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Family Focus: Overnight working mothers

By Brooke Walker | Posted - Nov. 3, 2011 at 5:43 p.m.


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SALT LAKE CITY -- A new study shows more than three million women work overnight in the United States, trading sleep for money.

Tough financial situations for families are putting more women -- more mothers -- back in the workplace. And while some families don't have a choice, more and more women are choosing to burn the midnight oil for their kids and their families.

For more than a year, Sally Price, who works as a nurse at Primary Children's Medical Center, cared for sick children at night. However, during the day, Price has two children of her own.

"When you first start with limited seniority, you have to work your requirement of night shifts," Price said. "And then when I had my baby, I decided to limit the amount of time she was with people outside of our family, and so I did continue doing night shifts."

But as a night shift nurse at Primary Children's Medical Center, Price found herself at a crossroads.

"Everything was going really well with our schedule, but, personally was losing my balance," Price said. "I would have a hard time waking up on my days off to be with my girls and felt groggy."


I think working overnight consistently will have some negative effects on family life, even though women do it for their family.

–Julie Hanks


Because Price felt she was losing balance in her life, she made the decision to move to days. Although the shift change was not ideal for her family, it has been much better for Price.

"To just make sure I'm getting my personal needs met, so I can take care of my kids and be a good mom," Price said. "Women often will sacrifice their own personal needs for their families, but, ultimately, that's not in their family's best interest."

Therapist Julie Hanks with Wasatch Family Therapy recognizes for many mothers it is not a choice, but she said all working women need to be in a constant state of self-evaluation.

"I think working overnight consistently will have some negative effects on family life, even though women do it for their family," Hanks said. "It can impact the sexual relationship in marriage. It can impact relationships in irritability. If you can't take care of yourself, you can't take care of your family. And that's important for women to consider."

Email: bwalker@ksl.com

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