Newsletter editor Lily here.
It’s taken me a while to talk about, but I did something bold and with the confidence of a mediocre white man a few weeks ago: I pitched a Center for Media Studies at my alma mater to the president of the university.
As many of you know, I’ve been teaching at Wesleyan University (not to be confused with Wellesley College or the 36 other schools with “Wesleyan” in the title) for this school year. It’s been a great experience, not to mention a challenging one, and I came out of it realizing that there are huge gaps in terms of connectivity between the academic pursuit of fields like media, journalism, marketing, and similar topics as well as post-grad development in those fields. At the end of all of those epiphanies, I decided to pitch some sort of central hub that could do any number of things for the school in regards to work with media and its adjacent industries. After finally calling the office to set up an appointment, I spent weeks fretting over my presentation (both the proposal document itself and what I’d actually say), had a near-panic attack two hours before I met with the president, and nearly fell over afterwards. (God bless one of my favorite administrators on campus for being available for 45 minutes right after to sit with me in my exhaustion.)
This past weekend, I flew home to Memphis for my 25-year high school reunion.
It’s weird isn’t it? There were a bunch of think pieces a few years ago about the decreasing need and desire to go to reunions given the rise of Facebook. But with Facebook having caused so many fights, toxicity, and—yunno—end of democracy in the last year or so, the need for ditching it, flying home, and spending an evening face-to-face with people you grew up with seems all the more imperative.
At least for me.
For the May Preach event, we are doing things a little differently.
We will still have food, wine, and badasses, but this month we’ll also have some light programming. The amazing Amanda Munday, bestselling author of the newly released Day Nine: A Postpartum Depression Memoir, will join us to talk about her amazing book and unforgettable journey as a working mom. (And relatively new entrepreneur!)
If you were at the Chairman Mom Flee last year, you probably spent time with Amanda, and if you are active on the site, you’ve probably engaged in threads with her. She’s definitely one of my favorite people I’ve gotten to know through Chairman Mom. (So much so that I wrote a blurb for her book!)
Lord, does it take a lot to piss me off when I’m reading the news lately. Like, really truly infuriate me. Like make me want to reactivate my Twitter account kind of infuriate me.
There’s so much awful right now everywhere that it’s all just a steadily nauseating, disappointing, tragic flow of news. But for something to really grab me by the lapels and make me want to punch someone…now that’s talent.
Bloomberg accomplished that feat this week with this headline: “Having Kids Is Terrible for Women’s Earning Power”
Newsletter editor Lily here.
My 25th birthday is coming up in two weeks, and as with every year, I was generally aware of its looming existence but didn’t actually realize just how quickly it was approaching until the end of March.
I’ve been talking about this with friends a lot in recent months, but as I stare down the back half of my twenties, I’m aware of just how much is going to happen in the next five years—and how different it’ll be from what happened in the last five. My friends, who range greatly in age, are moving out of New York and moving in with significant others and going to grad school and switching careers and getting engaged and getting married and having kids. My family is getting older and moving around and leaving our home base in Jacksonville, where they’ve been situated for well over a decade and a half.
We just went to borderline insane lengths for Evie’s sixth birthday. Three days at Disney, a surprise stop off at Story Bots studio, a birthday party with a custom talking pinata…It was a lot of money and a lot of time and a lot of work and more than 30 miles of walking. (If you ever intend to take your kids to Disneyland, enshrine this thread IN GOLD. Made a massive difference in our experience!)
Thanks to another Chairman Mom thread, I’ve discovered the way to make Eli not jealous of elaborate things for Evie is to enlist him in the planning. But the downside of that is Eli has expensive and elaborate tastes.
I am not OK.
I’m happy. Things have never been trending up in my life quite this much. And sometimes I feel “guilt” about how comparatively “easy” I have it right now. How well things are going.
But I realized this past few weeks, I’m not…OK.
You know that thing that happens when you work at an unsustainable pace and then you stop working, go on vacation, and get sick suddenly? Because your body knows it can break down? I feel like that’s what recently happened to my soul.
I’ve been saying for a while now that at some point—retirement maybe?—things were gonna get calm enough that roughly seven years of built-up trauma from divorce, from building Pando, from becoming public enemy number one of the bro-economy, from living under constant and various threats for so many years would just sideswipe me and put me in a fetal position for a few weeks as I dealt with all the things I hadn’t really had the luxury or time to deal with while they were happening.
Lily already put this in the newsletter, but I was so grateful to see this article in the New York Times about “snowplow parents.”
From the piece: “Helicopter parenting, the practice of hovering anxiously near one’s children, monitoring their every activity, is so 20th century. Some affluent mothers and fathers now are more like snowplows: machines chugging ahead, clearing any obstacles in their child’s path to success, so they don’t have to encounter failure, frustration or lost opportunities.”
One of my greatest joys in building Chairman Mom is the dozens of real-world friendships I’ve made over the site. There is something truly magical about how deeply people connect on this site about the most personal aspects of their lives, while frequently not knowing what anyone looks like, where they work, what their name is, what age they are, or any of the other things that usual define the beginning of a networking event or a friendship. You can’t really “size” someone up on Chairman Mom.
Since the earliest days of Chairman Mom, we’ve had threads on how to raise better boys. One thing I’m stunned about is the leadership that kids programming is increasingly taking on this front—particularly in a world where a Gillette ad saying “Hey! Let’s not bully and sexually assault each other!” was deemed an controversial attack on manhood.
Consider a few recent films my kids have watched: Ralph Breaks the Internet, The Lego Movie 2, and Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, the film that beat the Disney/Pixar juggernaut for the Best Animated Film Oscar.