I used to be a bad nurse.

THERE! I said it.

I’ve gotten so many comments from readers about what a wonderful nurse I am and how I’m so caring and compassionate but I’m telling you:

I used to be a bad nurse.

Have you ever worked with someone who was grumpy all the time? Someone who was dismissive?

You could tell they hated their job and they were so unhappy. They came off as rude and hurried. Their heart wasn’t in the right place anymore.

Well…that was me.

I’m sure you’ve heard of burnout. Burnout has recently been recognized as an actual medical diagnosis as burnout syndrome. I wanted to include this chart to clearly differentiate between compassion fatigue and burnout. I was 100% on the burnout side of life.

I want you to ask yourself these questions:

Are you spiritually, emotionally or physically exhausted?

Do you have a positive outlook on your future at your current job?

Do you feel like you see the good in people or give them the benefit of the doubt?

Are you suspicious of your coworkers? Are you afraid they are gossiping about you or have ill intentions?

Is it difficult to concentrate at your work?

Are you as productive as you could be at work?

Do you question your capability to complete your tasks at work?

Do you suffer from chronic headaches or abdominal pain?

Are you sick all the time for no apparent reason?

Do you dread going to work?

THIS. WAS. MY. LIFE.

My documentation wasn’t thorough. I had a negative attitude. I didn’t always show empathy for my patients. I was cited for coming off as rude to other departments and in a hurry and talking too fast. I acted like a know it all.

I was of the mindset “I’ll say it how it is.” One of the new ER nurses told me one day, “You just really have no filter do you?”

I thought everyone hated me. I thought everyone thought I was stupid. I knew I wasn’t good enough. I’m sure everyone was gossiping about me. I was at such a deep dark point in my life that Fall. I wasn’t happy.

I had withdrawn from my coworkers and my friends because I was so sure that they didn’t want to hear about my life or talk to me. I didn’t want to annoy them with my stupidity.

My mind was a battlefield. I was constantly hating myself for the way I looked. I was constantly telling myself I was stupid or I wasn’t good enough. My mind was like a broken record playing this mantra over and over again:

“Why set goals when you can’t achieve them? You’re so dumb. Everyone is watching you. They are gossiping about you. They think you are dumb too. They can tell you’ve gained weight. They can tell your scrubs are tighter. They don’t trust you. They think you’re a bad nurse. They think you talk too much. Stop talking about yourself. No one cares. You look like SHREK. Just go to work and do your job and go home. They don’t like you here. They don’t want to work with you. I feel bad they have to look at me all day.”

My supervisor approached me. She knew I wasn’t operating at my full potential. Other departments were complaining about my negative attitude. My heart broke. I had never gotten a negative review in my life. I’m telling you guys, I had NO idea how bad I was. I spiraled.

In hindsight, I am SO SO thankful that my supervisor came to me. I knew that I wasn’t well but I didn’t know it was effecting my work, my attitude, my work environment, and relationships with my coworkers. I didn’t know how obvious it was to everyone else how miserable I was.

If you knew me during this time, you probably didn’t like me. I’m sorry. I know that my burnout damaged my reputation. I still hear about how far I’ve come and how I used to be very rude. I know I offended people. I know that I wasn’t well liked and I want you to know that I’m sorry and I’m better now. But I also want you to know that this could happen to you too.

I enrolled in therapy in November of 2017. I have been attending ever since to address my deeply rooted body image issues and my need to be perfect. In other words, I am a recovering perfectionist. I am a recovering workaholic. This and my undiagnosed social anxiety put me at an extremely high risk to fall into the burnout trap. I have learned my triggers. I have learned effective coping mechanisms. I know how to recognize burnout in myself. I know how to recognize it in my coworkers and friends.

I want you to know I’m still at the same job and I love it. I want you to know that I was the one putting the pressure on myself. I want you to know that while I was working 60 hour work weeks, I was the one who picked up the hours. I want you to know that if you recognize yourself in this blog post that there is hope.

It was NOT easy. It was hard work. It took time to make progress. Every day was a battle. Every day I was working harder to improve myself as a wife, nurse, and mother. Part of that came in the form of self development. Here are a few things that have played a role in my transformation:

Brene Brown’s The Gift of Imperfection: This book needs to be read by EVERYONE but most importantly it needs to be read by recovering perfectionists. I have read all of Brene’s Books but THIS ONE really hit home and I highly recommend you check it out.

Sarah Knight’s Get your Shit Together: This was a basic introduction for me on working to maintain a work life balance. I remember listening to this on the plane to see my brother in Houston Texas in October of 2017. I was so desperate to feel like I had some part of my life together. Like I said, this book isn’t nearly as “in depth” but it is a basic introduction to getting your life back on the right track.

Here are a few mantras that I recite to myself to cope with day to day work stress that have helped tremendously:

Everyone is welcome.

We are all God’s children.

Will this matter in 5 years?

What is the kind choice?

What is my goal?

You don’t know the whole story.

No judgement.

You don’t know what they are going through behind someone else’s closed doors.

Productive Days I learned that a HUGE part of my problems were trying to find a work life balance. I would come home on my 1-2 days off during the week and just sleep. I was so exhausted I never felt fully accomplished at home or at work. I started putting together the beginnings of my “productive day” that I refer to often on this blog. Read more on that here:

http://www.thepinkshoelaces.com/2019/10/04/how-do-you-do-it-all/

Seeking professional help: I also highly recommend counseling. I LOVE going to see my therapist. She is so kind. I’ve been so fortunate that I have never paid a bill for one therapy session due to some AWESOME insurance. I have come so far, I rarely talk about my anxiety or my body issues anymore when we have sessions but it still feels so good to have a third party listen in and offer perspective.


So what is my goal with this post? I know that as you are reading you are thinking of someone. Maybe it is a coworker, a supervisor, a friend, a daughter or husband. Do you know someone in your life that is burnt out? Is their toxic behavior effecting your life or work environment? THEY. MIGHT. NOT. KNOW. Just like me.

It may be time to have an honest conversation with them or refer them to your company’s employee assistance program. It may be time to send them this blog post and see if it helps them recognize these feelings within themselves.

I was so upset with my supervisor when she first came to me. She was describing me in a way I wouldn’t have recognized. I was mortified. But that conversation changed my life in so many ways. I will always be grateful for her honesty and her professionalism. Maybe you need to be that person for someone.

Thanks for reading friends.

A Sad Halloween…

Craig and I LOVE Halloween.

We have gone ALL OUT every year ever since we have been dating.

One year we were Captain and Coke
The next year was Craig’s turn to pick and we went as Garth and Wayne from Wayne’s World!
The year Carver was born we were Jack and Rose from the Titanic (that’s my mom’s wedding dress by the way)
We got FIRST PLACE the year we went as Jack and Rose – we immediately invested our winnings back into the bar in the form of alcoholic beverages…
We went as Buzz Light year and Little Bo Peep in 2018.
We got honorable mention at the costume contest.

This year, we won’t be going out. I worked last weekend when most of the partying was happening. This is Craig’s first year as a farmer and I’m coming to a sad realization that we probably won’t celebrate Halloween much together unless it rains.

He’s been pulling late late nights in the combine. It has been a shuffle between kids, grandmas, babysitters, and work the past 3 weeks. I foresee the next three weeks being the same unless Iowa gets that snow storm they’ve been talking about.

I’ve been working like a mad woman lately and I work today on Halloween. I worked last weekend while trick or treating has been going on in the local communities.

Carver hasn’t wanted to dress up for Halloween yet. Each year we get him a costume and he has thrown a fit and wouldn’t wear it. This year we *might* be able to talk him into it.

Carver had a bad experience with Halloween last year. He was having SO MUCH fun handing out candy at my mom’s house while I was at work. A big kid came and had a scary mask. Carver was doing just fine until scary mask kid was reaching into the bucket and yelled “BOO” REALLY loud at Carver. He was done handing out candy after that 🙁

Even in September we were asking him what he wanted to be for Halloween and was nearly in tears saying, “Me no like Halloween!”

So now Halloween is kind of sad. The mommy guilt is HEAVY. We won’t be celebrating much this year. No pumpkin patches or trick or treating for us. I hope we can get to a time in our lives where we don’t have to work as much and can celebrate these little holidays more. This is just a season of life for us.

In the meantime, the mommy guilt is HEAVY and I so miss going out with Craig and being silly and having fun.

Blah. What a sappy blog post! I’ll get over it. Thanks for reading.

I hope your Hallweens are funner than mine! (that was NOT proper grammar by the way)

About last week…

I’m busy.

When I say I’m busy I mean it. Spring and Fall is just nuts for me.

I work 36 hours per week in the ER.

I work 20 (ish) hours per week teaching nursing students on the medical surgical floor for the Spring and Fall semesters. That comes with a lot of paperwork outside of clinicals as well.

I’m also in the process of building this blog up.

Clinicals run from September to November and February to April every Tuesday and Wednesday from 6am – 2pm.

It averages out to about 56 hours a week plus a half hour commute both ways. Needless to say life can get hectic.

Not to mention, Craig is married to harvest season. This is his first harvest season as a farmer and my first season as a farmer’s wife.

I wanted to give you a glimpse into my past week to give you an idea of what life is like for me.


October 18th, 19th, 20th it was my weekend to work. That means 3 12 hour overnight shifts on Friday Saturday and Sunday and sleeping all day in between shifts. I LIKE working nights on my weekend.

On Sunday it was Craig’s birthday. Mom made us supper at her house after we picked up the boys from Craig’s parents house on Sunday afternoon (hour there and hour back). Craig turned 26 this year. I took my birthday cake to go or I was going to be late for work.

Monday I slept. Unbeknownst to me, my sister Kelli scheduled and took both of the boys to the doctor for suspected ear infection. Gannon FOR SURE had an ear infection and Carver was borderline ear infection (ugh) so both were treated. Can you believe she did that for me?? AMAZING.

I woke up at about 1 pm and ran around the house like a mad woman trying to get the house together before I had to go pick up the boys from daycare. Craig was HOME! We had a “family night” as Carver called it so all of us were under one roof.

Tuesday was clinicals from 6 am to 2 pm. Then it was home to work on the blog until 5 when I went to pick up the boys. Craig worked late and I didn’t get to see him. I picked up my niece Georgia for a few hours after childcare. Georgia and Gannon are only one week apart! We call them the cousin twins.

BY THE WAY! Gannon can sit up now! This is a recent development!

Wednesday I had clinicals from 6 am to 2 pm again and then picked up from 2 pm to 7 pm in the emergency department.

By Thursday at 8:45 am I had Gannon down to the University of Iowa for his swallow study which determined that Gannon swallows a lot of air! (duh, we knew that!) The university of Iowa is a SOLID 2 hours away which made for an early morning.

He didn’t even flinch. The pediatric radiology team is TOP KNOTCH!
All ready for his swallow study!
The black part is the contrast going down his esophagus. The white bubbles in the black outline is air. He shouldn’t be swallowing that much air.
He was my shopping buddy the rest of the day. He was so so patient with me.

I’m so in between sizes right now it is just awful. My Fall clothes that aren’t maternity clothes are now two years old and out of style. I have most of my post partum/bigger sizes floating around making it hard to find clothes that actually fit because I’ve really been losing the baby weight in the past month or so (Down almost 15 lbs since August!). I had a GREAT day and found a lot of classic pieces I really liked. More on that later.

I went to the shoe department too and ACTUALLY FOUND SHOES that fit my 12 W feet! Usually, I just go straight to the men’s section for a men’s 11.5 but today I hit the jackpot!

We finally got home around 5 and Craig was working late again. I came home and the boys and I had a “mommy night” which basically means Carver gets to sleep in my bed until Craig gets home.

Gannon has been super sick with a cough ALL WEEK. He has needed an albuterol breathing treatment now every night for a week. It’s so hard to watch him have these AWFUL coughing fits in the middle of the night.

Friday we rode along to Craig’s doctor’s appointment to follow up on his sprained ankle which had thankfully fully healed! I’m glad we all rode along because I don’t know when I’ll see him again. We are in for a lot of late nights. They are a little behind with field work just like every farmer in Northeast Iowa because of all the rain. Now it sounds like snow this week!

I got home, mom sent me home for an hour to tidy up the house quick. I got back to my mom’s and rode along with my brother Karl to an appointment. I got home and took a quick nap. Went to pick up the boys again from my mom’s, make a quick supper for the boys and then off to work Friday, Saturday and Sunday in the ER before I start the week all over.

This week doesn’t look any better – in fact it looks WORSE. Then adding an early snow storm on top of it and a goal of having a blog post every day this week, I’m pushing myself to the limits.

BUT!

I’ve got a great support team.

I know this is temporary while I’m gaining traction on my financial goals.

This chapter won’t last forever.

Our housekeeper is coming this week (hallelujah).

I make my own schedule this crazy.

I’ve got friends and family keeping tabs on me making sure I’m not going overboard.

A really good friend of mine has her bridal shower and bachelorette party this weekend and I’m SO excited for it!

I have GOALS – clear goals – per day, per hour, per week, I am intentional with my time at home and with my kids.

I’m looking on the brightside and staying positive folks! I hope you can do the same. With that, HAPPY MONDAY!

A dead car battery, chicken lo mein, a bike, and a SUPER cute tote.

So my initial thought was to share a quick and EASY recipe with you all for a quick supper before work:

Chicken Lo Mein

  • Boil some noodles (I used angel hair, my mom uses ramen)
  • Cook some chicken or try these pre-cooked grilled chicken breasts that I love from Walmart
  • Cut up some cabbage
  • Cut up and onion
  • Shred some carrot
  • Add a cup of chicken broth
  • Let the chicken, cabbage, onion, carrot and broth simmer (in a separate pan)
  • Drain the noodles when they are done boiling and add them to the chicken/cabbage mixture
  • Fry a couple eggs (nothing fancy just cook them and scramble them) and add them to the mix
  • Add some soy sauce to your liking

Ta-dah! It is delicious, quick and easy.

Okay so these are delicious and juicy and I highly recommend! Thanks WalMart!

So ANYWAY. I made this right before I had to leave for work. I usually eat my supper on the go in my car. I threw some in an open container and grabbed my bag and was on my way.

My car has had a few issues starting lately and I thought it had resolved. Nope. Not tonight. It wouldn’t even turn over. Car was DEAD.

Craig was in the combine. Mom was in Decorah. The only other person I’d call for help was watching the boys in the house and didn’t have a car with them! Mom said I could take dad’s suburban (read more on that here: https://www.joscountryjunction.com/at-the-hospital/ and here: https://www.joscountryjunction.com/the-burb/ )

While the suburban has four wheels and could get me where I needed to be, it is still every bit of a farm truck. Dad’s boots and overalls are still in the back. Coffee stains all over the center console. It smells like dirt and dust and a farm.

The problem was the suburban was all the way across town at my mom’s house! It was getting cool and dark and I was already late for work. I grabbed my bike from the garage which had already been put up for the winter – threw my supper in my bag – and across town I went on a bike, in scrubs, with a giant heavy bag, and off I went!

I definitely didn’t go as fast as I wanted to, my bag kept rubbing on my bike tires, I was pooped by the time I got to my mom’s house!

Anyway, I was only 8 minutes late to work. The lo mein was DELICIOUS.

Don’t EVER accuse me of not being resourceful!

P.S. I LOVE this tote! Seriously! A friend at work had one. It has SO MANY pockets! She talked me into ordering one and I’m telling you it is the PERFECT nurse bag! It can hold both of my contigo water bottles, my purse, my Ipad, my lunch, it zips, it has short handles and long handles, internal AND external pockets! I bought the black and white version. This would make an excellent gift for a teacher, nurse, or I guess anyone who carries a lot of stuff! 🙂

Here is my the bag I chose but I see it comes in several colors. I LOVE the red bag too! The link preview to the bag below shows pink but you can chose whatever color you would like when you purchase it 🙂

I want to be as real as I can with you guys, I’m working to monetize my blog and I need to be very upfront. I want to eventually be able to blog half time and work as a nurse to supplement my blog income. It is a big dream. I’m working on getting ads to show on my blog.

Another thing I can do to make money in an addition to ads is have an “affiliate link” with Amazon – such as this tote. I bought it, I love it, and I want to share with with you. I’m never going to rave about something to trick you into buying it so I get “commission” off of your purchase. If I like it enough to invest an hour or more into blogging about it, you can bet that I really recommend the product. Obviously others love it as well because this bag also has a 5 star review on Amazon.

That being said, if you purchase this tote from MY link, I do get commission. If you buy $150 worth of other stuff while you’re on Amazon by following my link, I also get commission on those things you purchase. It’s a way to support my blog and it is a way to score some great quality products.

I just want to be honest with you guys. I would have raved about this tote even if I didn’t make any money off of it.

Wow! Can you believe this blog post started off with chicken lo mein? WHAT THE HECK! How did we get here?

Anyway, have a great day guys 🙂

Why I don’t have Monday’s Blog Post Written

Here is why I don’t have a blog post written for this dreary Monday morning:

I spent my entire day with Gannon at the University of Iowa Hospitals – here is more on that story here: Gannon’s Big Day!

Saturday morning we were up bright and early by 5:30 am. Little did we know we were in for an adventure!

On our way to my sister’s baby shower we stopped at a rescue habitat Fontana Park near Hazleton. Carver was so lucky he got to go to the zoo! It was SO COLD but they had fox, eagle, skunk, raccoon, coyote, and usually they have a black bear!

Then it was on to the farmer’s market to find some fresh produce for mom to eat while she’s on her iodine free diet. Read more on that here:

Check out this delicious pumpkin casserole! I LOVED IT and mom and I can’t wait to try it this weekend. Will update you guys with the recipe!

Then we kind of sort of ended up stopping at a random library and it happened to be a Halloween themed story hour so we sat and listened to a few books!

Then it was a quick run to Walmart to buy mom new shoes because hers busted out:

Then it was on to the BABY SHOWER for my sweet baby nephew coming in January!

Then we flew back home for my friend Mariah’s wedding:

This is my best friend Regan:

We had such a blast catching up at the wedding while our boys talked farming.

Then this morning I woke up early because I know this next week is CRAZY BUSY and needs lots of prep work.

While I stayed busy there was plenty of snuggling:

Craig’s lunch got packed for the week

The toy room got tidied and organized

My new pillows came in the mail so I got those all set out

Craig our together my new computer desk

I penciled out the schedule for the week

I laid out the boy’s clothes for the week

I made a pan of brownies for Craig’s lunch

I ate most of the pan of brownies I made for Craig’s lunch.

Mountains of laundry got tackled

I did about 3 dishwasher load a of dishes

I did even more laundry

Clothes were sorted folded and put away

I made the worlds fastest meal prep meal: Tator tot casserole

I laid out my clothes for the week

I repacked the diaper bags

Made prime rib for supper

Made Mac and cheese with hotdogs for Carver when the sitter comes tomorrow night

I did even more laundry

Sorted through clinical paperwork

The boys both got baths

Took an inventory of things I need to pick up after work tomorrow night

Listened to just about every Dave Ramsey and Rachel Cruze podcast that exists

Realized it was 10 pm and that I needed to go to bed to be at work tomorrow

Went to bed and realized I never wrote a blog post

And those are all of the reasons why I don’t have a well thought out blog post for you all this morning!

Please forgive me, I hope this will do 😉

Why I don’t have a blog post on Monday morning…

Here is why I don’t have a blog post written for this dreary Monday morning:

I spent my entire day with Gannon at the University of Iowa Hospitals – here is more on that story here: http://www.thepinkshoelaces.com/2019/10/12/gannons-big-day/

Saturday morning we were up bright and early by 5:30 am. Craig and I had breakfast together before the boys got up. Craig was off to work, I took the boys and we were off! Little did we know we were in for an adventure!

On our way to my sister’s baby shower we stopped at a rescue habitat Fontana Park near Hazleton. Carver was so lucky he got to go to the zoo! It was SO COLD but they had fox, eagle, skunk, raccoon, coyote, and usually they have a black bear!

Mom has posted on the blog about this awesome habitat before! Here’s a link: https://www.joscountryjunction.com/grandma-day/

Carver is checking out the ducks. I’ve never actually seen a fox this close before! It’s such a neat little park.

Then it was on to the farmer’s market to find some fresh produce for mom to eat while she’s on her iodine free diet. Read more on that here: https://www.joscountryjunction.com/the-diet/

Check out this delicious pumpkin casserole! I LOVED IT and mom and I can’t wait to try it this weekend. Will update you guys with the recipe!

Then we kind of sort of ended up stopping at a random library and it happened to be a Halloween themed story hour so we sat and listened to a few books!

How cool was this little hideout in the library? They had such an awesome kid’s room and the staff was so so friendly!

Then it was a quick run to Walmart to buy mom new shoes because hers totally busted out at the library:

Then it was on to the BABY SHOWER for my sweet baby nephew coming in January!

Baby food game! I totally failed – Kayla and Kelli were much better at shower games – I always lose.

Then we flew back home for my friend Mariah’s wedding:

This is my best friend Regan:

Isn’t she lovely? Isn’t she wonderful?

We had such a blast catching up at the wedding while our boys talked farming.

Then this morning I woke up early because I know this next week is CRAZY BUSY and needs lots of prep work.

While I stayed busy there was plenty of snuggling:

Craig’s lunch got packed for the week

The toy room got tidied and organized

My new pillows came in the mail so I got those all set out

Craig our together my new computer desk

I penciled out the schedule for the week

I laid out the boy’s clothes for the week

I made a pan of brownies for Craig’s lunch

I ate most of the pan of brownies I made for Craig’s lunch.

Mountains of laundry got tackled

I did about 3 dishwasher loads of dishes

I did even more laundry

Clothes were sorted folded and put away

I made the worlds fastest meal prep meal: Tator tot casserole

I laid out my clothes for the week

I repacked the diaper bags

Made prime rib for supper

Made Mac and cheese with hotdogs for Carver when the sitter comes tomorrow night

I did even more laundry

Sorted through clinical paperwork

The boys both got baths

Took an inventory of things I need to pick up after work tomorrow night

Listened to just about every Dave Ramsey and Rachel Cruze podcast that exists

Realized it was 10 pm and that I needed to go to bed to be at work tomorrow

Went to bed and realized I never wrote a blog post

And those are all of the reasons why I don’t have a well thought out blog post for you all this morning!

Please forgive me, I hope this will do!

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