One of the questions I consistently receive in my inbox goes something like this, “I am so overwhelmed. How do you balance school, being a mom, and still have time for yourself?” And while I am flattered that I put out the perception that I have it all together and give advice on the topic, that isn’t the reality. Some weeks, I feel like I am on top of my game, getting ahead on assignments, spending a lot of time with my family, and doing things that I enjoy. Other weeks, however, I feel like I am drowning in assignments, commitments, and household duties. The important thing that we must remember: we are only human. There are only 24 hours in every day, and some days we will get everything done that we set out to do, and other days we simply cannot. The biggest lesson that I have had to learn since the beginning of nursing school was to give myself grace and kindness on the days that I fall short. I wish that I had some secret to effectively balancing everything and excel in all areas all of the time, but my greatest lesson that I’ve learned after a year and a half of nursing school is that I cannot do everything.
That being said, there are ways in which you can try to allocate your time better and plan your week to try to get assignments and studying done so that you have time to do other things throughout the week. The first thing I do is take a look at the upcoming week in my planner and assess what assignments I have due to come up with a “Mental Game Plan” for the week. I try to complete the most time-consuming assignments first, get them out of the way, and then leave the quicker/easier assignments last since I know that I can knock them out. I study in small increments each day instead of going it all to cram last minute. Most of my schoolwork gets completed after 9:00 pm after my son has fallen asleep for the night. While staying up late isn’t the time I would prefer to complete studying and assignments, it is the best time for me to have quiet time and focus without losing out on family time during the day. It is one of the sacrifices that I make to make sure I get as much time as possible with my family. The most important thing to remember is that nursing school is only temporary. Whether it be with family, friends, sleep, or otherwise, making sacrifices is part of the journey. Some weeks may require more sacrifice than others, but all of the work is done to achieve the goal of becoming a nurse.
Written by: Kym Wisniewski