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.
What’s your name?
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.”