My dad was Mario Perillo, founder and CEO of Perillo Tours until his death in 2003. My mother, Olga, his wife and my dream-girl, raised a great, traditional Italian family in Pearl River, NY and Saddle River, NJ, where I still live. "Italian style" in our family means living on the same block and across the street from my brother Steve and sister, Christine. I was the youngest of four siblings, with my brother Mark passing away in 2015. Typically, when people meet me for the first time, we get into a conversation about whatever it is we are conversing about, my father or my brother’s TV spots, Italy, food, clothes, pick-ups, dance schedule, the parking lot, my parking spot, travel or a sundry of other interesting topics parents talk about.
As soon as someone broaches the topic of familial quantity (how many kids you have), when I say eight, you canliterallyfeel the earth cease its rotation. It’s like you come from somewhere else, a land lost in time, or a character visiting earth from a science fiction novel. After they stop the search for Rod Serling, the interrogator freezes in time, similar to the same fate as Lot’s wife in Genesis 19.(Check it out). Once the movement returns to their appendages and they have been adequately resuscitated, they say the same thing, every time, “YOU” have eight kids??? I used to be flattered by the astonishment, because I am a hair, make up and clothes junkie, and as you will get to know me through my web home, although you need not be a junkie, per se, I feel strongly each woman should tap into her inner and outer beauty, every day, no matter what genre of woman she is.
I finally figured out that a mom of eight is conjured as some kind of conglomerate of Broomhilda, Grandmama Addams and possibly a fashionable dash of Carolyn Ingalls, who did manage, after all, with no electricity or functional plumbing to do the laundry, bake, get dressed, muck the barn, iron her bonnet, dress her kids within forty-five minutes, with her bun and corset neatly in place, and never a spot on her apron. There was not a drop of make-up allowed on that peaches and cream visage, nor hint of a wisp of locks, rather a stiff, dowdy bun in place every episode, and the rotation of a top and skirt that melted into each other, with a darker apron for a touch of color. That creepy Mrs. Olson actually looked a bit more feminine ... but I won’t go there.
As time evolved when I had my Devin in 1995, way after Carolyn had Laura and siblings, like most graduates just starting out with their first job, experience comes not from a manual, but with the day-to day grind. My “manual,” or my mother, passed away when Devin was a few weeks old, and I had to fend for myself. Nobody taught me anything. I read a few books, here and there, but by the time I had my second baby in 1997, my daughter, Brynn, I had no time to read anybody else’s psychological fixation with potty-training, or why some kids slept for 4.5 hours a night instead of 5.0 hours, or why my kid wasn’t cooing the same melody as the other sibling in Devin’s tumble class, or grasping a toy at 4.0 months instead of 4.3 months. Keeping up is exhausting and stressful. I trashed the books and the propaganda and realized, I had a tiny human here: a miniature of me who had likes, dislikes, talents and genetics. Is some pediatrician from Arkansas with a book and a website really going to help with whatever he wrote on page 5 in the bed-wetting section? Insight, yes, but there is nothing like a mother’s instinct.
Twenty years later, I want to tell you that I started this blog because I believe as parents we beat ourselves up, every day, unnecessarily, trying to conform with someone else’s idea of who our child should be. Not that our experts, like our doctors, our parents our teachers don’t know what they are doing, but keep in mind you are raising a human being, and to take your time with what they should be learning and what they will become.
I want to tackle every day mom issues, and allow moms to ask other moms their thoughts, or vent when they think they made a parental boo-boo, and we all do. I also want moms to make the most of themselves every day, whatever your style is, through clothes, make up, exercise, and cooking. Remember that feeling good about yourself, no matter what you are doing in a 24 hour period, has better results than feeling like a wet puppy caught in the sprinkler … or smelling like one.