Here at Tomato Pie, we’re celebrating the release of my biblical historical fiction ebook “Working Mother” by celebrating the working mothers among us. Let’s meet working mother, Ashley Anderson!
What’s your name?
Tell us a little bit about your family.
My husband, Paul, and I have been married for six and a half years. We met my last year, his sophomore year, at Missouri State University and have been planting our roots here in Springfield, MO, ever since. He’s a senior manager at Accenture and my understanding of this position is that his brain is so full with technical knowledge about computers and programming that they pay him to perpetuate his nerd status. Don’t tell him I told you that though because I’m sure he would like to offer a more accurate depiction of his job. I taught high school English for six years but am currently at home with our three wild boys: Thomas (nearly 5) and identical twins, Alistair and Emerick (18 months).
Imagine you’re at a dinner party. Someone asks the question, “So, what do you do?” What’s your answer?
I’m home with the kids right now busy with lots of fun things. I homeschool Thomas, tackle home maintenance stuff, feed all my guys as much good stuff as I can, and squeeze in freelance work in the margins.
How do you think God uses your job to help shape you into all He made you to be?
My job here at home strips me of my selfishness. Who doesn’t need more of that?
On a practical level, I teach my sons all day. Almost all of the teaching is natural and prompted by the boys, but I’m also able to draw on my experiences as an educator to provide resources for my kids, and that part of my work at home is incredibly rewarding.
In addition, I do a bit of freelance work for the company where my husband works. I’m contracted to essentially grade tests. It’s not a ton of work and the work is not steady income. However, I’m a firm believer that every little bit counts. When I see the money I earn deposited into our account, I am joyful to have the opportunity to help us out with flex funds for things like extra traveling, big medical bills, or maybe a gift for someone.
What benefits (besides the economical) have you seen to your family that are a direct result of your work away from home?
I taught for six years with three of those years as a mommy to my firstborn. I’m grateful that we were blessed with six years of dual-income so that we could pay down debt and experience a great deal of financial freedom as well.
My freelance work, my “work away from work” (even if I’m doing it during naps and late nights), is a wonderful experience for me. Transitioning to full time mom has been difficult for me. My role feels overwhelming and at times, even invisible. I’m working on my heart and my humility. In the meantime though, having a side job that I can feel really great about, that has parameters of work I can walk away from because it is “done” feels really gratifying.
How do you balance any guilty feelings you might have in the tension between your workplace and your homespace?
Now that there is primarily one breadwinner and one homemaker, the tension looks different than when my husband and I were both working. When I feel overwhelmed at all there is to balance at home, some things turning over quickly like dishes and toys carried across the house by toddlers and other things very slowly like projects chipped away at day by day, I think of how overwhelmed by husband could feel being the one we are all relying on financially. I try my best to first think of how I can show my husband appreciation for the big role he wakes up to each day.
I also have learned that it is extremely effective to privately, honestly, and calmly tell my husband what is on my heart. There is nothing I have once brought to him that he has not responded to with gentleness and action. But barking orders and complaining when everyone is searching for socks and trying to get out the door (which I’ve also been guilty of committing)–it just doesn’t work.
From what we’ve experienced with our different roles, it’s that tension sneaks up when we aren’t actively trusting each other. Sometimes I just say: “We both work hard. We both are stressed. If we need something, we should say it and we should be eager to both help and accept help.” I think that reminder cools our jets a bit.
What is one thing that you would ask the people in your life to do to support you more?
I have the most supportive family and friends. My cup is completely full when it comes to having a good network of people who I can be honest and real with about the joys and struggles of my life right now.
Maybe I can use this space as my opportunity to send out a bit of support to other moms:
Moms with full-time jobs: Please cut yourself some slack. Buy semi-prepped food. Hire a house cleaner from time to time. Unfollow groups on Facebook or blogs that are advertising a lifestyle that is not part of your family culture and plan. Rejoice in the gift that you have to provide for your family in the way that you do and rest in God’s provision and wild, unforeseen plans for your life!
Moms at home: It’s okay to pray for and seek out friendships. That’s not a waste of time: it’s important. Call out to Jesus in the messiness and close your eyes and think of Mary’s beautiful humility when you feel your invisible work begin to drain your joy. Your work matters and maybe you should look in the mirror and say it. It really does! Rejoice in the simple blessings as if you are harvesting fruit from the field and be joyful know that God has wild, unforeseen plans for your life!
Thank you, Ashley!
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.”