Long Island’s Joy Mangano, Miracle Mop inventor, was recently honored at the 2016 Outstanding Mother Awards in NYC. The National Mother’s Day Committee awards four women who balance highly successful careers with the daily demands and rewards of motherhood.
The St. James native and entrepreneur began her career with the Miracle Mop, the first self-wringing cotton mop. She followed that with her Huggable Hangers — selling more than 700 million hangers nationwide. She is the president of Ingenious Designs LLC, a company that she founded in 1990 and later merged into HSN Inc., parent company of direct-to-consumer retailer HSN. In December 2015, Mangano’s rags to riches life story hit the big screen in the major motion picture “Joy,” starring Jennifer Lawrence.
Mangano is also a mother of three: Christie Miranne, 33, Bobby Miranne, 32, and Jackie Miranne, 30. We caught up with the entrepreneur to chat about motherhood, favorite Long Island spots and how she balances it all.
Who is your greatest role model as a mom?
My grandmother Mimi was and still is my greatest role model. Mimi was a woman who worked day and night as a waitress during a time when women weren’t expected to work that way at all. She was determined to provide for her family and she had a tremendous impact on me growing up. I thought that if she could climb her own mountains and keep going, then I could do the same. So that’s just what I did.
What is your best advice for balancing work and family life?
My family will be the first to tell you that I don’t balance my work and family life, I blend everything! I’ve always made sure that I stay grounded by having my family by my side, and that is the most important lesson I’ve tried to instill in my children over the years. I think it’s really important to have a strong support system in place from your closest loved ones.
What was the moment in your life when you realized you had achieved success both at home and in your professional career?
The moment in my life when I realized I had achieved success both professionally and at home was the day I finally had success selling the Miracle Mop on TV. For me, it wasn’t just a moment of success personally, but it was also a success for my entire family because they had been equally as invested in seeing my idea through. The sense of accomplishment I felt afterward really validated all of the hard work and sleepless nights that led up to that moment.
Advice for working moms?
I think in today’s world the biggest obstacle facing working mothers is the pressure that’s put on us to be “Janes of All Trades.” As working mothers, we are held to a higher standard than our male counterparts, and when we fail, people aren’t as forgiving. That’s why it’s important to know when to forgive yourself. You’re going to mess up every now and then, you’re going to forget things and yes, sometimes you may fail because we are only human. It’s important to give yourself validation and encouragement because you can do it. As women, particularly as mothers, we are far more powerful than we realize.
What are some of your favorite things about Long Island?
The people. That’s where I feel at home. It’s so amazing how much Long Island offers. First of all, I love raising children on Long Island, from the school districts to the participation of the families. But then you have New York City and the Hamptons — you can go into the city to see a play and go out to the East End beaches. Long Island has so much to offer at each end and in between as well.
You grew up on Long Island and raised your children here. What were some of your favorite memories?
We used to go row boating at Belmont Lake. Summer really felt like summer because of the fabulous beaches. Our family’s favorite tradition was watching the Grucci Fourth of July fireworks every year.
What advice would you give mothers who are just starting to build both a career and family?
Stay grounded and don’t be so hard on yourself. When you’re going through those completely overwhelming days, always remind yourself of what is most important, which for me has always been my family and my children. There were definitely moments where I was doubtful that my business would succeed and there were times that everything became completely overbearing, but I really think that always having my family with me on this journey as a support system was a major reason I was able to overcome those fears, difficulties and doubts.
Proceeds from the event went to Save the Children’s U.S. programs, a nonprofit organization dedicated to making positive changes in the lives of children living in poverty in the United States. For more information, visit mothersdaycouncil.org.