Podcasting, Selfcaring, And Non-Fitness Fitnessing
One glance at Laura’s Instagram, and you’ll instantly understand why we’re so enamored. Married to Nev Schulman, her real-life-meets-accidental-babe vibe, is enough to keep you up at night deep-diving her handle. With an undertone of sarcasm and a penchant for hard-hitting topics, we just can’t get enough. Recently, Laura released her latest project, a relatable bare-it-all conversation-based podcast, Mom Best Friend, wherein she and her co-host cover the questions we all have (but never say out loud) with a ton of humor and just the right amount of TMI. Charming and magnetic (on and off camera), join us for a catch-up with @lauraperlongo
You just launched a new podcast, gives us the inside scoop?
Yes, it’s one of these things that came together somewhat organically, called Mom Best Friend hosted by Emma Bing and myself. Emma is involved in the book series What To Expect When You’re Expecting. She was the baby from the series that inspired the entire franchise, literally. Her mom was pregnant with her when the idea for the first book came about. Now, all grown-up and a mom of two, she's keen on continuing the legacy and conversation in a more contemporary way. Together we're both part stay-at-home-moms, part working-moms who felt frustrated by the dialogue being served up to us. In general, it all felt too formal and far from how we actually talk to our friends. We all joke about the hard stuff in person, be it sex after baby (or lack thereof), weird body issues, exhaustion, or unruly babies, and then we pick up these books or view content that feels disconnected from those conversations. Instead, we cover serious things with humor in a way that feels approachable and digestible to make light of the situations and issues we all find ourselves in with the hope that our audience will feel some relief and less alone.
So, how did you get started?
No joke, we googled "how to make a podcast," then bought all the stuff, set up our mini studio, scheduled time to record, got babysitters, and created our first series.
How did you and Emma decide to partner?
As Emma and I became "mom friends," through our kids, the idea for the show developed as our relationship did. In "real life," we're very different people, and neither of us is sure whether we'd be friends if it weren’t for our kids -- which in some ways makes us more like sisters because we spend so much time together. Emma, in particular, started as my "mom friend" then she became my "mom best friend", and now she might even be my real friend. Who knows!
The story between us puts into question what our "mom friends" versus our "real friends” are and is the entire premise for the show. In short, Mom Best Friend is all about the friends that you never really wanted but always needed.
What’s the format?
It's not only a conversation between Emma and I; instead, our discussions are user-generated. We post intimate surveys on Insta and usually about 50K women with kids (a healthy cross-section of people) respond about the topics they want to hear, and we use that as a guide combined with personal experience to lead the convo. We've tapped into a strong community, and hopefully, our community feels heard by us because we’re speaking with them directly. This outlet and resource we've created is a form of therapy. Honest conversation is cathartic and true wellness. Sometimes maybe a bit TMI, but therapeutic nonetheless.
Speaking of TMI, what is it like to share so much of yourself publicly?
Our podcast audience and those engaged with my personal profile are down for the hard stuff; they want real and relatable. So much of what's posted online these days is fluff, makeup tutorials and ways to pretend things are great.
That said, it takes a lot out of me to be vulnerable on the regular. I do my best to put it out there not only for my sanity but also for the sanity of others. Even for me, when I scroll through Instagram and only see people living their "perfect" lives, I question, "what's wrong with me?" To avoid contributing to this cycle, I try to show both sides. It's not one or the other, all dark or all light, but rather that the difficult stuff is part of the good stuff too. There's so much in between that’s not talked about it. No one wants to look at vacay pics all the time and feel bad about themselves, which is what the internet has become.
Although, I got a DM the other day, with someone complaining to me that my life seemed to be going “too well” right now. And, quite frankly was less interesting or relatable to them. I was like, "Aw, ok. Too happy. Gotcha."
Do you workout on the reg?
It’s getting harder and harder with two kids. I want to take care of myself, but I also want to spend time with them. Even today I was at the gym, but my heart wasn't in it. I wanted to be with my kids because they’re way more fun. I ran for 20 minutes on the elliptical and tried to do weights, but there was no space, so I left. I used to have a trainer when I lived in LA and was going on the regular and saw a difference. The issue with trainers is you have to stick with them to see a difference, and in NYC, they're way too expensive. In LA, they're much less and come to your house, so it's worth it.
The truth is, I work out when I can, which isn't all that often considering I am a part-time/full-time mom, and that in itself is physically exhausting. I don't sit down all day, I hustle the kids to school and cart them around town. I live in activewear because it makes life easy. Other than that, I eat decently, but I’m not on a specific diet or regiment.
Then what motivated you to go to the gym?
I've had a rough week; someone said to me that mercury is in retrograde, and I've never believed in those things, but I actually might reconsider my position after the past few days. Plus, I'm about to get my period and usually start feeling gross and bloated, so I workout to course-correct.
What about this idea of self-care?
For me, self-care means taking the time to reflect on how I feel, and sometimes I need more time for myself, and sometimes I need less. Although recently, as I feel increasingly overwhelmed, I'm getting better at raising my hand to ask for help. I've built a reliable support system of trusted people that can lean in when I'm in need so I can take a walk or a moment for myself.
Typically other people's version of self-care like nails or massages is less my thing. My version of self-care is about taking a walk alone or staring at a wall for 20 minutes without anyone clinging to me.
You have so much going on! How do you manage your daily work and life?
I'm up super early with the babies and squeeze work in-between drop-offs and naps. I work on emails, read scripts for videos, and get myself organized -- it's a little psycho. Plus, I don’t mess around when it comes to bedtime, my kids go to bed on time. Period. Nighttime is my time. After everyone is asleep, I usually work until 10 pm. The reality is, I’m being a mom and I work in between that.
Any advice you can leave us with?
Find people you can trust and talk to in life. I feel fortunate to have found a large community of supportive women online. It's essential to be able to turn somewhere no matter where you are in life or what's going on. I hope we're offering this to women out there that need a sounding board or a bit of support.