Dana Perino: Mother's Day 2021 — Let's hear it for the Moms!
Dana Perino releases new book offering life lessons for young women
The first person to ever reassure me that everything would be OK was my mom, Janice M. Perino. It is likely the same for you. Our moms are special people, and this week I had a chance to give my mom her podcast debut for the first episode of “Everything Will Be Okay.”
We talked about what it was like for her to juggle work and home life and how the career paths for young women today are so much more clear than just a couple of decades ago.
The only thing I forgot to ask her about was the day my younger sister, Angie, was very slow to finish her bowl of Froot Loops. Her dawdling was going to make us late. My mom ordered her to finish it. Instead of doing that, Angie dumped the rest of the cereal and milk onto her head.
My mom said, “Fine, let’s go.” And she took my sister to pre-school with her hair full of the sticky mess. My sister never forgot it — the milk drying into her hair making it crunchy. And, as you can imagine, she never did it again. But my mom wasn’t late for work!
Here’s a transcript our chat. Happy Mother’s Day!
“EVERYTHING WILL BE OKAY” PODCAST, EPISODE 1
Dana Perino: Hello and welcome. I’m Dana Perino, and I’m back to let you know Everything Will Be Okay. I’m joined by guests who share advice and their unique perspectives on living a fulfilled life while accomplishing career goals along the way with Mother’s Day coming up.
I thought it appropriate to start off this podcast series with working moms who are achieving their greatest potential in their careers while somehow managing to balance their home life.
These inspiring women join me to pull back the curtain on how they find the time and the energy each and every day.
Moms are amazing people. They already have the most important job of helping raise little babies to be good, productive people, and many of them are working as well. Managing a career and raising children is something I’m quite in awe of.
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Dana Perino: I met my first guest, Michelle Chase, right after I left the White House and joined a big public relations firm. Michelle Chase is a human capital leader and chief talent officer with over 20 years of experience across all sorts of platforms like public relations, human resources and in sports, cable and music industries. She’s also a mother to three wonderful sons.
Dana Perino: I want to start asking what we always ask the mentors at Minute Mentoring: What is your favorite piece of advice or piece of advice that you find yourself giving to others most often right now?
Michelle Chase: I have so many, but the one that keeps coming back to me is don’t talk for the sake of talking.
You know, throughout my career, people have come to me for advice. They come to me because they have a problem. They don’t know how to solve it. They’re confused. There are different things going on in their work world, sometimes even in the personal world. And my immediate reaction, I always want to tell them what to do. I always want to tell them what I think.
DANA PERINO: ‘EVERYTHING WILL BE OKAY’ – WHY I WROTE MY NEW BOOK AND WHAT I WANT TO SHARE WITH TODAY’S YOUNG WOMEN
Sometimes it’s really important, particularly if it’s a sticky situation to say, you know what, let me sleep on it or let me take a little time to think about it and I’ll come back to you tomorrow or give me an hour or so I can just think about it, because a lot of our knee jerk reactions when we think we have the answer may not necessarily take into account like a 360 view of everything that’s going on with that given situation.
Dana Perino: That’s a great point. I worked for a Chief Of Staff on Capitol Hill in 1995-1996. Her name is Holly Propst. I write about her in “Everything Will Be Okay” because she was one of my best mentors.
And I remember one day asking her a fairly complicated question and it was around 6 p.m. wrapping up our day. And she said, let me take a stab at that tomorrow when I have a fresh head, which is basically let me sleep on it for a night.
And you’re right. Like when I remember to sleep on something for a night, you wake up with such, well, at least more clarity than if you’re just trying to solve it quickly.
Michelle Chase: Yep. And it also makes people that you’re dealing with feel like you’re really taking it seriously instead of just throwing something on the wall to see if it sticks. It’s important to understand people come to you because they don’t know what to do. And I like taking a minute because it’s not always super clear what the right answer is, even when it is clear initially, you know,
Dana Perino: So I don’t have children, as you know. But you do. You have three boys. And I want to talk a little bit about how you’re one of the women in my life that I look at and say I don’t know how she does it. And so when I interviewed you, it was for a couple of reasons.
One, because you are an amazing working mom, but you also have incredible advice for others because of all of your experience and talent development and human resources and interviewing. And when it comes to your own personal experience, I didn’t know this about you and I’d love for you to tell the story that.
You had just been promoted when you found out you were pregnant with your third child.
Michelle Chase: Yes. Yes. So that was a fun conversation. So first, what happened?
I was in Asia with my leadership team. I actually was head of the U.S. I was asked to take the global role and went before I went to Asia, but I was asked to take the global role.
And I said to my husband, I said, listen, you’ve got to stop working weekends if I’m going to take this job and you’ve got to pick it up because I’m going to be traveling more and it’s going to be hard. And he said, take the job. And so I said, Okay, so I took the job.
One of the things I’ve always tried to do is also keep my partner in crime — Tim — really involved in my decisions because he has to be able to participate in those decisions. And I took the job.
I went to Asia and I remember having a glass of wine, waking up, not feeling really great and thinking, wow, I can’t be hung over from one glass of wine. And so I get back. And it’s the Sunday before Christmas, we had agreed that I took the promotion and it was everything was wonderful. And I was eating an apple, a green apple with peanut butter on it. And I looked at the apple and I’m like, oh, my God, I’m pregnant again. And I already had two kids. And I’m looking at them playing on the floor. And I’m like, oh, my God. And, you know, my husband, my lovely, wonderful bonus child is amazing.
He was not planned, but he was the best surprise I’ve ever had.
So he came along. And I know that if I was pregnant whenever they offered me the promotion, I just wouldn’t have taken the job because I didn’t think that I could do it.
I took the job and I was very pregnant for a while. Right. Nine months. And people would come into my office and say, Michelle, how are you going to do it? How are you going to how are you gonna do it? Are you coming back? Are you coming? You have three kids. Are you coming back?
And I would just look at them and say, you know, isn’t it funny? I don’t think anyone’s asking my husband that question. And I would laugh and then they would laugh like, OK, and they would walk out of my office.
Numerous people ask me that. But honestly, nobody asked my husband if they were if he was going to be going back to work. And I just did. And it was doable.
I obviously have a great partner in making sure we can get everything done and take care of the kids. But it was it was a moment time that I personally know in my heart of hearts that if I knew I was pregnant, I wouldn’t have taken it. So it was interesting. It was a blessing that I didn’t know.
Dana Perino: Right. And then but you were glad that you did take it and then you did. Oh, I had a credible work. You’ve talked about women starting an LLC that would be kind of their own business so they could take on as many projects as they want. And then when you do go back to work for an employer, you don’t have a gap in your resume.
Michelle Chase: Yes, absolutely. Absolutely. Having no less. Well, that’s how you ended up doing contracting work so you could pay yourself and make sure you’re staying current.
Dana Perino: Another thing that you talk about, of course, is just the work life balance. And you have some good advice for people in terms of setting boundaries with your employer and your colleagues. And you have some fun stories about what would happen if anybody called you during the hours when you said you needed your family time.
Michelle Chase: So I had I worked with some really great people, and when my children were small, they were pretty respectful. But often I would get calls when we’re having dinner or when someone’s crying.
I always picked up the call, always picked it up because it would end up that the call was not important enough to not happen an hour later. And it was always fun when my CEO would call and one of my kids would be screaming or crying.
You know, they’re like little drunk people. So there was always something going on in my house with my three boys.
So I would pick up the phone and they’re like, Oh, you’re busy, though. Call me back whenever you’re ready to talk. OK, no problem. Great. And it kind of got them into the habit of understanding there was another life beyond work.
I think part of the gift of COVID is that we see into people’s lives right now. And there are many things going on in people’s lives because they are at home, the same thing happened whenever we were working normally [but we didn’t see it].
I also would tell women or anyone in general, the people that you work with aren’t psychic. They don’t know what’s going on with your life. They don’t know what your schedule looks like.
As someone who is a pleaser when it comes to working, I always say, yes, it’s very rare that I say no. Iwant to say I want to say yes to everything, but you can’t.
So you have to be able to say no and you have to be able to say, “that won’t work.” Or you have to say, “can I do it later?” Or it needs to be done by this time. But you just have to follow through and make sure you get whatever work done that needs to get done.
Dana Perino: Any advice for the young woman who is thinking about becoming a mom but might be hesitant or worried, as I’m sure there’s lots of anxiety that goes into that big next step?
What would you tell them? Because I look at you and I think. I know, look, I know nothing, nothing is perfect, but when I look at your life, I feel like you’ve just managed to do so much and so in such a fulfilling way and you can cook beautifully. And I’m looking forward to dinner the next time we can come over. But the way you do it with such a healthy attitude and you have an outlook, I think that’s very wise.
So for young women who are maybe thinking of becoming a mom. Any thoughts for them?
Michelle Chase: If you’re even thinking about it, just do it. The best thing I ever did was have these three boys.
I thought that I would probably have one and then I had another and another. But they are, you know, watching them grow and seeing them become good people and do kind things. And, you know, my oldest was a ski instructor this winter. And it was amazing to think like, wow, my little guy can do these things now and it’s fantastic. But I would say, just do it. It’s hard, but it’s always hard.
But, you know… Everything is challenging. But if you don’t know better, just keep doing it. It’s going to be fine. Everything will be okay. Dana, if you just keep moving along.
Dana Perino: Wow. We didn’t even pay you to say that.
Michelle Chase: We didn’t even pay me to say that it. But I do think that. But I think humor works, too. Like, I find my kids very amusing and their friends and the things that they do and say, but you’ll get through everything.
"Everything Will Be Okay: Life Lessons for Young Women (from a Former Young Woman)" was released on March 9.
You just do the best you can. And I always think that, you know, if other people can do it, I can, too. So why not try? And you just you just do just plug away and have the kids that you want to have and enjoy them and know that you only have them for 18 years and then they’re off on their own.
So I only have two more years left with my oldest, which is crazy.
Dana Perino: It is crazy. Well, it’s been a pleasure knowing you for all of these years and I look forward to all that is to come. And thank you for participating because you have such great advice for women of any age and whether they have children or not. But I really think that your advice for working moms is excellent, and I look forward to seeing all that you do in the future. Thank you so much.
Michelle Chase: Thank you, Dana. So nice talking to you. Thank you so much.
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Dana Perino: Hold tight, folks. Kennedy is next.
Dana Perino: The lesson here is: take the time you need to raise your children and set them up for success, but do not neglect your work life for long. Stay on top of it so that you can maintain the skills you need and hold the salary you earned before you had kids.
Dana Perino: You may know Kennedy as the brilliant and extremely funny host of the show, “Kennedy” on Fox Business, or remember her from her days on MTV as one of the girls interviewing the hottest new music artists. But according to her teenage daughter, she is just mom. And as she says, it is not the coolest thing in their minds.
Dana Perino: I am amazed at how you are able to keep all the balls in the air. And now your girls. I knew them when they were younger, but now they are teenage girls. Yes. My husband says the world is run by teenage girls because you will do anything to make them happy.
Kennedy: It’s very true and also their likes and dislikes, especially on social media. And I know we’ve talked about this on “The Five.” That’s the future. Wherever they are going, follow them because that’s where the money’s going. And, you know, they are the real influencers that the so-called influencers on TikTok look to.
Dana Perino: But you were the original influencer.
Kennedy: I tried to tell them that yesterday you were because my 12-year-old dresses super grunge. I’m like, “that’s how I dressed in the 90s.” And she’s like, “no, it’s not.” And I told her, “I said I was cool in the 90s,” and my 12-year-old looked me and said, “I have seen no evidence of this.”
Dana Perino: She needs to come talk to me because the fact I love it, actually, when people will ask me, do you get to see Kennedy, and I’m like, yes, I do. And you’re still an icon. So you were the teenage girl that was running the world and now you have teenage girls that you are raising.
Kennedy: Yes. And it’s a really interesting experience because my sister-in-law [shares her wisdom] and I take a lot of parenting advice from her. My brother and sister-in-law have three kids and they’re all older. Their youngest is now 20. My oldest is 16. So we have a gap there.
So everything she’s been through, she’s been through it three times. And so I always take her lead on stuff. And whenever we enter a new phase [I turn to her] and a great piece of advice she gave me on teenagers is: you have to treat them like toddlers in that you don’t baby them, but they have the same kind of mood swings the toddlers do.
Because you have ever tried putting a hesitant toddler into a stroller, they turn purple, they get so mad. Or if you tell a toddler you’re going to do something and then you have to change course and you can’t go get ice cream, they fall apart.
It’s the same thing with 16-year-olds, but it’s more like parties and getting their nails done and stuff like that. But teenagers need so much parenting, even though you kind of do it from the sidelines and it’s more like consulting, but you really do have to be completely present in their lives the way you are for toddlers. And I would have thought it was the opposite, that you get to take your foot off the gas and, you know, they become adults by acting and making their own choices, and they do. But their emotional needs are such that you really have to be present for everything. And, you know, they may not let you in all the time, but when they do let you in you have to be there.
Dana Perino: And that’s the part that I think is really admirable about you and other moms that I know, is that in some ways when you think about it, we were, I was a latchkey kid. I don’t know about you, but this is like, how in the world we survived, I’m not exactly sure. But I, I remember thinking that if I were to, you know, have children, that I was like, wow, I would not let everybody be out on their own at 14, 15, 16, you know, coming home from school and alone for three or four hours. But that’s partly because mom started working.
Kennedy: And that’s the moms who started working. And my mom started working. She was a substitute teacher and an art teacher for a long time.
So she had kid hours. But when my parents split up, my mom started working full time and that’s when I became a latchkey kid in fifth grade. And I was fine.
My older brothers, they were, you know, they were older brothers while they absolutely were older brothers and our generation of moms, they were so trusting because their moms were always home. And so they came home with the dinner bell and, you know, there was a fresh apple pie made or the pot roast and everything else.
And, you know, with us, we were lighting stuff on fire. And I remember one of my brothers stole a gallon of rubber cement from the elementary school and we just sort of lighting stuff on fire in this field. And it was such a bad idea. And so now because of that, parents now, well that’s where helicopter parents came from, was because they know that children cannot be trusted. And so, you know, there’s a fine line between over-managing and micromanaging and just not letting your kids get away with arson.
Dana Perino: Let’s go back to you because before your children were teenagers, they were babies and you became a mom while you were going to college, is that right?
Kennedy: Yes, I had Pele two weeks after I graduated from UCLA. Which was awesome because she went to a lot of philosophy lectures.
Dana Perino: And how’s that working out now?
Kennedy: It’s interesting because she’s taking her first philosophy class. She’s taking a philosophy of ethics class. And, you know, she came home. She’s like, I really like this. And she goes, it’s really easy for me, which, you know, philosophy is not usually a subject that that comes naturally to most people. And I was like, that’s really funny. You sat through so many lectures on Kant and Plato and Maimonides. Like, I wonder if any of that sunk in.
Dana Perino: It might have. When you were becoming a mom and you what did, did you always know that you would work as well as raise children?
Kennedy: I was hoping that is what would happen I think this is a big Gen-X mentality. That is, you know, we’re not necessarily tied to one profession or one job or one place geographically. And I think you’re seeing this kind of manifest itself in the pandemic. That is is people are like, oh, well, I’m going to pick up and move my entire family to a tree house in Tennessee. And I was hoping that I would find something that would give me some flexibility because I was always inspired by the way my mom worked, because my mom worked really hard.
She created an entirely new career for herself and became an engineer for the phone company and was designing all these complex phone systems, having, you know, like I said, a background in teaching art.
And so that was a really interesting shift to me. And she really took ownership and pride in her new profession.
And so I’ve always thought that that was important, that that’s a good way of leading by example. And I’ve always told my girls what I do.
It’s very competitive, but I love it. And you should always want to do something you love and just know whatever you want to do that you love so much.
That’s going to be the most, those are the most competitive careers. And that’s where you have to work really, really hard. But I was always hoping that I could find something where the hours would be such that I could be home with my kids for part of or most of the day, and then sometimes just work weird hours
Dana Perino: So that there was some built in flexibility for you.
Kennedy: Yes. And when Pele was born, I did a TV show and I worked from, you know, nine to 12 in the morning and then was able to hang out with her for the rest of the day when she got into preschool.
Then Lotus was born and I was doing a nighttime radio show. And so, you know, I had a good chunk of the day.
So I’ve always kind of, in a way, felt like a stay-at- home mom. But anyone, any mom who works, even if you are a stay at home mom, it’s never, ever done. Like no matter what you do, it’s like the gun goes off the moment you get up in the morning and you have a mental list of things you have to accomplish.
And, you know, one of the things that I found is so helpful is when you get something done, even if it’s like putting a load of laundry in the dryer, you got to give yourself a high five, like you have to give yourself credit and mentally check that off and have, you know, a minor celebration so you can move on to the next thing.
Dana Perino: I’d like to ask mentors that do Minute Mentoring a question on this podcast. What is the best advice that you’ve ever heard or received that you pass on to everybody else?
Kennedy: Oh, the best advice I’ve ever heard. The most important thing and the most powerful thing that has come back into my life in different ways is mindfulness. And the first time I encountered that was very popular yoga teacher in Santa Monica. He’s still teaching yoga. He’s a legendary guy, had a studio for at least 30 years. He’s a guy named Bryan Kest. And I had never taken yoga before, and he was like, do not look at your neighbor, be in this moment. And, you know, that’s the first time through a physical practice that I learn about mindfulness.
And the next time was actually with an incredible therapist in Seattle because I started having really bad panic attacks to the point where, you know, I didn’t know if I was going to be able to work again.
And it was when I left MTV and was so terrified that I wasn’t going to have, you know, a future in broadcasting.
And so I had these panic attacks and she developed a school of therapy called Dialectical Behavioral Therapy. And she’s a legend, absolute legend in the field of psychology.
And so I got to go to her. And her entire psychological process is rooted in mindfulness and really being in the moment. And now they teach some form of DBT at a lot of middle schools and high schools.
And, you know, it’s based in meditation and this thing called radical self-acceptance. Accepting where you are, and that’s exactly where you’re meant to be. And, you know, that takes you back into the moment.
And I think that’s so important for parenting because it’s so easy to get distracted by the things you have to do and, you know, the worries that keep you up at night. And when you let that kind of go, especially when you’re with your kids and you just stay with them in that moment, then you have those moments together. And those are the memories that sort of, you know, unite you for your entire life.
Dana Perino: Any advice for young women who are thinking about or hoping to become young moms? Maybe, you know, I find a lot of them, they have a lot of questions about work life balance and worry about that.
I don’t think that worry ever goes away. I think you just figure it out once it happens. But I also don’t want people to be putting off life for so long thinking that at some point in their careers, [because they think] it’ll be like some magic moment when they can handle a work life balance with career and children.
Kennedy: There’s never a magic moment. There never is.
Doesn’t matter how young you are, how old you are, where you are in your career, you never feel like you’re ready before you have a child because it’s a completely unknown frontier.
You never feel like you have enough saved or you’re at the point in your career or you’ll be able to do it. But somehow, magically, you know, there’s an old saying, babies show up with a loaf of bread. And you know Travis Barker, who’s now dating Kourtney Kardashian. Hello. Yes, he said when he had kids, he got superpowers.
And I think that happens with a lot of people. Like, all of a sudden you have someone else.
You are now living for another person and it gives you so much drive. And a lot of the organization comes from systems. And you learn that with newborns like you, you have to come up with systems of, you know, burping and changing and feeding and playing and changing clothes and doing laundry. And you come up with systems and then all you simply do is modify the systems as the children get older. And, you know, gestation is 40 weeks for a reason. So you have that much time to get ready. You have two or three years to get ready, even four years before they go to preschool.
And you have plenty of time to look for good preschools. Don’t listen to the horror stories, you know, and not every child, not every baby can’t sleep.
There are some babies who show up and they’re good sleepers. But having children does give you a new level of motivation.
Dana Perino: I could talk to you for hours, but we will wrap it up. I’m curious, how do those systems change over the years, like, do you have a system now?
Kennedy: Yes, there’s always a system. OK, you know, there’s always a system for making sure that there’s enough bread and cheese and turkey because God forbid, if something happens and you’ve forgotten to make lunch, that there’s always something there to make a turkey sandwich. Like, that’s critical. And it’s really…
Dana Perino: I feel like going to have to rename this podcast ‘Always be sure there’s enough for a turkey sandwich’ or something. I love that. I love that.
Kennedy: So and you just you have to think three steps ahead. When you have babies, when you have teenagers and you do your best…and if you don’t, forgive yourself, and move on to the next step.
Dana Perino: Yeah. Because women tend to carry around a lot of guilt. For everything. Even like made up things.
Kennedy: Yes. And things. Unimagined things that have not happened. You already pinned that on yourself. So let go of that. And also truly, mindfulness helps you get rid of future guilt, which hasn’t even happened yet.
Dana Perino: Well, it’s been amazing to watch you over the years. Of course, I was a big fan when you were on TV, but then to get to work with you. But I think one of the most impressive things about you to me is how you parent.
Kennedy: Oh, that’s so sweet. I really so glad. I’m going to tell my girls, you said that that will mean something.
Dana Perino: I also tell them that you were very cool and you’re so cool, believe me. Thanks, Kennedy. Thank you.
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Dana Perino: My sister and I had happy childhoods, we were loved and cared for, we had a lot of friends and my parents worked hard to ensure we had good educations.
My mom helped nurture us along the way, making sure we could take care of ourselves while knowing she was there if we needed her. She was a great role model.
Dana Perino: And what would a Mother’s Day podcast be if I didn’t interview my own mom, Jan Perino. Welcome, Mom.
Jan Perino: Thank you very much for having me, Dana.
Dana Perino: Are you glad to be on a podcast?
Jan Perino: Yes. It’s a new journey. I even know how to zoom.
Dana Perino: Yes, you can. You can zoom, you can do all sorts of things.
So it’s an honor to be able to talk to you. And maybe let’s just start back towards maybe the beginning of your career, because I asked you to copy edit my book, And you did. You are very helpful, trying to find any typos or misspellings.
I’m grateful to say there weren’t too many by the time it got to you, thankfully, but you said something like, “nothing like that book existed for me when I first started out.”
So what was it like when you started out in the work world?
Jan Perino: Oh, my. Well, there was absolutely no help from either school counselors or family as to what you should do.
So traditionally, 50, 60 years ago, girls just got married and started their families. And that is not what I wanted to do.
So I started wherever I could, which is, I went to school for a couple of years, and then I worked in a doctor’s office for the next three. And then I transferred to working in the state hospital in Wyoming and worked for the court system, work for the clinical director, worked for the court system out of Cheyenne. And that’s kind of where I started knowing that I had a lot of potential and I just needed to keep pushing forward. So that was the beginning of my working years.
Dana Perino: And you had a couple of sort of career changes, but you did a lot of different things along the way. So how did that happen?
Jan Perino: Well, prior to our moving to Denver, we had this cute little baby girl that I took care of and I didn’t want to go to work and I wanted to stay home.
So I stayed home with you and Angie for six years, which was delightful and I wish that every mother could stay home and take care of their kids instead of going to babysitters. But then Angie needed to go to preschool. And so I put her in preschool and there was a psychiatric hospital about two blocks away. And I went in and asked if there was any job openings and they wanted to know what I knew. But since I had worked in so many different departments and doctors’ offices as well, at that the state hospital they hired me on the spot. I started the next day.
Dana Perino: Oh I didn’t know that.
Jan Perino: And I worked there for almost 12 years. I was the assistant director of admissions for many years.
I was the administrative support for twelve different departments at the hospital. And that was before computers, so everything was typed on a typewriter, so I worked for the clinical director, the social workers, the Education Department, occupational therapy, you name it.
So I had a very wide job at that place. But then I took up the marketing and I marketed for psychiatric beds. And then when that ended, it was bought out by a hospital here in Denver, I didn’t know what else I was going to do. And so I applied to Lutheran Family Services and I got the volunteer director job, which turned into the special event person that raised just over a million dollars in eight years.
Dana Perino: Can you tell me a little bit about your time that I remember so fondly, but I would love to hear from your perspective how you and dad worked with refugees to resettle them and took them on. And I think that really helped shape some of my thinking.
Jan Perino: Yes, it was part of working at Lutheran Family Services, we had many different departments and our biggest budget area was the refugee program. So what I would do, I would try to find them homes and all of the items that are needed in a home from our church support system, so we, for example, when we resettled a family of seven from Azerbaijan, I don’t think I’m quite saying that right. There was a grandmother, there was two daughters, two husbands and three children.
And I remember both Walker and I actually got on our knees in front of the pastor of the Lutheran Church and begged him, asked him if we could use their parish house for this family. And it worked.
And we became extremely close friends and taught them as much as we can teach.
The children didn’t understand diapers and they didn’t understand how to turn on a stove. I mean, it was the basics. And from there, you know, what other whatever was being donated, it was part of my job to find someone who could deliver.
And we had a pickup truck. So when you have a pickup in Colorado, you do a lot of pickups.
We always wanted to take you girls with us so that it would broaden your understanding of people that maybe we’re not like us, but we’re very similar in other ways and we loved those refugees.
So, yeah, we took you girls a lot, the washers and dryers and the clothes and, you know, when they needed food and they didn’t know how to get it, you know, you taught them how to ride the bus, but to learn how to ride the bus, I had to teach them.
I had to go on the bus myself. So I took you with me and we rode the bus and then we were able to get their groceries for them.
Dana Perino: You took me to Washington, D.C., when I was a little girl, and then you took me back when I went to work there when I was 22 or 23. And I think maybe people might be curious about what you did in those formative years for me to try to get me on a path where I ended up where I am today.
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Jan Perino: Well, I think you were six when we went back to Washington, D.C. and I was fortunate enough to have a classmate who was at that time the Communications Director in the White House.
So I contacted her to see if by any chance our family could come in and she would give us a tour. And to this day, I can still picture us going into the White House. And your eyes were as big as dollars.
And we got to go to all the different rooms. And then she took us into her office and then she showed us the red phone. That was the hotline line to Russia at the time, if I remember correctly.
I had a picture of you standing there. So we do talked a lot about, you know, what is does the Capitol mean to us? And we looked at all of these statues and the people that made a difference in our country. I believe when we went back home, the picture I have in my head is you standing on top of the milk box with your little flag and you said, “I’m going to work in the Capitol someday.”
Dana Perino: And we were telling people about your parenting method with the Gold Star chart. I still have shared it with Bill Hemmer. He laughs about in the morning. He knows that I’ll do anything for a gold star, always trying to get that gold star. And I don’t think Angie worried about it so much.
Jan Perino: I don’t think she did. I think she drew her own and then colored them. But she didn’t know that was one of the things that really worked well with you. We had always set up some chores and it could be little chores, could be taking out the garbage. You could be taking the dog outside. But every day we would look at it to see if you completed your chores and then you’ve got to put the Gold Star on the chart. And we all like gold stars, right?
Dana Perino: Yes. You know, in an earlier part of this episode of the podcase we were talking to moms today about young women who hope to become moms and how they could best figure out to continue their careers and possibly with an interruption, maybe, if they decide to stay home for a little while. But is there anything that you would advise them today to be thinking about when they feel overwhelmed or they feel like they’re never doing enough?
Jan Perino: It was really hard to be a working mom. Even if you had a very supportive family, and I think the important thing is to give the mom a break, that it’s okay to feel overwhelmed and ask if you need some help from your husband, from your friends, to talk to someone, talk to your children about what they need to do so things run a little bit more smoothly at home.
And I think it’s really important for the mom to feel really good about the decisions that they are making. You know, if they stay home. I think they’re very fortunate. [And the same] if they work. You know, there’s a lot of information that can go home and you share it with the family. And I think we did that a lot.
Dana Perino: Was there anything in the book that you thought was really good advice?
Jan Perino: The funny thing is every day I think about posture. Yep, I know that’s one of your favorite things.
I think the acknowledgment of thank you notes, of remembering people, of picking up the phone, sending the text to somebody that you haven’t seen for a while just to check in and say it’s important.
I think it’s just little reminders like that that keep our relationships together, especially over the last year and a half. It’s been hard. And I think the other thing that I thought was really important about your book is you gave so many this tiny hints and you would think that would not make a big difference. But when you add them all up, it makes a huge book and a successful book.
Dana Perino: I thought of you a lot as I wrote the Serenity chapter. Because that really did help. I think that idea of accepting what you can’t change and knowing the difference and then doing something about the things you have control over, it really does help you order your thoughts and what can sometimes be a fairly chaotic world in life.
Jan Perino: Yeah, that’s been very important to me all my life and probably for the last 30 to 40 years at least, I have had the same 3 by 5 card, which is the Serenity Prayer in my medicine cabinet. So every morning when I open my cabinet, that’s what I see.
Dana Perino: And now you’re in retirement. COVID is nearly behind us in a way, and you can start getting back out there. What are three things on your bucket list?
Jan Perino: Well, one of them would certainly be to go to the East Coast to see my daughter.
Dana Perino: You’re always welcome. We’ll be there. And of course, you want to meet Bill Hemmer.
Jan Perino: I do want to meet Bill Hemmer. I had two trips that were canceled.
One of them was a European trip on the Danube on a small. Ship, and we have until next year to use that, so we’re watching carefully to see if maybe that can happen.
And I wanted to go to Vienna in Germany, where my grandmother played the piano. So that’s always been on my mind that I wanted to do this, so I’m hoping to be able to do that.
There are a lot of places in the United States I haven’t seen. I’ve seen most places from here to the West Coast. I’ve had I’ve covered it a few times, but there’s a lot of other places where we can go.
And, you know, the important thing for me in retirement is basically keep moving. You know — take exercise classes twice a twice a week. And I walk. And the important thing is to stay healthy so I can go and do these things.
Dana Perino: All right. Any last words of wisdom you’d like to impart upon these great listeners of ours?
Jan Perino: Well, I think the important thing — knowing that this is going to be aired on Mother’s Day — is to be so proud of what you have done with your children.
I think of all the professions that I have done, being a mother has been the most important. And I didn’t always have the highest paying jobs, but I had jobs that made a difference for people.
And I think that that is a goal for all of us. So I just hope that everybody has a great Mother’s Day. And remember, love — it’s what we all need.
Dana Perino: Indeed. Happy Mother’s Day to you, Mom.
Jan Perino: Well, thank you very much.
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Dana Perino: A special thank you to Michelle Chase, Kennedy, and my own mom, Jan Perino, for participating in this podcast.
Dana Perino: As I don’t have children of my own, I thought it was important for me to talk to women who have been there and for all the moms out there working your butts off every single day. I admire you so much. Happy Mother’s Day.
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Dana Perino: Next week on this podcast we’ll look at the question: How do you take your career to the next level? To help us with that, we’ll talk to Lydia Fenet, Global Managing Director of Strategic Partnerships and The Lead Benefit Auctioneer at Christie’s Auction House and the author of the widely acclaimed book, “The Most Powerful Woman in the Room Is You.”
Dana Perino: Make sure you subscribe to the series wherever you download podcasts and leave a rating and review. I’m Dana Perino. Everything Will Be Okay.
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