Many moms ignore their own interests because they are too busy tending to the needs of their kids, their boss, their house and more. That can lead to dissatisfaction and stress that can turn to anger or frustration at home or work. But you can find a way to bring those activities that you once loved back into your life.
Amy Zebala is a nurse who figured out a way to reclaim her passion that got lost after having a baby nearly a year ago. I met Amy at a county fair while doing interviews for my Working Mom Warrior YouTube channel, and she agreed to share the joys and struggles of juggling motherhood and career.
Amy works overnight as a third-shift nurse and cares for two kids all day. She said she sometimes resents her job because of all the demands on her energy. “With nursing, you’re giving all your time, effort and emotions to your kids, and yet you’re still giving all your time, effort and emotions to your patients as well as the patient’s family. You never have time to just decompress; you never have time to turn your brain off because you’re always taking care of somebody all the time,” Amy told me.
While spending so much time caring for others, Amy didn’t realize the potential distress she faced by not making time for herself. She cares for the terminally ill and their loved ones as a full-time hospice nurse all night and then takes care of her 10-month-old daughter and 1-year-old niece all day. Amy admitted that forgetting to nurture yourself can lead to dangerous stress.
“I work 5 p.m. to 8 in the morning. I’m an on-call nurse at night, so sometimes I go out at night, and sometimes I don’t. I work all night, and then I take care of the girls during the day.” When I asked how she squeezes in sleep, Amy said: “It depends on the day. Some nights are really bad, and then there’s other nights where I do get a couple hours of sleep. I kind of just try to nap when they nap. It was a struggle (in the beginning) trying to figure out how to manage my sleep schedule. It’s definitely a challenge.”
Since her baby came along, Amy realizes she’s missing a passion in her life that used to bring her excitement and stress relief. She said “the biggest thing” in her life that has gotten lost since becoming a working mom “was every Friday night we used to have a game night with our friends, and we haven’t had game night like that since before the baby was born.”
Amy said she can’t reduce her work schedule because her family needs her income for the mortgage, vacations and all the places she wants to bring her daughter and her niece. “I don’t want to just sit at home and have them sit in front of the TV or sit in front of a tablet. I want them to experience life and be able to go out and do things. But of course being able to do that costs money.”
If Amy keeps up her pace of barely sleeping and never finding time in her life for the things that were meaningful to her before she became a mom, Amy’s in danger of harming her health or her happiness, which could impact her family. But she hasn’t made a change because of “that mom guilt, like: It’s my child; I should be taking care of them.”
Amy knows she would benefit from renewing her weekly game nights that were filled with a fun, social and creative fantasy activity that bonded her group of friends. “Actually, we had a Dungeons & Dragons group, which is a lot of fun.”
I was thrilled Amy revealed the part of her life that’s missing, because that’s the first step to reclaiming it. It doesn’t matter what it is; it’s different for all of us. What matters is how it makes her feel. She admitted that she would really benefit by getting back to her fantasy game play, “especially after the whole 10 months” of caring for her baby and her niece. “I’m hitting that point where I definitely need a break.”
But Amy didn’t know how to find time for D&D in her new life as a working mom until she opened herself up to some new solutions, like getting a babysitter. She admitted she has never hired a babysitter to watch her daughter.
“I’ve never actually paid anybody, but I have my mother-in-law, which we need to utilize more because she is definitely willing to watch the girls,” Amy told me. “So it’s like we just have to call her up and actually say, Can you watch her this date, so we can go do a date night or we can go hang out with friends?”
I am so glad Amy is ready to take that next step to reach out for some babysitting help to make time for her game night again, because we can all be better moms when we have things in our life that get us exhilarated and let us forget about the stress of kids and job and housework, even for a short time.
I also have something that relieves my stress away from my family. I host pub trivia — which gets me out of the house once a week to socialize and have fun on the microphone entertaining a lively group of regulars and newcomers (and I make a little extra money doing it, too).
For more tips and inspiration about how to find work life balance while juggling career and kids, subscribe to my Working Mom Warrior YouTube channel here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCxg1_TTFJHgJhNh5ad2vnAA?sub_confirmation=1
My channel shares wisdom from many working moms of all different backgrounds. I am a journalist who sets out every week to interview a new group of working mothers to find out how they are coping with the challenges of nurturing their children and their own aspirations, so you can relate to their struggles and learn from their successes and failures. I am creating a tribe of overachieving moms who can share their victories and their disasters without worry of being judged, to help all of us realize we’re not alone in our flaws, our worries and our gifts.
What do you have in your life that brings you exhilaration and stress relief away from the kids?
How do you find time for it?
What question would you ask a group of working moms?
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