Author: Chairman Mom

Vanessa De Luca will teach you how to really be an ally

Chairman Mom’s first-ever retreat keeps getting more enticing.

I’m excited to announce that this week we’ve added another amazing powerhouse to the agenda: Vanessa De Luca, the former editor-in-chief of Essence magazine. De Luca made Essence a leader in the wave of women’s magazines doing more substantial reporting and research around issues that face women of color at work. She pioneered more content on how black women could build their careers in centers of power where they looked around and saw nobody who looked like them. She’s written and spoken a lot about the impact of the depiction of black women in media on young girls. She also presided over the creation of the Essence Festival, one of the hottest festival tickets of the summer. I recently got lost for an afternoon reading her past editor’s letters. Read more...

Less Lady Bird, More Gilmore Girls Please

I’ve been thinking a lot about mother/daughter dynamics recently. I finally watched Lady Bird on a recent flight, and I know the dynamic in that movie felt universal and familiar to a lot of people watching it. It didn’t to me. (Although I loved the movie.) It felt like another cliche representation of some inevitability that mothers love but don’t like their daughters, and daughters don’t appreciate how much it took to raise them.

When I was pregnant with Evie, people kept telling me — unsolicited — how much we’d eventually hate each other when she was a teenager. Uh…“congratulations” would have also been a cool thing to say… Read more...

“This isn’t discrimination. This is war.”

This week on Chairman Mom we got a question about that New York Times piece about pregnancy discrimination at some of the largest companies in America.

This answer from an anonymous user is one of the best things I’ve read about that piece, in a week of having a lot of back-and-forth about it:

“I think it goes way beyond discrimination. I only saw the headline ‘America’s War on working Mothers’ and I was like F*** this.

It’s true. When you have to work 1, 2 or even 3 jobs with no flexibility on arrival, departure or anything in between? That is war. It’s not just being able to move up, it’s about being supported as a woman and a mother, which there really is none in this society. I remember when I came back to work after my son was born and people were like ‘all done, move on’ meanwhile, I was standing there in a daze like what the heck just happened? Read more...

A year in the jungle

One of my favorite questions asked on Chairman Mom was about what you want your life to be like at 70. I think about this all the time and knew my answer immediately. Spoiler: I basically want to be Jessica Fletcher from Murder She Wrote but without all the violent death and in wine country instead of Cabot Cove.

Today that thread popped back up again, with another user, @annalerner, wondering how we could bottle up a little of those dreams and enjoy them mid-career.

Oh, @anna: You have no idea how much I needed to dream this morning. Here’s what I wrote: Read more...

When Father’s Day feels hollow

I’ve had more Father’s Days that feel hollow than not.

I was not particularly close to my dad growing up. And so for most of the time I lived in the same house with my father, it was either an ignored holiday or a perfunctory one.

As I mother, I got about one or two Father’s Days happily married. Every Father’s Day since then has been varying degrees of strange. From “I DIDN’T SIGN UP FOR THIS!” anger to resentment to, now, gratitude that I’m in a great place with my co-parent.

Still, Father’s Day is strange for me. There’s a realm of gifts and traditions that aren’t appropriate for divorced co-parents. And all those idyllic “the best husband and partner ever!” Instagram posts can be difficult for a divorced woman to stomach, even for someone like me who has a great divorce. I can only imagine how they feel to single mothers, widows or women living with of ugly breakups. Or a dad who was gearing up for his first Father’s Day and whose partner has just had a miscarriage. I was thinking yesterday about these threads. Read more...

Rich white families are failing their daughters

There is a reason that we’ve come to mock white men in power who say they care about women’s rights by exclaiming “I HAVE DAUGHTERS!”

The first is it’s a horrible cliche along the lines of “thoughts and prayers” after a school shooting. The second is: You shouldn’t have to have a daughter to care about women’s rights. That kind of “oh well, as long as my family is fine” thinking is why we have such staggering inequality in this country.

But the third is this: There’s growing evidence that it’s BS. There’s a disturbing pattern of affluent white families not putting their daughters’ safety and future first, putting them in a sort of Ivanka Trump gilded benevolent sexism cage of being the adored “right kind” of girl. Read more...

My son? Also oppressed by misogyny

One thing I really adore about the Chairman Mom community is how 99% of us have never met, but seem to know the most intimate things about one another’s careers, relationships, and doubts and fears than many IRL friends.

Sarah Kathleen Peck — one of my fave Mama Bears — proved this sending me this article yesterday, “Today’s Masculinity Is Stifling.”

Her timing couldn’t have been better. Eli told me the other day he only wants to wear girl’s clothes this summer. He already mostly has been on weekends, so I certainly wasn’t thrown. And I am not one of those moms who “wrestles” with her child’s gender fluidity. To me mere “tolerance” of Eli doesn’t grant you the amazing right to be in his life. To steal my line on motherhood, I think Eli’s gender fluidity is a feature not a bug. It’s part of his jaw-dropping beauty and creativity and grace and charm and just Eli-ness. Read more...

“I have already held you as closely and tightly and freely as I ever will”

Stephanie Hitchcock edited my most recent book, and she was hands down the best editor I’ve ever worked with. The kind of book editor that other authors warn you don’t actually exist anymore. She made my book far better than when I turned it in, while also making it somehow more me.

So when she sent me a copy of Amateur Hour: Motherhood in Essays and Swear Words by Kimberly Harrington, with a note saying it was “close to her heart” and flagging one particular essay. I stopped what I was doing to read it. Read more...

Sallie Krawcheck, Shannon Downey and Michele Dauber all walk into a gold mining town…

Behind the scenes a lot is going on at Chairman Mom these days.

This past weekend our team huddled together over hipster doughnuts (that I ate most of) to brainstorm every product feature we want to build for you and the order we’re going to get those babies live. For those MANY Chairman Mom users who have requested features, know we have heard you! In the next month, you’ll see a lot of fun new things rolled out that I won’t spoil here—and more elaborate features built out before the end of the year. Read more...

“Don’t get too excited”

It’s little wonder I turned out the way I am.

I am the youngest of five kids, and my mother fully relished both being a mom and being a teacher. I only heard a story that spoke to the latter recently from Kim Scott — yes, the famous entrepreneur and author of Radical Candor (and Chairman Mom member) — who also had my mom as a teacher in high school.

Scott’s class was once asking my mom about why she felt she needed to go back to work after I was in Kindergarten. She told them that something inside her felt like it would become…malignant if she didn’t work. “It was like she felt like she would get cancer,” Scott told me at a fundraiser recently. Read more...