I want to thank all of you for your incredible support for this blogging project so far. I completely underestimated how difficult this whole “writing for an audience” thing would be, and I apologize for not getting more posts out than I have. On top of that, we just moved into our new house – hooray – so we are quite swamped with unpacking…or at least staring at boxes while thinking about unpacking. Writing has, admittedly been put on the back burner.
That’s where today’s post comes in. With this blog, I want to feature not just my own work and striving, but the work and striving of all mamas, especially the mamas whom I personally admire. Today, I share with you words from a new mama friend, Emily Malloy. She blogs over at Bacon is the Way to Happiness, where she shares delicious recipes with photos and words that make your heart feel all warm and cozy. She does a stellar job of connecting Catholic women to one another through the Philadelphia chapter of Blessed Is She. She works with flowers and graciously teaches others her craft through workshops she calls “Flowers Among Friends”. She is a Whole30 warrior – seriously, the only person I’ve known who hasn’t complained her way through all 30 days. She recently started her own Etsy shop selling beautiful hand-painted prints at January in June. And she loves her family and her faith fiercely. I hope you will find as much inspiration and grace in her words as I have. And I hope you will encourage all mothers, working inside or outside the home, for the work they do, day in and day out, serving their families and growing God’s Kingdom. Happy reading. :]
- Could you tell me about your family?
In 2010, I married my college sweetheart and together we have two boys, Gerard and Thomas.
- What does your professional work consist of? Are you full-time/part-time/work-from-home?
It’s been a bit of an evolution, really. I was full time at as a manager of a sweet little flower shop until I had Gerard. Then, I worked part-time (two days a week) until I was pregnant with Tommy. I, then, transitioned to a work-from-home job until Tommy was born. And now, I would say things are most accurately depicted as my being a stay-at-home mom with a great many hobbies. The main two are my Etsy shop, January in June, and my food blog, Bacon is the Way to Happiness.
- What led you to get into the work you do now?
This may come as a surprise to some, but I have trouble sitting still. It has been an on-going problem since toddlerdom.
When I would encourage my oldest, Gerard to be creative and paint, I began to paint along side of him. And I have yet to stop. I felt compelled through prayer to do this. I am not sure what God intends for this, but I have put this little venture completely in his hands. By no means, is it any source of income (at present), but I do enjoy sharing a piece of myself with those who have my work. In the beginning, I would paint along side of Gerard, but he has since lost interest. So, now, I try to paint when both boys are asleep. This, as of late, hasn’t been an easy occurrence that happens often, so new inventory is definitely lacking (I’m sure some have noticed!!)
The food blog, I began years ago when I was engaged to Tim. I had absolutely no clue how to cook and I knew that having a food blog would force me how to learn… publicly… for better or worse. I took a little break from blogging after the birth of Gerard… and then a long one after a nearly two-year long battle with various health problems. It has definitely been revived, although, I admit that I have greatly neglected writing. I am always instagraming content to keep the blog relevant and going. This way, during the day, I can focus all of my attention on the boys. Sharing little snippets of our home life and the food I am making take only but a minute. So, it definitely has been working out in that way.
- What was your discernment process for this vocation of marriage and family life like? How did you know this is where the Lord wanted you to be?
I knew I loved my husband passionately, so that was quite easy! I always had a deep rooted desire to be at home, however I did feel an external societal pressure to be a career-minded woman. It was shortly before the wedding that I realized that being home was what I felt the Lord call me to do. And even though I am now home, I feel the Lord calling me in various ways to be in contact with the world outside of our parish community and organizations we are involved in by sharing my talents. Giving little glimpses of our home, of what is in my heart, but always placing first my faith, husband, and children. Amid my health struggles and miscarriages, I realized that the Lord was asking me to hand over even these parts of my life to him. He doesn’t just want my heart. He wants all of me. Fully present and attentive and within his will. If I had things my way, Gerard and Thomas would not be in my life. They are both beautiful sweet rainbow babies. But if I had it my way, I would have never allowed God to take those three other babies and would not have these amazing souls helping me on my journey to eternity. So, we have no final number of children in mind because I know God has a plan far better than I have for myself.
- Why did you decide to continue working after you had children? Was it ever a question for you, whether you would continue working?
Well, I have decided to put any real career plans on hold to be at home. I work in a great many ways that add to the structure of needs of family life, albeit not financially. I always felt this tug in my heart to be at home during these moments. I try to complete all of the tasks within the home that a great many people outsource to businesses (most likely due to lack of time), and in this way, as the old adage states, a penny saved is a penny earned. All of this considered, I am practically the breadwinner. My husband and I worked and prayed and scrimped to be able to have me stay home. After Gerard was born, we were trying to make it work on a $50/week grocery budget. This is where the creativity really began. It was hard, but we managed. I was still working while our oldest was watched by his grandparents. But, I knew God was calling me to stay home. When we found out that we were so blessed as to be pregnant with Tommy, I knew that working outside of the home was no longer going to be an option. We put it at the Lord’s feet and he answered our prayers in a huge way. My husband had a breakthrough in his career and now I am able to stay home and dabble in sweet little ventures.
- Working and raising a family – even with just one! – can be extremely taxing and stressful. How do you attempt/manage a work-life balance? One blogger has referred to things that are currently “saving her life” – do you have anything just for you that helps you stay sane when you’re in the thick of things?
Truly, there is no balance. I have found that the scale needs to tip one way, and always one way, in the favor of your family. When I put my babies first, everything in life is smooth. Most of all, their behavior. When I am distracted, or caught up in things that I haven’t been called to do through my vocation, it is total chaos… and most of all, shown through their behavior. Being present is what is saving my life. Putting down the distractions and playing pirates or cowboys or crawling with the baby.
- With the vocation of marriage and family life comes the inherent desire to raise our children and guide our families with the light of our faith. How do you and your husband try to share with your children a knowledge of the Catholic faith and the love of our Lord? What are some things you all do as a family to stay united in Christ?
Mass is the highlight of our week. We look forward to it so much (even if while we are there, we try our best to get the kids to behave), the time is so fruitful. As often as I can during the week, we try to do what Gerard calls “seeing Jesus in the star.” This is known to most as Eucharistic Adoration. We try to talk about God and his blessings throughout the day and also to celebration the Feasts and Solemnities of the Church. We try our best to seamlessly weave our faith into the everyday to teach our kids that there is no separation. God isn’t just for Sunday, but every day. We wouldn’t have this life if it weren’t for his mercy and goodness. God deserves our unoccupied, sacrificial attention toward the vocation to which he calls us– as wives and mothers, being Christ to those in our home.