Saturday, June 1, 2013

I've Never Been a Hat Person

Since starting my big girl job 4 weeks ago after graduating and being work-ready 3 years ago, I've noticed a huge personal growth spurt happening within me. For the last year and a half, my primary job was that of being a mom and wife. Now I juggle motherhood, taking care of my man, and sustaining my family financially - I am changing the hat on my head constantly now!

And I've never been fond of hats.

I'm learning to, though. Any nurse will tell you about the importance (and the "easier said than done" reality of) keeping work at work. I never had a hard time separating my work life from my personal life, except for the occasional difficult situation I encountered; during my 6 years of nursing assistant work with hospice patients, I think my track record of keeping it separate is pretty good. I think it's even more important now than ever before to be able to do this, particularly since I work with the pediatric population now as an RN and I have a 18-month old at home. If I saw the face of my little boy in every child I cared for, every day, I might not make it through my first year of work!

Being able to switch hats is especially important at the homefront too. I noticed a huge disconnect between my little guy and I when I entered the work force 4 short weeks ago. The first 2 weeks were 5-day work weeks; going from being home every day to not being home much at all really confused his poor little mind! He was suddenly preferring to be with his dad, running to him when he was hurt or sad, and I have to admit that it really hurt my feelings. Since I've assumed my regular schedule of 3 days a week though, he has gotten over me being gone (thank goodness on my mom-heart!).

Being able to remove my nurse hat and put on my mom and wife hats as soon as I step through our front door is so vital, not just for me but for my guys. My little boy needs me to be his mom all the time, no matter how exhausted and sleep-deprived from working nightshift I am. My husband needs me to be his wife while juggling our son, not this woman who just came home from work and would give anything to have a quite moment to herself. And on the flipside, my patients need me to be their nurse, not a stranger who would rather be at home with her family.

Despite the many roles I now play in my one life, I am so grateful. I love that I am finally fulfilling my dream of working as a registered nurse and what's more, getting to care for children! I am over the moon that I have a husband who, at the drop of a hat, moved across the country so I could achieve my dream, overcome gender role "norms" to stay home with our little boy while I bend those same roles and become the breadwinner. And of course, after a long shift of wearing my nursing "hat" (figuratively, anyway) while taking care of sick kids who need Me the Nurse, coming home to my healthy and happy little guy who needs me to just be me is the greatest gift of all!

Saturday, May 18, 2013

And Here We Are!

We are two weeks into our new life here in the Midwest! Before we moved here, I heard many different things from various people (people who live out here, people who used to, etc.) about what it's like to live in the Midwest but what I gathered from what everyone told me was this: I'd figure it out when I got here! And while it's vastly different from California in every single sense, I am enjoying it so far and look forward to the years we spend here making a name for ourselves.

When I talk about where we now live vs. where we spend the majority of our time when we're out and about are actually several different places. We came out here with every intention of living in the state where I found a job - Iowa. When we started researching where to live, we discovered that the area we are in is actually a border town that also includes the southeastern most point of South Dakota and the Northeastern most point of Nebraska! So while I work, we play, and I will more often than not be referring to Iowa, we actually live in South Dakota (and may even enjoy some time out in Nebraska, like we did today).

My x-chromosome-folk are tucked safetly into bed as I listen to my second Midwest thunderstorm come down amongst the beautiful, full trees that have finally bloomed to life after the lingering cold. It's warm, SO warm, with summer pretty much here in a sense that I'm used to - apparently, it gets pretty muggy and humid here, which it is not yet. But the days are long and warm, the trees are beautiful, the grass green and growing without much help from umpteenth gallons of sprinkler water. It is so different here than in California!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Our Life, Temporarily Reduced to Boxes

We are up to our eyeballs (well, I am - Gary's 6'3" and I'm not stacking boxes that high) and full steam ahead in our cross-country move and so far, the experience has been only mildly heartbreaking. It must be from all the times my family and I moved when I was a kid, because this isn't the hardest part for me. In fact, it's pretty invigorating and liberating. Going through stuff I haven't seen in a while, getting rid of stuff I haven't used since our last move (which is basically my personal golden rule - 1 year and it's out!), making room for new stuff later on! We recently gave a bunch of stuff to Goodwill, but most of it was my old clothes and some baby items. Gary hardly gave anything away, so while packing up our bedroom I noticed much of the clothes are his. Hmm.

But anyway. We currently have a miniature city in our living room, with the stacked boxes for skyscrapers and everything else as... everything else. The hardest part about packing has been to remember not to pack everything up at once, since we started 2 weekends ago, and to also remember to pack for the trip. With Gary road-tripping it and me flying with the munchkin, we need to make sure we have everything we need for the actual trip(s) to getting to our final destination.

And then, there's the emotional component of such a massive move - this is the hardest part for me, by far. Leaving my family, my entire family; to follow my dream and carve a niche in this world comes at a price and that is physically removing myself and my small clan from my parent's life. They haven't said anything to me about it, but my grandma says she's never seen my father so stressed in his life. And to the few people she's talked to about it, my mom is saddened to see her grandson go. We all know it's extremely temporary, that Daniel won't remember this part of his life, and we'll be back here in California before we know it. This is something that my grandmothers had to endure time and time again with my parents moving us around; I don't think my mom ever thought she'd have to witness the same thing with me, but such is life.
I spent yesterday with my best girl friends, something I'm glad I got to do because I don't feel like I'm going to be able to bid everyone I know a proper fair well. I would have made time for them regardless, but it just sort of magically fell into place yesterday and I'm so thankful for it. Later on this week, I'll have dinner with other family members I didn't get to see last week or over the weekend. This coming Saturday, we will pack up all of our belongings and head down to San Diego; on Sunday, Gary and my brother will set out towards the Midwest and on Monday, my mom and I fly to Minneapolis to see my family. My aunt will be driving us down to Sioux City, again helping me out immensely and showing that it really does take a village to move even a small family.

By this time next week, I will be in the town I call home for at least the next 2 or 3 years.