Emese Gormley is a New York City PR powerhouse who just happens to count Molly Sims as a BFF (Sims consistently relies on Gormley for beauty advice). But what happens when said powerhouse adds two adorable littles to the mix? Gormley handled becoming a working mom like a boss — by doing it on her own terms.
The former VP of Global Communications at DVF currently runs her own consulting firm from home so she can spend quality time with her daughters Maeve and Grace. We caught up with the busy mama in between navigating childcare, summer vacations, and all the rest.
We came away with pearls of wisdom (stop being a garbage disposal for your kids’ leftovers) and a genuine appreciation for Gormley’s strength at a time of loss (her mother passed away shortly after her daughter’s birth) and dedication to her brood.
Read on for the beauty guru’s must-haves, being a role model for her littles, and an exciting new venture that will get this working mom out the door each day. Just try to keep up.
Emese Gormley, 38
Mom toMaeve (3 years) and Grace (8 months)
New York City
Your day job:
Just joined a startup as CMO and Founding Partner
Tell us a little bit about your day job:
For the last 4 years, I have been consulting in PR/Marketing in the fashion world. It was such a great balance because it allowed me to work from home on my own terms and be able to spend time with my girls. A few weeks ago I got a call from an old friend that he and his sister were working on a baby food company startup and the minute he told me about it, I got chills. I just knew this was the one opportunity that I was looking for, and I could justify being away from my kids a bit more.
What do you love most about your job?
PR and Marketing has been in my blood since I was a kid — I just didn’t know it could be a career at the time. I would get a Barbie and be so excited, I would make every kid on the block want one. I love that if you’re passionate about something and can speak to it, you can get other people excited about it. I especially have loved working with younger brands and helping them find their voice and build their brand recognition. When you see that moment when they have made it, it’s pretty exciting and a huge sense of accomplishment.
What do you like least?
You always have to be talking to people…you can’t just put your head down and work…and some days, after chasing your kids all day, the last thing you want to do is have a chipper phone call with someone and ask what they did the night before. Game face always has to be on!
How did you end up doing this for a career?
I started as a PR intern in Canada for a company called Roots…and from that point on it was all I wanted to do. My parents wanted me to be a lawyer or a doctor, so for a while it was a big fat disappointment for them. But they pretty quickly became proud of what I accomplished, especially leaving Toronto and moving to NYC.
What did you want to be when you were a kid?
I thought I’d be an actress. I was REALLY dramatic.
Did you ever contemplate staying home after your kids were born?
Well, I kind of cheated. I got to to work from home for the last 3 years as a consultant. So I got the best of both worlds. But I just joined a startup that I am so excited about, so mama is going to be walking out that door every day pretty soon.
What’s been the most surprising thing about childcare?
We got so lucky in this area. Initially I didn’t want a nanny; I was going to stay home with my kids and work here and there, but didn’t really have it figured out. My mom passed away when Maeve was 3 weeks old after a pretty hard battle with pancreatic cancer. I was wiped physically, mentally…all that. So I just wanted to focus on my daughter. But after about 8 or 9 months, I woke up one day and realized I just needed more. But I couldn’t get up and go back to work full time.
We had this amazing woman, Claudia, who came and helped out at home cleaning, etc. I don’t like calling her a cleaning lady because she was so much more than that. She would light up when she saw Maeve and vice versa. So I asked her to watch her here and there so I could run an errand, etc. Before I knew it she was working for us four days a week and has been so pivotal in shaping Maeve and now Grace into the sweet kind girls they are. She is a beautiful person…so I feel like I never had to deal with any of the stress of childcare — it just fell into place. I always say that my mom was looking out for us when she came into our lives…
In what ways is your work/life the same since having kids? And in what ways is it different?
I still have the same drive/passion to succeed the way I did before I had kids. If anything, more so. Having little girls you want to be a great example for them. Showing them that a mom can work outside the home but still take care of them and be there for them is tough, but so important for them to see. It’s different because I never want to go out anymore. Parties and socializing were such a part of my career before kids — now, I just want to have dinner with them and put them to bed.
What’s your best advice to a new mom coming towards the end of her maternity leave?
Do what you feel most comfortable with and also what doesn’t stress your family out. No one — not your friends, parents, neighbors — are in the same situation as you. So as much as you can appreciate their advice and listen, make the decision that will help you sleep at night.
Let’s keep it real. No one can really do it all. What do you do less of to make it work for you and your family?
I feel like I’m less fun. Not in a bad way, but that spontaneity of running out the door to a new restaurant or grabbing dinner with my single girlfriends has become so much more complicated. Not to mention, my bedtime of 9:30pm is a real buzz kill.
You are a beauty product guru. Is there one thing you can’t live without now that you’re a working mom?
There are a few…right now I’m super into Tata Harper Regenerating cleanser. It’s got beads in it that clean my face but don’t dry it out. And a good eye cream. Skinceuticals makes this one that literally tightens the skin around the eye. It’s genius. (ed. Note: both have already been added to our online shopping cart)
What’s one thing you didn’t know before having kids that you wish you had known:
I would eat a lot of chicken nuggets, mac and cheese and french fry leftovers. NOT good for the waistline, so I’m working on not being a garbage disposal of my kids food.
Do you think it’s easier or harder to be a parent in 2017 versus when you were growing up?
Easier but harder – we have so many more tools at our hands that tell us how things impact our kids. But it also just makes it that much more stressful. And in all fairness, how did parents fly without an iPad? I can’t figure it out.
And what do you hope is different about work and the workplace when your kids are running the world?
More of a priority on a home life. I think we are now a generation that is so consumed by work and success that we compromise being at home for dinner with our families too often.
Favorite M+A Products
I’m obsessed with the zipper dress, vegan moto jacket, chambray dress, on the go one-piece and the over the rainbow always blanket. I can’t wait for Maeve to wear the two in the fall with some Converse high-tops!!