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Why does this have to be so $%$$#? difficult?

Old sm's picture

This really isn't a step problem, just a parenting vent so pls forgive me-this is the only place I can vent anonymously.

I'm a nurse.  Our hospital is overwhelmed with patients.  We're understaffed, overworked, forced into OT altho it's illegal, given patients of the types we've never cared for before and weren't trained to deal with. Our shifts have been changed from 8's to 12's which translates into 13-14hour shifts days and nights rotated. The patients are being housed in clinics where they have to share bathrooms, they can't shower and supplies are limited. And the hospital sends extra nurses to the Covid units where it's even more horrible with all the extra PPE we have to wear for 13-14 hours a day. God, it's awful now.

So I get a text from my college-aged BD and she comes home having a personal crisis. As soon as I got home and walked through the door, I'm got hit with one problem after another from her and other family members.  I didn't even have a chance to change clothes.  I'm tried to be understanding and tried to be a supportive parent but I was just exhausted, upset and really didn't need what I walked into. I really didn't try to upset my daughter worse but I don't have a poker face and she got more upset because she said I was cold and unresponsive.   I was so damned tired and my body hurt after my shift but when I tried to explain myself, it just made things worse bc it made me look self-centered.

So, the end result was that she left crying and went back to college and I'm getting the cold shoulder from her and DH. They just don't understand what is happening at my job and when I try to explain it to them, it really doesn't compute how physically and emotionally draining this whole thing is. I feel awful; I'm almost in tears now bc I'm stressed at my job and now this added to it really weighs on me.

Anyone else out there dealing with this? I feel like everyone else in my house can be upset, irritable, angry, etc but if it shows on me, I get the silent treatment bc I'm being bitchy. Why am I not allowed to be upset once in a while?  God, I'm so frustrated. 

Any fellow nurses and parents, help!  I need some uplifting right now because I feel like crap now 


Ispofacto's picture

You are not self-centered for having needs.  It sounds like your BD is being self centered and not thinking about you.  It's my guess that her "problems" are a bit petty in comparison to yours.  Which is fairly normal for her age.

My own daughter was like that at that age.  It wasn't until she had her own career and kid that she realized how hard adulting is.

Your DH, otoh, is being a jerk.  Maybe point out to him what you are dealing with, since it seems he can't figure it out on his own.  It sounds like he has a typical misogynist bias that is so prevalent in our society, of women's problems being inconsequential, and women "b!tchy" for being assertive.  Don't fall for it.


Gimlet's picture

First, thank you for what you're doing.  I can't imagine how physically and emotionally exausted you must be.  ((hugs))

I read a couple of your past blogs.  At 20 or so, your BD should be able to understand what your job entails and have some empathy for what you are going through right now.  It's not like it's not all over the news. Unless there was some life-threating emergency, the conversation could wait until you had a moment to shower and change.

The bigger issue to me is why your DH couldn't handle this.  He's her father, why wait until you drag yourself through the door and unload all of this on you?   He also has to know how tired you are.

I really think that in some families, the woman gets stuck with all the heavy lifting.  They are capable of understanding that you needed a moment and that they could talk until you were available.   They both need to do better and not dump on you.

CLove's picture

Sending you some positive vibes for you and your fellow workers in the trenches.

Sounds like you have the unique problem that I also have in that everyone around you sees you as the "strong one" and depend on you for that. When you show any "weakness" IE emotion, then you get heck, because well, they are DEPENDING on you...

Sorry you had to deal with that. Perhaps when your daughter gets her head out of her buttox, she will start thinking.........

And your DH needs a "velvet hammer" to his head...

Old sm's picture

Nurses are supposed to be super-human. We're not supposed to be just regular people. We keep getting put into situations that are completely unsafe but we get no support from upper management bc most of those people have never done bedside care. They just shove us into any slot and expect perfection. A big portion of the nurses manning our ICU have no experience in critical care. 

A nurse is a pawn to be sacrificed right now

Aunt Agatha's picture

You are a hero!  Thank you for the work you are doing in the face of so much trauma.

Your BD and DH can both go pound sand.  Agree with the posters above.  Everyone deserves a little time to change and decompress after work.  

You will just have to be consistent.  You get X amount of time when you get home to shift gears.  Take that time each and every day.  Make it a thing so it's not questioned.


And thank you again!

TX2step's picture

For fourty years. I work in Texas medical center Houston. All our patients are now covid patients. I feel for you and I understand. When I get home, I strip naked in the garage, throw my scrubs on to wash, take a shower and unwind before all the problems of the day gang up on me at once. I require some silence and peace before I speak to H. He has learned to live with it.  Make a new family rule, let mom take a minute to herself because bad sh!t has been going on all day. Alarms and monitors you can hear them in your sleep! Take care of yourself so you can still care for others.

susanm's picture

First - thank you for what you are doing.  I think people were very appreciative at first but then got "compassion fatigue" and stopped really grasping the toll all of this is taking on nurses/doctors/first responders.  But the longer this goes on, the harder it gets.

I am not a nurse but my job involves me solving the problems that other people create for themselves.  Most of which they refuse to take responsibility for in any way and they want solutions NOW.  Then everyone in my personal life comes calling for my help in my "free" time.  I am normally happy to help but recently people have been needy to the point of emotional vampires and I am close to snapping.  Just the other day my cat would not stop meowing and following me around even after I fed and petted him.  I ended up yelling "OMG - what can I do for YOU now?  What do you want from me???"  At a cat.  Not my finest moment.

So I get it.  Your daughter is 20 which is young but old enough to know what is happening in the country and what your job entails.  An honest conversation about your stress level is more than reasonable.  As for your DH, a somewhat more blunt conversation may be in order to include a moratorium on approaching you with problems for a certain amount of time after you come home from work.  You have inspired me to have the same kind of conversations with the people in my life.  Except for the cat.  I think he will get a pass.

Merry's picture

Yes, indeed, thank you for everything you're doing.

I'm not a nurse, but I know a lot of them. Every single one a dedicated helper. Mostly likely your daughter sees you as her personal helper, and not as a whole, hard working human under significant stress.

It is absolutely fine to take some time for yourself when you get home. Shower, Pour an adult beverage. Tell her you want to talk with her, but you're overwhelmed from your own day and need some time for yourself. It's healthy and she needs to learn that you are not on call for her 24/7. It's also healthy that she learn that you have your own life separate from hers, with your own obligations, own worries, own emotions, and your own exhaustion. Occasionally you need to take off your superhero cape to wash it.

Your DH should have a bath ready and wine poured and dinner planned when you walk in the door.

ITB2012's picture

You have every right to want and need a little peace, quiet, and personal space, and a shower after your long and arduous shifts! A nurse lives across the street and her hubby and son are ready at the door to help her get out of her stuff, stay safe, and get a quiet shower before anything else happens. 

I also think at this point you have every right to explain to them in direct, firm, and angry language exactly what you go through and what jack*sses they are being and they are going to stop. The only reason for them to show up at the door when you get home is to hand you a robe and take your soiled stuff. 

And thank you very, very much for what you are doing.