A Q&A with Theresa Santoro – aka- Mama T – aka- Nanny T
How did you arrive here, as a self professed guru of parenting?
The Fine Art of Parenting came to me as I was still raising my young children, and was helping a brand new mother usher into the world her first born. She was scared, and worried she would not be good enough. I spoke to her about the village she needed to surround herself with, and that parenting is an art form …different and original to each and every family.
What do you offer the parenting masses ?
In my articles and columns I bring a raw side of parenting to the forefront. No bells and whistles, just the reality of everyday trials, tribulations, and monumental successes !
I help parents of every stage navigate their own personal world of parenting. As much as we humans are alike, we really are quite different when it comes to our wants and needs for our family.
I am known as THE MOTHER. Seriously. I can’t tell you how many times I have been introduced that way. Although I did not personally give myself that name, I will wear that as a badge of honor. I can only assume it was a compliment. And if not, I don’t want to know!
Apparently, I came out of the womb a mother. I am number 7 in line to my 10 siblings. I was the one most likely to be knocking on doors to find friends in the neighborhood for my siblings to play with.
What is the one thing you are known for when it comes to helping parents survive in the hood? Parenthood that is…
When it comes to helping others raise children, I am a quick problem solver. I often use the rule of 10 when advising parents. If you are in business, you may already be familiar with this. What are the consequences of your decision when speaking with or disciplining your child? Will this matter in 10 minutes? 10 months? 10 years? If not, move along. Kids want to be heard and understood. They don’t like to be patronized or lied to. I get to the root of the problem, by going directly to the source. The child. And they are almost always honest with me. I am a baby and kid whisperer. I always have been.
I have worked with many parents coaching on a one to one basis, as well as speaking at events or clinics. I served as a Co-Chair on my communities Child Care Committee.
What are you most passionate about professionally as a parent coach and leader?
My passion for this business, is the hope that my joy in raising children is contagious. There are too many angry dissatisfied parents out there buying into every cliché that is a child. Terrible twos. Horrible 3…teenage years, etc…etc.
What drives you in your down time?
In my personal life, my passions run deep, but all circle back to the welfare of children, and the family unit. I love to study trends in parenting, and for kicks and giggles love the science of medicine.
When I am not at my desk working, my life centers around the people I love. I cook, I clean (albeit, would love someone to do that), I enjoy the movies, especially since I have raised a Producer in Hollywood. My downtime is fresh ocean air and family. The best Sundays are those spent with family enjoying a big Italian dinner.
I have been developing The Fine Art of Parenting, since 2005. My deepest desire is to have you join me around the kitchen table and learn tips and techniques to make your life better and happier.
Where did you grow up?
As mentioned, I am the 7th child of 11 children. There were 5 boys and 6 girls, all with same parents. And yes, I know all of their names. We were raised in the Catholic faith, and I practice that faith today. I live in the same county I was born in. I am an OC girl living in Southern California, and although I don’t go into the ocean, I love its smell and sound, so I go seaside whenever possible!
Do you have a passion for volunteer work, or does that go hand in hand with what you do?
When it comes to volunteering, again my time and passion is centered around children, and making their lives better. If I can make a difference, I have succeeded.
My favorite non-profits serve…you guessed it … Children and families. No child or family should go hungry or without shelter. No child should go to school without nutrition or supplies. I am proud of the time I served as President in my local PTA
What is your guilty pleasure?
If I had to give up something tomorrow, it would be nearly the worst to give up espresso. Developed a taste for a good cup of Joe after age 40, and I am hard pressed to give it up.
Why would someone choose not to take your advice?
Sometimes I make parents uncomfortable. I am brutally honest and forthright. It really isn’t the child. It boils down to parent management. Doesn’t make everyone happy, but it is the honest truth. If we could just own that, and move past it, parenting would be a breeze for most!
How would you most like to be remembered?
I want to be remembered as THE MOM who loved and adored all children of all ages. As Mr. Rogers used to say… It is you I like. And for me, it really it is true. I LOVE KIDS. And I don’t do well, when I don’t have one or two under foot. Therefore, I have traded small children, for small dogs until I am blessed with grandchildren. My adult daughters tell me to slow my roll and keep on wishing!
What is next for you?
I am excited about my book that will be published in the spring of 2016 on the Kindle format. I have worked hard on deciphering parenting trends of the 21st century, that truly do make us the game changers in parenting.
Is it true you sailed around the world as a child?
Yes! 100 percent true, and that bit of trivia always throws people for a loop!
When I was 11/12, I circumnavigated the globe aboard a 32 foot sail boat with another girl my age and her parents.
This is a photo of that very boat! I always got seasick on our first days out of port, and our longest stretch at sea was 34 days across the Atlantic ocean. To me, there is no greater sight than that of land in the distant horizon, and once on land, the American flag.