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. John Neumann, the first saint out of Philadelphia. It’s the perfect day to interview Philly Girl Colleen Gledhill!
What’s your name?
Tell us a little bit about your family.
My husband, Bill and I have been married for almost 27 years. We have two children (who are now young men) and we have two beautiful grandchildren.
Imagine you’re at a dinner party. Someone asks the question, “So, what do you do?” What’s your answer?
I would say that I am a wife, mother and a Legal Administrative Assistant.
How do you think God uses your job to help shape you into all He made you to be?
In the job of “Mother”, I believe God shapes me through both challenges and tenderness. Recently, my family has been challenged with experiences that we never thought we would ever face- not in a million years. This required great faith, patience, forgiveness and acceptance. Through it all, I definitely felt that I was being shaped and molded into the woman that God created and not the image that I was portraying on my own. But God is gentle and merciful, which allows me to show kindness and tenderness in even the most disappointing of situations. In the job of “Administrative Assistant”, God uses diversity to shape me. I have worked with so many interesting, beautiful and different types of people. It has really broadened my view of the world and helped me to think out of the self-imposed box that I often found myself in.
What benefits (besides the economical) have you seen to your family that are a direct result of your work away from home?
One of the biggest benefits of working outside of the home that I’ve seen in my family is cooperation. There is definitely a sense of community and helping each other out. Each of us realizes that we all are working hard and we are a team, (most of the time:-)…Utopia does not exist in the Gledhill household- but mutual respect does.
How do you balance any guilty feelings you might have in the tension between your workplace and your homespace?
In full disclosure, I did not work outside of the home when my children were infants/babies. I returned to work when they were pre-schoolers, but guilt was still present. Guilt is a tough one. I believe it is supposed to be a feeling that lasts only a moment or two when our conscience recognizes something that is contrary to God’s will. It should be a spiritual nudge- not the gnawing torment that it can turn into at times. The way I deal with it is through prayer and discussion. I ask God to help me and my family to be balanced. I have honest conversations with my family members which are important and helpful. Time spent in the car driving to events, running errands and the kid’s activities usually prove to be enlightening and informative. There is something about a car ride that makes it easier for children to open up. Also, no matter what else is going on, we try to always have dinner together. That is where much of the ‘guilt’ subsides. We regroup, bond, debate, converse and laugh. For years at dinnertime, we have asked each other “what was your high point today…what was your low point?” This question helps you to remain in touch with your family, which in turn decreases any guilt that may build up from time spent apart.
What is one thing that you would ask the people in your life to do to support you more?
I know this probably sounds so cliche, but the one thing I ask the people in my life to do to support me more is to pray for me. That is the honest truth. Years ago, my husband began to say the Rosary on his way to work each morning, and there is no better means of support for our family than that of him praying to Our Lord and His Blessed Mother! I firmly believe that his praying the Rosary has helped our family get through the toughest and most tragic of times. When others are praying for me I feel very supported, which in turn gives me the ability to reciprocate that support to my family and friends.
Thank you, Colleen!
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.”