Helping parents & caregivers design their own handbook for raising amazing kids.


Meet the Parents: Emily Mall

By Emily Mall

Posted on October 23, 2023

Emily Mall
Emily Mall
Emily Mall

We’re excited to meet you and hear more stories about parents and caregivers! The more we learn and share from each other, the better we can be at our Great Job™.

I’ll start!

Tell us a few things about yourself:

I’m Emily, the co-founder and the main content creator here at Great Job! Dan and I have known each other since 5th grade and have been married for over fifteen years. I’m a mom of two girls, ages 10 and 12, and to two dogs, a 4-year-old Yorkie and a 2-year-old sheepadoodle. I have recently taken up running and pickleball, but you can always find me weightlifting or playing racquetball. I love reading and writing—I read three books on average a week—and just a few of my favorite authors are Naomi Novik, Charlie N. Holmberg, and Ali Hazelwood. I love listening to deep and insightful podcasts like We Can Do Hard Things and Good Inside with Dr. Becky. I don’t watch much TV, but my go-to favorites are Gilmore Girls, The Mindy Project, Brooklyn 99, Sex Education, Schitts Creek, and Bridgerton. My favorite movie of all time is Pride and Prejudice.

When and why did you decide to become a parent?

When: When Dan and I dated in our late teens/early twenties, we talked about kids. I think. I was open to having them, but I never had a number in mind or a deep desire to be a mom. To me, having kids was an eventuality/inevitability. I didn’t want them, but I didn’t not want to have them either. I figured the future, more mature me would have a better sense of if and when it would be best to have kids.

Future me figured it out. Dan and I were married for two years when I asked him if he was ready to have kids, because I was feeling like it was time. We were living in Philadelphia and traveling often all over the world for work and play. After a particularly long trip to New Zealand, I came home feeling satisfied with our traveling adventures.

Why: I wanted to have kids because I was ready for a different kind of adventure with Dan. I wanted to know what he would be like as a dad, because he was already a great partner, best friend, and husband. I wanted to know what it’d be like to be a mom. If the teenage girls in our neighborhood who pushed their babies around in the middle of the day in ten-dollar strollers while wearing flannel pajamas could do it, why couldn’t we?

We knew we’d never, ever be “ready.” Who is? We figured the perfect, ideal circumstances to be parents might never happen, so why not try while we were young and had the energy and space in our hearts to start a family together? Honestly, “why not” was enough for both of us at the time.

What has been the toughest part of parenthood for you so far?

Ha! So many things. I could write a dissertation! I think a tougher question might be what has been the easiest part of parenting so far?  

I think the toughest part has been working on my own stuff. Becoming a parent turns you inside out. It triggers all this childhood stuff and forces you to look at why you do things. You are now the CEO of a job that you’ve had no previous experience in so naturally, you look at the way you were raised. Looking back at it as an adult often brings up ALL THE FEELINGS and questions.

What are you looking forward to as a parent?

I’m looking forward to seeing my kids develop more into themselves, seeing who they become, and what their passions are in life. We’re just starting to see it emerge now, and it’s exciting. I’m also looking forward to seeing them live their lives their way (not ours). That’s going to be extra interesting.

What are you dreading? 

Them graduating and not living with us anymore. Just thinking about it right now makes my eyes tear up. Ugh. We started this company because we know we have less than ten years left of being responsible for them. It’s sobering. We’re trying our best to be intentional about making the best impact we can while we’re still responsible for them and able to see them daily. 

What are you the most worried about for your kids? 

I’m the most worried that they won’t be able to see themselves the way I see them. Amazing, strong, capable, resilient, smart, funny, talented, beautiful, kind, thoughtful, generous, creative, sweet, and loving. They are incredible and I hate the thought that might have phases in their lives where they don’t see this in themselves. I know it’s part of life, but alas, I worry.

What has being a parent taught you?

Loads of stuff (and I’ll share more on our podcast coming soon!) but here’s the first thing being a parent taught me: 

I didn’t know I was an introvert until I had kids. Overnight, my alone time was completely gone, and it was intense for me. When our first born arrived, we lived in a tiny apartment in Brooklyn, NY. The minute Dan would walk in the door from work, I would put the baby in his arms and start running down the city blocks. I desperately needed the freedom of being out in the open and not having a tiny body attached to me 24/7. I wasn’t prepared for that level of neediness! (Is anyone?) It felt particularly sharp for me because I took all that glorious, pre-baby alone time for granted.

The struggle continued for me in the first few years of parenting, but I got help, and made my needs a priority. I started seeing a therapist after my second kid, and that support helped me make better decisions for myself and my family. I highly recommend it, and plan on sharing a lot more of what I’ve learned from it here at Great Job!

Do you have any plans for when your kids move out?

Ugh. It’s hard because Dan and I both hate the idea of living a life without the kids. We’ve been parents for over twelve years now, so it’s difficult to picture life without them. We’re starting to have more and more conversations about it, because we don’t want it to be something we haven’t planned for or aren’t willing to deal with when it happens.

That said, I’ve talked about living in different countries for a few months at a time to deeply experience other regions and cultures, while Dan has mentioned wanting to design his own house overlooking the ocean. I like both options, and see a version where the kids can join us when they are available.

If you could go back and tell yourself one thing or give yourself advice before you had kids, what would it be?

I would overemphasize to past Emily how much lack of control I’ll experience as a parent, and that it’s ok, normal, and not worth fighting. I spent a lot of time in therapy talking about anxiety (fear of the future and the lack of control you have over it) after I had kids, because the overwhelming feeling of love I had for them also came with an overwhelming feeling of fear for them. 

 In my hormonal, new parent state, I had a hard time sitting with the fact that there was so little I could control and do for them. After all, it was my new job! I have never considered myself a controlling person, but this phase of my life was new, scary, and different. I wanted to protect them and keep them safe to the best of my ability. But ultimately, I had to learn to feel the fear and let go of that need because it served no one.

 At some point, you have to learn to trust yourself and your intuition, be willing to adapt and adjust the untrue/unhelpful stories you have in your head, have confidence that your kids are loved and that is enough.

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Hey you! you’re doing a

Great Job!

Helping parents & caregivers design their own handbook for raising amazing kids.

© 2023–2024 Great job. All rights reserved.

Hey you! you’re doing a

Great Job!

Helping parents & caregivers design their own handbook for raising amazing kids.

© 2023–2024 Great job. All rights reserved.