Wednesday, July 14

Laurie Gelman: My Exclusive Momterview

I was very excited recently to have the opportunity to speak with fellow Canadian and former host of The Mom Show, Laurie Gelman. Laurie has two daughters, nine year old Jamie and 5 year old Misha, with her husband Michael Gelman, executive producer of Live With Regis and Kelly. She chatted with me from her family's home in New York City.



This Mom: What's happening for you with work these days?

Laurie Gelman: I'm working for Babycenter.com here in the US, doing their TV appearances, so for example if they pitch a segment to The Today Show, I would go on. I'm going to start blogging for them as well. It's only a part-time job, but I'm happy to be at home with more time to focus on the girls. I got to be the class mom this year, and I could write a book about that!

TM: We don't have class moms anymore. What was your job description?

LG: Organizing the class parties, collecting money for various things, getting the teacher's gift. It's a time suck like you wouldn't believe, but it really gets you into the classroom! {Note to self: I need to suggest the reinstatement of class moms in my school.}

TM: Your husband has a very busy job as well - do the two of you talk shop much at home, or are you able to leave it at the door?

LG: Well, I actually stopped watching the show {Live With Regis and Kelly} a while ago, because I'm just not home at that time of day. We TiVo it, but it's really not part of my day unless he asks me to watch for a particular reason. So when he gets home I'll ask him who was on the show that day, and sometimes he forgets because he's already moved on to planning tomorrow's show!

TM: And what about your work-talk?

LG: Oh, well, he's always full of advice for me and my career! It's actually funny because I've done a few demo segments on the show, and we'll be doing a run-through of, say, a fashion show, and I'll be sitting there quiet. He'll ask why I'm not talking, and I'll say, "Oh, I'm running through what I'll say in my head, I want to be fresh for the show," and he'll say "No, this is my show and I want to know what you're going to say!" So in those moments, he's my producer and not my husband!


Michael, Jamie, Misha and Laurie

TM: I read somewhere that Regis actually played a role in getting you two together. Is that right?

LG: Oh, he likes to say he did. I met the two of them at the same time, when they were down in Miami and I was interviewing Regis, so he was there when we met. You should have heard his speech at our wedding: how he saw the connection, and just knew...and then seven short years later we got engaged!

TM: You grew up in Canada...now that you live in New York, are there things you miss about your home country?

LG: I miss the candies. You can't get Crunchie bars here, or Smarties. {No Smarties? I struggle to listen to the rest of what she has to say, as I try to wrap my mind around a country without Smarties.} Canada has a really special cultural feel. When I get off the plane and head out on the QEW, I just get a feeling like "I'm home". It is such a nice place to live.

TM: I recently did a post on the importance of raising children with a religious faith. You've spoken openly before about converting to Judaism for Michael. Could you tell me a bit about that?

LG: I really wanted us to have a united front, which to me meant taking his name, and agreeing on how to raise the kids. We agreed they should be Jewish, so I made the jump. I think it gives them a strong sense of family when we're all united this way. It plays the biggest role around the holidays, but the Jewish faith is rooted in cultural things; it's not just a religion, so you live the Jewish life every day, even if you only go to Synagogue on holidays. The prevailing sentiment is that you should leave a place better than you found it.

TM: Would it have been a dealbreaker for Michael if you didn't convert?

LG: Well, he intimated that it was a dealbreaker, but that wasn't until five years in to our relationship, so I don't know. He is a man who asks for so little and gives so much, so when he asked me to do this, and I knew it was important to him, I couldn't say no.


Misha and Jamie Gelman

TM: You live with your family in Manhattan...which is one of my dream trip destinations. Just for future reference, where are the places you think tourists must go when they're in New York City?

LG: Well, you have to take a run around the reservoir in Central Park. It is one of the most invigorating and beautiful things to do. Walk down 5th Avenue to Rockefeller Centre...oh, and come during the Christmas season...the way they light everything is just magical.

TM: {Do I tell her my winter-visit fear? As a fellow Canadian, will she judge me? I decide to go for it.} I've always heard Christmas is a great time to visit, but I absolutely hate the cold! Shouldn't I come during the summer, so I can really take advantage of all of the sights?

LG: No, you really should come in the winter, and it's actually not that cold! Not as cold as you're thinking...only 40 degrees {believe it or not, I had to Google this conversion - it's about 4 degrees Celsius - might be bearable}, and you really have to skate in Wollman Rink in Central Park. It's amazing the way you can see the skyline while you're skating. And take your kids to the Radio City Christmas Spectacular!

TM: Many of my Canadian readers know you from your five season run as cohost of The Mom Show. What was the best thing about doing the show?

LG: More than anything else it made me realize that I wasn't alone in my dysfunction as a mother. Everyone has the same worries, fears and inadequacies. When Jamie was born, I really thought I was going bananas because I had visions of horrible things happening to her. Then I realized that most mothers have those thoughts, and feel like they are bad employees when they're raising their kids, or that they're not paying enough attention to their husbands, or whatever. The show was really a way to make yourself feel better.

TM: What was the worst thing about it?

LG: Being away from my family three days a week! Misha was only a year old when I started, but eventually we trimmed things down so there was only 30 days of shooting in a year. We'd start Monday morning, and I'd leave by noon at Wednesday and be home in time to put the girls in bed, and I only had to do it for ten weeks.

Laurie with Mom Show cohost Catherine Marion

TM: Do you think you'd be doing anything differently in your career right now if you hadn't become a mom?

LG: I'd probably still be covering entertainment! The reason I left The Early Show is because I realized my heart just wasn't in it. I was sitting there interviewing Jude Law, and I was thinking about whether I'd left enough breast milk for Jamie...and then I realized that Jude had stopped talking, I didn't know for how long, and I had no idea what he'd said. Fortunately The Mom Show offer came soon after that!

TM: What do you like to do when you have time to yourself?

LG: Read! I love to read any kind of fiction, historical, whatever. Right now I'm working on the third book in The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo series.

TM: What about couple time?

LG: We're really an active family, we play tennis, we ski. We love wine, so we'll do wine tastings, and we're both gourmands, so we enjoy a nice dinner out.

TM: When it comes to products, how would you finish the sentence: "This Mom Loves...."

LG: This Mom Loves the ice green tea at Starbucks, venti with three pumps of classic! I love chocolate, but who doesn't? I love Clarins Beauty Flash Balm, Jergen's self-tanner, the foam kind that dries in a minute....my splurge is Cle de Peau undereye cover. For the kids, Target is my one-stop shopping. I like Butter sweatshirts for the girls....and Amy's Organic Pizza.

TM: Anything else you'd like my readers to know?

LG: Just that even though I married an American and live here now, I still do love my country and hope to one day move back!

TM: Is Michael aware of this?

LG: Oh, he loves Canada! When he was younger he once wanted to buy land in B.C., so I wouldn't be surprised! Stranger things have happened!

TM: Thanks, Laurie!

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Awesome interview Kate! I have been to New York City and it is for sure a place everyone should visit! I loved The Mom Show for its "down to earth" way of delivering advice to mothers! Totally understand the difficulty most mothers have when trying to juggle working full time and being a full-time Mom...phew it can be so challenging some days! Anyway, the bigger question in all of this is...why no Smarties?"
Krista S.

Follow Me, I'm Canadian said...

Fantastic! Thanks for the great read and joining FMIC today!

mommyof4 said...

I love The Mom Show! Great interview! Have a great night!

Anonymous said...

A country without Smarties is one I could not live in. Great interview!

Tracy said...

Thanks for the interview! I loved the show and I remember her from YTV too I think! I had no idea she married Gelman from Regis and Kelly!

alice brannigan said...

strong woman, whom is beautiful inside and out,

Angie said...

I so miss The Mom Show! I loved it even before I was married, let alone having kids. I remember Laurier from YTV too.