This season, you'll find "Jerseylicious" Gatsby Salon manager Christy Pereira poised to join the mommy ranks (she's expecting her first Gatsby heir apparent late next month). We had ourselves a nice lil' chat about raising kids in Jersey and what it's like to work with your mom.
momlogic: Congrats on your pregnancy! How's it going so far?
Christy Pereira: It's going! I'm in the middle of my eighth month, so I'm getting to the point where everything is a little uncomfortable. I don't want to go to the beach because it's so hot. [We're in the midst of a serious heatwave here in the N.Y./N.J. area.] There's no relief for me!
ml: Do you know what you're going to have?
CP: No. We don't know what we're having, so we just can't wait for it to get here already!
ml: Has the show been good for business?
CP: Yes it has, but at the same time, we've been here since 1978. Because we've been here for so long, we have a lot of regulars who've been with us for years. But the new clientele we're getting has been very good for us.
ml: Has it been challenging filming while pregnant?
CP: We just started filming a few weeks ago, so it hasn't been that challenging yet. I feel great, I have a lot of energy, but my feet are starting to swell really bad! No shoes fit me. All I can wear are flip-flops. So the biggest challenge has been not being able to dress the way I want to dress. I keep telling them to film me from the knees up!
ml: What's it like working with your mom?
CP: I started part-time right out of high school and came on full-time at 19, right after my stepfather passed away. Over the years, we've definitely had our challenges, because you live together and you work together. No matter how much we try to separate our personal life from work, it's almost impossible. It's been hard for her to allow me to grow and mature, both in business and outside of work. It's hard to see your daughter stepping up, as much as you want them to. But now I have to say we've finally come to an easy place. We still bicker. We still disagree. But we've learned in the past few years that there's no better person to have working with you than a family member you trust. She's one of my closest friends, so after we leave work, we're still doing things together. We think so similarly about things -- she'll call me into her office to discuss a concern and I'll tell her I already thought about it. We're now at a point where we wouldn't want anyone else at our side.
ml: What if you have a daughter? Would you want her to follow in your footsteps?
CP: Absolutely! I didn't go to school after my stepfather passed away. I was confused and didn't know what I wanted to do. Although I think I'm doing exactly what I'm supposed to with my life, I would hope that my child would finish either college or go to school for hair. I went to school for hair and didn't finish. A lot of it was maturity -- I don't think I was ready for it. Now that I'm 31 and having a baby, I don't really want to restart. I'd be more than happy for [my future kids] to be in business with us; I just want them to go to school and make sure they love what they do -- the same way we do.
ml: What are your work plans once the baby comes?
CP: I have no idea! I told my husband the other day that we really need to figure this out. The fact that I can make my own hours here and come and go as I please helps. I don't plan on taking more than 12 weeks off after the baby's born. Depending on how I handle being a new mom -- plus, we're filming the show through all of it -- I don't want to overwhelm myself. I'm going to see where my mom needs me the most, when my mother-in-law can babysit, and we'll go from there. I can do paperwork from home, too. When it's slow, maybe I'll bring the baby in for an hour or two.
ml: How are "Jerseylicious" moms different from other moms?
CP: I have friends in Maryland and in California, and we're all hardworking people. But here in New Jersey and New York, we live such fast-paced lives. Your kids live that fast-paced life with you. I don't think there's anything wrong with that. It's how I was raised. We never sat still for a minute -- my mom took us everywhere and did everything with us. It made us more openminded and used to different environments. My brother and I knew how to go into a restaurant and order from a menu. We care what we look like, too. I'm not letting my kid go out of the house in dirty sneakers and their hair not brushed! Kids are a reflection of who we are, and that's what makes us a little different.