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Being a parent is one of the most exhausting, and rewarding, jobs you’ll ever take on. If you’re a full time parent while working on fulfilling your nursing school requirements, or building your career, then you’re doubly exhausted. In order to build your nursing dream while remaining devoted to your children you’re going to need all the help you can get. Here are some tried and true ideas and tips from those nurses who’ve been in the parenting trenches while in studying and building their careers. 

4 Tried and True Tips for The Full Time Parent 

Create a Circle of Support:  Building a circle of supportive friends and family members can make all the difference in your success in building your nursing dream. It can be easy to think you can go it alone, but nothing can be further from the truth when you’re a full time parent. 

Seek out fellow full time parents among your classmates and plan a study session that can also serve as a play date. This will help you and keep your kids occupied as you work together. 

School pick-ups, taking your kids to athletic practices, and even grocery shopping can easily be delegated . Recruit those members of your friends and family who have offered to help out. Ask the parents of your child’s friends if they can assist you with school or extracurricular  functions. When you’re building your nursing dream, it truly does take a village!

Practice Extreme Organization:  “Extreme Organization” might sound like an extreme sport to some-and it can be! But, the good news is, once you learn to organize like a champ maintaining becomes second nature. 

For the mom or dad who is a full time parent, is working and/or going to school, you might just feel like one of those plate-spinning acrobats. You have several commitments in your life and none of the top 3 are negotiable at the moment. If your child is in school there is the added stress of managing supplies, school schedules, homework, field trips, permission slips, etc. It’s enough to wear you out just thinking about it.

The biggest key to organization is paring down, minimizing and doing away with those extraneous items that demand your energy.  Your clothes, dishes, cooking utensils, potted plants, and any items that require you to provide any more than the minimum amount of care need to go away. If it’s something you can’t bear to give away, store it somewhere for the time being. 

The next step in organizing your life is to rid yourself of unnecessary decision-making. You’ve already minimized your clothing selection, next become proficient at schedules and outlining for your week, or month. Try to practice cooking in bulk, or set aside time for pre-planning your meals and meal pepping. Being proactive is a lifesaver when you’re stretched to the limits. For more on how to become better organized check out 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, by Steven R. Covey.

Become Efficient at Time Management:  Time management is crucial in all aspects of both parenting, and being a nurse. Sit down and realistically plot out your days ahead. Prioritize the upcoming events as urgent or non-urgent and assign them degrees of importance. 

Set aside time to create a meal schedule and use this to create your shopping list. Plan your upcoming events, such as study groups, quizzes, etc. and also look at your children’s upcoming events as well. Plan the time you’ll need to study/do homework/commute and do the same for your school-age child. When necessary, count on your circle of support to assist.Try to combine activities, if possible. 

Learn to Say No:  Right now your life has 2 very clear roles for you. You are a parent, and you are becoming a nurse. Do not let anything interfere with either of these two roles. You don’t have the luxury of “free time”, especially if you also have a job. Make it a hard and fast rule that you will not take on anything else. No PTA, or Sunday School teacher, or exercise group. And it’s probably a good time to put your social life outside of school and kids, on hold until you get the hang of this balancing act.

Rewarding and Fulfilling

Being a full time parent is extremely rewarding, and working as a nurse will provide you with a sense of fulfillment as well. The road to nursing requires many sacrifices, but with the proper planning and a circle of supportive friends and family, you can pursue your nursing dreams, even while a full time parent. 

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