As a Homeschooling Mom I’m Worried About My Child’s Socialization. Just Not Like You Think. 

There I sat with a group of other women, eating lunch, and conversing. Some of the women were very similar to me, and perhaps others were not, but we all had one thing in common. We had made the decision to homeschool our children. 

As I sat amongst a group of my peers pushing my salad across my plate I frequently glanced out the window at my daughter who ran around outside in a flurry of energy and excitement. As I watched her playing with about a dozen or so other homeschooled children I couldn’t help but notice how normal they looked. They were socializing, and it didn’t escape me that my kid was doing something so many people worried she wouldn’t be able to do. 

It’s true. Over the past year that I publicly began discussing my family’s decision to homeschool I had been met with quite a suprising number of people ready to offer me their reasons for why this wasn’t the best idea. And I was honestly taken aback by the number of people who had no personal involvement with my daughters, but were suddenly very opinionated about the direction of their educational journey. I often times wanted to interupt their strong, vocal stance to ask if they even knew my children’s names. 

Other than the concerns that I must be keeping my children in a cage, and only letting them out on Saturdays to help me sell homemade bread and honey to folks in town for supplemental income, there also seemed to be a prevalent worry from my well-meaning friends that my children would be social misfits in today’s world if I kept them chained up at the dining room table for school. 

“What about their socialization?!” people would ask. 

This very real concern for my daughters’ ability to interact with other humans was on the forefront of everyone’s mind, and as I watched her playing and interacting in a healthy manner with other kids her age I completely understood. 

You see, I was concerned about her socialization as well. And that’s why I decided to homeschool. 

Although it’s been twenty years ago I still remember what public school was like, and I also have the opportunity of being a stepparent to a child in the public school system. I have seen socialization at work, and it hasn’t changed that much. 

Name brand clothing is still given more importance than it should really hold, and somehow your ability to obtain these brands help you achieve a certain status symbol in the silly hierarchy that is popularity. What’s a popular brand has changed, but what it implies to you as a person has not. And if placing importance on what’s on the outside of a person rather the inside is a huge part of being socialized then I’m definitely worried about my kids. Like my own mother I refuse to spend irrational amounts of money on clothing for my children so they can be accepted in society, and if that’s what matters then I have a lot to be worried about for their socialization. 

Also from what I can see kids are still mean, and bullies still persist. Some people will say “kids will be kids,” and that children need to be bullied so they can learn to grow a tough skin and learn to stand up for themselves. But as a child who is lucky she didn’t commit suicide in high school related to bullying I’ll have to go ahead and disagree. I don’t think kids need to be forced to confront bullying at an age where they are so fragile and still learning their own self-worth. Rather I think parents need to teach their kids not to be cruel and sadistic, but I have no control over other people. But I do have control over my children’s environment. If being bullied is considered just a part of growing up then I have a major problem with socialization, and I’m worried. 

I am privy to youth today on social media, and if socialization means it’s important to gain as many “followers” as I can, and my opinion of my self is based on how many “likes” I receive then I’m beyond worried for what society is telling children is most important in life. 

When children are so distracted by trying to get a boyfriend or girlfriend at eleven years old because “all the other kids have one,” that they aren’t learning a thing in class then what’s the point anyway?

If you can’t manage to eat a healthy lunch because you’re worried that you’re not a size zero like the other girls then you have to wonder what false impressions society is giving to young ladies. If dressing sexy for class is on a pre-teen’s mind then how much thought is on class work anyway? With so much pressure to be pretty on the outside, and so little emphasis on being inwardly cool then I’m really worried about the direction socialization is taking for young girls like mine. I want to raise young women who base their worth on their heart, not their thigh gap. 

And I’m sure you can still teach young men and women in the public school system morals. I’m not saying you can’t. And some of the best influences I received in my life were from teachers I had in the public school system. But teachers can only do so much. The majority of the responsibility rests with parents, and sadly not all parents will send their children out to face the public like they should. That’s not judgement; it’s sad fact. 

Not everyone can homeschool, and not everyone should. Homeschooling is not better; it’s just what’s best for my family. And if there’s going to be a concern for my children’s socialization then my question is are you concerned about the socialization of your own children? You should be. All of us as parents should be. 

The world is changing, and the view of what’s important in life is often skewed. It’s negatively impacting the next generation. Am I sheltering my girls against this? You betcha I am! That’s my job. Because I’m worried about their socialization. And that’s why I choose to homeschool. So thank you for your concern, but I’m working on their socialization as we speak. 

My Husband is Like a Child

I watched from my perch on the couch as my large, man-child of a husband growled and wrestled with our children. I shook my head as they screamed and giggled like a bunch of kids, their own little play-date at my feet. 

My husband was like a child, and that’s all there was to it. 

When we first met at nineteen I could see it in him then, that childlike quality. He was a gangly, tall drink of water, with a smooth, young face, and a soft, shy demeanor that matched his gentle youthfulness. But he also liked to cut-up, and skated on the edge of youth rebellion. A child myself I was drawn to his energy and excitement. 

As I watched my now thirty-six year old husband frolic in the floor with people over three decades younger than himself I realized he wasn’t much different than he was when I first spotted him strumming a guitar. Not really. 

And as I sat at my elevated vantage point watching the animated action of the big kid and little kids below me I realized how things had evolved. Somehow along the way I had grown up, had become an adult, and changed. But my husband, he was the same. 

My husband was still like I child, and I knew that would never change. 

I watched him then hugging our eldest, and the smile that played upon his lips silently screamed the joy that emanated from his every pore. It was true; he loved others deeply, unharnessed by anything of this world, and his heart was gentle and kind. He loved unconditionally, like a child.

He forgave easily. He didn’t judge you forever based on a simple mistake, but instead took your apology to heart. He spoke honestly, and never simply told you what you wanted to hear, but rather gently offered what your heart truly needed to receive. 

As I watched the father of my children playing in the floor I was infected once again with his childlike innocence and pure heart. Somehow he always brought out the best of me, that little girl deep inside. And although my body was aging he managed to keep my heart and mind forever young. 

My husband was indeed like a child, but in the very best way possible. 

In a world full of cynicism and distrust I wondered if a bit of a childlike view of life wasn’t what we all were lacking. And although he covered our family with an immeasurable amount of strength and protection he also showered us with a zeal and wonder for our everyday, mundane walk. And although he provided for his family in every physical way imaginable he never neglected to provide our hearts with a fun-loving shower of affection. 

So as I watched my three hearts playing, the people for which my soul truly sang, I was blessed by the display of their interactions together. I was proud of the father I saw playing with his children, and I was proud of his own childlike heart. I knew I was blessed that he had never outgrown the innocence and kindness of the spirit God put within him. He had not allowed the world to take it away. 

My husband was like a child, and because of that my heart was blessed. He brought out the best in me, and for that I hoped that he never grew up. In fact I hoped I could be more like a child too. 

This is My Life: Typical Nursing Moments

I’ve been in this profession of nursing just long enough to feel like I should know what I’m doing, but a short enough span of time that I still have much to learn. About eleven years. And over this period of time I’ve come to learn what to expect, but also to realize I must expect the unexpected, or that things may never be what I expect. Make sense?

Point being, the field of nursing is a complex, multifaceted career, but even so there are a number of things I can learn that I will see more than once in my time. There are certain moments that occur in a nurse’s day, and you come to a point where you are rarely surprised, only occasionally shocked, and although sometimes still shaken, you recognize these moments as part of your vocation. They become typical nursing moments. As in “that’s typical!”

They are frequently exasperating, often anxiety-inducing, and most of the time pretty gross. 

This is my life. 

  • That moment when you try to no avail to tell your patient something very important about their care all day, then suddenly the doctor comes in and says the same thing, and it’s instantly the most profound statement they’ve ever heard. 
  • That moment when you decide to take your lunch break, and suddenly all your patients have to use the bathroom. Or projectile vomit. 
  • That moment when you’ve awaited with bated breath the arrival of a physician so you can pass along important patient information, and they come through in the two minutes you decide to leave the floor. 
  • That moment when you have had the worst day ever, but the end of your shift has finally arrived. Then you realize your relief is running late. 
  • That moment of childlike excitement when you wake and see the ground covered in snow. And then the sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach when you realize nurses don’t get snow days. 
  • That moment when you don’t feel your best, but decide you’re not sick enough to call in to work. And then you receive the worst, craziest patient assignment of your entire career. 
  • That moment that follows a stretch of continuous days off when you suddenly realize you have to go back. And work four twelves. 
  • That moment you have to change scrubs due to someone else’s bowel evacuation. 

  • That moment when you have to get up a patient three times your size, it’s the first time they’ve been out of bed in a week, and suddenly errbody is busy. Like it’s a ghost town out there. 
  • That moment when the doctor arrives to the room, and the patient who has been voicing multiple, minor complaints all morning suddenly answers “everything is great” when questioned by the physician. 
  • That moment where your gloved hands become soiled, and then your nose decides to itch the most it ever has in your whole life. 
  • That moment when you decide you must have the best patient in the entire unit, and then the doctor puts in orders for them to transfer. 
  • That moment when you’re helping to turn a coworker’s patient, and you suddenly feel something warm and wet on your bare skin. 
  • That moment when you get the test results back that imply your patient should be on strict, airborne precautions, and you think about all the time you spent unmasked in their room the day before. 
  • That moment when a coworker utters the word “quiet,” and you know all too well the feces storm that will ensue after. 
  • That moment when you get discharge orders for one patient, and the ER is already calling to give report on the other patient who will go to that room. And usually this will occur during lunch or right before change of shift. 
  • That moment when assignments are given out, and you realize you drew the short straw. 
  • That moment when your patient says “something doesn’t feel right.”
  • That moment when you realize you just flushed a central line port that was full of a vasodilator. (You might need to change your scrubs again).
  • That moment when the family of your post-op day two, suddenly confused patient admit, “well, he drinks a little.”
  • That moment when you sit back down to your computer after being called away for an emergency, and you realize that all the previous data you entered on the assessment screen was not saved and is lost forever. 
  • That moment when the physician orders a bowel prep for your GI bleed patient. 
  • The moment when you realize you’ve been assigned the patient of that physician. 
  • That moment when you discharge your frequent flyer, and hear the same day they are back in the ER. 
  • The moment you receive a new, “stable” admit and it crashes immediately, or an “emergent” transfer from MedSurg, and they’re suddenly cured. 
  • That moment where you have a really bad day, and feel like you’ll never know all there is to know. And that’s okay. 

It’s okay because it’s true, and although there are typical moments of nursing, those moments that you anticipate and get used to seeing, it’s still a foreign world at times. Maybe that’s what keeps it exciting. For sure most of the time you will feel like you’re living Murphy’s Law! Either way whether a typical day, a foreign one, or a Murphy’s Law kind of day it’s really what you make it. And I try to make each one count. 

I try to impact lives positively. Even if I’m covered in poo. I try to remember all the things I love about the job, the moments that make me proud to be called a nurse. They’re pretty typical too, but always in an encouraging and enjoyable way. 

To the Christian Who Gives Us All a Bad Name

Dear Christian,

I almost hate to use that term, Christian, simply because of the negative connotations it receives in today’s society. Christians are seen as judgmental, condescending, or “holier than thou.” They aren’t usually described as great lovers of all mankind, but I wish they could be. 

As it stands some Christians are partially, if not completely responsible for any poor reputation that the religion may have, and that’s why I write to you now. Although you cannot change the opinion of all, my hope is that you would overall desire to be a light to those you encounter. To give Christianity a good name. 

I normally try to keep my mouth shut, to stay positive. I always desire to speak encouragement, but sometimes I just have to speak up for truth. Like now. 

You see, my friend, you are wrong. You are failing, and though Christians, and people in general struggle all the time, all over the world, that fact doesn’t excuse your behavior. The problem is you’re making it worse. You’re making people flounder more, and I’m afraid your actions might actually be a stumbling block to those around you. 

I’ll try to explain. You see, it’s your take on those around you, your view of others that’s causing a ruckus. And though it might not be your intention, I would like you to open your eyes to the way you are making others struggle. In fact, you’re giving Christianity a bad rep. 

When you speak out of emotion, without forethought, your words likely end up being a weapon. They cut, and they wound. 

And though you might speak sometimes with a justified, righteous anger, I would ask you to weigh the purpose of your words. If they are only serving your own hurt feelings then you are wrong. 

If you find yourself speaking ill of another, especially a stranger then it really only paints you in a bad light. If you make fun of someone because they’re not as pretty, smart, or well-off as yourself then you speak vainly. And you only serve self, with the added bonus of making Christians appear cruel, like a bully on the playground of life. 

If you find yourself speaking judgement publicly, or even privately, without the purpose of helping the person who has fallen short then you are a disgrace to the family of Christ. Has He not instructed us all on judgment?

If you point out the indiscretion of another I want you to look inside yourself and ask “for what purpose am I bringing this to light?” Is it simply to make yourself feel more holy?!

Have you forgotten the pit of sin and despair from which Christ rescued you?

Are you yourself without sin?

I wonder do your words build up the body of Christ, or bring them down?

Do your words cause people who do not know Jesus to want to learn more? If your words don’t draw people to Him then you need to learn a new language. A love language. 

More importantly, do your actions replicate the words that pour out of your mouth? Do you both speak kindness and treat others kindly?

You cannot preach love for your fellow man, but then turn your back on them when they need you the most. 

Are you consistent? Are you always “in Christ,” or only when it’s convenient? When people see you do they see Jesus, or do they see a hypocrite?

Are your words and your actions seasoned with love? Would someone in trouble feel confident to come to you for help? Or would they fear your condemnation?

What about your gossiping? Guilty, huh? Really, what purpose does it serve? About as much as making fun of someone I would guess. 

Is Satan using you to defile the family name?

And though the world may expect our perfection that can never be (as only The Lord is perfect), should we not strive anyway to be the best we can be for His sake?

Does this step on your toes? Does it hit a little too close to home? Does it convict your heart? 

I hope so. 

Because I see you. I see you every day. When I look in the mirror, you look back. You are me, and sometimes we fail. Sometimes we give Christianity a bad name, and we push people away from God’s open arms. 

Phillipians 3:12-14

12 Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

want you to know this, though. God loves you anyway, but He desires more of His child than what you currently represent. Don’t give up simply because you have messed up. Instead use it as a catalyst for change, a source of encouragement so you may then encourage others. 

After all, that’s why we’re here. 


Your Concerned Self

How a White & Gold, I Mean Blue & Black Dress Ruined My Life

It’s funny to me how you can get comfortable in your own little existence. You take for granted how simple life is, and when confronted with the complexities and intricacies of factors outside of your control you can really be rocked to the core. And so it has been in the last 24 hours for me. 

I was innocently enjoying a quiet evening at home, mindlessly scrolling through my Facebook feed when I was first intruded upon by the wolf in sheep’s clothing, this seemingly innocent post that would end up causing me to question everything I thought I knew about life. 

At first I ignored it in my hurried perusal of social media, this picture of an atrocious fashion faux pas. I mean seriously, I was too busy looking for hilarious videos of laughing babies to pause in my scroll for a hideous dress. But it wouldn’t stop there. It couldn’t be that easy. 

Suddenly my visual field was assaulted by repeated images of a linen and lace garment, and try as I might to resist it’s pull I was unsuccessful. After all a human can only avoid temptation for so long, and the obvious interest exhibited by others convinced me that a deeper look into the mystery of the dress was warranted. It was seriously shared by all my friends; I was kinda powerless at that point. 

So I fell for the bait, and oh my did I fall hard. It was obvious to me right away that the dress was white and gold, but I’ll admit my intrigue that other friends were strongly certain it was blue and black. I was dumbfounded.  Were they blind?!!

I was reeled into comment threads, wondering how in the world it could be two things at once, and I ingested the conspiracy theories of others like a ravenous dog. I had to know how it did it!

When my husband came home naturally I was on the edge of my seat eager to display this fascinating phenomenon to the man I loved, but it would be at this moment when my world started to crumble underneath me. 

He thought it was blue and black. 

How could he? I wondered. I couldn’t fathom how the man I trusted with my heart could betray me on such a personal level. I couldn’t understand why he couldn’t see things my way! And worse yet, when I told him I saw white and gold he scoffed, “what are you crazy?”

I struggled to understand how my life could be crumbling right in front of my light-sensitive eyes, and I grappled for someone, anyone to support me in this clothing/optical dilemma. I reached hungrily for the only person I could find. My four year old. 

“What color is this dress baby?” I asked my loving offspring. 

Her answer pierced my heart like a saber, “it’s blue and black.”

My cruel spouse laughed manically, and his insensitivity turned the sword deeper into my soul. I lashed out, “she doesn’t even know her colors that well!” But inside I felt fear eating away at me. What was wrong with my child?! It was white and gold; why couldn’t they see?! I waged war with the inner turmoil of my soul. 

I tried to let it go. It was the only thing I knew to do in my pain and feelings of betrayal, but it was impossible. Everywhere the pictures of this evil dress prevailed, and just when I didn’t think it could get any worse; it did. 

My soul weeps with the memory. 

I’m still uncertain of what evil witchery brought this to pass, but suddenly I began to question self. Everything I ever thought I knew was proving false. I felt as if life as I knew it had been altered, convoluted, and then flashed maliciously before my very eyes. 

Suddenly, without explanation, every image I saw of this awful dress was blue and black. It was blue and black I tell you!

It was a cruel awakening to which I was ill prepared, and the idea that life could change so quickly and unexpectedly filled me with a sense of insecurity. If this could happen, then what of the rest of my life that seemed so certain. 

I wondered, what if the world is really flat? In my hurt and confusion I asked myself, did we really walk on the moon? Was it all smoke and mirrors, an optical illusion, a trick of the mind?!

Honestly, I’m still reeling from it all. Being alone isn’t helping any. Following our heated argument my husband packed a bag and left. He even took the girls, stating, “if you can’t admit it’s blue and black then how can I trust you with our children?!”

He’s right, I suppose, and as I sit here in the corner, naked, unbathed, and rocking back and forth I continue to question my sanity. I’m frightened by the voices I hear whispering, blue, black, white, gold, and then I realize the utterings are coming from me. 

I wish I could unsee that terrible dress, but alas I cannot. It haunts me still. 

Blue, black, white, gold. 

When the Going Gets Tough Where Do I Go?

In a short lifetime so far lived I’ve discovered many things along the way, and some I’m still working on. I’ve learned that life hurts, and I’ve learned that things happen along the way, things you don’t plan and things that don’t go according to plan. 

I’ve realized that you don’t always get what you want, and certainly not when you want it. I’ve discovered that bad things happen to good people, and that sometimes good people do bad things. 

I’ve learned that words are easily spoken, but harder to unspeak. I’ve realized that not all dreams come true, and sometimes the path you walk in life is littered with sharp stones that scrape the bottom of your tired feet. 

I’ve come to understand that I don’t have control over all the circumstances in my life, but that I do have more control than I sometimes think. I’ve discovered that I will mess this up sometimes. More than I care to admit. 

I’ve also learned that out of all the things I cannot control, and all the many circumstances I cannot change, that there is one thing I contine to do that makes it worse. And even as I know that I know it does no good I still cannot always keep my heart from worrying about my future, or the future of my family. I worry. 

I worry about money, and sickness, and accidents too. I worry about the things I say or the things I do. I even worry about the things I do not say, or the things I fail to do. 

I worry about situations beyond my control even as I tell myself not to be concerned. Even as I know my frantic worry cannot, or will not change the outcome of my life, for some reason I fall head first into the worry pit. Time after time. 

When the going gets tough I fall short, and I suppose accepting that is the first step to change. When I cannot see a way it is usually because I am blinded by my own tears, and in my own fruitless struggle with inner self I fall flat. 

Psalm 55:22

Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken.

They say worry doesn’t change anything, but I think it does. I think it makes my problems seem bigger in my eyes. I think it separates me from the love of my Father. I think that somehow in my worry I forget to trust, and my faith suffers. I know my mood certainly does. 

It’s easy to trust God when everything is going right, and it’s easy to lean on His understanding when you get what you desire out of life. It’s a bit harder when the road is rough, but I think it’s in these times I can benefit most from taking shelter in His arms. 

Lord forgive me when I forget you hold my life in your hand, when I worry about what comes next. Forgive me when I forget your character, and that you have only the best at heart for me and mine. 

As always I am a work in progress. Thank you for your patience. 

Conversations With a Four Year Old

I always knew I would want kids one day. I figured what better way to have someone bring me a soda from the fridge or take care of me as I got older. I figured I’d love on them so much that they never wanted to put me in a nursing home, and was eager to have someone else who could change the catbox. 

I was in for a suprise when my first baby came out requiring so much attention, and she never once offered to wash her own bottles or onsies. If anything she just demanded more for me to do, and she couldn’t even ask with words. She just cried. And cried. Then she cried some more. 

But fast forward a couple of years and she discovered what words were. In fact she used a lot of them, and I found out an extra little something I never bargained for with parenting. The conversation. She started talking and she hasn’t stopped since. My baby girl is now four, and I am daily amazed at the stuff that comes out of her mouth. I started keeping a record, and decided to share her wisdom with the world. You’re welcome.

  •  Spoken with pride, “Guess what Mom? On my next birthday I’m gonna be a whole hand.”
  • While watching television a commercial for the NoNo hair removal system came on. My four year old grabbed my head, directing my attention from my phone to the TV, and said, “Mom, I think you of all people really need to see this!” 
  • Out of nowhere, “When I grow up I wanna be a ballerina, a pizza maker, a hair cutter, a dentist, and a rocking star. Oh, and a kid too.” Yes, we can’t forget that one. 
  • Very matter of fact, “It’s never too early to start preparing for kindergarten.”
  • When discussing our neighbor who lives across the street, “I want to marry Luke cause he’s not my cousin.”
  • She runs quickly into the kitchen and asks, “Are you eighteen years or older? I’m looking for somebody to order me a Snuggie.”
  • When I asked her if she wanted a sister or a brother when/if I got pregnant again. “A boy. Every dog needs a boy.” Unplussed I asked her, “What should we name him? To which she quickly replied, “Robbie. But if it’s a girl then name her Whisper.”
  • On the subject of technology. “People don’t call them iPads anymore Mom! They’re tablets.” 
  • Sometimes she’s a little emotional like her mom. Yesterday she cried in the public restroom because the air dryer did not completely dry her hands. I can relate. 
  • But she knows what she wants out of life. “I don’t like princesses anymore. I like ponies now. Cause I’m four.”
  • And she’s aware of her interests and hobbies. I asked in exasperation the other day, “is aggravating your sister your favorite thing or something?!” Without missing a beat she replied, “No. My favorite thing is watching girls open Easter eggs.”
  • On the subject of future goals. “Does dentist college take longer than haircutter college?”
  • She knows how to build my confidence. When I walked into the room after getting ready, “Hey Mom, you may wanna go look in the mirror and see if anything is outta place.” 
  • She’s always got the best ideas for what to do. “On our next holiday can we go dig for dinosaur bones?”
  • On the subject of death and dying. “When I grow up can you give me your van before you die?” 
  • On the way to church last night she thought to grab her own cup, and when I noticed this she replied, “Yeah, I figured you’d need me to get my own drink. I know when we get to church you’ll be too busy playing with your Bible.”
  • Upon waking she asked me, “Mom, did Dad bring home pizza last night?” I answered, “No. Remember we had chicken?” Perplexed she mused, “Then why does my breath smell like I ate pizza?”
  • Her little sister is in her terrible twos. This morning she was full-on, falling apart mode, and being a great parent I opted for bribery. I asked pleasantly, “Who wants to go to McDonald’s?” And I asked the toddler, “What do you want from Donald’s house?” But before she could reply my four year old answered for her. “She wants a Whiny Meal.”
  • After I explain to her, “I know! It was like that when I was a kid too!” She responds, “Well, that was so long ago I thought maybe you forgot.”

Yep, there’s definitely never a dull moment around here. Not a quiet one either. Lucky for me the youngest one has started to really converse too, so I’ll always have entertainment if the power goes out. Plus the four year old can get me a Diet Coke from the kitchen now whenever I ask. So really it’s a win, win for me any way you look at it. 

Mean People Become Nurses

Considering the fact that I frequently share my thoughts on the field of nursing I am privy to the opinion of many on this subject. Too often I am made aware of a stranger’s bad experience with a nurse, and many times as I go over their story I am confused. I want to ask “who is this person you’re describing,” and perhaps even, “what do you think this has to do with me?!”

My reaction comes in this form because although they’re directing their comments toward the field I have come to love they are not describing what it means to be a nurse in my eyes. Usually when I become aware of the behavior they describe I think that’s not a nurse. That’s just a really mean individual.

You see, the fact remains that mean people become nurses, and even though I too am a nurse I cannot change this. The world is full of hateful, spiteful, noncaring individuals. And sadly sometimes those folks become nurses. They also become doctors, bankers, waiters, and your child’s principal. 

The problem is that too often people will take a bad experience they have and they will use this situation with which to compare all future encounters. They’ll take this mean person, this bad egg, and they’ll allow it to distort their future view of anyone relatable. A bad experience with a nurse becomes the basis with which you judge all future encounters with health care professionals. It’s like you’re just waiting for the other shoe to drop, and you’re anticipating a noncompassionate comment at any moment. 

A bad hospital stay will convince you that the organization as a whole is flawed. A grumpy employee will convince you that no one in employment at said facility gives a hoot about you or your family. 

An encounter with a judgmental person who just so happens to describe themself with the term “Christian” will convince you that all followers of Christ are close-minded people incapable of unconditional love. 

There’s a chance for you to encounter a great friend in the church or an awesome ally in healthcare, but you will miss the opportunity. You’ll allow it to pass you by because you have allowed one or two bad apples to ruin the barrel. How sad for you, and for the caring individuals who exist out there. 

There’s also the very real fact that sometimes everyone has a bad day. It’s not an excuse for bad behavior, but I think each of us can admit to being less than our best every once and a while due to personal situations beyond our control that creep into our day. But I certainly won’t let my encounter with a rude sales associate keep me from buying more shoes. I mean, I love shoes. 

It’s true; mean people become nurses. They also become lawyers, policemen, and the checker at the local Walmart. Not everyone who enters healthcare has the gift of compassion, and not every teacher has patience with children. Not every preacher or priest is kind. And not every patient is realistic of the care that is being provided to them. Not all customers expect to be treated equally; some desire to be treated like a god. Yet even as a bad customer you’ll still receive stellar service, and perhaps that’s the bigger inequality of them all. 

I have encountered many mean people over my short thirty-seven years on this earth, yet I decided long ago to not focus on the bad, but rather to embrace the good. I’ve had more than my fair share of mean patients, but I don’t allow that to prevent me from opening my arms to the many, great patients and their families that exist out there. 

Mean people become nurses, but I don’t let that make me mean too. I don’t throw out the baby with the bath water or even assume that all lawyers are crooked, all Christians are hypocrites, or all patients are unrealistic in their expectations of my duties. Wouldn’t that make life miserable?

I would encourage anyone out there who has had the misfortune of meeting a mean person, be it a nurse or a nun, to not lump the good folks in on that unfortunate experience, but instead to open your heart and mind to all the nice people. We’re here too, and when you judge us based on our coworkers it tends to make you look like the mean one. Just saying. 

7 Ways the Joy of Co-sleeping Has Brought My Family Closer Than We Could Have Ever Imagined

This morning I heard the cries of my toddler, and try as I might to pretend it was a dream, there was no way I could ignore the pitiful pleas of “Momma, Momma.” So I waited for a bit, then I pried my tired eyes partially open, and I stumbled like a drunk to her room.

Once there I scooped up her sweet, little self, and almost immediately she closed her eyes. But I knew it was just a ruse. I knew if I tried to put her back down she would awaken again, and there would be no sleep for anyone. So I carried her back to my bed, satisfied with my cleverness.

This was how her big sister found her way into our bed, and there she lay still. Four years old, about 6’5″, or so it felt, and she had been sleeping with us from day one.

When she was just a newborn I placed her between us, my husband and I, and there she had dreamed happily each night since. As a new mom I was comforted by the sound of her rhythmic breathing, and she was always close for middle of the night feedings. It couldn’t have been more perfect.

As I held my squirming toddler safely snuggled in my tingling (from lack of circulation) arm, and woke frequently due to her well-placed punches I was reminded what a great fit this form of shared sleep arrangement was for our brood.

Co-sleeping, that’s what the experts called it, and it just seemed like it was made for our little family. I’m so pleased we started this experience years ago. We love it, and here’s why.

1. You get the best sleep. It’s so much easier to sleep soundly when a tiny human rests beside you. You don’t ever flinch awake at the tiniest of sounds, and there’s zero fear of them rolling off the bed, or you squishing them.

2. It’s super comfortable. Nothing says comfort like a foot in the ribs, or a well-placed slap across the face. As children get older they roll around less, and you hardly notice their gangly legs as they connect harshly with your privates.

3. Spousal intimacy is at an all-time high. You can really get creative when you co-sleep, and it brings out the ingenuity in both spouses. When faced with having marital relations outside of the typical, boring bed you get to experience the adventure of intimacy in unexpected places. Who knew the living room floor was so comfortable? Was that a Barbie hand in my back?!

4. The more kids, the easier. After our second child was born we were able to experience the excitement of co-sleeping with more than just one kid. Never mind worrying about your husband rolling over on the baby. Now you can try to keep the preschooler’s knee from connecting with your infant’s head. This doesn’t make you getting any rest difficult at all.

5. You can easily remove them from your bed. That’s the wonderful thing about co-sleeping. You aren’t stuck with it once you start. You won’t end up with a four year old who refuses to sleep in her own, cool, new bed you bought. Basically you can decide to throw your kids out of your bed at any time, and they won’t even kick up a fuss about it. They’ll completely acclimate to sleeping alone.

6. There’s plenty of room in one bed. I’m always pleasantly surprised how little room kiddos take up in a queen-sized bed. I think it’s because they usually lay in only one spot, never deviating from their favored position, and they always lay vertically. Never horizontal.

I’ve discovered over the past, continuous, and restful four years of co-sleeping that I very rarely end up hanging to the edge of the bed, fighting to not fall off while little people push closer and closer into the bend of my aching back. I see no problem having room for another one or two children the way things are going now. I mean king-sized beds are so overrated.

7. Body fluids. I don’t even know why I’m mentioning this. I’ve certainly never woken up covered in spit-up or urine. The cool thing is if you co-sleep with your kids they don’t wet the bed, diapers never leak, and they’re immune to stomach viruses. Isn’t that wonderful? I hardly wash my sheets at all!

As you read over my lucky seven reasons why we love co-sleeping I’m sure you can see why so many parents choose this arrangement for their family. But I can tell you this; even if I wasn’t blessed with these wonderful reasons to continue our sleep journey I probably wouldn’t change a thing.

Despite all the joy of a great night’s sleep I don’t guess anything can compare to the feeling in my heart when my babies are close. No well-placed kick can compare to the contentment we have as a family sleeping together, and that’s why we keep doing it. Somehow, all these things have brought us closer together, figuratively and literally, as a family. And it’s that joy that keeps us bringing them back to our bed.

What Every Nurse Absolutely Needs

I have the privilege of being a critical care nurse, but I’m a little different from some of my intensive care cohorts. For example, I don’t necessary get a thrill from the adrenaline rush of a medical crisis. I mean, no one likes disorganized chaos, but many of the fabulous nurses I’ve worked with in my career get a kick out of emergency medicine. They love getting a big ole mess, and then fixing it right up. And I’ll admit I love the fixing part as much as the next guy, but when the feces hits the fan I’m typically less than thrilled.

I like order. I like knowing what’s going to happen, and I enjoy being able to anticipate my next move to reach a satisfiable resolution for the problem at hand. An ordered environment is a rare one in critical care, yet for some reason I’ve stuck around. Perhaps there’s a part of me that does love the excitement of Murphy’s Law played out at the bedside, and this woman knows deep down that if it can happen it will. Maybe it’s this knowledge that most likely a smiling patient can crash hard in a moment’s notice, and in that realization I’m always ready, but I somehow think there’s more to it. I think there’s more than the hard-earned experience in the setting that keeps me there. And without this one thing I think I would have surrendered long ago and taken a less stressful position elsewhere.

Many times when I stand in the hot shower spray before work I feel a sense of dread in the pit of my stomach. I enjoy my job, I do, but there’s always that nagging concern of just what might be awaiting me when I arrive. There’s always the element of unknown, and the very real worry of if I will handle it in the best way possible. Whatever the crisis may be.

The truth is that no matter how amazing of a nurse you may be there will always come a situation in your career that is more than you can handle. No matter how brilliant, skillful, and calm you are the fact is that you are human. You only have two hands, and you are limited by the constraints of space and time. What I mean is that you can only think, and then react and move so fast. Any nurse will tell you that when stuff goes down it happens with a quickness. You’ll never be fast enough, smart enough, or skilled enough to do everything right, to anticipate every negative occurrence, or prevent every descent into a worsening situation.

In fact, there’s so much that can go wrong, and such a small allowable area for error that it’s a wonder anyone does this job. And in reality the only saving grace is the very real truth that you do not have to face these situations alone. If it were not for the rescue crew of my capable team I could not continue my fight at the critical care bedside.

I don’t know if I’m getting old and that makes the thrill less excitable, and instead more stressful, or if it’s just the years of the reality of how quickly things can go south. Regardless I don’t like that element of unknown. I don’t desire to have the sickest patients on the unit. I’m never eager for the arrival of a hot mess from the ER. I love critical care, but critical patients make me feel uneasy. I sometimes wonder if I’m crazy for hanging around, but then I can’t imagine being anywhere else. But I do know one thing for certain. I could never continue in the field of critical care if I had to do it all by myself. I would belly flop in defeat.

Thankfully the reality is that I am not alone. When I finally hop out of the shower in the mornings it’s the fact of the crew that is headed there too that adds a pep to my step. It’s the smiling, laughing faces of my dependable team that puts my heart and mind at ease for the unknown emergencies that will accompany my day. I could not do what I do without them, and for their presence I am grateful beyond what words can say.

No nurse can ever go at it alone, and thankfully they don’t have to. Every nurse is only as good as his/her team, and the outcome of any bad situation is usually determined by the cohesion of said team. A solid, fluid team can make miracles happen. It can also make a bad day turn good. Plus it helps make going to work a ton easier when you know folks have your back. No one can bear the weight of life and death alone.

So to all of my fabulous teammates out there, past and present, I say thank you. Sincerely. I could not do this crazy, chaotic career without you. I may not say it enough, but you are the backbone of the profession. You embody as a team what every nurse absolutely needs to survive this wild field we have chosen. You are the reason the profession of nursing continues. When the going gets tough so do you, and I can’t imagine a shift without you by my side.

See you soon.