In addition to the bump on his head Squidge is streaming with a cold.
Usually the nights prior to the two days a week that I work my husband gets up with Squidge when (not if) he wakes in the night. Unfortunately for me when Squidge is unwell he doesn’t want Daddy, he wants Mummy. As a result I ended up taking him into the spare room and co-sleeping with him between 0100-0500 so that I got some sleep before work. It’s a sad day when your options are –
- Four hours sleep
- No sleep
This is where I find balancing being a Mum and being a Nurse difficult as both roles need me to be 100% focused. It’s difficult being a Nurse when you’re sleep deprived and know your child is unwell and it’s difficult being a Mum when you’re exhausted after a 13 hour shift and an hours commute.
I phoned work at about 0130 to see what staffing was like for the day shift and if they were maybe short on another day so that I could work then instead.
The unit is heaving at the moment and with at least five staff already on maternity leave and another six to go off by February, combined with several staff off on long term sick leave we’re stretched to the limit.
So regardless of how little sleep I’ve had I have to get up at 0530 and go to work.
Now I imagine that most Mums who work find themselves in similar situations at one time or another and clearly the majority of these women have chose to have children even if they wouldn’t necessarily choose to go back to work. I imagine every working Mum has found getting the balance incredibly stressful and difficult and have probably needed to ingest large amounts of caffeine in order to cope.
The thing I find most difficult is the uncertainty of my working day, I just don’t know what I’ll be faced with from one day to the next. Today I was only assigned one baby to look after but she became very ill in a short space of time and was still unwell at the end of the shift. On another day I might be caring for a baby who is dying or who needs to go for surgery or I might have four babies who all need bottle feeding or who are that bit older and need lots of attention to help them develop normally away from their home environment.
The unit might be well staffed or we might be short. We might get all our breaks or we might struggle to find five minutes for a drink of water. We might have a calm, controlled day or there might be lots of acutely sick babies and emergency admissions.
I love being a Mum and being a Nurse.
I’m proud of my profession and of my son.
I enjoy my work time and my play time with Squidge.
I wouldn’t change either of them but sometimes I wish being both was a bit easier.
Or I just didn’t need to sleep.