Amid everything else that’s been going on in the last few months, we breezed right past a pretty big milestone: Chairman Mom launched to the public a little more than two years ago. There was a year before that of building the company and raising funds and assembling the team, and this newsletter has been going on for close to three years.
But February 2018 was when the community launched to the public.
I wanted to look up the date because recently I realized something pretty astounding as a personal milestone: I’ve lost 40 pounds since Chairman Mom launched. WHAT? I know. I can hardly believe it myself because I’ve worked so hard at it and it’s felt like a glacial pace of getting healthy.
I also wanted to bring it up because this community has been a big part of it.
This community has helped me sort out my own feelings around body issues and shame that I think were pretty core to making lasting healthy changes.
Is it OK that losing this weight is important to me or is that anti-feminist?
What is the deeper “why” behind why I want to lose weight?
And of course the tactics. There have been threads on Noom (which helped reorient some of my nutrition choices), on being “sober curious,” on vegetarian eating, on healthy weeknight meals that are easy to cook, and of course, on different ways to stay motivated in a fitness routine. A big part of this was getting my asthma under control, and we’ve also had threads on how to get doctors to take women’s health complaints seriously.
It’s not an exaggeration to say that several dozen Chairman Mom threads when I faced each unique challenge helped me get to this goal. It goes to what is so unique about this community: It is made up of thousands of women who don’t think anything is too hard to achieve if you break it down into doable steps. It’s a community that never questions why you want to achieve something or shames you for what is important to you; all that matters is that it is important to you.
There’s also the core belief behind Chairman Mom: That nothing builds confidence like giving solicited advice. Being able to help others come up with healthy meal plans and tips to stay motivated has reinforced what is working for me. It reinforced that I was doing all I could even when progress was annoyingly slow or seemingly non-existent.
Before Chairman Mom, in the midst of the 2016 election and the #MeToo movement, I turned to a lot of not-so-healthy self-medication to cope. The world has gotten worse since then, and I’ve found new ways to cope, not least of which is the solidarity of this community, and recently, these amazing virtual Zoom dinners.
Thinking about the dramatic impact that Chairman Mom has had on my weight—something that never would have occurred to me when we started this company—I started to reflect on other things that have improved about my life since this community began.
I now have a regular daily meditation practice. (It took two years of threads about how to cement this in my life and why I was so blocked on it!)
I’ve found new ways to deal with some of my depression around custody/fertility issues.
I’ve gained the confidence to develop new skills like re-tiling floors in my home, although any success with gardening remains elusive.
I’m back to cooking almost every night of the week, armed with great easy recipe go-tos, an entire new arsenal of healthy vegetarian recipes, and ideas for things to feed picky kids.
I’ve gotten my personal financial house in order. I got major accountability to pull together old 401(k)s and IRAs last year via Chairman Mom, and I funneled them into one investment strategy that speaks to what I want for my future. I’ve gotten life insurance. I’m on top of my taxes. I still need to do estate planning, but all of this was a major black hole for me a few years ago and I’ve been steadily pulling myself out of it, gaining confidence and lessening my anxiety.
You’ve helped make me a better parent in so many ways. I’ve figured out how to combat tangles and become a pro at getting the most out of a Disneyland trip. I’ve come up with ways of addressing so many of my kids individual issues, of navigating sleepovers and staying sane, of motivating each of them, of teaching them to advocate for themselves and knowing when I need to advocate for them.
I have made so many great, true friends over the last few years. People I would do anything for and who will be in my life forever. People who I feel so bonded to because we’ve connected over the most important things in our lives. That’s not just our jobs. It’s not just our kids. It’s ourselves.
This company has been life-changing for me as any startup is for its founders. It’s paid me to build something I love, that I needed. It’s given me freedom and flexibility to be a working mom on my own terms. It’s allowed me to hire and work with the best team I’ve ever had.
But most startup founders don’t lose weight, achieve more balance in their lives, and get emotionally healthier in the insane first three years of building a company. That is a testament to what this community is, to all of you, not me.
I know it also has been life-changing for many of you. I know so many of you who have decided to leave dangerous or unsupportive situations because of the solidarity you found here. I know so many of you who have taken the risk to start a new company because of the solidarity you found here. I know so many of you who have demanded more for yourself—whether it’s from bosses or partners or the world—because of the solidarity you found here.
For anyone who has been part of our community for a chunk of that time, I’d love to hear what has changed for you over this time.
Thank you so much to the thousands of women who show up in this space every single day to support other women, to leave their judgement at the door, to create a corner of the Internet that is safe for women. Everything you do on this site is an act of love.
Today’s new questions on Chairman Mom:
- Favorite classic movies? (As in black and white not from the 80s!)
- How have your friendships changed in the pandemic?