Salimah Jones, MSN, APRN, FNP-c
My nursing career is definitely rewarding in so many ways. Being someone that has always wanted to help others and make a difference in the world, nursing has provided me with a fulfilling role that I am very proud of. So much so that I have had the opportunity and privilege to continue my education by earning advanced degrees, and I have held various leadership roles within a variety of healthcare settings. I truly can say that I love what I do, which I know is a blessing and not something every working professional can say.
Yet how can someone with so much success have so many moments of emptiness, and even dare I say it……..moments of regret? I have spent a significant part of my life “hustling and grinding”; trying to achieve that next level of success that would help me improve my life, and my family’s lives. So far it has worked fairly well. Today I own a home in a very affluent area, my kids are in amazing schools, I can afford to travel, have a nice car, wear expensive perfume, and place my kids in any activities they want to be in. My life is very comfortable. However if I could change one thing, it would be having more time with my kids.
I have three children. My 15 year old son is my world. He was with me right from the beginning when I didn’t have a dime to my name, and I was a recent college grad trying to find myself in the world. I look at him and I can’t believe all the time that has passed and I tear up when I think about him being an adult in three years.
My 11-year-old daughter is my heart. She has autism and is the sweetest child anyone could ask for. She’s so unique and brings so much joy and amusement to our family. She came right before I decided to change careers and pursue nursing. She is a big part of the reason I made the career change, as having a second child in my early 20s was quite scary. It was a wake up call that I needed to get myself together if I wanted my children to have more opportunities than I had. When I think about her as a baby and young child, there are moments that are so clear that I can remember just like they were yesterday, then other parts of her childhood that are blank. I know that part of this is because I started nursing school when she was just 8 months old. To this day I feel guilty that I wasn’t as present in her life during that time. I was devastated when we discovered she had autism before she turned two years old, and no matter how crazy the idea may sound, I still sometimes believe I did something (or didn’t do something) that could have triggered it.
My 3rd child is 23 months old, and is the diva and the boss of my house. She means a lot to me because she represents my opportunity to start over as a mom. I get to learn from all the mistakes I made and take advantage of enjoying her while she’s young. She is one of the biggest reasons I am struggling with this tug-of-war in my head. I’ve often contemplated abandoning my career and being a stay-at-home mom since she came into the world. This is not possible at the moment. Not if I want to maintain the lifestyle my family has become accustomed to that is……
Nothing in this world brings me more joy than my family…my husband and my three kids. I cherish every second of the day I get to spend with them. I often wonder if I made the right choices in my career and whether it was all worth it. Most of the time I come to the conclusion that it was. My kids are safe, well, behaved, and don’t want for anything. I just hope that they realize that all of the sacrifices, struggles, time away….. it was all for them.
I know that there are moms out there who are working or going to school that have “mommy guilt”, and I just want you all to know that you are not alone. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve dropped my daughter off at daycare, and I just want to turn right back around and get her. Even though I have much more time with her than I had with my older kids, the older and wiser me has realized that time waits for no one. I now know how important it is to have that balance in my life where I am still able to chase dreams, but also be present with my family. It is a daily struggle and I am definitely not perfect all the time. But as all things in life, we live and we learn.
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About the Author
Hi I’m Salimah Jones, I am a Family Nurse Practitioner, author, and Founder of The Nursing Guide, an online community dedicated to helping aspiring and current nurses overcome life’s challenges to achieve their professional goals. Coming from a disadvantaged background, and having experienced the struggles of pursuing a career while working and raising a family, I am now dedicated to helping others find ways to make their dreams a reality. I provide practical solutions to help those who are struggling with finances, learning difficulties, motivation, work-life-balance, or lack of a social support system. I want to show you how to conquer any challenge so that you can become your own success story. Please subscribe to this blog and don’t forget to sign up for your free membership on The Nursing Guide Website. Connect with me on twitter @salimahjones.