Mike and Lauren Sorrentino on Their Parenting Situation
Mike and Lauren Sorrentino have mastered the juggle. As busy parents, entrepreneurs and TV personalities, they’re used to the spotlight, the pressure and the often unsolicited opinions of others. It all comes with the territory of reality television. They’ve grown up in front of millions of viewers, and they’re proud of who they’ve become—hardworking, family-focused caregivers, savvy business people and community role models.
The Bump recently chatted with the Jersey Shore couple about how they make it all happen on and off camera. Here’s what they had to say.
The Bump: There are learning curves as you grow your family from no children to one child, and then one child to two children. What has been the biggest surprise or challenge?
Lauren Sorrentino: In my personal experience, the hardest change was going from zero to one. You don’t know what to expect, and you have no idea what you’re doing. And all of a sudden you go home from the hospital and you’re responsible for this new life, and you just figure it out as you go. So I think that was definitely harder for me, than the one to two transition.
Mike Sorrentino: I wasn’t afraid when it came to having our second baby. [But with the first,] I was just worried about everything because we had never never done it before. You know, we had never gone through childbirth, we had never brought home a baby. I had never held a baby before. I had never changed diapers… I wasn’t necessarily shook when it came to number two.
TB: You guys have known each other for 10 years or so. What has it been like—the evolution of your relationship—to go from friend to husband and wife to now Mom and Dad?
LS: It’s really crazy. It’s the best thing in the world. I mean, we’ve known each other since I was 19 years old and he was 20-something. So we’ve kind of seen each other grow through all these different stages in life. And to get to see each other as parents is the most heartwarming, fulfilling thing that we could have ever done together. It’s so special. And it’s definitely the best thing we’ve done.
MS: We’re very mindful of our story, and what we’ve built over almost 20 years. We’re very mindful of making positive decisions to grow for ourselves, our family and our future. So I take it very seriously to be a dad and a husband. It’s definitely what I’ve always wanted.
TB: For you, Mike, you were so young when you were thrust into fame. What do you think your 19-year-old self would think of your life now?
MS: My 19-year-old self would be like, “good job”—because, you know, I’ve been through a rollercoaster of skyrocketing fame and skyrocketing money. And when you get exposed to those things in the early stages of life, a lot of things can go wrong. But the good news is that we turn our [setbacks] into our lessons, and the comeback was greater than the setback. I put in the work; I’m now going on eight years sober. I’m a role model in the community… I had a very wild upbringing, into my 20s. But, for me, to settle down and be so stable and live a beautiful life of family, it’s very heartwarming.
TB: You mentioned your sobriety, and you’ve been very public about it. When your kids are old enough to understand this accomplishment, what would you want to tell them about it?
MS: I’d tell them that Daddy is a superhero. Because, with sobriety, the odds are against people. Most people fail, unfortunately. And I’m sure a lot of us have had a family member suffer from addiction or mental illness. I wear my sobriety on my sleeve, like a badge of honor to show people out there that there are positive stories, and to not give up on yourself. And that’s very important.
TB: You’re balancing a lot. What’s it like juggling the titles of reality star and dad?
MS: Usually, it’s a tight-rope walk. I have to be myself on TV. And that’s been the secret to my success. Even when I was wild and crazy, in my early years, I was being authentic to who I was at that particular time. Now, being a dad, a husband and sober, I’m doing the same—being authentic and genuine. So that’s really my secret to my success. Also, I do run my life through my program where my sobriety comes first… Now, again, I tend to be a little mischievous even today, but that’s me being human and me being my best self, and trying to move forward and live life.
TB: With two little ones, what does date night look like these days?
LS: Date night could be a number of things. We have a few different versions of date night. With one of our main jobs being Jersey Shore Family Vacation, oftentimes date night will be a night out working with our friends—but with a microscope and cameras on you at the same time. It’s a unique situation. Oftentimes, when we’re filming we’re away from our kids. So that’s our husband-wife time, and we make a point to enjoy those moments together and those nights out. Now, I look forward to filming even more because I’ll be able to get dressed up and have time alone with my husband, where normally at home with two little kids you really don’t have that.
TB: Conversely, cameras off—what does a typical low-key Sunday at home look like?
MS: Sunday around here is tradition. We order bagels in the morning. We get our egg sandwiches in the morning, coffee and juice. I’ll go to the local Italian store every Sunday, and I’ll get the finest they have to offer—everything from chicken cutlets to about three to four different types of pasta (Romeo, our eldest, who’s almost 2 years old, he loves cavatelli and broccoli!). So we’ll put it all on the table, and we’ll just eat pretty much all day long. And just living our best life on a Sunday with the kids. Yeah, Sunday is for family.
TB: Mike, you’re known for your love of food—and some of your favorites aren’t the healthiest of options. Has your diet changed at all since becoming a parent?
MS: It definitely has. To be honest, the babies come first. I have to help my wife, and I don’t want my wife to get too bogged down. If my wife gets bogged down, the whole house falls apart, so I have to make sure that we operate as a team. And then I try to balance in my work and my diet. Usually when a season [of filming] ends, I’ll have more time to spend with the family and more time to develop a better routine and spend more time at the gym.
TB: You both have your own entrepreneurial things going on. Tell me a little bit about how you juggle all of that in your day to day.
LS: I just opened Bijoux Boutique in Middletown, New Jersey. I make sure I find some time during the week to get my face over there and show everybody that I’m present, and not just doing the behind-the-scenes work. I do all the ordering and all the buying for the store with my partners. And it’s something that I actually have always loved to do. I went to school for fashion merchandising. Before I got into TV with my husband, I was an associate buyer for Saks Fifth Avenue. So it was my last career—and it’s a full time job. So to get back into the fashion world with my own store is my way to be able to keep doing my passion, but on my own clock. When you find your passion, it’s not like an added to-do for your list. You enjoy doing it.
I also have the Skincare by Laurens line. We’re adding more beauty with benefits. So we’re doing more makeup that has skincare quality ingredients in it. I’m excited for that.
MS: I also have my own nutritional line, which is called Brotricion. The protein is called Brotein. And the pre-workout is called Grenade. We’ve had it for a couple of years, and it continues to do well. I think the moral of the story is that we’re just doing our best out there, and we take life one day at a time. And it’s okay to struggle sometimes—because, sometimes, if you’re struggling in life, you’re probably trying to progress. That’s called growth. And that’s what I feel all families go through. So we’ve always wanted to have a big Italian family. We have two kids, and we have businesses where we’re making it up as we go along just like everyone else. And we wouldn’t want it any other way.
TB: You’ve taken some family trips. Traveling with kids is always hectic. Do you have any hacks or tips for traveling as a family?
MS: Make sure you don’t forget your patience, because it’s like rolling the dice. We’ve traveled a number of times with the kids for MTV—and, sometimes, things go great. Then, sometimes, it just doesn’t go your way. And you just have to hope for the best. Preparedness is always a good tip. With babies, be prepared with a quality baby bag and quality snacks. Always have lots of contingency plans; you might go into the fourth or fifth contingency plan on a plane. I’m a big solutions-oriented dad. When things aren’t working, I’ll try 10 different things until it works. I think that’d be the best tip to always bring your patience, always be prepared and always be positive.
TB: Tell me a little bit about how you guys indulge in self-care. It’s so important to not lose sight of who you are as a person, outside of your relationship and outside of your family. How do you center yourselves, and what’s your self-care go-to?
LS: I think for both of us, we really rely on our fitness and our health. If I can’t make it to a gym or can’t work out for the day, I make sure I have my green juice in the morning and take all my vitamins—that’s a self-care thing. But it’s always easier said than done, right? So you have to make it a habit and make it a priority. I’ve always loved Pilates, and it just centers me; it helps my mind and my body at the same time.
MS: It’s hard. As a family, we heavily rely on self-care, because I’m a big believer that if you don’t take care of yourself, you cannot take care of others. And that self-care has to do with everything from diet to exercise to getting date night to getting some extra time to yourself… Also, self-care can be the littlest thing, like my wife getting some time to get her nails done. You have to make some time for yourself to make yourself feel good, or else I believe everything else will fall apart.
TB: Your castmate Jenny is a neighbor, and she’s also a mom. Do guys ever swap parenting tips?
MS: We constantly work together. Also we do these little neighborly walks, and we have our talks and she brings her kids over and vice versa. So we have a really good relationship with Jenny. We’ve also known each other for almost 15 years. Jenny has been very close with my wife as well. So a lot of the tips came before we had the kids.
LS: And now we share the “mom look.” You just don’t even need to say what you’ve been going through that day, you see each other and you’re like, “yeah, it’s one of those days.”
TB: We talk a lot about the fourth trimester at The Bump, and those first three months of life with a newborn, as you’re transitioning into this new role. What words of wisdom do you have for other moms who are in this fourth trimester stage where your hormones are in flux, your body is in flux and you’re learning the ways of a newborn? What would you say to moms who are kind of in the throes of it maybe for the first time?
LS: I’d say that to give yourself grace. First and foremost, you have to remember to give yourself grace. Because, unfortunately, a lot of people in this world don’t give new mothers grace—especially in the fourth trimester—because you’re no longer pregnant. To me, the fourth trimester has been the hardest in both of my pregnancies, and both of my experiences with two kids, and I’m navigating the second one a lot better. I didn’t have any postpartum depression this time. But the first time I really struggled with that, I didn’t know what it was. I didn’t recognize that I had postpartum anxiety until I was out of it, and I had clearer vision… Just knowing that you’re not alone—because the fourth trimester can also feel very isolating, especially if you’re breastfeeding. It’s just very hard, emotionally and physically because you don’t feel like yourself, you don’t look like yourself and you’re trying to be Super Woman to everyone in your household.
TB: What would you consider your parenting superpowers?
MS: I try to be the best in everything I can do. I’m reading stories to Romeo, I’m putting him to bed, I’m giving him dinner and I’m also trying to be an amazing husband to my wife and take care of all the duties of the home.
LS: Being a multitasker. I think those are my proudest moments at this stage in my life. Having two kids, running businesses, filming a TV show and doing all this stuff. But on the days where I challenge myself the most to do it all and just figure it out, those are the days I’m most proud of myself… And I love doing it, because I love being a mom and I love being a businesswoman. So I think that’s my superpower.
TB: So, years in the future, when your kids are older and they understand more about your history and your rise to fame, will you let them watch the show? And is there anything you’d be really excited for them to see, or anything you’d be worried about them seeing?
MS: I mean, I’m definitely going to let them watch it. Obviously, maybe when they’re 16 or 18, because that’s around the time they’ll be in high school, and most of the high-school kids now watch the old series and then get into the new series. I’d prefer them to watch the newer series first—for them to get the end of the story first. And then they can go back and watch when Dad was young and immature and inexperienced. Hopefully, those mistakes I made when I was younger, they won’t make the same mistakes, and they’ll learn from my experience.