Our first featured Runit mom is Patricia Thurston, and what a great individual to kick-off this monthly interview series! We talked about kids (when they’re newborns and when they’re having their own babies), the fulfillment she enjoys through her job, and finding the family-work-self balance. Read on to hear her awesome advice and get the chance to win a free infant massage lesson!
Patricia’s Runitlikeamom Run-Down:
* I have three children ages 30, 26, and 24
* I am a nurse at the University of Connecticut Health Center (UCHC), Neonatal ICU at CT Children’s Hospital
* How do I stay active other than work? I like running, hiking, walking our dog, and going to the gym in the winter.
* My short-term fitness goal is to stay in shape. My long-term goal is to maintain my athleticism. I want to be able to run and chase my grandchildren and keep up with my kids!
* Funniest thing our kids have said? When my oldest was applying for her first “real” job in high school she was asked how much she was paid for her previous employment. She responded “I got paid under the table.” The other funny thing I remember is my other daughter always pronouncing “buffet” (she used to go for lunch with her grandparents) with hard “t” sound 🙂
* If I were stranded on an island with my kids I would want Advil, wine, and a fishing pole!
* My favorite indulgence is a chocolate sprinkled donut from Neil’s Donuts, a bakery in Wallingford, CT…and sleep. When the kids were little I would have said an hour of quiet time to sit down and think.
When did you know you wanted to be a nurse?
I always liked medicine and science. I went to UCONN and realized that nursing would be the best fit for me in terms of balancing work and having a family. I now work three days and watch my grandson two days. I have also worked part-time while working other jobs. For example, there was a time I worked at the N.I.C.U. (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) on the weekends and I covered GYN surgeries 2 times a week at another hospital.
What made you interested in infant massage?
It’s rewarding to help babies and their family members connect. I love watching that. It’s something that I learned through work, and I hope to build a small business working with families outside of the hospital as well. In a N.I.C.U., most parents are unable to do much for their babies, and they have no control over the situation. I believe that infant massage gives parents a small semblance of control in that they can stroke and massage their baby in an effort to make them feel better. It also promotes bonding which is so very important and can easily be delayed, especially when a baby is so small and so sick. The parents here are scared to death. These babies are the sickest of the sick, and most people don’t even know that a N.I.C.U exists. Just think of all the little things that you are able to do for your babies without even thinking, and then try to imagine that you have to check with a nurse or doctor in order to do a simple task, such as changing a diaper, repositioning, or feeding your child. Many times a parent cannot even hold their baby for long periods of time.
Can you share something that you are proud of in each of the following aspects of your life?
Career: I’m proud of the 30 years that I have been doing this job. I have the respect of my coworkers, doctors, pharmacists, physician assistants, and families. I think families realize that we are good advocates for them. And even though I provide nursing care to extremely ill infants and teach parents how to prepare for their baby’s discharge,
I am blessed with the chance to witness the strength and resiliency of the human spirit. There is no greater bond than that between a parent and a child.
Many a time, my co-workers and I have gone home from work and given our children an extra hug or kiss because we know our problems are insignificant compared to what we see in our job.
Family: My kids are good people who always have each others’ backs. Respect is a big thing, and knowing that you are no better than anyone else. You know, no family is perfect and everyone has struggles. You don’t always see that when you’re young- but you hope to give your kids the tools to be open-minded and have compassion for their fellow human beings.
Self: I’m proud of what I do- I take care of babies and their families. I honestly believe that a baby is God’s greatest gift to the world, such a precious little soul. There is nothing more rewarding than knowing that I have had a positive effect on someone’s life. As a young person or young nurse, I never thought much about the consequences that my actions would have on others. It truly is an amazing feeling to know that families hold me in such reverence. Over the years, I have received many letters from parents of babies I have cared for that I have saved. Someday I will share them with my kids, but most likely they will not read them until after I am gone from this world. I want them to know that I was one damn good nurse (haha, JK), and a good person as well.
What is one way in which you hope you have inspired your children?
I hope I have inspired my kids to be true to their word, to have integrity. It’s so important to mean what you say and say what you mean. I hope that I have been a good role model and that I have led by example. And I hope I have inspired them to extend kindness to others. I have tried to teach them humility and compassion.
What advice would you give to other new moms?
<3 Don’t feel guilty and don’t ever be afraid to ask for help. There will always be that supermom who presents as the person who can do it all, and that’s ok, she is someone to admire. Just do the best you can.
<3 Be grateful for what you have and look at the beautiful little being that you and another have created.
<3 It’s easy to lose your sense of self, but maintaining your own identity sends a positive message.
<3 Enjoy your kids when they’re little. It’s so cliché but it goes by so fast! Don’t blink- I’m a grandma now and I still remember when I was young, before I had a family. Literally I can remember the weather, what I was wearing, what I was doing.
<3 Try to have patience.
<3 Teach your children (and yourself!) to stop and smell the roses. In this ever-changing world of fast-paced technology, it is important to slow down and spend time with your children.
<3 Do what feels right in your heart, and try not to feel the need to compete or keep up with others.
Love as best you can, lay in bed and scratch their backs, read to them, really listen- start an open dialogue when they’re little because they WILL come back to you.
<3 There will be many times when you feel unappreciated or taken advantage of, but every time your toddler, middle school-age child, high school age child, college student, or young adult says “I Love You, Mom” somehow everything is OK and the world is good.
There are a few things I would like to add that Patricia was too humble to include in these answers. She opened her home to me and my two month old daughter while we conducted the interview, and was nice enough to have one of her favorite indulgences on hand to share (and I have to say that I have added the chocolate sprinkled donut to my list of must-haves!). Also, this incredible mom completed the Hartford ING marathon in 2011 with her daughter, who was then 24 years old. She is a sweet and soft spoken woman who has endless strength, both physically and mentally. Thank you Patricia for sharing a little piece of yourself with our Runitlikeamom community.
Readers, please leave a comment or send us an email to enter for a chance to win a free infant massage lesson with Patricia! We will randomly choose from all entries made by Tuesday, January 28th at 11:59 pm. Then be sure to check back on Wednesday, January 29th when we’ll announce the lucky winner. Good Luck!
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