Let me tell you a story…..

Once upon a time, there was a mum. She had four children – all girls. Unfortunately. her husband was unable to provide her with the magic y-sperm that would provide a penis-wielding human into the family. The mum was a little upset about this – because…. hormones. Specifically estrogen. She could foresee that monthly influxes of the stuff would wreak havoc.


Four years ago (ohmygosh – was it THAT long?), she figured it was time for a degree. She already had two-nearly degrees (Applied Science and Human Movement – many regrets we had about the ‘nearly’ part). She applied for a Bachelor of Nursing via Charles Darwin University. The course was online, and she figured that would make it a little more accessible, since she had four small-ish children (at that point, they were aged 3, 5, 8 and 10), to run around after calmly and soundly raise, and a Cyclonic husband that was working FIFO.

She was accepted into the Course two days after it started, (and one day post-appendectomy, looking at a five day stay in hospital on heavy antibiotics…), so was immediately flustered that she was behind before she started.

Three years of hard study ensued – as far as she was concerned “P’s DID NOT get degrees”, or her much coveted Grad position at The RCH; it was HD or nothing. No pressure. Fast forward to her last few months, and “applying for Grad year” time. Cue dramatic music. Being accepted into a Grad year is akin to finding a needle in a haystack There are many more applicants that positions, hence why she required HD’s – she wanted to give herself the best chance possible, as she felt she couldn’t get in based on her excellent ability to apply band-aids alone. She put in her application preferences, a local-ish hospital, and two ‘at least one-hour commute’ hospitals. Her dream position was at The RCH, even though the commute required a tent and packed lunch (almost). She figured that she couldn’t let a small matter like a commute hamper her career aspirations, and put The RCH into top spot, despite EVERY person she met saying “WOW – that’s a long way away”, or “How will you manage”, or, “will you move?, and other such positive messages of support. When she received news that she had been accepted into The RCH Grad program, her first thought was “how the **** will I manage?”, followed by tears of relief and copious amount of “yahoo-ing”!

Nursing requires shift work. AM (0700-1530hrs), PM (1330-2200hrs) or ND (2100-0730hrs). Add on a 1.5 hr commute in the car (sometimes up to three hour in peak hour on the way home), and her commitment was HUGE. The first week was outstanding exhausting. the second night of a three hour car drive home resulted in a teary phone call to her husband “I can’t do this anymore”. So – a plan was hatched – catch public transport. Unfortunately this required awaking at 0400hrs, in order to leave by 0415hrs. She was grateful that she didn’t require a face-full of make-up in order to present herself to public. The upside – an hour-long nap on the train on the way in, and a time to read or people watch nap on the way home. Perfect. Nursing shift-work also involves the dreaded ‘late-early’ (cue more dramatic music). Luckily for her, she has a glorious village of people that are more than happy for her to stay overnight. It’s a win win – warm bed ALL TO HERSELF, plus the added bonus of no children coming in at all hours, complaining of nightmares, or that their doona is untucked, or (here’s the pearler) NO snoring from the husband.

She loves late-earlies.

Six months in, it seems to be going well. She loves her job, and sees it as a chance to get away from her family, revels in the intellectual stimulation, whilst embracing the chance to be a NURSE, rather than a Mum. Don’t get the wrong idea, she LOVES being a mother, but sometimes, it is wonderful to be her own person, with other like-minded people and look after children whose growth and development she is not responsible for, who are always grateful for her presence,  who she can give back to their parents after using magic fun (plus a little medical knowledge) to heal them.

Although she loves her job, and her family – combining the two can make for some ‘shit-parenting’ – or at least she feels that way. Thankfully all of her children are warm, fed, clean(ish) and loved – so she figures that she must be doing something right. Oh- and she has this bloke called Wilbur who she is married to – he’s not a bad sort, and between them – well – it is mostly working.

Hence the SHI(F)T-working mum. See what I did there! Sometimes she’s is purely a shift-working mum. Other times – a shit-working mum. Either way – she has four kids that somehow are still alive, and well-mannered, and happy.

The end.

So – is that story familiar to anyone else? Maybe not the nurse bit – but surely the shi(f)t-working bit?

Whilst I can usually be found over at the a*muze*ing blog, where I chronicle fabulous photography, and life in general, I figured I had more to share. So here I am.

The shi(f)t-working mum.

Stick around – let’s do this.




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