‘Tis the season for merry making and cozy sweaters! With all the festivities in the new year, I thought it would be the perfect time to introduce our new blog segment titled “Parent of the Season.” This blog post will now happen four times a year corresponding with the seasons.
I am pumped to get back in the swing of things this season and introduce our VERY First Parent of the Season for the Winter edition 2022, Colleen Mallozzi! Colleen is a mom of 3 from Worcester, PA. She is a very inspiring woman and I am eager for her to share her journey with everyone.
Welcome Colleen! Thanks for being our first Parent of the Season!
Q: Can you tell us about yourself (interests, occupation, etc.)?
A: I love watching/coaching my children in sports, cooking, riding my Peloton, the Eagles (sometimes), volunteering at my children’s school and spending as much time as possible with family, friends, and our community. I work at Penn Medicine as the Associate Clinical Informatics Officer. I have a background in IT and am a nurse. Over the last two years I have been focused on the Coronavirus pandemic efforts related to testing, patient care and vaccinations. I truly feel that the work I do helps people and am so lucky to do it every day.
Q. Tell us a bit about your family and what they mean to you:
A. My little family consists of myself and my husband TJ, my oldest son Tommy (8), my daughter Madison (6) and my youngest son, Miles (7 months). I come from a large Irish Catholic family and have 4 siblings (+their spouses) and a combined 17 children between us. My wonderful Mother, Maryellen, passed away 10 years ago and my dad is remarried to a sweet lady, Diane. My husband has 3 siblings and his mom, who we call Grammy. We lost his dad, Gramps, about 5 years ago. Family is everything to me. And I consider some of my closest friends to be family as well. We spend quite a lot of time together and try to live by the motto – “it takes a village”.
“Family” to me, means the people who show up at your house on your worst days and stand beside you with joy in their eyes and excitement in their hearts on your best days. It’s the people who will always have your back. Losing your mom in your 20’s is hard, but the family that she raised and left behind carries her qualities of compassion, togetherness, faith, hard work, kindness and love. I truly hope that as my children grow up they are friends with each other in the way that my siblings and I (and their spouses) are with one another.
So, that’s us… I’m a Mallozzi but come from the Reilly crew and we stand together, always!
Q: Do you have any family or cultural traditions that you want to ensure you pass onto your children?
A: I’m Irish, so we’ll always celebrate St. Patrick’s Day and dance an Irish jig, eat Irish potatoes and cheers for our ancestors. My husband is a first generation American, whose family came from a small town in Italy. We continue to visit with Grand mom Mallozzi and his family to soak up as much of the culture as we can. She’s an incredible person and so is his other Italian Grand mom. In a non-covid world, we do seven fishes with Grand mom and his Aunts, Uncles and cousins on Christmas Eve. We’re excited to return to that tradition this year! Lastly, I hope to pass on an overall love of the holidays, birthdays and special events with family. My Mom loved the holidays and made every one very special for us. After she passed away in 2011, my sisters and I created an online store called “Girl for All Seasons” where we sold holiday décor. We did it for a few years and have since closed up shop, but the love and joy of the holidays remains and my hope is that my children will have the same joyful memories as I did throughout my life.
Q. What is your most memorable family moment? [Family trip, funny things your kids have said/done]
A. There are countless wonderful memories to choose from, and I feel very lucky for that. A recent one, that is at the forefront of my mind and includes all three children, is when we brought Miles home from the hospital for the first time. He had been in the NICU for 12 days after he was born due to some breathing issues. I was discharged without him and came home, and it was very hard and confusing for the kids. The day we brought him home, they came home from school and turned the corner into the family room and the shock and awe and joy and love that emanated from both is something I’ll never forget. Their baby brother was finally home, and they instantly fell in love. It was so beautiful to see such pure innocence and happiness and ultimately, love. I knew that my family was complete and it’s a moment that I’ll never forget.
My Resilient Baby- Miles Joseph
Q. What is your personal style?
A: Currently, my personal style is yoga pants on the bottom and business casual on the top when I work from home! But when I get a chance to dress up and head outside, I like to try new things. I am usually a minimalist, but try to lean into new trends here and there. I’ve been known to try more edgy fashion and throw a touch of glamor in when the mood strikes me. And heels – always heels! On a day-to-day basis – right now I’m into comfy and clean lines with elevated basics. I have always thought of my bright red hair as a fashion accessory, so I can get away with blacks and basics and let my hair steal the show!
Q. Where do you like to shop?
A. I LOVE to shop at Lord and Taylor when it comes to getting dressed up for a special event, and am so sad that they’ve closed up shop. Day-to-day I am all about convenience and primarily shop at Marshalls, Kohl’s and even Amazon (you can’t beat the try-before-you-buy!).
Q. What about your husband and kids?
A. My husband’s look is primarily golf gear, athleisure wear, and Philadelphia sports team’s t-shirts. He’s a “wear shorts through the winter” kinda-guy, but really likes to coordinate his shoes, belts, shirts and hats when golfing. He likes Nike, Under Armor, Vineyard Vines, Peter Malar, Travis Mathew.
The kid’s personal styles vary quite a bit. My son likes to wear Nike/Under Armor and his primary goal is to be comfy and be able to run around. My daughter likes to mix things up. She loves athletic wear but has fun dressing up too. She was recently Cruella for Halloween and looked absolutely fabulous! Miles wears comfy boy clothes most of the day but has had a few fashionable moments in his short time with us!
Q. Can you share your morning and nighttime routines with your kids?
A. Morning routine – My husband wakes the kids up with Dad jokes and gets them laughing so that it’s less painful that they’re tired and not wanting to go to school. I recommend lots of Dad jokes, always! Our nighttime routine makes for easier mornings. Each night, we make sure to have things prepped for the next day – outfits laid out, book bags at the door, shoes/coats/water bottles where they need to be, most of their lunches prepped and packed.
Q. What mom tricks work for you that you can recommend others may give a try?
A. Marry a morning person, ha-ha! My husband is up early with the kids, getting them fed breakfast, teeth brushed and gets them to school. If that’s not possible, then shoot for being prepared and be consistent. Consistency is key. Consistency also isn’t easy because children are unpredictable, but at the end of the day they crave routine. I have found that when we stick to a routine, things go smoothly. Now that I have three children and we’re mixing in sports, activities, schoolwork and the craziness of life, we have to plan ahead. For working parents I’d recommend setting boundaries at work, where possible. I can’t have 7:30 am meetings because I must be getting my kids out the door to school. Boundaries equal sanity in parenthood. Additionally, I recommend being a team. Strike a balance between you and your partner and you can conquer the world (or at least remain sane!). Drop the gender-conforming roles of the household and just work together. Parenting is hard, but being a team makes it easier.
Thank you Colleen for being our first Parent of the Season for Winter 2021-2022! It has been a pleasure to chat with you about your family and mom life. You are such a rock star and we know your story will be inspirational and uplifting to many more mommas out there. Stay warm in Pennsylvania!
Wishing you a Blessed New Year!