We had the good fortune of connecting with Jessica Elder and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jessica, is there something that you feel is most responsible for your success?
Authenticity! I never planned to write a book until I felt inspired by the feelings and emotions that come along with parenting. The feelings and emotions I felt inspired me to write something meaningful and relatable. I used my own strengths as a social worker and mother to write my book. My motivation to complete this very time-consuming project was there because the project was so personal and special to me. I never thought I’d become an author, although I always loved writing poetry and being creative. My children helped me to discover a dream that was within me. I also love helping others (which is why my career has been in social work), and I love being a mother. Writing a children’s book designed to support mothers and children around weaning from breastfeeding was the perfect way to combine all of my passions and interests. I truly enjoy all of the work that comes with being an author of my book.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
My work as an author, writer and parenting blogger was inspired by my current and past professional experience as well as my parenting experience. I’m a social worker who has worked with children and families for many years providing counseling, support services and programming. I was able to enter parenthood with a lot of training in child development and psychology. Getting a master’s degree in social work and gaining professional experience has been very rewarding. My work experience includes 16 years of work with families affected by pediatric cancer. My very first job was in an NYC hospital providing support services to children diagnosed with cancer and blood disorders. I later moved to an amazing oncology non-profit called Children’s Brain Tumor Foundation and I now work part-time for them while staying home with my children (and pursuing my personal business as an author). In addition, I spent years working for a child development related non-profit.
My work experience shaped who I am as a parent. My work experience and education helped me to go into parenting with realistic expectations and helpful knowledge. My time with vulnerable populations taught me to look at my life and my parenting in a certain way. I find it easier to focus on what is important in life. I find that certain everyday things do not bring me stress because I’m always thinking about what other families are suffering through. I realize that life can change at any moment. I look at my children and realize that every day and every moment with them is valuable and appreciated, while also being able to acknowledge the stress that comes with everyday parenting. I know that I can provide my children with love and nurturing, and always meet their needs and that I will never look back and regret the time I spent connecting with them. My work has helped me to remain an understanding, patient parent. My personal business as an author and parenting blogger was inspired by all of this.
I wrote a book to help mothers talk with their toddlers/young children about weaning from breastfeeding after weaning my first child and realizing how significant the transition was for both mother and child. My book offers mothers a guide for preparing and supporting children through weaning. It also acknowledges the many needs breastfeeding meets, and the emotions felt by many toddlers when breastfeeding ends. I believe that communication and the acknowledgment of feelings is so important when building relationships with our children. My social media accounts focus on gentle parenting, breastfeeding/weaning, and connecting with children through play. I post about DIY creative play ideas and inspire parents to have fun while playing with their children by doing activities that both parents and children love. You can follow me on Instagram and Facebook @jessicaelderauthor if you’d like to learn more!
As a parent, I’m most proud of my ability to have realistic expectations of my children and understand that they simply need what we are innately designed to offer them: love, protection, and nurturing. I’m also proud of my ability to understand their emotional needs. As a professional, I’m most proud of my determination and creativity, although both of these qualities have highs and lows! As a parent, I’ve learned that sometimes I just have to be patient and wait for the right timing when pursuing certain goals. I’m not sure what sets me apart from others as I believe everyone has skills and strengths they can utilize if they can find the motivation and inspiration. I have overcome many obstacles and challenges to get where I am today. I have occasionally been given the message that certain things are too hard to accomplish, but I have always accomplished my most desired goals. I graduated with a master’s degree from the grad school of my choice, lived in NYC for 8 years, found wonderful jobs, had 4 children, and I published a successful book. I name my accomplishments not to brag, but to inspire others. There were many times when my goals were discouraged in some way…either by society or through personal experience (fortunately my family has always been very supportive). I truly believe that we can accomplish our goals when they are realistic and when we put in the work to learn necessary steps. I learned to look within myself and know what my strengths are. I learned to find motivation by doing what I love. I learned that I can be a stay at home mom while also pursuing personal interests and career related work. My personal business as an author and parenting blogger is inspired by authentic interest and passion. I love writing, I love being a parent, I love helping others, and I love being creative. My brand and social media accounts focus on all of these subjects. While sharing experience and tips related to breastfeeding, weaning and parenting, I also share about creative play ideas and strategies for connecting with children. My book was inspired by real emotions and feelings. Its content was inspired by my personal and professional experience. Everything about my brand is authentic and I love sharing it with others.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I love when friends and family come to visit me in Arizona! I would take a friend to a beautiful Arizona resort to stay for a night. The resorts here have such wonderful pools, spas and restaurants, and often beautiful mountain views. I would take my friend to Old Town for a night to visit the fun restaurants and bars. I would also visit during the day to show her the fun shopping spots and walks Old Town has to offer. I would also take my friend to North Scottsdale restaurants because they have a different feel, and I’d visit the fun restaurants in Phoenix as well. I would take my friend around to other spots such as Cave Creek, and I would definitely take her on several hikes as hiking is one of my favorite ways to spend time with my family here! I would also love to take her on a road trip to visit the many exciting and different spots we have here in AZ such as Sedona, Grand Canyon, Prescott and Flagstaff. I’d probably take her to an AZ vineyard as well!
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My illustrator Sheila Fein! We worked together to illustrate my book. She listened to my requests and visions and brought them to life. I was able to create a beautiful book with her artwork and ideas.
Nicole Leann Photography, Kate Eschbach Photography (the book with balloons picture), and the other photos are by me.