Caroline Manzo “tells” us a few things

Since the debut of the Real Housewives of New Jersey, Caroline Manzo has managed to keep her family close and her feet on the ground. Caroline is everyone’s idea of a real Italian Mama. She runs her home and her family with a loving but firm hand. She is always ready with hot a plate of pasta or practical advice. Now she has written a book, Let Me Tell You Something: Life as a Real Housewife, Tough-Love Mother, and Street-Smart Businesswoman.
In it, Caroline shares her personal journey from New Jersey housewife to Real housewife, as well as common sense advice on how to manage work, marriage, and family in today’s busy world.
I had a chance to ask Caroline how she manages to stay close to her three children, look better now than she did five years ago, and keep her marriage fresh. Here is what she had to say:
DD: When you were younger with three small children and fewer resources how did you manage to stay organized, work, and get everything done? Is there a secret to running a house efficiently? If so, please share some real nuts and bolts suggestions for young overwhelmed homemakers.
CM: I didn't sweat the small stuff. I would clean a little bit each day so I didn't have to waste an entire day cleaning the house each week. I made the kids lunches and laid out clothes the night before so there was minimal rush getting them to school every morning. They all did their homework at the same time, sitting around the kitchen table while I cooked. I was there if they needed help, and it killed two birds with one stone. I didn't overwhelm the kids with too many extracurricular activities. They enjoyed the team sports but they had a pretty good balance of relaxing at home and playing outside. Sometimes too many activities add stress to parents and kids running all over, eating fast food in the car, and doing homework in a rush before bed. It makes no sense.
DD: You are remarkably close to all three of your children? Kathy, who you seem to like on The Real Housewives of New Jersey, is also close to her teenaged children. Many parents today lose closeness with their children as they get older. What advice do you have for keeping families close as the children grow up?
CM: Communication is key. Talk to your kids, Spend time with them and give them your undivided attention when you are with them. Celebrate their strengths, and work to improve their weaknesses in a positive way. Never compare one child to another.
DD: Your appearance has changed since the first season on the show, as has Lauren’s.  How did being on television change you image? Did it make you self-conscious? What have you done over the years to “keep yourself up?” Please share some of your beauty secrets and favourite products.
CM: I've lost weight and grown my hair out. Over the years I go back and forth with my hair. There’s no rhyme or reason to it – it’s always an impulse decision. Lauren looks amazing. She has lost about 40 pounds and she has really grown into an amazing young woman. I use Darphin and Dr. Perricone skin products – can't live without them. You all heard a few years ago that I shave my face every day and it's true! Great way to exfoliate!
DD: You and your husband seem to have a wonderful and romantic marriage. What advice do you have for couples on how get keep things fresh through the years?
CM: Accept each other as you are, flaws and all. Don't expect perfection because it doesn't exist. Appreciate the time you spend together. Sometimes the smallest gesture can make your spouse smile for hours. Not everything has to be roses and caviar.
DD: Caroline, why do the fights on the show get so loud and vicious? Is this normal, or does being on TV ramp things up?
CM: I don't know! The issues we deal with are pretty intense, emotions are deep, and sometimes things get a little crazy.