Full-time mom a career choice

By Debbie Shelley

The Catholic Commentator

Betty Tanory of Baton Rouge and Mindy Aguillard of Walker are respected CEOs in the most rewarding profession of their lives. Tanory is off to meet with an important contact, and Aguillard and others pore over a document.

page 1 mother's day photoPS .tif

Betty Tanory and her children Peter and Annie check on the progress of a garden they recently planted. Photo by Debbie Shelley | The Catholic Commentator


The “companies” the women manage as a stay-at-home mom is their household. Tanory is not driving a Mercedes-Benz, but riding a double bike with her son, Peter, 4, to meet her daughter, Annie, 7, at the bus stop when she arrives home from St. George School. The document Aguillard is reading with her children, Andrew, 5 ½, Evan, 4, Grace, 2, and Claire, 9 months, is a “What Makes a Rainbow?” pop-up book.

The estimated salary of what these women as stay-at-home moms would receive if paid for everything they do is almost $119,000. But better than money, their “salary” is the hugs, kisses, snuggles, “I love yous” and special shared moments they don’t want to miss.

Tanory’s husband, Bobby, refers to her as the “external brain” of the family because she does the thinking and planning. She pays bills, manages finances, shops, cleans and organizes their kid’s activities.

Both moms were prepared for their current role by their former jobs as teachers.

Tanory graduated from St. Thomas More School, St. Joseph’s Academy and LSU with a degree in elementary education. She taught kindergarten at Dunham School before Annie was born. Aguillard graduated from St. Jean Vianney School, Walker High School and LSU with a degree in music education. She taught in San Antonio, Texas and Walker Junior High.

“My biggest role I can do for them is to teach them the skills they need to be successful. They take clothes out of the washing machine, they dust, they wash dishes. Which is great, because it takes a team to keep this household going,” said Aguillard, whose children eagerly help.

Volunteering is important for Tanory and Aguillard, and by their example, their children. Tanory is a scout leader for her daughter’s Daisy unit and volunteers at St. George School, assists with the St. George Vacation Bible School, teaches at the St. George Parish School of Religion and helps with the St. George bereavement and baker’s committees. Her children help bake for these committees and special occasions.

Aguillard volunteers at St. Jean Vianney Preschool. When the school has collections, such as food drives or coat drives for the less fortunate, the children help her shop and bring in the bagged items.

She also adds a majestic touch to Masses at St. Jean Vianney Church in Baton Rouge by playing trumpet. Her husband, Kelly, also plays baritone.

Life is not always “peaches and cream” Aguillard acknowledged. But faith and the support of their families and church families helps them find strength.

Tanory found this true concerning the death of her son, James, last June. At her 35-week pregnancy checkup with James, the doctor told her they did not detect a heartbeat. After delivering James, Tanory and her husband held him, sang to him and told him they loved him. Threads of Love gave them a gown for James, and a Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep Foundation photographer took photos of James and them with him.

Tanory, who said James is still very much part of the family, often wears a necklace of pearls, James’ birthstone and a necklace with an angel and cross on it. There are pictures drawn for James by page 19 mother's day photo 2PS.tif

Mindy Aguillard reads “What Makes a Rainbow?” with her children, from left, Andrew, Grace, Claire and Evan. Photo by Debbie Shelley | The Catholic Commentator


Annie and Peter, an angel statue and memorial stone to James under a tree in the backyard and a sign in his memory in their garden. Every Sunday after Mass at St. George, the family visits James at the cemetery there.

Tanory reievew support from her family, Woman’s Hospital and St. George.

Just as they have sorrows, the families have many celebrations. The Tanorys and Aguillards are each excited to be taking a vacation to Disney World this summer. As they rejuvenate, the mothers, who are thankful their husbands made it possible for them to be at home with their children, should be able to bask over succeeding in their number one job – seeing that their families are healthy and happy.

“It’s the best career in the world. I get teary-eyed just talking about it. Even on the very worse days, there’s definitely no turning back,” said Aguillard. “I think it’s my greatest accomplishment ever.”

Mindy Aguillard reads “What Makes a Rainbow?” with her children, from left, Andrew, Grace, Claire and Evan. Photo by Debbie Shelley | The Catholic Commentator