Author: Lily Herman
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I feel like building Chairman Mom has been one of several things I do everyday that is buying me soul credits. Kinda like “carbon credits,” these soul credits are rebuilding the chunks of my soul that bias, infighting, Trump’s America, and a decade on social media have slowly eroded.
As an organization—and as an individual—I’ve tried to step back and examine when I find myself wanting to fight with someone online, what is triggering it? More to the point: How am I getting played by either a troll, a bot, or a social media giant who gets paid the more we fight?
Apparently, “athleisure” is a fraught and loaded concept. To some it signifies people who don’t actually work out, they just want to look like they do. To some it signifies wealth and privilege—after all, a lot of athleisure costs $100 and up per item. I only recently learned this, reading a profile on Outdoor Voices in the New Yorker recently.
To me athleisure is pretty simple: It’s efficient. And as a working mom, I’m always looking for efficiency. I’m not instagramming it or hashtagging it, and apparently I don’t buy status labels, because I’ve never been in a Lululemon store and I didn’t know what Outdoor Voices was. That same New Yorker article says that athleisure is a quarter of all U.S. apparel sales. Lately, for me it’s more than 50% of my clothing spend. Why? Because I wear athleisure way more than 50% of my time.
There’s been a flurry of good and bad news in the world of women and startups lately. There’s Glossier upping the ranks of female-founded unicorns (14 out of 130 in case you are keeping score) and Backstage Capital struggling to raise it’s $36 million “ABOUT DAMN TIME” fund. Recently, Fortune’s The Broadsheet lumped these and a few other stories together talking about the need for women to “go big” and celebrating that that’s what Backstage Capital was trying to do and shouldn’t be maligned for that.
The Washington Post recently did a piece that summed up everything I’ve been thinking of the Democratic Primary coverage so far. Put simply: At a time when there’s never been more diversity in the field of candidates, the media has awarded the most fawning coverage and greatest volume of coverage to “the B-boys”: The three white men in the race. They’ve essentially been named the de facto frontrunners insanely early in the cycle.
I work very hard not to make Chairman Mom another place where people rant about politics, get into fights and get angry and feel more divided. There’s the rest of the Internet for that. So I’m not going to get into my personal views on any of these three candidates here.
The other day I was getting a wax (after reading this CM thread) and the aesthetician asked if I were a kind of flower or herb, which I would be? “Rosemary,” I said immediately. I had just been reading something about how rosemary is so intense that it has to be used sparingly or it’s loud a** voice takes over an entire recipe. It’s also an acquired taste.
She answered turmeric, which seems intense, but is really quite mild and healing. I thought that was a good answer.
I’m in Jamaica right now, and I’ve been thinking about what my kids are. Eli was pretty easy, and I see “him” on my walk to the yoga studio each day here. He’s a morning glory. He stretches the skirts of his lavender gown out each morning in a dramatic and colorful sweep and then later scrunchies up when he no longer wants his fabulousness on display. Eli has spent first grade parsing when he feels safe to be his walking rainbow self and when he needs to self-protect.
Newsletter editor Lily here, popping in with my periodic hello.
Last year, I was unfortunately unable to attend the Chairman Mom Flee due to teaching my college class over at Wesleyan smack dab in the middle of the event. This year, depending on how things shake out with a big meeting I have on Thursday (fingers and toes cross, y’all!), I may have the same dilemma as last year with teaching days. (But I’m hoping not!)
I was really jealous of all of the photos and anecdotes from the Chairman Mom team about a women-centric paradise in the mountains with no men around to bother them. So much so that I decided to create a “mini-Flee” for me and seven friends.
I’ve mentioned before that Paul is doing a newsletter about “How to be less of an a**hole” over on Substack. (Go here to subscribe!) This month, he dwelled on something he calls the “A**holistocracy.” It spans the tragedies in New Zealand, the social media sites that enabled it, but also answers the question he gets asked in this country almost everyday: “So, what is up with Brexit?”
I have found myself parroting his answer a lot lately, so I thought you might enjoy it. It also, of course, made me feel grateful to be building Chairman Mom—a community with absolutely no toxicity:
I know we all know this. But when you are trying to get healthier, so many programs and experts tell you that weighing yourself daily is important for accountability. “Just don’t fixate on it!” they say cheerily. As if a taunting little electronic read-out that refused to budge or even goes up the more you do isn’t something to fixate on when you are trying desperately to get in shape.
It’s made worse if you have one of those stupid scales that claim to read body fat. Paul insisted on getting “the most accurate one.” “The most accurate one” told me a few weeks ago that I was “obese.” Paul followed up with some of those pinchers and I screamed at him that I didn’t want anymore measurement tools in this house making me feel bad about myself. And then I let him measure me, and guess what? I’m not obese. The Withings scale is just full of sh*t.
A few months ago, I asked a question on Chairman Mom about taking my kids skiing for the first time. Beyond CM, I’ve been asking this question to people since the kids could walk. I got a lot of answers, but no one really spoke to the question I was really asking, because I wasn’t really thinking of the question I was really asking.
It wasn’t about taking some California kids up to Tahoe and putting them in a ski camp. That is—in and of itself—hardly an unfathomable concept. What was unfathomable to me was the world of skiing and what it signifies.
“We the people in order to preserve a more perfect union, establish justice and ensure domestic tranquility…Provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare and then secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity do ordain and esssstaaaabbllllish this Constitution…Of the United States of Ahhhhhhmerica!”
I have been able to recite—or rather sing—the preamble to the United States Constitution for most of my life, thanks to Schoolhouse Rock. I just did that from memory. (I think it’s mostly right…)