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, Kerri Baunach!
What’s your name?
Kerri Baunach. I always loved my Irish name, still do, but then I married a German. My first name combined with my married name still sounds funny to me. In a good way, it just makes me smile.
Tell us a little bit about your family.
My husband and I met back around 2004 (I think) through the young adult group at our church. I was actually dating someone else at the time and was hit or miss attending the group. But I eventually became a more regular attendee, we very slowly got to know each other, two years later we started dating, and were married a little less than two years after that, in 2007. We have 6 children; our 3 in heaven are Casey (2008), Zachary (2009), and Brigit (2010); and our 3 living children are identical twins Peter and Ethan (born in May 2011) and Silas (born in December 2013). We live in Lexington, KY and think it is a wonderful town surrounded by beautiful country.
Imagine you’re at a dinner party. Someone asks the question, “So, what do you do?” What’s your answer?
My answer varies depending on the person asking. Most of the time I tell people I’m a librarian, specifically a music librarian in an academic library. If I’m asked more about what I do (often I get asked about shelving books, checking books out, etc., the types of tasks we hire students to do) I’ll explain as briefly as possible that I am mostly a cataloging librarian for the music materials and a few other formats. And no, I don’t know anything about the Dewey Decimal System.
[Erin here. Kerri also writes for and is on the board of Catholic Sistas.]
How do you think God uses your job to help shape you into all He made you to be?
One of my job responsibilities is that of supervisor for what we call Special Formats Cataloging (music, maps, rare books, and some other odd formats). It was a role I was asked to do after a reorganization, not a role I particularly wanted and definitely did not seek out. Despite that, I believe I have grown from the experience. I believe God has used this aspect of my work to teach me leadership skills, to help me learn more about fostering success in other people, and He’s given me the chance to act as a mentor to colleagues in earlier stages of their careers. Being in any sort of administrative role, even my tiny low-level one, was not something I ever wanted, but I have most benefited in a way that I think makes me a better mother to my children and gives me skills that I can use in other aspects of my life as well.
What benefits (besides the economical) have you seen to your family that are a direct result of your work away from home?
For me, my job offers some flexibility. I have the ability to connect to my office remotely if I have to and I have a bit of freedom in my hours and when I work. This is helpful for weeks like this week when I have a deadline but also a sick baby. So I’m home with the baby while the twins are at daycare and I’m connecting to my office remotely to finish the work that needs to be done. I have been able to work during nap times and then I work a couple hours at night after the kids are in bed. When my twins were babies I also got approval to take a six month sabbatical. A sabbatical, still requires you to work, but the work is focused on a project (just one!) and you can do the work whenever and wherever you want. The boys were in daycare for about 4 months or so from the time they were 8 weeks old until about 6 months old. Then I took off the whole month of December to use all my remaining vacation time (our year ends June 30) and in January my sabbatical started. The boys were home with me in December and they stayed home with me during my sabbatical. They were a perfect age because they still napped twice a day. I worked during nap time and a little in the evenings. THe last few months of my sabbatical I hired a babysitter to come over twice a week and play with them from after lunch until they went down for their second nap. That way I had a couple days of work where I could get more like 6 hours in instead of 4. It worked out beautifully. They were 13 months old when I returned to my office full time and they started at a new day care.Unfortunately I’m not eligible for another sabbatical until (I think) 2018.
Sometime, too, I take advantage of the fact that I am paying for daycare anyway. I will sometimes take a day off of work to run errands or get my haircut without having to drag all the kids with me. Oh, and speaking of dragging all the kids with me, it’s been helpful to be able to take a sick child to the doctor without the other two in tow.
How do you balance any guilty feelings you might have in the tension between your workplace and your homespace?
One thing I try to do is remain focused on my job when I am there. By that I mean that I figure if I am going to be at work I need to be working and not wasting time. If I’m going to waste time or be lazy in my work then why am I bothering to work, I could be home with my kids instead. Likewise, ever since I got married I have made a conscious effort to not work late and not bring work home. I felt it was a courtesy to my husband (and now also my kids) that I be present to them when I am home. There are still rare times when I have to bring something home or run in to my office for a couple hours on a Saturday, but overall, work stays at work and my time at home is for my family.
What is one thing that you would ask the people in your life to do to support you more?
I would ask people to not be critical of the decisions my family makes. Whether you agree or not, you don’t know, can’t know, all the reasons why a family makes the decisions they make, whether it is having both parents work outside the home or something else. Instead, be supportive of us and offer to help when/if you can. Just knowing that others in our life are supportive of us makes a world of difference when we are stretched thin.
Thank you, Kerri!
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.”