Here at Tomato Pie, we’re celebrating the release of my biblical historical fiction ebook “Working Mother.” Today is the Feast of St. Hilary de Poitiers, who was treated unfairly but rose above to help others, not just for the sake of the present but for our future as well. In honor of this saint’s cleverness and perseverance, let’s meet working mother Roísín Hagerty.
What’s your name?
My name is Roisin Hagerty. I am a single mother with an 18 year old son, and a 9 year old daughter. My son is getting ready for college where he expects to play golf also, and my daughter is dreaming of being a paleontologist.
Tell us a little bit about your family.
I was married at 23, and divorced at 25. We had a fight on a Saturday and he left on Tuesday. I was devastated, but had to trust that there were different plans for me. I married again at 30. He was not a kind man, and I am now divorced again.
I am the 5th of 6 children. My parents have been married for 54 years. I have been blessed with the very best family. My brothers and sisters are my greatest friends.
Imagine you’re at a dinner party. Someone asks the question, “So, what do you do?” What’s your answer?
I am a nurse. I work in a Neonatal ICU caring for the smallest, sickest patients in the hospital. They, and their parents, are my heroes. Being a nurse, I have held hands of the elderly as they pass, and I have seen the glory of birth, and watch every day as these tiny people fight to live. I tell parents all the time that these babies are like brownies when you bake them at home. They look so perfect, but inside, they are still gooey. It is miraculous to see the development of a tiny human that should still be protected by it’s mother, but here he or she is, making progress every single day. All the pieces that have to be absolutely perfect to make a baby are astounding, and I get to be part of lives, holding hands as miracles of life and death happen.
How do you think God uses your job to help shape you into all He made you to be?
My dad once told me that I will do more for people in one shift than he may ever do at his work. That was deep, and it may have been true. I didn’t really choose to be a nurse. My mom worked at a college. She said I could be a nurse, an accountant or a teacher. I said I didn’t want to sit behind a desk for the rest of my life, or stand in front of a class for the rest of my life. So… I became a nurse. God chose that for me, through my mother. In all aspects of my life, I give. We were taught to treat others the way we would like to be treated. I want to be respected. I want to be loved. In all I do at the bedside, I want to give respect, and I want to love. Can it be tough? Yes, certainly. Are there days I really wish the Church would have an 800 line to hear confessions, because my thoughts are THAT bad? Yes, absolutely. But when I am at a bigger baby’s bedside, and that baby won’t settle to sleep, I am so blessed to be able to pick that child up, and love him, snuggle him, love him. I can affect lives forever. God works through my hands, and I ask him each day to use me to give the best I can to my patients and their families.
What benefits (besides the economical) have you seen to your family that are a direct result of your work away from home?
My work at home is an ongoing challenge. I give all I can in all aspects of life, sometimes to a fault. In my second marriage, I did all I could to save that relationship. It has taken me a long time to recover. My children and I live in a 700 sq ft apartment. My daughter and I share a bed and bedroom. There is laundry everywhere. It’s overwhelming. Sometimes, something has to give. For me, that’s my housework. My kids and I have great times. We snuggle and watch TV. We have long talks. We make great memories. My kiddos will only be little for a finite period of time. I don’t want to waste it fighting and nagging and cleaning 24/7. My kids see me getting text from families of babies I have cared for in the NICU, and know I have affected their entire lives. When our CYO teams adopt families for Christmas, they see that I focused on the diapers they asked for instead of the toys. I would like to say that my kids see how hard I work, and it inspires them to help more around the apartment, but I can’t say that, lol! My schedule allows me more days off during the week. When I work, I am away for 14 hours. When I am off, I can help out at school and make it to performances.
How do you balance any guilty feelings you might have in the tension between your workplace and your homespace?
I’m an Irish Catholic. Guilt is part of my everyday! I am hard on myself about my kids both having to have two homes. Add 14 hour work days, and it’s a recipe for guilt-a-rama (or guilt-a-mama!). Although I have my issues with my schedule, I have seen my kids become resilient because of it. My son is trustworthy. He stays alone almost all weekend. He is a good kid. We have an open line of communication. My daughter asks each day who will get her from the bus so she can plan. I can’t imagine how I would feel in her shoes going between homes, but it’s normal for her. She is proud of me for helping “the babies” but is quick to add that nursing is not for her. She has seen the birthing shows I watch on TV and has decided she’ll be a Paleontologist and will adopt children so she never has to be a nurse or go into labor! I have to keep my feelings of marital failure and work guilt from my kids. I gloss it over by (maybe too often) reminding them to have a job where they can’t work nights, weekends, or holidays. Nursing is 24/7. I love what I do, but I dislike missing out on holidays with them.
What is one thing that you would ask the people in your life to do to support you more?
Asking for support or help doesn’t come easy for me. I try to make sure my kids know that our lives are only in so much of our control. God has a plan for each of us. I am twice divorced. A friend’s baby died at 9 months of SIDS. My cousin’s dad just died. Nothing is how we plan, but it is what it is. I have faith in God’s plan. The Virgin Mary gives me strength. I learned a great thought from an odd place – the movie “Evan Almighty”. Morgan Freeman as God says “Let me ask you something. If someone prays for patience, you think God gives them patience? Or does he give them the opportunity to be patient? If he prayed for courage, does God give him courage, or does he give him opportunities to be courageous?” If I had to ask for support, I’d like a professional cleaning team every week or so, lol, and prayers. Sometimes, I don’t have kind thoughts. I would appreciate prayers of forgiveness (and a cleaning lady).
Thank you, Roísín!
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.”