When facing parenthood for the first time, DeeDee Carowan Filiatreault ’93 turned to writing to find meaning in it all.
By Madison Mackenzie ’18
Becoming a parent is an amazing, yet terrifying part of a person’s life. There is a whole new level of responsibility that comes with the job, and that can be a tough adjustment. DeeDee Carowan Filiatreault ’93 stayed sane during that period of her life by writing about her experiences. She has always had a passion for writing, so she saw her new role as a mother as an opportunity to write new material.
“I started writing again when we started our family,” says Filiatreault, who graduated from Elon with degrees in broadcast communications and journalism. “I was inspired by this experience and needed to have an outlet for my creative juices.”
As a student at Elon, she was the editor of The Pendulum, the student newspaper, and wrote the editorials each week. This gave her a taste for real-world experiences and led to a career in writing. After college she became chief speechwriter for David Beasley, governor of South Carolina in the late 1990s, before going on to work in public relations. After all these experiences writing became second nature to her, so when she started a family, she turned her pen toward motherhood. She approached her local newspaper in Niantic, Conn., to see if they were interested in a humor column about parenthood. Luckily for her, they were. She began writing her column in 2007 when her first child, Will, started preschool. “Every two weeks I wrote little vignettes that were funny and had a lot of heart where I just tried to grapple with parenting and find the meaning and humor in it all,” Filiatreault says.
She eventually turned her columns into a blog because she liked adding visuals to her stories. Her good fortune continued when an acquaintance connected her with a publisher. “It just fell into my lap and I am super thankful for it,” she says.
The book, “Tales from the Crib,” is a compilation of her favorite columns and essays she has written about parenthood. She considers herself a typical, run-of-the-mill mom whose stories of success and failure are relatable to all parents. Every parent feels at times that they are drowning and doing a terrible job, but Filiatreault wants everyone to know the best way to deal with their mistakes is by laughing at them.
“I like to point to the bigger picture, to help people feel less alone and, most of all, to help people find the laugh,” says Filiatreault, who now has two children. She has been writing her whole life, so becoming a published author is a dream come true. “It doesn’t quite seem real yet. I can compare it to an ultrasound,” she says. “When you see the picture of the baby and you are like, ‘Wow, this is real.’ When I saw the cover done and saw my name on it, I was so happy to know it was mine. I am really proud of that.”