: continue to call-in sick and struggle to find alternative childcare. Or make a change that allowed me to have the flexibility I needed to be a working Mom. Ultimately, my husband and I made the decision that it was better to leave my career RN position in order to reap the much needed flexibility benefit of being a per diem nurse.
Still, there is something about this that infuriates me: I have been paying into maternity leave and disability benefits for almost 17 years. Now that I’m pregnant again and actually need maternity leave benefits, I’m no longer eligible for them. Oh, the irony!
Maternity leave: A financial drain
After baby arrives, I will be out for at least 8 weeks or longer so I can spend baby bonding time with our son. This will add up to a lot of money lost.
Just to make my point, here is a hypothetical, but very real situation:
Lets say I make a little over $1000 a day and I work 3 days a week. 3 days x $1000 = $3,000 per week. So just one week of unpaid maternity leave results in a $3,000 financial loss.
So far, the math is pretty simple. It doesn’t sound that horrible… yet.
But, if you multiply $3,000 a week by 8 weeks of maternity leave, that equals $24,000 in financial losses. And that’s if I only take off a measly 8 weeks of baby bonding time.
I will be taking more time then that so I can spend more time at home with our son. I think its important for his early development and luckily we can afford it.
And the financial losses continue to rise…
12 weeks = $36,000
16 weeks = $48,000
You get my point… It really starts to add up.
Additional time off before baby
I could be out of work for weeks or months before I give birth depending on how my pregnancy progresses in the third trimester. Nurses have very physically demanding jobs that often require grueling 12 hour shifts. There is a strong possibility that I may have to step out earlier then I would like.
We could be looking at 50k or more in financial losses depending on how early I have to stop working and how long I decide to stay home with our newborn.
Who knew having a baby was so costly for a working Mom in the United States? Even before factoring in medical expenses.
Unpaid maternity leave statistics in the U.S.
This is a very sleepy photo of Zoe and me in the NICU when she was a week old. Zoe arrived 7 weeks early. At 4.3 pounds we are incredibly luckily that she was as healthy as she was. Our doctors called her “tiny but mighty.”
It makes me so sad that I live in the only developed country in the world that doesn’t automatically offer paid maternity leave benefits to working women. In fact, 88% of employees have no access to paid maternity leave or paid paternity leave in the U.S.
The Family & Medical Leave Act (FMLA) guarantees by federal law that women are entitled up to 12 weeks of unpaid time off. However, many women still don’t even qualify for that if they work for a small employer or have been with that employer less then 1 year. What a shame.
Now that I have gotten my venting out of the way, it’s time to talk about a plan. The only thing left to do is try to make the best out of a crummy situation.
I am determined to make my maternity leave as positive and stress-free as possible, despite the financial drain of having no paid maternity leave.
Unpaid maternity leave: How to make it work!
#1. Open a new saving account dedicated to maternity leave.
One of the easiest ways to save money is to pay yourself first each paycheck through direct deposit. That way you don’t even see then money hitting your checking account. Liquid cash is good so you can use it when you need it.
Suzie Orman, one of my long-time favorite financial gurus says that you want to have as much money saved up for as many months as you plan to take off, as well as an 8 month emergency plan. You never know when an emergency can strike, for example, a medical emergency, a job loss or worse. The faster you can start saving into an account dedicated to maternity leave, the more prepared you will be when it comes.
#2. Make a budget and stick to it.
I prefer more of a no budget, budget strategy. Basically, I decide how much I want to save each paycheck and immediately transfer it into an online Barclays savings account as soon as payday comes. No muss, no fuss.
I am aware of everything I purchase and review it each month by using a program called Mint to track my expenses. If you aren’t using this, you should be. Since I have started using Mint I have watch my savings rate take off to a place I have never been able to before. It is amazing how much you can save when you know exactly where your money is going!
I’m always surprised at how many people I talk to who have no idea what they really spend in a month. Needless to say, this is a poor strategy for preparing for an unpaid maternity leave. You’ve got to have a plan.
#3. Make more money now or take on extra work.
If you are currently pregnant or even just thinking about it, now is a good time to take on extra hours at work. Especially if you are able to get overtime pay.
As a nurse, anything over 40 hours of work a week is considered overtime at my hospital. Is is very difficult for me to do more then that since I have my daughter at home, but I have done it a few times just to add a little more to my savings.
In addition, some holidays pay time-and-a-half rates. Therefore, I have been known to pick up shifts on Memorial Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving or even Christmas. Its not my favorite thing to do but my family handles it by celebrating these holidays on the day before or the day after the actual holiday. It adds up quite a bit when you are saving to be out for a few months.
#4. Discuss recurring expenses that you aren’t really using or don’t need.
Look at your expenses and see if there is anywhere that you can reasonably make a cut. Are you really using the 100$ a month gym membership? Or does it make more sense to take daily walks and do online yoga at home?
My husband and I talk about money a lot more then I think many other couples do. Saving money is all about establishing priorities and being on the same page. Talking about money has kept us in good financial health and kept us on the same page with our spending habits.
#5. Look at the easy ways to cut back.
Families dropping from a dual income to a single income usually need to trim expenses somewhere. Make a list of everything you are spending money on, and be honest with yourself about what is an actual need. Here are a few ideas to throw on the table:
- nix the coffee cart habit = save $4 a day
- pack your lunches = save $12 a day
- cancel the cable you are barely using anyway = save $80 a month
- cook your meals at home instead of ordering take out = potentially $100’s in savings per month (if you eat out a lot)
- go on a 3-6 month spending freeze on things that are not an actual “need” = $(fill in the space here)
Do you get my point? There is A LOT of money to be saved if you just pay more attention to what you are spending money on.
I do consider myself somewhat of an expert on “trimming the fat” on my own spending habits since paying off a large amount of student loan debt in a short amount of time. That experience is helping me prepare my unpaid maternity leave as well.
#6. Don’t fall for the baby registry trap.
There are so many items that I was told I had to have for baby #1. Many of them are “nice to have items” that I barely even used (uh hem, grocery cart baby cover used a mere 3 times!). Needless to say, many things from my baby registry are being stored away in our garage and will probably be given away practically new.
I remember looking through Pinterest at lists of “must haves” for a new Mom. They are long and mostly unnecessary. Stay away from those lists!
For example, I was told that I “needed” the newborn insert for our stroller. But for the first few months I was using her car seat in her stroller. By the time I actually went to use the insert she has already grown out of it. Same went for the ergo baby newborn insert- I didn’t even need it until she was to big to fit in it anyway.
If you actually need something, then go ahead and get it. These are just my thoughts as a second time Mom with baby registry regret. With the exception of a double stroller and a crib (which I will buy pre-owned), I can’t think of any other BIG items I will actually need for our new baby.
#7. Extra expenses to take into consideration:
I was so grateful for amazing baby bonding time with Zoe after she was born.
There will be some extra expenses after the baby is born. Some of the big ones for us are diapers, wipes, formula/food, and additional childcare. None of these things are cheap, so its good to be prepared for the expenses in advance.
You could always decide to go the cloth diaper route. I know people who have done this and it does save quite a bit if money. That, however, was not in our savings plan. There are some things of convenience that really are worth the money, and that was one for us.
Other big expenses include childcare enrichment classes (MyGym, recreation classes, music classes, ect..) if that is something you are interested in.
Childcare is our single biggest expense and we pay our nanny $240-$360 per week (for 2-3 days only). It would cost a lot more if I worked 5 days a week. I have friends who work full time and pay a nanny $750 or more in cash every single week. Day care is much cheaper but still a large expense.
I have read that the average baby costs their parents $300,000 from the time they are born until the time they turn 18. And that doesn’t even include a college education! I don’t know about you, but that really makes me think about how I budget our money.
#8. Think about the big picture.
Having a baby is one of the most amazing human experiences I have ever had. I absolutely love being a Mom. However, it can also be stressful at times, and it probably will be, even with the most thoughtful preparation.
At the end of the day you can only do the best you can. Saving for unpaid maternity leave is just one of the things I am doing to try and ease the financial loss that comes with having a baby. My plan is to eliminate as much stress as I can so I can joyfully relish in the awesomeness that comes with having a new baby.
Now, if only I could invent a healthy way to live on increments of 2 hours of sleep or less, I would be golden!
Additional Recommended Reading
10 Simple Ways To Help Your Toddler Prepare For A New Sibling
Silent Placental Abruption: Our Premature Birth Story
Why I Will Always Be A Working Mom