Newsletter editor Lily here.
One of the bright spots over the past week or so has been the fact that anti-racism books are not only selling out right now, but they’re also outselling a number of the biggest literary releases of the year, such as the Hunger Games prequel.
There are mixed emotions associated with this uptick. On the one hand, it’s important that so many people (particularly white people) are taking an interest in how they can help combat systemic racism and racist institutions like law enforcement.
I don’t know about all of you, but I am still reeling this week from what’s going on in our country.
I imagine many of you feel the same because more than 100 people signed up for Breeze’s event on anti-racist parenting before our Zoom membership capped out. I upgraded our corporate zoom account so that more of you can come, so sign up now if you hit a waitlist earlier this week. If we max out that tier, I’ll upgrade it again. This is a crucial topic and Breeze is one of the best people in the world to address it.
I am so sorry to anyone who tried to join last night’s Chairman Mom virtual dinner about homeschooling. We decided at the last minute to postpone it as I was watching the news coming out of Washington. As the person who was set to be in charge of the discussion, I didn’t feel right leading a conversation about a mostly privileged group of working women struggling to care for their kids and still work during this time.
That’s not to say it’s not a challenge and a problem. But I didn’t feel it was close to the biggest problem we were facing. And I know a lot of members in our community have been protesting, doing work in this area for decades, and are, frankly, fearful for their children’s lives. A discussion around summer camps felt tone-deaf and inappropriate. (I’ve rescheduled it for Thursday.)
Reading the news has become terrifying, devastating, and heartbreaking in recent days. That is saying something compounded over the terrifying, devastating, and heartbreaking news in recent years, whether it’s children in cages at the border, mass shootings, or of course, this year’s outbreak of COVID. I am not going to do what I normally do in this space which is to share my feelings and experiences on this matter. A major problem with white women in this country is an obsession with our own feelings.
When I was young and coming up in my career, I used to eschew vacations. Part of this was that cool girl in me of wanting to prove I was such a hardcore workaholic who could be counted on by my alpha male bosses. Passing an unstated test. The same way I put off having kids and pretended to be totally cool with work outings to strip clubs. (Ugh.)
But there was another reason that wasn’t performative. I was absolutely working my a** off in a business tilted against me. I came up in an old media world where journalism was even more zero sum. You had a scoop or you didn’t, and if you missed it, you couldn’t hit publish a hot take moments later. There was a set number of column inches in each paper or magazine, and everyone was compensated based on how many they got at the expense of someone else. For page one and covers, the fight was even more cut throat. And with the Internet gobbling up classified and ad revenues, 10% layoffs had replaced annual holiday bonuses.
I don’t know how any of us are managing our emotions when it comes to reading the news right now. But recently I read something that took me to an entirely different and worse emotional place. It was about Felicien Kabuga, the 84-year-old mastermind of the Rwandan genocide finally being apprehended after 23 years on the run.
Rwanda is a country that has had a huge impact on me. I spent many weeks reporting there in 2009 and 2010, traveling all over the tiny and gorgeous country and falling in love with so many people I met there. In the time I was there, there was a lot of optimism about Rwanda. Its roads were paved, it had a better rule of law than surrounding countries and a lot of Western money and investment—out of guilt, it should be said. It seemed a shining star in sub-saharan Africa.
I’ve spent much of the last 10 weeks feeling guilty.
No, not guilty because I’ve been roaming around without a mask or crowding public beaches. I’m still locked down. I have asthma thanks to a hospitalization from pneumonia a few years ago. I’m well aware that lung-related illnesses that don’t kill you also don’t make you stronger: My three-year battle to get my asthma diagnosed and treated isn’t something I’d wish on anyone. Nor was the pneumonia. And pneumonia-like symptoms are considered a “mild” case of COVID-19.
We have four (!!) virtual Chairman Mom meetups this week that range from a chat with your friendly neighborhood epidemiologist, Adimika Arthur, to a major career boost with the phenomenal Joanna Bloor (free hour of Bloor coaching?! Don’t miss this!), to a fundraiser for cat rescue where we all learn how to make a bespoke cocktail from a celebrity mixologist (mocktail version too!), to the ULTIMATE YA novel geek out/book club with New York Times bestselling author Rebecca Hanover.
We have a big enough event staff now that I only “have” to go to two of these, but I honestly think I’m going to go to all four because does anything capture the breadth of all the things we need and want right now better???
Newsletter editor Lily here.
I mentioned this in passing a few weeks ago, but back in January, I suddenly had a strong desire to get a pet goldfish. I don’t even know what prompted it. Maybe I felt like nesting a little bit more or maybe it’s my nurturing gene (finally) growing in, but all of a sudden, a goldfish sounded like a great idea.
I immediately texted Kaitlyn, my roommate/close friend/person who deals with my shenanigans constantly, to which she sent me a very confused message that essentially amounted to “Is this your quarter-life crisis?”
Editor’s Note: Sarah and I (Lily) have been doing most of the talking during this pandemic, but we want to hear from YOU! If you have something to say about how you’re feeling in these strange, terrifying, and surreal times we’re living in and want to write a newsletter intro about it, send an email over to me at email@example.com.
Our intro today comes from Chairman Mom reader Samantha Barnes, who’s the co-founder and CEO of Raddish.
Despite an abiding love for my pretty-in-pink seashell bike in 1987, I never much liked biking. My mom, who at 76 mountain bikes and travels the world cycling, has spent over three decades feeling mom guilt about this fact.