Before I write anything about the episode, I want to thank you all for your support and love. Your prayers for my family and your positive comments mean everything to me. I'm sorry if I'm not acting like everyone wants me to, but that's just it, I'm not acting. This is my real life. You've all seen me on TV long enough to know I can't fake it. What you see with me is what you get. I'm a good person with a heart for God who puts family first, but I'm also a fiery Italian girl that will not sit by quietly if you attack my family or my friends. Love me or hate me, this is who I am.
When I was asked to do the show, I thought it was going to be fun, with the cameras following me and girlfriends around. I didn't expect or plan anything. I still don't. Yes, The Real Housewives has become my "job," and I'm very thankful for the blessings that came with it and the opportunities I've had because of it. But that's not why I signed up, and I'd trade them all in a heartbeat if I could make my family whole again. I didn't join to promote my "brand" or sell products. I just thought it would be fun to give people a peek inside a real Jersey mom's life.
Because many of the Housewives have been able to turn their TV appearances into successful businesses, now people are scheming and doing whatever it takes to get on the shows thinking it's a get-rich-quick scheme. People sit on their couch for years planning out what they would say and how they would stir up trouble on purpose, so they could make it big with [insert new career goal here]. It's just my opinion, but those calculating people aren't very fun to watch, because they try to manipulate everyone including the viewers.
I don't like being manipulated, and I think you can tell on my face when I walk into a new surprise in every scene. This season has been like the Twilight Zone to me, because I'm seeing crazy changes in people I've known a very long time and I'm just trying to keep up. I understand that a lot of viewers love the drama because it makes for good TV. But it doesn't make for good family.
When I found out that Melissa and Kathy, my family, were joining the show this year, I'll be honest, that made it hard for me to trust them at first. I was pretty sure they didn't just want to be on TV for fun, because they saw what happened to me and my family with the bad tabloid stories and people going through your trash and filing crazy lawsuits against you. That part's not really fun, and I wouldn't wish it on anyone. I might not always get along with Melissa, but I don't want people making fun of her on blogs and saying nasty things about her children. It hurts. And she's my family.
So yes, at the beginning of the season, I was trying to figure out why they joined. It slowly became clear, and you see my reaction as I discover it. If you remember, they came out of the gate insulting me, hanging around people that insulted me, and I felt betrayed. I think if you were in my shoes, you would feel the same. But why? Why go on TV just to bash your family? I didn't get to read any of their pre-show interviews about what they hoped to get out of it (although reading that Melissa joined because "karma is a bitch" didn't make me feel any better...). But back then, I was trying to figure out why.
Suddenly Melissa is in a runway show with me. Maybe she's trying to be a model? I go over to her house, and I'm not kidding you, for the first time ever, she's cooked. Maybe she's trying to start a cooking career? Then she casually mentions what I think is the real reason over our glass of wine -- I'm making an album. Really? An album? As in singing?
I've known her for six years, and I swear to you, I have never ever heard her sing. So this was a shock to me. Imagine if someone you'd known for a long time, who lived five minutes from you, came up to you and out of the blue said, "I'm going to join the NBA." And you've never seen this person even hold a basketball. Ever. You might be shocked. Your average stay-at-home mom of three doesn't just record an album.
Looking back, I wish I'd been more supportive right away. But it was just so bizarre, because I'd never even heard the girl hum. You can see my face go from confused to suddenly getting it -- so THIS is why you joined the show at the risk of hurting your family. To start a singing career. I know she says in her interviews that being a singer is her childhood dream, but this was all news to me. I wanted to be an astronaut when I was seven, and if Joe suddenly built me a rocket ship in our backyard, I think people would be a little shocked. I was a little shocked. Even Gia was shocked. Gia's been taking singing lessons, and we've all heard her sing in the car and on stage a million times. I think it's natural for Gia to ask Melissa to sing for us. I was really hoping she would.
If you're confident enough to record an album, wouldn't you be excited to show off for your family? To me, the fact that Melissa wouldn't sing (or even hum) for us just sort of proved to me that it wasn't so much childhood dream as get-rich-quick scheme. I hope I'm wrong, but that's what I was feeling at the time. I did support her and do support her through the rest of her journey. I was cheering her on when she sang the very first time. And I'll keep cheering her on and hoping for the best.
Overall, I was not in a good mood at the play date at Melissa's house. Believe it or not, as hard as I try, I'm not always in a good mood. Who is? And that day I admit, I was aggravated.
If you remember back at Gia's gymnastics meet, I invited Melissa and the kids over for a play date. She told a crying Antonia in the car that it wasn't going to happen while the adults were fighting. Very sad to me, because I never thought the kids should suffer or be apart because of their parents. I thought we should just keep the kids together as we always did: keep having play dates, let them celebrate Christmas Eve and open their presents together as they always did. But that's not what Melissa wanted, and she's their mom, so I had to respect her decision. All I could do was wait until Melissa was ready to release Antonia back to her cousins again. You can see that we both speak very respectfully of each other to our kids though. The kids always know that "Zia Melissa" and "Zia Teresa" love them.
When Melissa finally called for the play date, my family was just getting over the stomach flu, and Melissa insisted it could only be at her house, not mine. Yes, having to dress four girls (if you have girls, you know what a nightmare this can be!) and take them to her house was a bigger pain for me, especially since the only day she could do it Gia was at gymnastics until 4, but I didn't complain and we went. I know I was late, but that happens a lot when you take care of four kids by yourself. Do I wish I had a full-time, live-in nanny like Melissa has had since Gino was born? Yeah, sometimes I do. I think it would make my life so much easier. One less kid and an extra pair of hands? Definitely easier. I don't not have a nanny because I can't afford it, but by choice. When Gia was born I decided I wanted to be the only one raising her. The thought of my kids growing attached to someone else was too much to bear. And I quit work to stay home with Gia, so I didn't need anyone. Fast forward to three kids later and I am working a lot... so yes, extra help would be nice. Obviously if I wish I had a nanny sometimes, I'm not judging people who use them. The way anyone mothers their own kids is their business. I never judge Caroline or Jacqueline's parenting, and I won't judge Melissa or Kathy's. You either compliment a mom or keep your mouth shut about it.
To answer your questions, I don't know why Melissa denies having a nanny in her blog and on Twitter. It's nothing to be embarrassed about or try to hide. I hate watching my family being attacked by bloggers and seeing them react by changing their personalities every five seconds. The best advice I can give to Melissa and Kathy is to just be yourself. Warts, nannies, flipped tables and all! Your fans don't want you to be perfect, they just want you to be honest.
So on to New Year's Eve... New Year's Eve is such a special night to me. It's a chance to put everything behind you and start fresh. And I believe that whatever you're holding on to, however you are at midnight is going to set the tone for the rest of the year. Even though 2010 was a tough year, I was determined to be happy, happy, happy on New Year's Eve so 2011 would be wonderful. It was a great party at the Brownstone, and of course you didn't see all of it, but I think I was driving everyone crazy running around so happy all night. I kept squealing (yes, I know, I squeal when I'm happy), "Happy New Year! I'm so happy! Is everyone happy?" I went out of my way to greet Kathy and Richie as soon as they got there. I made sure to say Happy New Year to them at midnight on the dance floor. Even though the hurt of Christmas Eve was only a week earlier, I left it behind. I kept my disappointment to myself, didn't nag my brother about it, I just hugged and loved him and Melissa.
The only time I wasn't totally happy was when Melissa told me to stop being "fake." Here I've been sad all season and everyone's complaining I'm not my normal happy self, and I put all my positive energy out there, and Melissa says it's fake. It was like a slap in the face. I think we all know fake is not my thing -- as you can see when I got my bitch on at Melissa's house. What you will get with me is my real feelings to your face. I don't run around behind people's backs making up juicy stories about what they said about whom. I think that's passive aggressive and uncool.
No, I wasn't super excited about the idea of going on vacation with everyone, because Kathy and I weren't quite there yet. And yes, a lot of it does have to do with Richie. For the record, I never thought Richie wanted me (wait a moment while I vomit a little here)...sexually. I said "obsessed" to Melissa meaning that he has always made it his mission whenever he sees me for almost twenty years now to pick on me and make mean jokes at my expense. I'm glad Melissa shares in that quirkiness of his too now, but she's the one who interpreted it to mean sexually obsessed. I don't think people, especially family members, are sexually obsessed with me. Why Melissa's brain jumped there immediately, I don't even want to know... I've lost count of how many times Richie has insulted me on camera now, usually with a "f-in" in front of it. I can only imagine how much he does it off camera. And after years and years, it gets old. Not exactly my ideal vacation companion.
I do have to address one thing about Caroline. When she said, "I will not hate someone because you told me to," I'm hoping she was speaking theoretically and not about me, because I never asked her to hate Kathy or anyone else. I do think it's funny that she talks about not getting on the "hate train" because I remember when it came to Danielle, she not only got on the hate train, she built it, fueled it and was the Hate Train Engineer. Danielle never did anything to me or my family (except for lame insults, but those don't bother me).
Caroline and Jacqueline telling me that Danielle hurt their families was enough for me to support them. I didn't need proof. I didn't need to invite Danielle to my parties to "see for myself." I trusted my friends and had their back. Caroline and Jacqueline have no idea about the years and years of family history between me and Melissa and Kathy. I'm trying to work through all this new stuff at my own pace, and I don't need anyone pushing me along. Up to this point, it's only been a few weeks since they even joined the show, and I'm adjusting as fast as I can.
I never told Caroline whom she could and could not invite, but I never expected Kathy to be there. If Kathy was a longtime important client of the Brownstone, why did Caroline act like she'd never seen her before in her life when Kathy came for an audience with her? So when Caroline told me that night in the bathroom that Kathy was coming, I was surprised. I just wanted to ring in the New Year happy with my brother and Melissa and my friends. I think I rolled with it pretty well, and yes, it was a peaceful New Year. And I'm happy to say 2011 has been a really wonderful year... so far!
One more note about Kathy -- I wasn't suggesting that me writing cookbooks inspired Kathy to suddenly start baking. She's always baked for her family. I think my cookbooks' success inspired her to try and make baking into a business. The final puzzle piece for me on why Kathy would join the show: her get-rich-quick scheme was going to be a baking business. I wish her all the best, but I do wish she would just come clean about why she's suddenly doing this. I would have been happy to help her pursue her culinary dreams. I wish she didn't feel the only way to make them come true was to join a show and bash my family to get there.
I loved being on the season finale of Watch What Happens Live with Andy and Jerry O'Connell. I was happy the poll wanted Kathy and I to make up, because it shows the viewers don't want to see families fighting. Me neither! Just keep watching!
If you missed the After Show, Danielle tweeted to Andy Cohen an accusation about Melissa, and Andy read it out loud to me. (You can see it on HERE). I'd had a couple of Bellinis by then, so I was laughing a lot, but the stuff Danielle wrote is disgusting. I don't believe that Melissa plotted with Danielle to get on the show -- at least I pray that's not true. Danielle is tweeting a bunch of nonsense now about all of us. If she has this "proof" about Melissa, she needs to stop threatening and just show it. If not, then shut up! Do...not...mess...with...my...family.
A million thank yous for coming to see me at my book signings! I love meeting you all, but I'll never get used to people crying when they meet me. It makes me cry too! All tears of joy though, so it's good!
Finally, I want to take a moment to tell you about a wonderful young mom I'm friends with on Twitter named Blaire Duecker from Texas. A couple of weeks ago she lost her prince charming, her hubby of ten years, to a terrible car crash. He had just finished a 27-hour shift on an oilrig, and he fell asleep on his way home. He was just two weeks away from his life insurance policy starting, and now his widow and two kids might lose everything they have. Please visit her on Twitter (@blaireduecker) and lift her up in prayer, let her know you are thinking about her, and if you can, please help in any way. Here's the story and more info about a fund set up in her hubby's name: http://t.co/tkaldex