On top of feeling suffocating guilt that I don't spend every waking moment that I'm not working with my daughter, I struggle to balance the other aspects of my life. For some stupid reason, under a hint of pressure from management, I "volunteered" for a committee at work. Then I "volunteered" to help with a certain project. Now, on my day off, I have to go in for four hours to work on this project. No more committees after this year! I'm not interested in being involved in every extra-curricular nursing activity the unit has to offer as if it's college. Do I want to work toward a better work environment for nurses and higher quality care for patients? Absolutely. Am I willing to sacrifice precious time with my toddler for it? Nope.
On the other hand, I have begun the application process for grad school. Before you start thinking that this sounds absolutely crazy, the nurse practitioner program is geared toward working adults with families, and you take two classes per semester, both of which are held on the same night, one night per week. Doable?
I went back and forth about this decision for a long time. The pros are obvious: higher education, the prestige of being an advanced practitioner, and a huge pay raise. Then more pros: being a living example of success to my daughter, providing her with more (material) wealth as she grows up, setting a work/study ethic example for her, and having a schedule that will allow me to be off on evenings and weekends once she is in her later school years.
The cons are financial (for a few years, although my workplace reimburses tuition up to 75%), and yet another time-sucker, what with clinicals and homework and an evening away from home. And also the fact that doing bullshit assignments sounds like hell. The world of academia can be so tedious and stressful. It's been awesome being out of it for 6 years now.
But I think that in the long-run, the short-term sacrifices will be worth it. I want to set an example to my daughter, that aiming high and working toward goals will get you far in life. Self-discipline and temporary sacrifice are tolerable to achieve your dreams.