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Today, I'm absolutely thrilled to welcome talented blogger Shelly Kelly to our CatholicMom.com family of contributors!  Shelly and her sister Lisa Jones comprise the blogging team at the always-inspiring Of Sound Mind and Spirit blog.  Shelly will join us monthly to share her thoughts and perspective on the challenges and joys of being a working Catholic mom.  I've prayed for quite some time about providing more resources for the moms who visit our site and who work outside the home - Shelly is truly an answer to that prayer, and a great friend too!  I hope you enjoy getting to know her here and that you'll share your thoughts on what you'd like to see in her columns!  Lisa

I was having a conversation with my sister, Lisa Jones,  about her regular column at Catholic Mom. I’m so proud of her in how she’s developing as a writer and I’m impressed with her Little Moments and insights about daily events. She wanted to know when I’d be submitting regular columns to Catholic Mom. She seemed surprised when I told her that I don’t really feel like a "Catholic Mom."

And I don’t. When someone asks me who I am or what I do, Mom is not the first response that comes to mind. I’m simply "Shelly" and the titles that follow are complex.

After years of developing and evolving my own self-identity as a daughter, sister, college student, graduate student, employee, Certified Archivist, wife, sister-in-law, mother, and Catholic, I’ve never considered myself just one of those things. Because I had a career that I loved first, and did not have the choice of leaving it when I had my first child, I’ve never really thought of myself as "Just a Mom." I’ve always been a "Working Mom." I’ve worked hard to find and maintain a sufficient balance in my two lives and do what works for our family.

I still love my career. I’ve been very fortunate to have a supportive employer and access to positive, trustworthy, childcare. My job is five minutes away from the house and elementary school. The school is dominated by some wonderful stay-at-home moms who are as high-powered in their role as "Mom" as I am at my office. Ironically, at a time when many of my friends who left their careers to stay home with infants ten years ago are re-entering the workforce, I find myself wondering what it would be like to stay at home.

When I read posts that are 100% focused on being a Mom, I don’t always connect. I can easily see and understand the working-mom vs. stay-at-home mom debate. I occasionally listen to Lisa vent about having to do this or that and not having any time and in the back of my mind I’m thinking, "Yeah? Well I have to do the same things and I’m working 40 hours a week around it."

I’d like to write more for Working Moms out there – our struggle to find that balance. My challenge will be finding the right tone. I don’t want to come across as complaining. I love my job. I love my family. I want to be successful at both, even though I recognize that I might not be perfect at both.

I want to connect with more women who know what it means to feel conflicted when they can’t take a day off work to go on the school field trip with their kindergartener. Or who have to say to their older child you can’t join the church choir because they practice from 4-5 p.m. and I just can’t get you there. But women who also love their career, their job, and know that feeling of satisfaction on the days when it all just clicks into place and you feel like you truly have it all.

So I’m challenging myself to write for those of you in the same situation. Please let me know you’re out there and what you’d like to hear about. We’re "Catholic Moms" too, even if we don’t feel like it all the time.

Copyright 2010 Shelly Kelly

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