Mom’s Choice Awards is excited to announce another post in our interview series where we chat with the inventors, designers, publishers, and others behind some of our favorite family-friendly products.
Thanks for joining us for another fascinating interview with one of our Mom’s Choice Award winners. Today we hear from Eleanor D. Alspaugh, who is known for telling it like it is, with insight and humor, when it comes to the challenges of motherhood. Her writing in The Mommy Go-Round is described as “real” and “honest.” The sleepless nights. Fussy eaters. Every challenge on that merry-go-round that motherhood entails—issues for toddlers through teenagers. We’ll also learn what prompted this book and the features that make its heartwarming, down-to-earth advice invaluable for parents.
MCA: Thanks so much for joining us, Eleanor. Congratulations again for your Mom’s Choice Award! To get the interview started, would you tell us about yourself?
I was raised in Hatboro, Pennsylvania, and graduated with a B.S.B.A. in accounting from Shippensburg University. I have been married 38 years to my husband, Steve. We live in Carlisle, PA, where with love and, sometimes, challenges we raised three children—two daughters and a son. I have six granddaughters and one (lonely) grandson so far!
I always loved photography, and was well known to voluntarily snap countless photos of my family and friends—and photographed almost every sporting event, party, wedding or special event or activity that I attended. Eventually, with the encouragement of my oldest daughter (and after our mutual disappointment in the lack of creativity for senior casual photos taken by another photographer), I photographed her senior casual photos, then agreed to do a friend’s wedding. It was then that I officially began a part-time photography business, while I continued to work full-time and secretly worked on my first book, The Mommy-Go-Round.
But my full-time work was in another field. After a full-time career of 30-plus years, including about 14 years as an Assistant Vice President at PHEAA (Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency) assisting in the administration of the Pennsylvania State Grant Program, I grabbed an early-out opportunity and retired with the dream of completing and publishing my book. I also hoped to complete another book I had started many years before, centered around my father’s letters home during World War II.
After getting some wonderful feedback, I entered The Mommy-Go-Round in a few book contests and soon became a multi-award-winning author. I have since completed my father’s book, titled The Heart of a Soldier, and a children’s book titled When D is For Deployed, based on my granddaughter’s experiences and concerns while her daddy was deployed. A portion of the purchase price of When D is For Deployed will go to the Gary Sinise Foundation in support of veterans and their families. I am an author inspired by the love of family and my desire to capture moments and times in family lives, which I believe many can relate to. It is my hope to continue to touch other people’s hearts and lives with my writing.
MCA: What has inspired you most in your writing career?
As you can tell from my education and my past employment, creative writing was not part of my everyday job. However, once we started a family and I experienced the lifestyle changes and the love of a child that motherhood brings, I found myself writing to capture my own thoughts and memories as well as the experiences—especially the humorous times—that arose within our family as we raised our children.
MCA: What a rich and varied background you have drawn from! Tell us, what was your inspiration for writing The Mommy-Go-Round?
To me, parenting seemed much more challenging than television, the world, and even your own parents (who want grandchildren!) would lead you to believe. Writing was often therapeutic as I contemplated my role as a mother while striving to do my best, raising my children and maneuvering through the latest challenges that I was facing as a mom. There were times it would have been helpful if there was a little more honesty in sharing all that motherhood entails—rather than the fairytale presentation of raising children that I grew up with, now with the added challenge in today’s world of being a working mother. As I continued to write, I thought about others who might also be experiencing some of the same type of crazy family times. That’s when I started to dream of sharing a book that would break what I perceived to be a universal Motherhood Code of Silence to help others, like myself, navigate the experiences and challenges of motherhood.
MCA: What are some of the key lessons found in the book?
A key lesson within The Mommy-Go-Round is recognizing the many facets of motherhood. The book breaks what I just referred to as the Motherhood Code of Silence by sharing some of the many aspects of motherhood that no one mentions or warns you about, while at the same time embracing how wonderful the overall experiences of motherhood can be. It shares the ups and downs of motherhood and family life that can truly enrich your world.
That translates to laughter and joy beyond any that you alone might achieve, as well as the trials, which both challenge you and—in many ways— touch your heart. Through various tales of parenting, readers are encouraged to navigate the challenges of motherhood and family life with a blend of love, wisdom, and instincts—while keeping your sense of humor handy! In doing so, you too will embrace the motherhood experience and enjoy the ride! Also included is a heads up to veteran parents to exercise caution once their children become teenagers. No matter how convinced you are that your child has always been an angel who can do no wrong, don’t be too naive. In today’s world, a realistic view and addressing trouble early on could save your child’s life!
MCA: If you could ensure readers of your book walk away with just one main lesson, what would it be?
As they navigate momlife, most moms will find the assurance they may have sought and hoped for in The Mommy-Go-Round. Specifically, you are not alone in your sometimes crazy motherhood experiences, and most (if not all) of your experiences are totally normal!
If the reader is not a mom, and maybe not even a woman, they will experience the roller-coaster ride of family life, complete with laughs, fears and sometimes tears, and will be a little more prepared for parenting than this author was!
MCA: Breaking the “motherhood code of silence”—I imagine that focus makes you very sought-after by readers. What kind of response from them have you received?
Readers have shared that they loved this heartwarming and humorous book! They enjoyed and even thanked me for the open honesty of The Mommy-Go-Round, which made them both laugh and cry and even taught them a few things. Mom readers love that they could totally relate to the book, and appreciated the sharing of my inner thoughts—which confirmed to them that they were not in this crazy role alone. Other readers loved the humor in chapters particularly on family relationships (especially when Dad takes control), the trials and tribulations of family vacations, the battles families face over pets, and more! Most readers and reviewers who reviewed the book gave it 5 stars! The Mommy-Go-Round was also recognized when awarded multiple book awards, including the honor of being a recipient of the prestigious Mom’s Choice Award!
MCA: Congratulations again on the awards! What is next for your writing endeavors—do you have anything in the pipeline?
Yes, I do. I really enjoyed writing The Mommy-Go-Round and continue to enjoy life as a mother and now a grandmother, which together provide plenty of material! I started the sequel to The Mommy-Go-Round after it was initially published. But I put it on hold after sharing an additional work-in-progress (now a published book titled The Heart of a Soldier) with retired U.S. Army colonel and award-winning author David M. Glantz, who encouraged me to complete that work and eventually offered to be my mentor. With that book now behind me, I have returned to the sequel to The Mommy-Go-Round and hope to complete it, as well as a children’s book that is also in the works.
MCA: It looks like you have a full plate! Our best wishes for success in all future endeavors, and our congratulations once again for your Mom’s Choice Award!
You can learn more about Eleanor D Alspaugh and her award-winning book, The Mommy Go-Round , by visiting her MCA Shop pages.