Moms don’t get the recognition they deserve! As a business run BY local moms FOR local moms, Boston Moms is excited to showcase the hard work local moms are doing — both at home and in their professions.
Boston Moms is proud to feature Mary Gattineri — local mom, proud grandmother, baker, and inventor.
We asked Mary to share a little about herself. Let’s get to know her!
Tell us about yourself! I grew up the last of seven children in a big Italian family. Both of my parents’ families immigrated from Italy. My mom’s middle name was Merica, short for “America,” as she was the first in her family born in the U.S. My mom was quite the inventor, inspiring and encouraging me to follow my own creative/entrepreneurial spirit. My parents taught me the importance of faith and the value of hard work, which has sustained me and my children in both good and challenging times. My three children are now incredible adults. Joseph is 36, Alexandra is 33, and Jacqueline is 28.
What town do you live in? Winchester, Massachusetts
What is your favorite small business? Recess. It’s an original women’s clothing and accessories boutique, and the owners are just so nice.
As a single mother with young children, you pursued a unique dream to support your family. Tell us your story.
Creating and inventing things has always been my passion. To make baking fun and successful with my children, I created a brownie pan I named “The Perfect Brownie Pan.” It used a grid divider to bake the brownies into perfect squares with chewy edges, and when the brownies are finished baking, you pop them out of the tray to serve them. I was exceptionally motivated when I began to envision this product as something that would lead to a huge opportunity for me to provide for my family. It was important for me to lead by example to work hard and follow my dreams and ambitions. Honestly, it’s what still continues to motivate me.
While looking into marketing opportunities to bring your pan into homes nationwide, you discovered that a pan similar to yours was hitting store shelves. While many people would have thrown in the towel there, you decided it was worthwhile to fight to be granted credit for the invention.
I was determined to fight and find out the truth about what happened. It was harsh and painful to think that someone would harm a single mom trying to make life better for her family. I felt like not only did this happen to me, it happened to US. My choice to persist wasn’t about my pride or ego, but instead about our future and what I wanted for it.
After hitting wall after wall with no answers or prospects, I decided to invent a new pan. Though I had little money and even less time, I was determined to make it work. Sometimes, my kitchen truly looked like a science lab. I was able to create Magical Pan, which appeared on “Invention Hunters” on the Food Network. (You can read more about the Magical Pan HERE and watch Mary’s episode on Discovery+.)
How did you manage to do all that while raising three little ones by yourself?
It was a tremendous amount of work and required a significant amount of effort to stay positive in front of my children. Eventually, I found myself at the point where it was totally consuming me, and I wasn’t making it work. After hearing one of my children tell their sibling not to bother me because I was busy, I realized I had to draw the line somewhere. I put myself on a strict schedule — because I will always be a mother first and foremost. After bedtime, I focused my energy on what I had to do next in the process of developing and marketing my new pan, while also seeking advice from attorneys to determine who used The Perfect Brownie Pan idea.
Despite giving it my all, I quickly found that anyone who may have been interested in the Magical Pan thought the concept was too close to The Perfect Brownie Pan to be successful.
Looking at where you are now as a family, how has this journey changed you? What has it taught you?
I teach my children to be resilient as best as I can, and this was a real, living example of resiliency. I could have closed these doors many times, but that’s just not who I am or what I’m made of. I have continued to pursue my legal case for The Perfect Brownie Pan since January 2019.
As a mom, I know that if at any point I didn’t try my hardest or simply just gave up on this dream, I wouldn’t be able to face my children. It’s analogous, in a way, to being a single mom of three — showing up every day for them and for myself. There have been high points and low points, but they’re all part of our family’s story. They have helped make us the tight-knit family we are.
I’ve been sitting with what this has taught me and continues to teach me for a long time. For me, at the end of the day, who is happier — a person who has been given everything, or a person who’s worked hard for everything? To me, the answer is clear. I will never give up on creating and inventing new things, and I have committed to always working hard and showing up.
What advice do you have for other moms who are trying to make tough choices?
You are NOT alone. Be kind to yourself, and honor yourself and your needs. It’s perfectly fine not to be or give 100% all the time. Remember that tomorrow is a new day and the perfect opportunity to try again.
Never giving up is easy to say but immensely hard to do. But it’s worth it. Take baby steps and continue to chip away at whatever your dream or goal is. Check off and celebrate even the smallest achievements, as nothing is “too small” when you’re following your passion. Plant the seeds and watch them grow.
Unfortunately, a judge has very recently dismissed Mary’s case for The Perfect Brownie Pan. Mary’s legal team is seeking reconsideration. With strength and resilience, she will continue to pursue her case.