Mom Boss of the Month: Emily Jabbour

You have said many times that you “are a mom not a politician”. What does that mean to you? How does motherhood play into your role as councilwoman?

I got involved with local politics because I want to make a difference in our community, not advance myself. I want to advocate for our residents and think about how our decisions at the Council level will impact people’s daily lives. Responding to individual resident concerns is my top priority because I know what a difference it can make to simply feel heard, even if I can’t necessarily solve the issue in an immediate way.

What are your favorite things about raising your kids in Hoboken?

Hoboken is such a special place to raise a family. I love that we run into friends everywhere we go, so even when you don’t have plans, you can have an impromptu play date at the playground or coffee shop. I am grateful for the diversity of the community in terms of my daughters being exposed to people from all walks of life who value different things and challenge them to think outside of their experiences.

In addition to mom and councilwoman, you also have a full-time job. What is it like being superwoman? But really, the balancing act is real, so is there one thing, one activity, or one time that you make sure to shut it all out and just focus on the kids?

It is a struggle and I wish I could clone myself! The one thing I always make sure to do is save time to work out a few times a week so that I can keep my sanity – I love to hit a Cyclebar or Fit Foundry class when I can. When it comes to my girls, my favorite thing is taking them to school each morning so we can chat on the walk to school catch up, just us.

Now that we all know just how busy you are, when you actually DO get a date night, where are your favorite local spots to unwind?

My favorite spot for a date night in Hoboken is Anthony David’s, especially when the weather is nice enough to sit outside. Sometimes it’s nice to get out of town, in which case I love The Kitchen Step in Jersey City.

Being a public figure and in politics opens up the doors for both public praise and public criticism. What do you talk to your girls about, about being in the public eye and about what people say about you?

Since my daughters are still young (4 and 7), it is at times hard to explain the dynamics of politics. We talk about the fact that I’m on the City Council to help people and that it is important to be kind to everyone, even when you don’t agree. It can be tough when someone wants to talk with me as their Councilperson while I’m running around with my kiddos, but I try to manage as best I can. I have definitely overheard my girls playing with each other or a friend and talking about being on City Council, which makes me so happy.

What is the best advice anyone has ever given you regarding politics? How about the worst?

The best advice that I have learned is to never burn a bridge in politics because the person who is opposite the table from you one day may be your partner the next day. The hardest part of politics is the urge and pressure to go into attack mode and call people out for personal reasons rather than policy disagreements. Every time I am in a Council meeting, I picture my children sitting in the front row and ask myself, "if they watched this meeting, would they be proud of me?"

What’s your funniest mom fail moment?

Last summer, we were down the shore on a family vacation and my younger daughter, Brynn, was scared of the ocean. I finally convinced her to let me carry her on my hip into the water thinking that if I held onto her, she would be more comfortable. What I didn’t account for was the massive wave that came up as I was looking at her that completely took us out and we both got tumbled under the wave. It took another year before we got her back into the ocean!

What advice do you have for other moms out there who want to be involved, but don’t know how to get started?

Check out a Council meeting on the City of Hoboken Facebook page – they are livestreamed and then saved on the page. Go to a community meeting and introduce yourself to a Councilmember or City Director to learn more about the process around redesigning a park, a new residential development project, etc. It is often the same small group of people who come to these meetings and there is so much power in being a new face with a new perspective to share! I’m also always happy to meet for coffee if someone wants to get together to talk about how to get involved!

A day in the life of Emily…Go!

Wake up, check email and social media to see what’s happening, wake up my girls and get breakfast going, get them ready and out the door to drop both off at Brandt School, grab a coffee on my way back home to log into my laptop for work for the morning, hop on my bike to shoot up to Fit Foundry for a lunchtime workout, swing by the grocery store to pick up stuff for dinner, log back into work for the afternoon, say hello to the girls when they get home with the babysitter, shoot out the door for a community or Council meeting, and hopefully make it home in time to have dinner and a glass of wine with my husband, then check emails and social media while in front of the TV.