Thursday, May 10, 2012
Lori Verni-Fogarsi understands mommy brain...and has a book to give away!
With Mother's Day around the corner, we're thrilled to have Lori Verni-Fogarsi here, as her debut fiction novel talks about a woman finding what makes her special, aside from being a mother.
Lori Verni-Fogarsi has been a freelance writer, journalist, columnist and seminar speaker for 15+ years. Her novel, "Momnesia," was released this past March, and she also has a nonfiction book, "Everything You Need to Know About House Training Puppies and Adult Dogs," which has been widely acclaimed in its genre.
She is a happily married mom of two, stepmom of two more, and has two cats (both rotten). Originally a native New Yorker, she now divides her time between Raleigh, NC, and Lake Gaston, VA, where she is hard at work on her next novel. She invites you to learn more at her website. And if you want to get to know her even better, read her blog and visit her on Facebook and Twitter.
Lori has TWO copies of "Momnesia" for some lucky readers: one paperback in the US and one Kindle to anywhere in the world!
What is your favorite thing about being a mom?
When my children were babies, it was seeing how quickly they learn and how every single thing is a new experience for them. Now that they're older, it's watching them gradually transform into adults with their own opinions, personalities, and styles.
What do you do as a mom that is the most similar to what your mom did when you were a kid?
In general, I'd say that I'm always available to my kids, as my mom was for me. No matter how busy I may seem, they know I'll always make time for them and their school events, activities, things they may want to talk about, etc. I also try to have a family dinner most nights of the week, where we all sit at a table and eat together... TV off, no texting, just chatting and eating.
Share some advice you'd like to give to new or soon-to-be moms.
This is my favorite question! My hands-down, number-one advice to new moms would be, "Don't forget to take care of yourself and your relationship with your husband!" It's so easy to become entirely caught up in all of the important details of parenting, that it's easy to forget about yourself, your own interests or hobbies, and your original relationship with your partner... as "people," not only as "parents."
My second piece of advice is to let people help, including your husband! In the grand scheme of things, it really won't matter if the baby eats peaches on Tuesday instead of pears, but it will matter that you had a chance to meet up with your girlfriends for a little "me time!"
Part of the reason I felt compelled to write "Momnesia" was sharing the perspective with other moms that it can be so easy to lose yourself, yet it is possible--with some effort--to find balance between "momminess" and "sexiness!" Meaning, your family and your Self.
Who is your favorite TV mom?
Strange as it may sound my favorite TV mom is not actually a mom at all! I'd have to say Fran Drescher as "The Nanny," because she's always very "real" with the kids. She understands their point of view, rather than always trying to walk the straight line of being the "perfect parent." I also think Damon Wayans and Tisha Campbell-Martin are hysterically funny in, "My Wife and Kids."
Who is your favorite movie mom?
Julia Roberts as "Erin Brockovich." I like the way she cares very much about her kids, and in the beginning of the movie does everything she can, within her very limited means, to try and take care of them while looking for a job, trying to better herself, etc. I also like the way, when she does have the opportunity to advance her career and be involved in something very important, she helps them to understand that Mommy's needs, and the needs of "the greater good" are also important--yet of course, she still ensures that they're well taken care of.
What is your favorite memory that you share with your mom?
Making colorful cookies a couple of times a year. We would mix up the cookie dough, then separate it into batches to make some blue, pink, yellow, green, etc. We used a cookie press with all sorts of shapes and would decorate the cookies with chocolate chips. We always made so many, there would be trays and trays all over the place! My mom gave me the cookie press and I sometimes do this with my kids--of course inviting my mom to come over and do it with us!
How do your kids take after you?
My children are extremely different than each other, but each have personality characteristics they pick up from me, as well as other traits that are very different from mine!
My fourteen-year-old daughter looks just like me and is very "bookish." She's also not interested in "fitting in," or worrying about what other people think, both of which are me to a "t."
My eleven-year-old daughter is like me in that she's not very "rule following." She likes to dance to the beat of a different drum and often does things differently--her way--and can be very difficult to convince otherwise. Also like me! (Although understanding that she's like me doesn't make it any easier to convince her that waiting for the rare twenty-five degree day in North Carolina is not the best time to wear your Easter dress to school!)
What was the last thing you did before you became a mom for the first time?
Unfortunately, I spent most of the last few months of my pregnancy doing things like decorating the baby's room, trying to make the house perfect, and reading parenting books. Looking back, I wish I had done different things with that time... like eating in nice restaurants that don't have coloring pages or balloons, reading "regular" books, and going out with my friends.
What was the sweetest thing your kid has said to you?
Hands-down, it was just a few weeks ago when my daughter said, "All my friends wish you were their mom because they all think you're so cool." I replied, asking, "What do you think about that?" and she said, "Of course!--You are so much more understanding than any of my friends' parents!"
Do you have any rituals with your kids?
Tons, and they've progressed through the years. For example, when the girls were little, we would stand in the hallway halfway between their rooms at bed time and all say, "Meet in the middle!" for kisses and hugs goodnight before going to bed.
I do try to keep a level of consistency going at all times, although they're sometimes different for each child. For example, one daughter needs to relax after school for a while before hitting the homework while the other really needs to get it done immediately because she doesn't do as well later in the evening.
Some of our rituals are silly, too. For example, we'll be walking past and "accidentally" crash into one another and say "OOPS!"
What has been the greatest challenge in becoming a stepmom?
Without question, it has been helping my two step sons to understand that I respect their mom and have no interest in being "a new (or additional) mom." I'm their dad's wife, and I care about them very much, but my intention is to have a different kind of relationship with them that falls somewhere in-between being a friend and a quasi-parent.
Special thanks to Lori for chatting with us and sharing her book with our readers!
Please tell us: What is your favorite chick lit novel about motherhood? (One entry per person) Please also note the country where you are located and include an e-mail address so we can reach you if you win.
Paperback: US only
Giveaway ends May 15th at midnight EST.