Where I am working, I did two weeks of formal, classroom orientation to employment at this hospital. For those two weeks, I worked full-time, and frankly I nearly rethought my decision to go back to work. Since then, I have been orienting in a preceptorship situation. I follow another nurse and work side by side with her. She signed off on my nursing skills (and actually she signed off on those within two weeks of my getting to the unit) but continues to monitor me and mentor me.
I don't know if I like this part of the training per se. Once I acclimated to the unit and their procedures and protocals, I much prefer simply being allowed to work and ask questions myself. However, my opinion was not asked nor sought out and I have no choice.
The ONE thing I was able to do was negotiate my work hours in this time period. Normally, this part of training is still done full-time. However, I had a personal connection the manager of this department and I had called her personally to inquire about the job before I applied for it. I had asked her then if it would be possible for me to work no more than three days per week after the initial company-wide orientation of two weeks. She hired me with that agreement in place. Not all of my co-workers were happy about this. In fact, one of them was quite bitter. I suspect the fact that she was just hired in August and required to do two full months of full-time hours before being permitted to drop down to the part-time position has much to do with her hostility. I didn't negotiate my orientation to upset, nor to humor anyone else. I did so because while I made this choice to work and keep my children's lives stable, I couldn't do two months of full-time work, or I would fail to keep their lives stable on that front instead.
I started my job first of November and I have two weeks left of my preceptorship before I formally, officially, come off orientation. Thye are intending to continue me for three more weeks of 3-8 hour shifts and as a third nurse in the unit instead of merely one of two. However, I will NOT be orienting and thus will not require permission to breath.
This orientation has kicked me in the rear-end. First, I have been reminded of why I left nursing, why the rumor is that nurses eat their own. I have had to adjust to being out of communication with my family at work, difficult to reach even in the case of an emergency. I have adjusted to the work hours, to the idea that II must to the bulk of the on-call and afterschool parenting on the days I work, which is three days per week still at the moment.
This week and next week, the scheduler gave me a precious gift. She scheduled me to work Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday of this week....and Wednesday, Thursday, Friday of next week. I have six precious days off with my children for Christmas. I honestly nearly cried when she did it for me. I didn't ask for it. I had hoped to have Chistmas Eve off but assumed I might not even have that necessarily.
I took J to the dentist to repair some badly decaying teeth yesterday. He was supposed to have them repaired in February, the second time Micah went inpatient. We moved the next month. Getting him to a dentist here took three months. That appointment fell as Micah was dying. Getting it rescheduled took another three months. Incredibly, the wait time to get the actual repair work done was another three months! I started with the family dentist we all see but they wanted to do 3 year old pulpectomy with nothing but lidocaine and a papoose board. Eventually, the best I could find here was apparently sedation but still using a papoose board. So, that took all of yesterday and it felt nothing like a Christmas break.
This morning, we have worked on homeschooling the two homeschoolers. This evening, we will do our long tradition. The kids will drink hot chocolate and watch a marathon of Christmas movies. II and I will lock ourselves in the bedroom and wrap presents....far too many presents in spite of a 3 gifts (plus the Christmas Eve PJs that we don't count) per child from mom and dad. Tomorrow, we will do our other tradition. We will take the littles (this year that means J, L and R) plus whomever did not finish making/buying all of their sibling gifts to shop. Normally, we take them to Goodwill but I'm not sure that will work this year. We may take them to a dollar store but I'm loathe to give up supporting Goodwill in the process if we do. Our local Goodwill opened this fall and the inventory is still very shoddy and mostly corporate infused (with insane price tags attached).
I bought Gingerbread House kits. I haven't done that in several years (before the poverty years) and I'm not certain how that will go, but we'll give that and baking a try tomorrow and Sunday. I had imagined I would be in church this Advent season, finally having found a church this fall for the first time since the church threw us out over Micah. However, I find the emotions of trying to tolerate church to give the church community to the children AND deal with our first Christms with Micah too much. We'll return to church after Epiphany and avoid that part of the church calendar this year.
I'm so grateful that I get nearly a full week to just be a mom right now. As conflicted as I am over working again, we're not to a point where I could consider quitting. So, I must accepted the current circumstances and being here with the kids is a precious gift for my soul at the moment.
I have made some HUGE decisions. The choices that have tormented me for the last several years have been clearly answered. I have a mile marker for when I *can* quit, as well as one for when I would *like* to quit. I know where I go from here and what career path I am headed down. Working has been an AMAZINGLY positive choice for this family and myself, even though I hate going every day and those feelings can raise their head at work if I don't stay busy as well. Actually, that feeling contrasted to how I felt doing Sociology was a BIG part of what finally answered the question of where I wanted my future to go.
Today, none of that matters. I still have Barton to work on with my sixth grader, and 100 Easy Lessons to do with my Kindergartener. I have lots to do in this week I have off, lots of moments to just *be* with my babies and as a family again. Today, that is what matters.