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Advent Anticipation = Delays

Advent 2016 Updates from Author Erin McCole Cupp

By Andrea Schaufler (Own work) via Wikimedia Commons

 

On-the-ball news

Tomorrow, December 8, is the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. It’s a perfect day to read “Working Mother.”What if Mary had to get a job? WORKING MOTHER #ebook by Erin McCole Cupp

“Working Mother” is my novelette that answers the question, “What if Mary had to get a job?” It’s only 99 cents, and it’s a quick read, but if you struggle with Mommy Guilt of any variety, “Working Mother” will be a balm to your soul.  I promise.

Updates on Passed Deadlines

Sabbath Rest Book Talk for December has been moved to Sunday, December 11 at 7pm Eastern.  God willing.  Click on the SRBT link at the start of this paragraph for more information.  This month’s focus will be COMPASSION.  This month’s featured fiction will be: Chime Travelers Book 4: The Strangers at the Manger by Lisa Hendey (Children’s); Christmas Hope by Leslie Lynch (YA/clean New Adult); and Ornamental Graces by Carolyn Astfalk (adult romance).

Vanished, Book 3 (as in third and final) in The Memoirs of Jane E, Friendless Orphan is now scheduled for a December 28, 2016 release.  We ran into some scheduling snafus with the cover designer… and with the author, if we’re being truthful here.

 

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Interview with Working Mother Jessica Roseborough

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 marks the start of the novena to St. Jerome Emiliani, patron saint of orphans.  In honor of St. Jerome, let’s meet working mother Jessica Roseborough!

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Jessica Roseborough

Tell us a little bit about your family. 

My husband, Rob, and I have been married for 13 years.  We have 4 children, ages 11.5, 10, 8 and 5.  Our children are active, smart and fun.  They keep us very busy!! We have 2 dogs as well.  We own an adoption agency that we operate together, Rob has a full time job and I also work per diem hours in the ER as a social worker on the weekends.

 

Imagine you’re at a dinner party.  Someone asks the question, “So, what do you do?”  What’s your answer?

My primary job is a mother to 4 active children between 5-12.  Professionally, I am a social worker.  I work in both child welfare and as an emergency/medical social worker.

 

How do you think God uses your job to help shape you into all He made you to be? 

That is a big question that could have a long answer.  In a nut shell, as a mother and a social worker I feel that I have an impact on lives every day, which is something that I believe God wants from me and gave me talents and endurance for.

What benefits (besides the economical) have you seen to your family that are a direct result of your work away from home? 

I feel more fulfilled and can therefore be more engaged and present when I am with my children.  As part of our work with the adoption agency we foster newborn babies from time to time while the adoption details are worked out.  My children absolutely love this and have learned a lot about how families are built, how God works through us to help babies be where he wants them to be and in general how to make sacrifices in their own lives to help someone else.

How do you balance any guilty feelings you might have in the tension between your workplace and your homespace? 

I don’t really feel guilty because I know that for me working outside the home is necessary to be fully engaged when I am home.  I would say my bigger struggle has been to create a lifestyle and set of professional responsibilities that can meet my needs as a person while not interfere with my needs as a mother.  For example, choosing to own and operate an agency allows me the freedom to have total control over my own schedule and that is worth the challenges it causes me because I would have a great deal of guilt if I missed birthdays or school shows (etc.) due to work.
What is one thing that you would ask the people in your life to do to support you more? 

The children: put your shoes and clothes away!  I am lucky to feel very well supported and would say that the biggest struggle is feeling like there is not enough of me to go around.  I think the only thing that would make me feel more supported would be to hear “don’t worry about it” when I am stressing about not getting to the housework, laundry or home cooked meal because being a mother and social worker at the same time has to come before all of that.

 

Too true.  Thank you, Jessica!  

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.”  

Interview with Working Mother Melanie Weiler

Here at Tomato Pie, we’re celebrating the release of my biblical historical fiction ebook “Working Mother.” Today is the Feast of a working I didn’t meet until I went searching for Dominican working moms:  Blessed Villana di’Botti.  Bl. Villana balanced her duties to husband and family along with a great love of and devotion to the poor and disadvantaged in her neighborhood.  I see the same balance in an old friend of mine, Melanie Weiler.

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Melanie Weiler

Tell us a little bit about your family. 

My husband and I have been married for 23 years with two children. Our son is 15 and daughter is 13.

 

Imagine you’re at a dinner party.  Someone asks the question, “So, what do you do?”  What’s your answer?

I tell people that I manage a small nonprofit in Kennett Square, [PA], which consists of a food pantry and emergency assistance program. We focus on providing quality nutrition and securing resources for our clients to increase their self-sustainability.

 

How do you think God uses your job to help shape you into all He made you to be? 

I will always feel compelled to strive to be the person He made me to be. Through my experiences, I have been shown compassion and kindness that I know is His love. Every day I am given the opportunity to pay that forward to our brothers and sisters that are struggling. I have found the voice that we all have to speak for those that can’t speak for themselves.

When I took on this ministry, I didn’t realize how many in the community want to help, but feel powerless to do so. Through helping others, we find our humanity. I feel honored to be able to deliver that opportunity to many people and wish I could do more.

What benefits (besides the economical) have you seen to your family that are a direct result of your work away from home? 

The kids are at an age when our society sweeps them into a consumption-based system of values. At a time that friends and peers can easily influence their values, my children have grasped an understanding and appreciation for their blessings. They are well grounded.

I will never forget the surprise on my daughter’s face the first time she helped a person select groceries in the cupboard.  At first, she thought the person was another volunteer. She quickly learned that not only were they a client, but they were also experiencing homelessness.  Homelessness has a unfair stereotype that must be broken and at the age of 13, she understands and shares that with her peers.

How do you balance any guilty feelings you might have in the tension between your workplace and your homespace? 

After multiple attempts at being a stay-at-home parent, I realize that is just not in God’s plan for me. But I always felt that if I needed to be away from my family, the work needed to be meaningful. At this point in my career, I don’t feel particularly guilty. My husband and I have always managed a balance of housework and family time. Of course I couldn’t do my work without him.

What is one thing that you would ask the people in your life to do to support you more? 

Just to respect that I am compelled to do this work and to make allowances for that. And understand that my house may be a little dirty and know I don’t care as long as my family is happy.

 

Love it.  Thank you, Melanie!  

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.”  

Interview with Working Mother Amy M. Bennett

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!

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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.”  

Interview with Working Mother Roisin Hagerty

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.

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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.”  

Interview with Working Mother Terry McDermott

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 Canadian St. Marguerite Bourgeoys, so let’s meet a working mom from the Great White North, Terry McDermott!

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Terry McDermott

Tell us a little bit about your family. 

My husband and I have been married for 29 – 1/2 years. We have eight children, six young men, two young women. The oldest is 26, the youngest is 12.

Imagine you’re at a dinner party.  Someone asks the question, “So, what do you do?”  What’s your answer?

 I am a registered nurse in independent practice as a certified foot care nurse. I own a small business, McDermott Footcare, and I provide nursing foot care services to  patients who are living with medical conditions that require the expertise of a foot care nurse . I also provide nursing foot care clinics in a number of retirement residences where I am contracted to be the certified foot care nurse.

 

How do you think God uses your job to help shape you into all He made you to be? 

The patients to whom I provide care are among the most vulnerable in society. All of them suffer from a number of complex medical conditions and the majority of them are elderly, many of whom live alone or are in care facilities. My younger patients often have limited mobility or are confined to a wheelchair.  I think God calls on me to serve people in their affliction, to be a loving presence in their lives, and to give compassionate care that transmits His love. He calls me to be a servant but at the same time, He wants me to see Him in the suffering of my patients, and He asks me to relieve His suffering through the care I give them.

What benefits (besides the economical) have you seen to your family that are a direct result of your work away from home? 

My kids have had to learn to do household chores, do the laundry, and cook meals. My kids tell  that there is a heightened sense of responsibility because we have to work together as a team so the home runs smoothly.

How do you balance any guilty feelings you might have in the tension between your workplace and your homespace? 

Honestly, this is a constant battle with me. Whenever I feel guilty that I do not give my kids attention or that I am preoccupied with work, I try to find some time that I can give to them. Since I am self-employed, juggling my schedule is easier than for most women but there are times when the needs of the business threaten to overtake family life. It takes a lot of work and a strong will to not let work get in the way of family life. I’ve learned that it is important to prioritize tasks that need to get done.

As much as possible, I schedule my day so that I am home when my youngest child, 12 years old, returns from school at 4 pm. I make dinner, talk to the kids about their day as they come home from school or work, and eat dinner together on most evenings.  Any documentation or administrative  tasks are left for later when the kids are doing their homework. It’s important for my husband and me to spend time together at the end of the day.
What is one thing that you would ask the people in your life to do to support you more? 

Tidy up the kitchen before leaving the house in the morning. We have a sign hanging over the kitchen sink as a reminder that everyone is responsible for their breakfast dishes, pots, pans, etc. The sign has proven largely ineffective and the family still rush out the door without cleaning up after themselves. 

 

Thank you, Terry!  Your interview also drew me to reflect on how your job is literally washing the feet of our brothers and sisters.  What a special calling! 

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.”  

Interview with Working Mother Jane Lebak

Here at Tomato Pie, we’re celebrating the release of my biblical historical fiction ebook “Working Mother” by celebrating the working mothers among us.  Le’s meet Jane Lebak!

What’s your name?

Jane Lebak

Tell us a little bit about your family. 

My husband and I have been married for 19 years. We have four living children, ages 17 through 6, and one baby who died two hours after birth from a fatal birth defect.

 

Imagine you’re at a dinner party.  Someone asks the question, “So, what do you do?”  What’s your answer?

I’m a freelance writer.” Generally people follow that up with, “What do you write?” so I reply, “Anything they’ll pay me to write,” which leads to some general laughter and sometimes a partial list of the things I’ve written. Lately I’ve been writing for a local newspaper, and that’s the most respectable and familiar thing for them so I talk about that. If you tell people you write books, they get a deer-in-the-headlights look if they don’t read, and if they do read they ask if they’ve read anything you’ve written and you have to tell them no.

Depending on the context, I may talk to people about my publishing company. I formed my own publisher this year just so I could get my work out there after years of Manhattan publishers saying it was good enough but wouldn’t be popular enough to land on the bestseller lists. You don’t want me to start talking about that, though — not if you want to enjoy the rest of the dinner party. I’m sure people would start nervously scanning for exits if I got on a roll about that subject, so I try not to get started.

 

How do you think God uses your job to help shape you into all He made you to be? 

I feel much more alive and closer to God when I’m writing. God gave me a skill with words and the opportunity to develop that skill. When I can leverage that skill on behalf of other people, that’s just an amazing experience. Especially with my newspaper work, I feel as if I’m able to capture everyday successes, joys, and dreams and put them out there for the greater community to experience.

Also, when I’m writing fiction, I feel as if I’m going deeper into myself, learning more about people and experiences and thoughts. Oftentimes in fiction I’m working out the answers to questions I haven’t even gotten a chance yet to ask myself, and when I find the answers, they take me by surprise: this is what I needed to learn all along. If the Holy Spirit is using my characters’ adversity to shape me, that’s awesome.

But one other way God shapes me through my writing is that I begin to get a sense of how God interacts with us. Obviously this is an imperfect model because my characters aren’t alive and never can become self-aware, but on the other hand, I’ve learned about God as not having disposable people or the way God can love even people who are engaged in the most reprehensible actions. I like to think of the Creative side of God kind of as an author, and then writing makes me closer to Him.
What benefits (besides the economical) have you seen to your family that are a direct result of your work away from home? 

I’m not quite so much of a grump when I’m able to get into my own head for a while and put my energy into something outside of us. I learn a lot from my research or interviews and can carry those tidbits back into our everyday life. I’m happier when I’m working on a book, and that benefits everyone. Also, I no longer feel incompetent because I have affirmation in my products that I’m absolutely competent. I’m pushing my comfort zone every time I try something new, and that has to make me a better parent and a better advocate for my family.
How do you balance any guilty feelings you might have in the tension between your workplace and your homespace? 

I try to keep some time work-free for my children because (as I learned early on ) when you work from home, you could let your work engulf your daily life if you’re not careful, especially if it’s something you love to do. Therefore I keep Sunday work-free, and I try not to be working on my books when my children are home. At this point, I’m still at home all the time when my children are, and my work output is entirely controlled by how much time I want to give it, so I haven’t been prey to guilty feelings. The only time I really felt guilty was when one of my promotions went live unexpectedly and I spent the next two hours trying to get to work on that — and ended up forgetting to pick up my daughter early from school to take her to an appointment. She had to call me, and even then I didn’t realize what time it was.
What is one thing that you would ask the people in your life to do to support you more? 

My immediate family has been very supportive, so I can’t ask for more from them. I have time to work and free time when I need to get away for an event or meetings with my local writing group. Overall I’d ask my friends and family to help promote my books, either by buying them, reading them, reviewing them, or giving them to other people. None of my extended family read my books. My biggest supporters have come from real-life friends and online friends, and I’m really thankful for them.

 

Thank you, Jane!  

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.”  

Interview With Working Mother Cristina

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 Dominican St. Raymond of Peñafort, so I gotta draw some attention to my sister in St. Dominic, working mother Cristina of Filling My Prayer Closet!

What’s your name?Cristina of Filling my Prayer Closet

Cristina

Tell us a little bit about your family. 

Mike and I have two boys, ages 10 and 7. We moved from NYC to PA 4 years ago so that I could take care of the kids and the loss of my income would not be such a hit. Your dollar stretches a little farther here than in NYC, as you can imagine. While I was at home with the boys, I worked on obtaining my master’s degree to teach high school English. I’m still two classes away from finishing that. In those 4 years, my husband was laid off for 6 weeks, got another job, and this time it was a work from home position. He travels internationally from time to time but for the most part, he’s the stay at home Dad now.

 

Imagine you’re at a dinner party.  Someone asks the question, “So, what do you do?”  What’s your answer?

“I’m an executive assistant at a business information company. I know, that’s vague. Basically, I make sure my leader doesn’t have to worry about anything administrative. I also provide comic relief.”

 

How do you think God uses your job to help shape you into all He made you to be? 

My husband and I talk all the time about future planning, and options. We’re kind of obsessed with it. Let me explain. We always want to be as prepared as we can be for anything that could come up. We examine all scenarios from the logical to the irrational, and then pose a “what would we do?” question around it. That’s how I rejoined the workforce. We sat down and listed what our priorities were: better neighborhood with an even better school district, but also getting the boys into Catholic school. I’m sure you’re asking why we would worry about the school district if we were putting them in Catholic school? Well, within the first two years of being a stay-at-home mom, my husband was laid off for 6 weeks, he was on disability and I was still dealing with epilepsy in my oldest son (he’s since recovered – very rare). The thinking is, if we ever can’t afford Catholic school, at least they will “fall” into the best school district in the area.

This meant that I had to go back to work to help with the increase in expenses. I did not want to. I was so scared. I loved being home and with my babies, um boys. I was also a new convert to the Catholic faith and was worried that “work” would distract me from my faith journey. I spent some time in Adoration to pray for His will. There were three positions and I wanted one, one wanted me, and one of them was back in corporate. I did not want to go back to corporate. Ever. Well, the job I wanted never called me back (until I had already accepted the corporate job), the job that wanted me took forever to make an offer and the one I wanted, was with my Diocese. The Diocese called me the day after I accepted my the job I’m in. There was a mix up with paperwork. Turns out that my leader goes to my parish, and there are quite a few people here who also go to my parish, or are Catholic. God heard me, and placed me where he knew I would land softly. There is plenty of flexibility to see school plays, to work from home if my boys get sick, or need to go to a doctor’s appt. And now, we live across the street from our Parish and their school.

What benefits (besides the economical) have you seen to your family that are a direct result of your work away from home? Cristina's Family

The boys spend a lot of time with their Dad, which I love. I got to spend every day with the boys for two years while he traveled. We moved in August, and the following year, between January and July, he was home collectively, for a month. I was in a new town and knew no one. I was the one walking the dog, taking the kids to school, homework, school events, taking out the garbage, all of it, by myself. That was tough. I didn’t even know where the nearest grocery store or hospital was. So to have him with them now, he gets his turn at one on one time with the boys.

I also think that working with people who happen to also be Catholic, and seeing them at mass, week after week is just nice. Whenever I think about it, I think “nice touch, God.”

How do you balance any guilty feelings you might have in the tension between your workplace and your homespace? 

I don’t really have guilty feelings. My commute is 10 – 15 minutes by car each way and my job / leader are flexible when I need to attend an event, volunteer at the school, or the occasional emergency pick up. The job I have now isn’t like the jobs I had in NYC. When I leave the office at 5PM, I don’t have to check email throughout the evening to keep up, nor will I get caught at 2AM making travel arrangements for someone in China, pretending to my husband that I have to use the bathroom. True story. Everything I remembered about corporate in NYC, is not corporate in PA. I have a lot of work/life balance. As cliche as it may sound, I am truly blessed with the job I have.
What is one thing that you would ask the people in your life to do to support you more? 

We don’t really have a lot of people in our life. My husband and I moved to this area in PA practically sight unseen (we visited communities twice before deciding where we would live). We were both working 14 hour days in NYC and realized it wasn’t working for our family. We decided and moved quickly. We don’t have family here, so we are all very close; all as in my husband and the boys. I did ask that my husband take on doing his own laundry when I went back to work. He hates it. So I still do it when I can. I mean, he does take care of everything else: cooking, dishes, mopping, sweeping, dusting, grocery shopping, the list goes on and on. Are you sure you shouldn’t be interviewing him?

 

Hee hee.  Maybe next time.  Give him fair warning? Thank you, Cristina!  

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.”  

Interview with Working Mother Lisa Delay

Here at Tomato Pie, we’re celebrating the release of my biblical historical fiction ebook “Working Mother.” Today is the Feast of the Epiphany, when we celebrate all the different directions from which Christians approach Jesus and gather together in His name.  What better day to interview one of my favorite Christian speakers and working mothers, Lisa DeLay?

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Lisa DeLay

Tell us a little bit about your family. 

The DeLays (of Cressona) are typically an odd but tight bunch. Our family is marked by creative pursuits, family suppers together each night, the priority of a Christian walk of faith, mini vacations, cycling on rails-to-trails, a bit of sibling bickering, a love of quirky movies, and cleaning up after our dog, Luna.

 

Imagine you’re at a dinner party.  Someone asks the question, “So, what do you do?”  What’s your answer?

First, I might quip, “The best I can.” This is likely to followed by an awkward silence and the suspicion that I’m a hapless jerk. From there, I may proceed with a list (graphic designer, writer, artist, digital marketer, manager at a vineyard, volunteer at a federal prison, plus I’m a wife and mom to a special needs child and a gifted child) that either bores the listener or causes them to assume that I over-schedule my life–which is actually inaccurate…but whatever. Incidentally, I was asked this question at my son’s school one time. I was exhausted from my day, so I replied, “Oh, not much”–to which the man said (instructively) to his son, “Mrs DeLay is a ‘housewife’, Michael. That means she takes care of her home and that’s okay, too.” I didn’t bother trying to clear that up.

[Erin here.   Besides being a, and note the that’s-okay-too-quotation-marks, “housewife,” Lisa has authored and co-authored several books, including my favorite, Dog in the Gap, which I highly recommend.]  

 

How do you think God uses your job to help shape you into all He made you to be? 

Whatever it is that I’m working on I think that God gives me chances to share the gifts me gave me with others. In doing that I am found and I sense that I belong to a plan and a hope bigger than myself. Ideally, the struggles, whether at home or at work, can create Christ-likeness if I bear in mind a bigger picture.

 

What benefits (besides the economical) have you seen to your family that are a direct result of your work away from home? 

My children have to develop greater maturity, take on more responsibly, and contribute in useful ways to the family in meaningful ways–from doing chores and caring for the dog, to behaving themselves or getting snacks on their own when I’m not home from work yet. My husband shares in more household tasks too. If it weren’t by necessity, this may not happen as much. 

 

How do you balance any guilty feelings you might have in the tension between your workplace and your homespace? 

If those feelings ever arise I remind myself that I spent 7 years away from work outside the home to stay with them full-time and they are at an age to be challenged by the kind of independence my part-time work outside the home offers them.

What is one thing that you would ask the people in your life to do to support you more? 

My friends and my spouse do a lot to support me (practically and emotionally).  To my children I’d say, “Ditch the complaining…you have it pretty darn good.”

 

Thank you, Lisa!  

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.”  

Interview with Working Mother Sarah Reinhard

It’s the feast of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, one of my favorite working mother saints.  Join me in celebrating working mother Sarah Reinhard as we also celebrate the release of my biblical historical fiction ebook “Working Mother.”

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What’s your name?

 Sarah Reinhard

Tell us a little bit about your family. 

4 kids, ages 9-almost-10, 7, 4, and in utero (due in March)

Imagine you’re at a dinner party.  Someone asks the question, “So, what do you do?”  What’s your answer?

A little bit of all kinds of things (grin), including laundry, juggling, entertainment, writing, chauffeuring, personal shopping, anger management and conflict resolution, and much more.  Actually, I usually just tell people I’m a writer. It takes less effort than explaining I work from home and somehow manage more than anyone else thinks I should be able to.

(Erin here.   Sarah blogs for herself, for the National Catholic Register, is an editorial consultant at CatholicMom.com, and has a bunch of books on Amazon, and that’s just for starters).  

How do you think God uses your job to help shape you into all He made you to be? 

Well, it keeps me off the streets… It keeps me organized and focused on my priorities. I am constantly assessing why I work and whether I’m in line with God’s will. God and I have an ongoing conversation in which I say “How in the (colorful word omitted) am I supposed to DO ALL OF THIS?” and he answers with some miraculous person showing up to help or some circumstance falling into place or some clear realization on my part that it’s time to say No.  My job pays the bills, yes. But it also gives me a focus that I think I would lack otherwise. It’s how God wired me. (And I realize there’s room for a conversation here about how my kids and my husband should be my focus, and I don’t mean to ever imply that, at any moment, they ever aren’t. Because they are. At every instant.)

What benefits (besides the economical) have you seen to your family that are a direct result of your work away from home? 

I actually work from home, so I get the best and worst of both sides of this. I get to look at the unfolded laundry all day and feel guilty about whether I’m ignoring a kid while I try to meet a deadline. But I’m also here when someone’s sick, and I work with incredible people who understand that I’m a wife and mom FIRST.  I have flexibility, but I also have a never-ending to-do list. Literally. There is ALWAYS something that needs done, whether it’s dishes or laundry, a writing project or client project, homework help or sports carpooling.  My kids see, very clearly, that family comes first. Family is part and parcel of all of it: the housework, the outside work, the fun we have.

 

How do you balance any guilty feelings you might have in the tension between your workplace and your homespace? 

Confession and constant conversation with God. I’m always assessing whether why I’m working outside my home achieves God’s will, which requires always asking him for guidance. I also keep myself in check by listening to what those closest to me are saying — God so often speaks in the voices of my husband and my closest family and friends. 

What is one thing that you would ask the people in your life to do to support you more? 

Coffee and chocolate, people, coffee and chocolate. 🙂

Thank you, Sarah!  

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.”