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!
What’s your name?
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.”