Interview with Working Mother Emily Borman

Here at Tomato Pie, we’re celebrating the release of my biblical historical fiction ebook “Working Mother” by celebrating the working mothers among us.

Today is the feast of St. Brigid of Ireland, so we’re interviewing another woman who finds herself having unexpected conversations in the name of Christ.  Let’s meet Emily Borman!

 

What’s your name?

That one is easy, Emily Borman.Displaying CWW-15 proof web.jpg

Tell us a little bit about your family. 

I have been married for 27 years to my husband Bill and we have 3 children.  Our daughter is our oldest.  She just graduated from college in May and is pursuing a graduate degree in education while teaching 5th grade in FL.  Next, is our son who is a junior in college; away from home. Last is our youngest son who is a senior in high school living at home with us in VA.

 

Imagine you’re at a dinner party.  Someone asks the question, “So, what do you do?”  What’s your answer?

I run a non-profit for Catholic women called Conversation with Women. Then depending on my company I would gage the look on their face and decide whether or not to continue.  If there was any interest at all I would continue with,

It is a ministry that centers around a blog that consists of anonymous stories submitted by women who have struggled with Catholic teaching in the area of marriage, sexuality, and fertility but ultimately have found peace and joy by following church teaching.

If the person hasn’t walked away yet I might follow with:

The idea behind the blog is to:

  1. provide support and conversation for women who might not have like-minded friends to confide in, or might not be comfortable confiding in their friends.

2.provide kindling for real life conversations.

  1. give encouragement to any woman trying to live the faith…yes it can be difficult but it can be done and is worth it.

And then also, I am a part time barista and baker at Trinity House Café. It is a really cool coffee house run by the John Paul II Fellowship to promote Christian community and culture in the public square.

How do you think God uses your job to help shape you into all He made you to be? 

Wow.  This is a deep question.  Conversation with Women has really required that I trust God.  There are so many things that I have learned to do with the blog that I didn’t know I could do….but there was no one else to do it so I prayed and tried. I have fund raised, written press releases, designed the visual appearance of the blog, edited the blog, spoken to groups of women and learned about using social media.  I need to start writing articles promoting the blog.  That is what is next on my list.  In all honesty I’m afraid that I might look foolish trying to write an article…but then I think of the parable of the talents and I think I better just try and do my best and leave the rest to God.
What benefits (besides the economical) have you seen to your family that are a direct result of your work away from home? 

My work with Conversation with Women has always been flexible so at times it remains invisible from my family.  My job as a barista and baker has helped me set some healthy limits and boundaries with my family.  One example is that my son used to miss the bus 3 or 4 days a week.  When he knows that I am not home to take him, he doesn’t miss the bus at all…nada…zero!  I was so happy to see him step up to the plate like that…and also a little sheepish about realizing that I must be a push over to have been driving him to school so often.

How do you balance any guilty feelings you might have in the tension between your workplace and your homespace? 

I usually pray.  I’m never entirely confident that I am balancing responsibilities well.  I pray about my motives…Do I really need to run out to the grocery store tonight to get that last ingredient so that what I bake tomorrow will be amazing (forfeiting family time for pride)?  Or am I sincerely trying to do His will?  I pray for His will, not mine, and for His priorities, not mine.

What is one thing that you would ask the people in your life to do to support you more? 

I need to work on this.  The thing about part-time work is that you can arrange it so that the rest of your life does not change much.  Over Christmas I realized that I have done that to a fault.  I have added an 18 hour commitment to my life but I am still trying to do everything I used to do.  It’s not working.  I have been feeling the stress lately.  So I guess that I could use some help in figuring out what I need to drop from my list in order to be at peace.

Thank you, Emily!  

Are you a working mother?  So was (and is) the Blessed Mother!  If you enjoyed this interview and would like to celebrate working motherhood some more, please consider getting a copy of my $.99 historical fiction ebook, “Working Mother.”  

Interview with Working Mother Jessica Roseborough

Here at Tomato Pie, we’re celebrating the release of my biblical historical fiction ebook “Working Mother” by celebrating the working mothers among us.  Today marks the start of the novena to St. Jerome Emiliani, patron saint of orphans.  In honor of St. Jerome, let’s meet working mother Jessica Roseborough!

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Jessica Roseborough

Tell us a little bit about your family. 

My husband, Rob, and I have been married for 13 years.  We have 4 children, ages 11.5, 10, 8 and 5.  Our children are active, smart and fun.  They keep us very busy!! We have 2 dogs as well.  We own an adoption agency that we operate together, Rob has a full time job and I also work per diem hours in the ER as a social worker on the weekends.

 

Imagine you’re at a dinner party.  Someone asks the question, “So, what do you do?”  What’s your answer?

My primary job is a mother to 4 active children between 5-12.  Professionally, I am a social worker.  I work in both child welfare and as an emergency/medical social worker.

 

How do you think God uses your job to help shape you into all He made you to be? 

That is a big question that could have a long answer.  In a nut shell, as a mother and a social worker I feel that I have an impact on lives every day, which is something that I believe God wants from me and gave me talents and endurance for.

What benefits (besides the economical) have you seen to your family that are a direct result of your work away from home? 

I feel more fulfilled and can therefore be more engaged and present when I am with my children.  As part of our work with the adoption agency we foster newborn babies from time to time while the adoption details are worked out.  My children absolutely love this and have learned a lot about how families are built, how God works through us to help babies be where he wants them to be and in general how to make sacrifices in their own lives to help someone else.

How do you balance any guilty feelings you might have in the tension between your workplace and your homespace? 

I don’t really feel guilty because I know that for me working outside the home is necessary to be fully engaged when I am home.  I would say my bigger struggle has been to create a lifestyle and set of professional responsibilities that can meet my needs as a person while not interfere with my needs as a mother.  For example, choosing to own and operate an agency allows me the freedom to have total control over my own schedule and that is worth the challenges it causes me because I would have a great deal of guilt if I missed birthdays or school shows (etc.) due to work.
What is one thing that you would ask the people in your life to do to support you more? 

The children: put your shoes and clothes away!  I am lucky to feel very well supported and would say that the biggest struggle is feeling like there is not enough of me to go around.  I think the only thing that would make me feel more supported would be to hear “don’t worry about it” when I am stressing about not getting to the housework, laundry or home cooked meal because being a mother and social worker at the same time has to come before all of that.

 

Too true.  Thank you, Jessica!  

Are you a working mother?  So was (and is) the Blessed Mother!  If you enjoyed this interview and would like to celebrate working motherhood some more, please consider getting a copy of my $.99 historical fiction ebook, “Working Mother.”  

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7QT: Roadtrip x 2 Edition

What time is it? 4:30.  It’s not late.  No.  No.  It’s early. And since it’s Friday, it’s also time for Seven Quick Takes with Kelly over at This Ain’t the Lyceum.

seven quick takes friday 2

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Last Saturday I woke up in VA on a road trip with my real-life Staz.  We were visiting her sister and the sister’s husband, so I did what any red-blooded Catholic author did, knowing said trip was coming up.  I found the Catholic bookstore nearest their house.  That store is JMJ Catholic Books & Articles in Virginia Beach, VA.

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As soon as we knew the trip was happening, I called this fine lady, Jeanne Dart, partner with her husband in the ownership and running of JMJ.  2015/01/img_0128.jpg

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It took a little persuading, but I talked her into letting me come over the weekend of my trip and do a talk there on Saturday.  JMJ Catholic Books VIRGINIA Beach, VA

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I made the above poster on Canva (the hang of which I am now, I think, getting).  I shared that poster on FB, tweeted it at people in the general more-south-than-PA area, mailed a few copies of the poster to the bookstore, and prayed, prayed, PRAYED to St. Francis DeSales, whose feast day fell on the day of my talk.

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And… nobody came for the talk.  HOWEVER!  I still managed to sell out of books!  How?  By getting to know Jeanne and her store.  We talked about our faith and what we like to read.  We also talked about these guys:

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And here they are in their display.Jeanne spoke about using the, well, superstition behind these statues to talk to non-Catholics who come in asking for those St. Joseph statues that help sell houses (“My Catholic friend said I should do this.” “Well, how do you feel about it?” “Kind of funny.” “You probably should, and here’s why…”).  2015/01/img_0126.jpg

Anyway, while we were chatting, a few customers came in.  Jeanne introduced us, and they bought my books.  Jeanne got one for free for hosting me, and then bought the rest to give as gifts and keep on her store shelves.  Thus, I went home bookless!  And I didn’t even have to stand up and give a talk, so win-win-win.

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The only problem was that this left me with no books to display yesterday at the career day at my old high school.  I quick placed an order for more copies, but the earliest delivery date with crazy-expawnseeve shipping was February 2.  Eep.  So I just surrendered it to God’s delivery plans, paid the cheapo shipping, and planned on digging up some old proofs from around the house to display.  But, soft!  What light through yonder display table breaks at the bottom right hand side of my display table?   2015/01/img_4946.jpg

Wednesday afternoon, a box full of books showed up in my walkway.  I didn’t actually sell any here, alas, but I got the the link to here courtesy of these:

(C) 2015 Erin McCole Cupp, All Rights Reserved

(C) 2015 Erin McCole Cupp, All Rights Reserved

I had these made up as business cards and put out a sign offering “FREE POEMS made to order:  just ask!”  I haven’t done the count yet, but I believe I wrote almost 100 poems on the spot.  I can’t vouch for their quality, but I can attest to their uniqueness.  Anyway, make up your own card, obviously, but if you’re an introverted writer looking for a way to draw people in to your book signing, try the free poem thing.  This drew everyone from they shyest freshman girl hiding behind the giant binder in her arms to the burliest football playing guy.

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In closing, I’ll leave you with a few pictures from my alma mater.  In case you hadn’t figured it out yet, the Cate Whelihan books will (hopefully) be a trilogy in which Cate goes back to each place of her youth and resolves the unresolved.  Don’t You Forget About Me is about tying up loose ends from grade school.  Now I’m working on the sequel, which focuses on high school.  This added yet another level of surreality to yesterday’s career day experience.

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That’s the stage where I played Miss Hannigan in Annie my junior year.

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That’s the light loft where I ran lights for Grease my sophomore year.

Aaaahh… the cafeteria.  It still smells the same.

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St. Therese of Lisieux, the Little Flower–patron saint of my high school.

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I spent a few minutes in the chapel, praying for some special intentions, but also apologizing to the Guy in the tabernacle.  High school was my era of atheism at worst, agnosticism at best.  I didn’t even know until college that God waited for me in the room right next to the caf, and I was just ignoring Him, blaspheming against Him, and otherwise being a self-centered idiot.  2015/01/img_4957.jpgMea maxima culpa.  

Interview with Working Mother Melanie Weiler

Here at Tomato Pie, we’re celebrating the release of my biblical historical fiction ebook “Working Mother.” Today is the Feast of a working I didn’t meet until I went searching for Dominican working moms:  Blessed Villana di’Botti.  Bl. Villana balanced her duties to husband and family along with a great love of and devotion to the poor and disadvantaged in her neighborhood.  I see the same balance in an old friend of mine, Melanie Weiler.

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Melanie Weiler

Tell us a little bit about your family. 

My husband and I have been married for 23 years with two children. Our son is 15 and daughter is 13.

 

Imagine you’re at a dinner party.  Someone asks the question, “So, what do you do?”  What’s your answer?

I tell people that I manage a small nonprofit in Kennett Square, [PA], which consists of a food pantry and emergency assistance program. We focus on providing quality nutrition and securing resources for our clients to increase their self-sustainability.

 

How do you think God uses your job to help shape you into all He made you to be? 

I will always feel compelled to strive to be the person He made me to be. Through my experiences, I have been shown compassion and kindness that I know is His love. Every day I am given the opportunity to pay that forward to our brothers and sisters that are struggling. I have found the voice that we all have to speak for those that can’t speak for themselves.

When I took on this ministry, I didn’t realize how many in the community want to help, but feel powerless to do so. Through helping others, we find our humanity. I feel honored to be able to deliver that opportunity to many people and wish I could do more.

What benefits (besides the economical) have you seen to your family that are a direct result of your work away from home? 

The kids are at an age when our society sweeps them into a consumption-based system of values. At a time that friends and peers can easily influence their values, my children have grasped an understanding and appreciation for their blessings. They are well grounded.

I will never forget the surprise on my daughter’s face the first time she helped a person select groceries in the cupboard.  At first, she thought the person was another volunteer. She quickly learned that not only were they a client, but they were also experiencing homelessness.  Homelessness has a unfair stereotype that must be broken and at the age of 13, she understands and shares that with her peers.

How do you balance any guilty feelings you might have in the tension between your workplace and your homespace? 

After multiple attempts at being a stay-at-home parent, I realize that is just not in God’s plan for me. But I always felt that if I needed to be away from my family, the work needed to be meaningful. At this point in my career, I don’t feel particularly guilty. My husband and I have always managed a balance of housework and family time. Of course I couldn’t do my work without him.

What is one thing that you would ask the people in your life to do to support you more? 

Just to respect that I am compelled to do this work and to make allowances for that. And understand that my house may be a little dirty and know I don’t care as long as my family is happy.

 

Love it.  Thank you, Melanie!  

Are you a working mother?  So was (and is) the Blessed Mother!  If you enjoyed this interview and would like to celebrate working motherhood some more, please consider getting a copy of my $.99 historical fiction ebook, “Working Mother.”  

Interview with Working Mother Tiffany, the Catholic Librarian

Catholic Librarian

Tiffany the Catholic Librarian

Here at Tomato Pie, we’re celebrating the release of my biblical historical fiction ebook “Working Mother” by celebrating the working mothers among us.  Today is the feast of my Dominican patron, St. Thomas Aquinas.  In honor of this saint who spent plenty of time in the library (and whose work has sent several of us there), let’s meet working mother Tiffany, the Catholic Librarian!

What’s your name?

Tiffany, and I blog at Life of a Catholic Librarian. I write about my Catholic faith, my family, the liturgical year, librarianship, crafts, my love of Middle Eastern dancing (which I started studying as a once per week timeslot of pure “me time” to charge my batteries a bit), and generally amusing things that happen in my daily, and ordinary, life. J

Tell us a little bit about your family. 

This coming January 8th, I’ll have been married for 10 years to my adorable husband, Mike. The date sounds a bit unusual for a wedding anniversary, I know, but we enjoy winter and thus had a snowy wedding day! Our anniversary also falls during Christmas season, which is a liturgical fact I just couldn’t resist. J Mike is an adjunct professor of philosophy and mathematics at several local colleges, two of them Catholic and one a community college. We have two children. Our son, Henry, just turned 9, and our daughter Anne is 3. Henry attends a local Catholic school and is in 4th grade this year. He enjoys reading, crafts, Legos and video games, and recently joined the school wrestling team. He is a very gentle and reserved child, in fact his quiet personality reminds me so much of myself. Anne is *very* precocious and outgoing! She loves to have books read to her and to color, and is such a sweet, loving little girl. Mike is at home with her during the day while he is on semester breaks, and several mornings per week, and she stays with her grandparents while he is teaching and I am at work.

Imagine you’re at a dinner party.  Someone asks the question, “So, what do you do?”  What’s your answer?

I am a librarian at a large state university, and I am a wife and mother. I do not see those things in that specific order in terms of their significance in my life, but when someone asks me that in such a setting, they are generally wondering if I work outside of the home, and if so, in what capacity.

How do you think God uses your job to help shape you into all He made you to be? 

I think that God uses my job to teach me things every day. Patience, perseverance, compassion, understanding, clear communication, all of those things and more. For the most part, I am helping students each day, and I think that we can learn a lot from each other.

What benefits (besides the economical) have you seen to your family that are a direct result of your work away from home? 

I think that working outside of the home makes me a better mother. This is certainly not the case for everybody, but for me it is. When I was home on maternity leave with my son, I did not know any mothers who stayed at home with their children, and so I had no support system during the day. I found myself very depressed from the lack of adult interaction and it was a difficult time that I find painful to reflect back on. Now, I do have a few friends who are home with their children during the day, so that would be a huge help to be sure. But we do need my salary and benefits for our family finances, so that isn’t an option for me at this time. That aside, I do find that the social interactions and interesting challenges deal with each day at work stimulate me such that when I return home in the evenings, I am ready and able to spend that quality time with my children and husband.

How do you balance any guilty feelings you might have in the tension between your workplace and your homespace? 

This is the conundrum for all working mothers, yes? It is difficult, but has gotten easier over time. I know that I am doing what I have to do for the good of the entire family, and that certainly helps. I also think that I am setting a positive example for my kids in that women have options and prayerful choices available to them depending upon the needs of their family. It is obviously a beautiful and good thing for women to be at home with their children. That situation, however, is not possible for everyone, and so long as a woman has discerned her role in prayer and with her husband, other possibilities are good too.

What is one thing that you would ask the people in your life to do to support you more? 

I think that my family is very supportive of my working role. My husband, who works less hours than me due to his status as adjunct faculty rather than full-time, takes care of SO much around the house and for the kids, and my in-laws help out so much with childcare. I really do not think they could do more, truly. They are wonderful.

Thank you so much, Tiffany!  

Are you a working mother?  So was (and is) the Blessed Mother!  If you enjoyed this interview and would like to celebrate working motherhood some more, please consider getting a copy of my $.99 historical fiction ebook, “Working Mother.”  

Interview with Working Mother Allison Gingras

Here at Tomato Pie, we’re celebrating the release of my biblical historical fiction ebook “Working Mother.” Today is the Feast of St. Francis de Sales, patron saint of both writers and of the deaf.  Thus, we’ve gotta do a two-fer on this special feast, and you’ll see why shortly.   Let’s meet Allison Gingras!

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Allison Gingras

Tell us a little bit about your family. 

Married to Kevin for 25 years,  he was actually my Junior AND Senior Prom Date!!  3 kids – 2 boys Ian 19 & Adam 15, and our little girl Faith, 8, who is profoundly deaf and adopted from China.

 

Imagine you’re at a dinner party.  Someone asks the question, “So, what do you do?”  What’s your answer?

I am a Catholic inspiration speaker, radio host, blogger and retreat leader.

[Erin here.  Allison also writes the “Words With” apps, so check those out, too!]

 

How do you think God uses your job to help shape you into all He made you to be? 

He is constantly teaching me.  As I prepare presentations or radio show content, I inevitably learn something new about God and myself as His daughter.   In my ministry work, I encourage people to grow in faith by participating in Sacraments, Prayer and in reading Scripture.  Striving to be an authentic witness, means practicing what I preach – which in the end makes me into the woman God has created me to be (or at least on my way!)

What benefits (besides the economical) have you seen to your family that are a direct result of your work away from home? 

My ministry takes me away many weekends, I see that my being away forces everyone to step it up responsibilities at home.  My children were homeschooled, and for the older ones especially, they become so dependent on me sometimes they’d take my doing things for them for granted.    The boys have taken on doing their own laundry (yeah – one of my least favorite jobs), they spend more time with their little sister, and lastly, I find we enjoy the time we have together more.

How do you balance any guilty feelings you might have in the tension between your workplace and your homespace? 

This is probably one of my biggest challenges, since  my ‘work’ is also my faith.  It is hard for me to stop working – there is a very thin line between spending time contemplating God and different aspects of the faith as work and reflecting on faith for the sake of faith.   Having said that,  I try to work at my desk – and when I get up from that desk, I leave behind work and focus on family.

What is one thing that you would ask the people in your life to do to support you more? 

Honestly, more housework – they do great with their laundry and the dishes but It would be great if someone else would dust, vacuum, wash the windows or clean the bathroom now or then.    They will if I ask but not as well as I might like (I know I should be grateful for the help not looking for perfection) and sometimes it would be just nice to have them see if needs to be done and do it.  Often I am just too busy to remember to ask for help.

 

I can so relate to that last bit.  Thank you, Allison!  

Are you a working mother?  So was (and is) the Blessed Mother!  If you enjoyed this interview and would like to celebrate working motherhood some more, please consider getting a copy of my $.99 historical fiction ebook, “Working Mother.”  

Interview with Working Mother Amy M. Bennett

Here at Tomato Pie, we’re celebrating the release of my biblical historical fiction ebook “Working Mother.” Today is the Feast of St. Francis de Sales, patron saint of writers.  What better day to interview one of my favorite authors?  Let’s meet Amy M. Bennett!

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Amy M. Bennett (born Amy Marie Romero, in El Paso, TX, ca. 1967)

Tell us a little bit about your family. 

I come from a family that had a SAHM… my mother never worked and was always there for me and my sister. I wanted the same when I married and had a family, but even though we only had my son, I had to work from the time he was three years old.

 

Imagine you’re at a dinner party.  Someone asks the question, “So, what do you do?”  What’s your answer?

What DON’T I do??? I work full time as a cake decorator at Walmart (16 years slinging frosting!) and also part time at a winery. And I write, which is the job I’m most passionate about. But my real life’s work is my family—my husband, Paul, and son, Paul Michael, are my top priority and taking care of them and my home always comes first.

 

How do you think God uses your job to help shape you into all He made you to be? 

I think He uses it in ways that are kind of hard to see. I get asked all the time, “Where do you find the time to do everything you do?” The answer is, I MAKE the time to do what I want to do. We all have things we HAVE to do… time can be wasted or saved. It all depends on your priorities. I know a lot of people who are less busy than I am, but are always frustrated and grouchy because they never have time to do what they want to do. However, they never seem to miss an episode of the latest reality show! I think God makes sure I have to stay busy, especially now that my son is grown up, so I don’t lose my focus!

What benefits (besides the economical) have you seen to your family that are a direct result of your work away from home? 

My son learned a lot of self-reliance, once he was old enough to stay home alone without supervision. When he was a teen and mom had to  be to work at 2 a.m. and Dad left for work at 6 a.m., he learned to get himself dressed and fed (he taught himself to cook!) and take care of the pets and other chores without supervision. And now that I’m a published author, it’s easy to see that I need that time out of the house to feed my creativity. And there’s a real spirit of teamwork in the family; we all work, we all pool our resources, we all take care of home and each other. There’s no “That’s my job” or “That’s your job”–I think it’s brought us closer together.

 

How do you balance any guilty feelings you might have in the tension between your workplace and your homespace? 

I made it a rule early on: home stays home, work stays at work. And Sundays are for God and family. If we HAVE to work on an occasional Sunday, we make it a rare occurrence and make sure that Mass is always a priority. I also have had to learn to be more forgiving of myself. So I had to dress out of the dryer this morning—at least the clothes are clean! It’s OKAY to call the spouse and say, “You know what, work’s been crazy today, let’s grab a pizza on the way home or stop at that little diner up the road and let someone else cook and clean tonight!” And maybe the hardest part was speaking up at work and saying, “No, I can’t stay late today; no, I can’t cover another Sunday shift.” My generation was trained to be responsible and put work first, even if it meant sacrificing family time and allowing yourself to be taken advantage of. I had to realize that the company wasn’t going to close its doors if I left on time each day or if everything didn’t get done or (gasp!) if I called in sick or went on vacation once in a while!

What is one thing that you would ask the people in your life to do to support you more? 

Realize that I’m not you. I’m sure you have a million different ways of doing things that you believe are WAY better than the way I’m doing them, but understand that not everyone does things your way and there is no one right way to do anything. I’ve always said if you ask ten people to do the dishes, they’ll have ten different ways to do them… but in the end, the dishes are clean. That’s the point, right?

 

It sure is!  Thank you, Amy!  

Are you a working mother?  So was (and is) the Blessed Mother!  If you enjoyed this interview and would like to celebrate working motherhood some more, please consider getting a copy of my $.99 historical fiction ebook, “Working Mother.”