Caroline Manzo has a reputation for being very involved in her children's lives but it turns out that may not be entirely accurate.
"That's the one thing that makes me crazy about people, two things," Caroline said on sons Albie and Chris Manzo's podcast, Dear Albie. "One is they say, 'Caroline, you need to cut the apron strings.' And two is that my husband and I finance my kids' lives. Neither could be farther from the truth. My boys, with who they're dating, what they're doing, if they tell me something, I listen; if they don't tell me, I don't ask. So I go for days not talking to one of my boys; I ask one thing: 'Are you alive?' All I want to know is if they're alive. I don't ask what they're doing, I don't ask who they're hanging out with, I don't ask about anything, work, anything. What they want to tell me, they tell me."
Caroline, who at one time hosted her own radio show, Caroline Rules, went on to tell us something else about her family: "We don't finance anything. What did we finance? Their education. Absolutely. That's part of my role or my husband's role as a parent to help them in their education and get them on their feet. Beyond that, nothing. When Christopher, before he started Tenth Street Pizza, he was trying different things. I'd find out afterward that he would buy a sub and let that sub work for three days for him for food, because he couldn't spare the money to go out to lunch or dinner or anything. But guess what? That's their path, that's their journey, and that's what makes them strong. So that's the one thing my husband and I always did, we gave them the tools to be warriors as I always said and they have to fight the fight on their own. Because guess what? One day I'm gonna die and my husband's gonna die and the biggest disservice you could do as a parent is to pamper your children and give them everything because... when you're gone, they won't be able to survive."
Back to her kids' dating lives for a sec. Albie asked his mom how she would feel about him dating someone with a kid.
"If I dated somebody with a kid, now I'm 32 years old, the chances of me... [dating someone with a kid]... what would be your opinion on that?" He asked.
"I would have no problem with that," Caroline replied.
"Would you want the person that I had kids with to share that first experience together or do you think it's all the same?" Albie asked.
"It's all the same," Caroline responded. "Love is love. You could learn to love a child that's not yours. Look at all these people that have blended marriages, that have stepchildren, things like that, and then together they have another child ... it's not about that. It's about how you view things. What is not to love about a young child? ... I wouldn't see that as a negative."
She also has a message for single parents: "You should not put your life on hold for your child. You should behave responsibly with the child so when your ex-husband or someone has the child, go out and have fun; you're here to live," she said, noting that of course a child comes first. "Just because you have a child doesn't mean your life stops. You owe it to yourself to live your life and live it the best way you possibly can. On the flip side, because you have a child, you have to be responsible. Now my suggestion to her would be of course go out and date, of course go out and live your life and have fun, but don't make your door be a revolving door, because this child is going to see."
Check out more of Caroline's advice in the videos above and below.