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. Basil the Great, patron saint of hospital administrators and other sorts who branched out into multiple fields based on where God wants him. In honor of this day, let’s meet working mother Erica Goppold!
What’s your name?
Tell us a little bit about your family.
We are a family of 3, including my husband, me, and our 9 year-old son, Matthew. We also have 2 small dogs and 3 fish. I am a degreed educator and registered nurse, my husband is an electrical engineer, and Matthew is a 4th grader at a Montessori school. We keep ourselves busy with Matthew’s nearly year-round travel baseball schedule, and love to travel to different amusement parks and beaches in our “free” time. My husband often travels for his work, so it is a lot of just Matthew and I during the week. It works for us, as we are all 3 used to it.
Imagine you’re at a dinner party. Someone asks the question, “So, what do you do?” What’s your answer?
Honestly, just as when I just read this question, I literally LOL. Simply put, I am an aide in an emotional/Autistic support classroom of our local elementary school. You wouldn’t believe me if I told you what I “do” or encounter in the course of a day. Some days I am run pretty ragged by the time I get my own darling off the school bus in the afternoon….AND I am not utilizing any of my 3 college degrees to do it!! I work as support staff for right now, so I do not have the extra responsibilities that come with a professional role. I get to walk out at 3:30 and be truly done with my work for the day. I need that at this point in family life.
How do you think God uses your job to help shape you into all He made you to be?
I often am asked “how” or “why” I do the job I do. Why don’t I pursue the professional roles I have trained so hard for and work to maintain licensure in? I truly feel called to the school and job I am in. I landed in the position by chance, while I was not even looking for work (I know, some people would give their right arm for a job.) I took it, and the children just grew on me in a way I could have never imagined. I do not make a lot of money, but I can tell you the rewards are bountiful. I like to think I make a positive difference in the days of some of these children as well. I identify as more spiritual rather than religious, and I feel that something bigger than I can explain has put me where I am supposed to be right now.
What benefits (besides the economical) have you seen to your family that are a direct result of your work away from home?
My son is diagnosed with Aspergers (high-funcitoning Autism) and ADHD. Through my job, I work alongside professionals in the fields of special education and various other areas of expertise, whom I learn volumes from. I take home many ideas in dealing with certain behaviors, goal-setting, driving motivation, etc. I feel empowered by what I learn and experience in a day and can apply at home. I also enjoy being surrounded by other individuals who care for and embrace these children. The love and acceptance they show, gives me hope in a sometimes harsh world that my son will be ok.
How do you balance any guilty feelings you might have in the tension between your workplace and your homespace?
Mommy guilt is the worst kind of guilt. I miss out on volunteering in my son’s school during the day, which he reminds me of since I used to be there a lot before taking this job. Mostly, I just tell myself to shut up when it kicks in. I feel like no matter which path I choose as a mom, the guilt will find me in some way. I can be home and involved in his every move (he’s my only one–he would be hyper-focused upon), and what service does that do him? I can work, and maybe miss some school functions, but I am spreading my wings and being myself for several hours each day. The benefits outweigh the negativity for me.
What is one thing that you would ask the people in your life to do to support you more?
I wish I had support in the sense that I have friends and family who like to comment on the fact that I work despite that fact that I “do not have to.” Admittedly, our pantry would still be well-stocked and our vehicles full of gas if I did not work. However, my choice to work is a personal one, and it certainly does not bring us any undo harm. That and “mommy wars” need to stop. The grass is always greener. Whether you choose to stay home or “lean in,” we are all equal as moms caring for our children. Let us embrace each other’s’ differences and choices.
Thank you, Erica!
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.”