Libby from East Moline, IL says: What is the best thing and the worst thing that you've done in regards to parenting your children? And does your faith have anything to do with that?
Caroline says: Wow, great question. I wish I had a simple answer for you. The best thing I think I've done is to treat my children as individuals and never compare one to the other. I can't answer the worst thing; I think that only would apply if you feel as if you failed your child in some way. We've certainly made mistakes along the way, but I can't come up with one specific negative that left an impact. I think Al and I put our hearts and souls into raising our kids, so I have no regrets. Faith plays a part in every aspect of our lives, but we don't throw our hands up and leave it up to just that.
On the coming out question I just wanted to say I think a letter works well. I know it is not as personal, but you can get out every single thought you have out. What I also think is good about a letter is that the mother gets a chance to think about everything that was written instead of reacting without thinking if it gets to that point. After she has had time to process the real talk can happen.
I wish I had an entire page to just write...you break my heart with the love you shared with Teresa and her family...and with your honesty!!!...Caroline you are a true Italian Matriarch!!!....It hurts my soul when they switch to the "new" people on the show...and...I have to change the channel until their part is over. I admire you and Jacquline and Teresa for being able to tolerate the catty gossip and jealousy. Please dont let it taint you...I love you guys so much, I love your families and children. God bless!!!
Caroline, You are a beautiful lady Classy, You are my favorite. I have a question is. Do you own Brownstone Properties? I live in Virginia and Im empressed with what I have seen. Im in the process of renting a apt in Amherst, Va Wish me luck! I wish one day my dream would come true is to meet you and your family. But Im just a country girl with no funfs to come meet you. But God Bless you and your family. Sincerely, Mrs. Moore
Hi Eric, My daughter is gay, and came out to me several years ago. It surprised me -- but I love her with all of my heart just the same. The one thing that surprised me more -- was my own reaction to it. I have never wavered in my love and support for my daughter. I want her to live and love exactly as she wants to in this life. I did find though -- that I had "dreams" for my daughter -- like seeing her walk down the aisle, and raise a family in the mold I had grown up with. I think my initial reaction was to be a little saddened as I "mourned" those dreams. It took me some time to realize that was silly -- because ultimately -- my main dream for my daughter is that she find love and happiness. To make a long story short - understand that your mom may need some time to fully adjust -- and that any sadness doesn't necessarily have anything to do with you -- but only with her adjusting her internal dreams for you.
I am the mother of a twenty something who is also gay and has not yet opened up to me about it. I stumbled upon somethings when my child was fourteen that clued me in and as the years progressed there were more things that let me know my thoughts were correct. It hurts me to watch him struggle with this but I have been advised to let him come to me when he is ready.
I try hard to set a daily example of openness and acceptance of everyone to make him more comfortable to approach me. It did take me time to come to terms with having a gay son, not because he was gay, but because I realized his life was going to be hard and that he would have to develope a thick skin to deal with ignorant people. I also fear for his safety due to the out of control way some idiots react to gay people. Never have I felt less love or pride in my son and that will never change.
I want nothing different for him than my other children. Happiness, love, success and someone to share it with him. I will love and welcome anyone who loves him and shares his dreams for the future.
So Caroline is right, tell your mom, she probably knows or suspects already. If she is taken by surprise give her time to process and go through the series of emotions that will bring her back to the plain truth, that you are her son and she loves you more than life itself. Let her in, as only than can she share your life with you completely and honestly. Once she has let it sink in, she will probably start looking to fix you up with the right guy. lol.
Good luck to you, I wish you a lifetime of happiness to share with your family and who ever is lucky enough to be that special person in your life.
Caroline. You an inspiration to Mom's everywhere. You have a level head, you are not ostentatious, you are gracious, direct, you love your children so passionately, but you don't s-mother them, ..I'm thankful you are on the show..I'm so glad that you are there to be the sounding board of reason. As much as I love the other ladies, the drama between Gorgas/Guidices disguised under the guise of sprinkled cookies versus pignoles (sp?) is insane. It makes me sad for them. Maybe it makes for good TV , maybe not, I think the true heart of the show is the relationship you maintain with your family and friends. Jacqueline is a sweetheart too. Great response to the questions! You are a true lady of grace.
Your answer to Eric in Atlanta was spot on. I have a 20 year old son who is gay and we sat down and he told me the day after he graduated from High School. I did already have the feeling he was gay but when we talked together about it, it was wonderful. He knew he was loved no matter what. Thank you for, I hope, giving Eric the courage to go and talk to his Mom. You are amazing and I watch RHONJ because of you.
Hi Caroline! You are a breath of "FRESH AIR" and we adore your common sense and sound advice. I can't thank you enough for "saying it like it is" and not sugar coating issues. Your un-conditional love, belief, strength, mothering and support for your family is what is lacking in the world.~ Here is my question: As a mom, we know our children! I know when my sons are up to something etc. (They are 16 + 20 ) My eldest came home from college and was out partying for 3 days. Upon doing the laundry, something fell out of his pocket that broke my heart. (Thank goodness he wasn't pulled over before coming home.) When he woke up that afternoon, I left him a note that we needed to talk and to please be there when I got home from work. ~ He was there and knew that something was about to take place. He was pacing and complained of stomach pains. (Withdrawl) I asked him to get dressed because we needed to go to a Dr's Apt. He became defiant and left.~ He went to his dad's house and said I accused him of taking drugs. This was 8 months ago and my son has not spoken to me since. I have made numeous attempts to mend things, but he has said out loud "You are no longer my mother". It hurts...I also know that it's the drugs talking. My youngest has chosen to stay with me full time to avoid the possible conflicts. Caroline, my Ex-husband truly believes this is just a faze and to back off. My heart is saying "NO". How would you proceed? Thank you so much for your time!!
As much as you are well intentioned - being gay has got nothing to do with your sex life. And it's not a choice. Imagine you having to come out as a straight person. Would sex be on top of the list of what defined you as straight?
I'd like to add to your suggestion to Tiffanie. I am in a similar situation with my in-laws (sister-in-law in my case). Everything she makes is out of a can or box and I cook from scratch. What we do is go and enjoy the family experience; a few nibbles of her pre-made mashed potatoes and turkey. Then, because I do love a Thanksgiving meal, I cook another meal Thanksgiving on Friday or Saturday. This way, we also get to enjoy the meal portion during the holiday weekend and also get to enjoy leftovers.
CAROLINE I ADMIRER YOUR FAMILY THAT YOU ALL STICK UP FOR ONE ANOTHER AND THAT YOU ARE THICKER THAN THEIVES YOU ARE A WONDERFUL MOTHER AND YOU AND YOUR HUSBAND HAVE DONE A GREAT JOB WITH YOUR CHILDREN IN RAISING THEM I'M HAPPY THAT TERESSA AND HER HUBAND HAVE A BUSINESS I WISH THEM LUCK AND THAT THEIR RESTURANT IS SUCCESSFUL FOR AS MUCH AS YOUR FAMILY FIGHTS SOME TIMES I DON'T KNOW HOW YOU LADIES KEEP IT TOGETHER SOME TIMES I ENJOY THE SHOW .I'M GLAD TO SEE THAT TERESSA AND HER BROTHER ARE TRYING TO MAKE THINGS WORK OUT FAMILY IS IMPORTANT AND YOU REMEMBER THEM WHEN YOU LOSE THEM FOR ONE REASON OR ANOTHER THANK YOU CAROLINE FOR LETTING ME SAY THIS THANKS GREG R ..CIAO
I agree with Caroline. My sister Trina use to do the same thing. She could not cook but every year she wanted to have Thanksgiving at her house. Well, I have 2 other sisters so we would get together and plan what we were going to make and go over and help her prepare Thanksgiving dinner. Whatever dishes she wanted to cook, we let her cook and just ate it anyway. The important was that we didn't want to hurt her feelings.
We are so glad we did it that way. IN September, 2010, Trina died of kidney failure at the age of 50. So for the first time in the last 15 years that we've had this tradition, it felt real empty without her during last year's Thanksgiving. But we will always have the memories of preparing those meals with Trina.
As Caroline stated, it's only one day.
WOW LOVE this new addition to the Bravo blog pages! You are why I sit through the cat fights! Your common sense and love all tied up together! Love reading you and watching you!
Caroline, I am from a very close knit Italian family on both sides. I love them and cherish my childhood because the women relied on each other for so much. They cooked together, raised their children together, and when someone was in need, they surrounded that person and held her up. You have been a lot like that, watching the show and you have been the voice of reason. I admire and respect you. Just be careful. When people begin to look to you for advice and compliment you on your ability to be the head of the family, other's will naturally be jealous. I've noticed that the more they have put you into that role, the more you have taken on responsibility for things that maybe...you shouldn't have to be involved with. Just be you, exactly as you have been. You are a great mom to your children and a wonderful wife. Some of your friends on the show, could learn a lesson or two, but they will learn better by example than by you telling them (unless they ask). I commend you on the fact that you tell them to "stop it" when they begin to act badly. Just be careful. It's amazine how the tables can turn on you.
Just want to say that I love the way your hair looks in the Bravo Summer Camp promo on Bravo. That spiky look is terrific on you! I love that you are the #1 Mama Bear on your show but sometimes you must feel like you are trying to herd cats! Keep us laughing and crying...thanks!
For those who think Caroline wrote "choice" as in the person chooses you may need to reread. She meant that some perceive it as a choice. She didn't say it was one, but a lot of well intentioned or insensitive people who don't know any better may say it is.
Again Caroline, you hit the nail on the head. Great advice. It's not too late to start a career in counseling. You'd be great!
Jeanette Monmouth County NJ housewife
Caroline, I think your the rock of the family! Stand proud of your kids, they are awesome... being italian I understand the importance of such a role model
Hello Mrs. Manzo
I'm a 35 year old mother of two Katelyn is 7yrs old and Ethan is 5yrs old. My Son Ethan has a Learning disability the Child Study Team had Labeled him @ 3yrs of age Broader Line Autistic But today they said that doesn't seem to be the case any more now the want to do more testing. All I do is cry I can't even talk to my husband cause in his mind Ethan will be fine. I think so hard about every thing like if he'll have a normal life girlfriends, a wife , kids , to be able to take care of himself etc.. I can't stop thinking and praying that he will be fine .I love Ethan so much he's my baby boy . I am having a hard time in knowing what I can do to help him and myself . I don't even know if you will read this but it feels good to put my feelings out there. If u can give me some input that can help that would be great. Thank You, Jaime From Fort Lee New Jersey
Hey Caroline u r my favorite house wife because u keep it real and avoid drama so keep it up How has all the drama made u a stronger person?
Hey Caroline u r my favorite house wife because u avoid drama and keep it real
How has all the Drama made u stronger?
U r so pretty
I think your are being too sensitive about Carolines use of words. As noted in her response to Eric she said "for lack of a better word" and discussing one's sex life is part of that discussion whether you like it or not.
Dear Caroline, My (only) son went off to college almost 2 years ago. I was crushed. I still am sometimes, although it's gotten easier. He is in college, about 2 hours away. In the beginning we saw him on a fairly regular basis. Now, not so much, he has a girlfriend & mostly his classes continue to get harder (he's Pre-med). He's good about coming home for holidays & birthdays. I'm lucky, he's like your kids, a great kid, no trouble. He & I have always been very close. But now, I try not to call/text him too often, because I know this is an age that's all about friends, independence, classes, etc. And I just don't want to be one of those Moms who is forever making their kids feel guilty. Am I handling this right? Did your kids go away to college or is this your 1st experience with "empty nest"? Thank you! Tammie
Caroline: My husband and I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE you!! I can't figure out where to write you a question, so I'm writting in the comments for this post, because it relates a little to this post. I'm on the other end. I'm the daughter in law and my mother in law critizizes my cooking. She critizizes everything I make from a to z (according to friends and family, I'm an amazing cook). It 's not healthy or it's over cooked or she'll correct what I make as I'm making it. I have been in this family for 7 years and I tried different approaches. I started by following advise but that made it worse because it opened the door for more advise and critizism, then I told my husband to make sure she stayed away from my kitchen, she figures out ways to come in or puts her two cents in at the table.... Honestly, that is not the worse. THis woman is self centered, she thinks the universe revolves around her, everyone is beneath her and she is narcisistic. I have not ONCE answered her back, choosing to instead distance my self aboiding her, seeying her and talking to her on a must basis (holidays and such) but that made it worse because she went from bragging about me to thinking I'm taking her son away. a few months ago, her rudeness was towards me and my mother and I decided to stand up for my self, I wrote them a letter and told them that will not be acceptable in my home and I will ask them to leave next time they do that . (by they, I mean her husband too, he's not like her but his sole purpose in life is to make sure, nowone pops the bubble she lives in). I started to go to therapy because she was ruining every special occassion in my life. I tried keeping light subjects, I tried staying clear but everyone feels her draft. all family members feel the same, nowne tells her off and everyone avoids her. two months ago she called me and begged me to tell her my feelings. My cerapist had advised me, not to try and explain things to her because her narcisism wouldn't not let her see anything. (she normally advises patients to talk, this was an exception becuase she knows the details of this situation). My mother in law "pulled on my tongue so much" that I exploted and told her eveything. SHe was a) in denial b) justifying c) playing victim d) turning it on me h) telling me how it was not her intention to be rude and won't be rude again, while insulting in the same sentence. She yelled at me and screamed. I finally yelled at her too. at the end, I appologized for the way I carried my self and told her I was sorry, onoy to hear her deny everything she had said... I told her she was crazy and I toook my appology back. Basically, meeting in the middle is not an option, being her doormat is no longer an option, putting my big girl panties would be great if it was an isolated situation rather than a life sentence. I decided to disconnect but that's always not easy with family because there's always something that she will be there for. What the HECK TO DO CAROLINE??? Oh, your first question will be where is hubby in all this. Hubby has his own bigger issues with mom, he ingnores her calls more than I and critizizes her more than I, however, in her presense he is will never speak his mind, NEVER, not even to say I know you like yellow, but I like blue better.... I'm on my own!
Take if from a writer, letters can be very personal. The person reading the letter can comprehend everything the writer is expressing and in a calm and rational way. It also assists the writer in getting all of his/her positive and negative thoughts out without getting interrupted. In the end, it better all around...
Oh my gosh ElizaD, I had the exact same reaction. When I found out my daughter was gay, I went through a grieving process of my own. Just prior to my daughter coming out, she had been in a serious pedestrian/auto accident. It felt as though it was the second time in a matter of a few months that "my dreams" for her were shattered. I had to figure out on my own that those were my dreams, and not hers. I am lucky to have such a beautiful person in my life. In reality, I just want her to be happy and to live the life she wants to live. PFLAG is a great group for support. By the way, I found out about my daughter via text message.
Caroline: I was seriously about to ask the same question!!! Except, my mom already knows and has been in denial for the past 3 years! On top of that, now I can't have friends that are girls without her flipping out and thinking I'm with them. I'm beyond frustrated, and feel like I'm caged in. I can't even bring up the subject because she will lose it. What should my next step be? Help please!!!
Eric, Caroline is right be who you are. I am a 37 year old gay man and I've been out of the closet for a long long time. The one thing that I have learned throughout my entire life especially when I turned 37 is that be who you are not what people want you to be. If they love you then they will accept you.
Tell your Mother now before it gets to late in life. Be who you are and be proud of who you are.
Caroline My Love and Best Wishes to you and all of the Manzo's. I Love watching the Show. I appreciate you so much for you do your absolute best to Extinguish the "Drama" before it gets to out of control.