RIDGEFIELD — There's nothing more real than motherhood, and Darleen Ferraro is hoping her idea for a new reality talk show, "Moms Gone Mad," will help new mothers cope with the unknown and share the joy of raising children.
Ferraro got the idea for the show, which premiers tonight on a local public access channel, after her daughter was born seven months ago. Little Shawna Marie brought a whole new chaos — and a new type of love — to her life. Ferraro was surprised at what she didn't know and how ill-equipped she was to handle much of it.
"I just can't believe how hard it is being a mom," Ferraro said. "I had no idea how much work was involved nor did I realize how crazed, forgetful, emotional, tired and happy I would feel all at the same time."
She thinks every other mom shares that realization.
For the past seven months Ferraro has had the tumultuous task of raising her daughter and it has been eye opening.
She convinced her older sister, Annrose Fluskey, who has been a mother for 3½ years, to co-host a talk show. Fluskey agreed.
"I'd read all the books about how to do this and how to do that as a mom but as a working mom, those books don't tell you about all the issues," said Fluskey, who has two children, Jeremy, 3½, and Karissa, 1½.
"There's going to come a day when you'll say 'Take my kids. I can't take it.' And moms need to know that's OK."
Some of the show will look at the changes that come with motherhood — like the intense lack of sleep.
"I never wake up thinking, 'Oh, I just had eight hours of restful sleep,'Ÿ" Ferraro said. "It just doesn't happen. When I was pregnant, people would say to me and my husband, 'Get your sleep now!' I thought, 'How bad can it be?' But they were right. You're constantly sleep deprived."
"Moms Gone Mad" will empower, support and educate, the hosts said, as well as entertain.
"This forum will give us the opportunity to encourage and empathize with one another as we embark on this mad journey together," Fluskey said. "My kids are the one thing I'd never give up in the world but there are the realities of motherhood that we moms need to share."
Ferraro, 33, and Fluskey, 38, are both teachers in the Bedford, N.Y., Central School District, so they are used to working with young children in the classroom setting. But both found that having their own child is, well, different.
"You don't realize how crazed and nuts you can become," Ferraro said. "If Shawna Marie's not eating, I anguish, 'Why isn't she eating?' If she pulls at her ear I anguish, 'Does she have an ear ache?' I think, 'What if something happens to me and my husband? Who will raise her with the values and morals that we want her raised with.?'Ÿ"
Those are the kinds of questions that Ferraro and Fluskey will answer on their program.
"There was no media show for moms to tell them if what their son or daughter is doing is normal," Ferraro said. "There's a plethora of written information but you don't have time to sit down and read. A television program can be on in the background while you care for the baby, fold laundry, do all you have to do."
Viewers of "Moms Gone Mad" will be able to e-mail their ideas and suggestions about future topics, apply to be a guest host, submit their children for the "Cutest Kid of the Week" contest, and ask questions that the hosts will answer on the air.
Topics of upcoming programs include an American Red Cross representative showing how to perform infant and child CPR; a police offer showing the proper set-up of car seat safety; a psychologist talking about discipline and setting limits; and a speech therapist, occupational therapist and physical therapist talking about normal development — what it looks like and red flags that might signal something is wrong.
Each week will highlight a "Celebrity Mom" who will tell her story. They include a mom who suffered infertility for years and then adopted a child from Russia, a mom with triplet infant boys, a mother who returned to the workplace after five years of being at home, and a single mom talking about raising a child alone.
Ferraro and Fluskey will also feature the wonderful moments of motherhood.
"How much they learn in just the first three years of life is thrilling," Fluskey said. "They learn language, letters, numbers, colors, and knowing you're part of that is rewarding. When they pick up a book and want to read it, you remember how you read to them when they were 6 months and 1 year old and you think 'My God, I'm doing something right.'Ÿ"
Then there's the days when they begin to talk and run up to you saying, "I love you, mommy," Fluskey said. "You want to melt."
Ferraro's goal is to eventually get a national audience for the show. She has four years of experience as a talk show co-host on "Community Forum," another community access cable show.
"We're starting small but 'Moms Gone Mad' is a much-needed idea, especially with the recent success of Desperate Housewives," she said. "I've got a gut feeling it is going to go far."
Moms Gone Mad airs on Comcast Channel 23 Sundays at 8 p.m. and Wednesdays at 10 a.m. It airs on Charter Channel 21 on Mondays at 12:30 p.m. and Thursdays at 9 p.m. To learn more about the show, visit www.momsgonemad.net.
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