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!