Author: Lily Herman (page 2 of 22)

“Being scared is a super power.”

Earlier this week, I wrote a sort of depressing intro about pervasive bullying that girls and women get throughout our culture…still. Despite living in a time when even Old Navy and Walgreens sell feminist tank tops for all ages. 

There’s a flip to it: The secret weapon of acting out of fear. 

First off, if you are beaten down, you have little to lose. But the fear itself can be galvanizing in a way comfort isn’t. In a way even anger isn’t. 

I was thinking of this because of passages about fears in two very different books I’m reading right now. (VERY different.)  Read more...

F*ck money shame

Editor’s note: One of everyone’s favorite speakers at last year’s Chairman Mom Flee was the amazing Shannon Downey, aka Badass Cross Stitch. She is a tireless advocate, and I always learn from the essays she throws up on Instagram, so I’ve asked if we can repurpose a few of her ideas regularly with our audience. This post on student loans was a revelation to me, as a mother, an aunt of college-aged kids, and someone watching the Democratic debates…

I am a smart woman. I also have two degrees. I’m not so sure those two things are related. I grew up poor and queer and saw college as my way out of a life that I didn’t want. I took out loans to attend a state school and was the first in my family to graduate college. Years later, I took out more loans to get a Masters degree. I borrowed a total of $46,052. Read more...


Online bullying of girls is on the rise, according to an article on Axios last week: 21% of girls in middle and high school report being bullied, mostly online, compared to some 7% of boys. Two years earlier, that number was 16%. With all that has happened in feminism and the #MeToo movement, how are girls still tearing each other down so much?

Perhaps because they see adult women doing it. Last week, I was watching the Democratic debates in Tahoe with some women in their 70s. I was dispirited to see one of them yell “Let him finish!” every time a moderator interrupted a male candidate, but say “She really shouldn’t talk over people” when a female candidate tried to keep going while getting cut off. Read more...

Announcements, announcements, announcements

So many event announcements, thought I’d cram them in one post.

Tonight is the San Francisco Chairman Mom Preach at the Assembly. Suzy Loftus was supposed to be joining us to talk about her campaign for DA, but unfortunately she’s had a last-minute campaign conflict that she can’t work around. But don’t despair! We’ll get another time with Suzy on the calendar and meanwhile, Vinny Eng—former celebrity sommelier who is now working on Loftus’ campaign—has lined up some amazing wines made by badass women for us to taste! And this month, we’ll be gathering in the Assembly’s gorgeous backyard. Come on out with a hug, righteous indignation, an appetite, an ask and a friend! Read more...

Another month, another awesome SF preach

Hi all!

Newsletter editor Lily here.

Just a quick reminder that August 5th is the first Monday of the month, and you know what that means: Another incredible Chairman Mom Preach event in San Francisco!

If you’re looking to hear from fellow badasses, make new friends, and break bread, this is the place to do it. Email if you have any questions, and we’ll see you this Monday at The Assembly. Get your tickets here!

Today’s new questions on Chairman Mom:

Super pregnant and Husband being let go of Sr. Director Engineering role w/ mention of “buyout” Read more...

In defense of summer vacations

Summer vacation has become more magical to me as a parent than it was as a child. 

Before kindergarten, my kids were in preschool pretty much all year round. Like all working parents, what to do with my kids for eight-ish weeks in the summer was a bit of a rude awakening. Like a lot of working parents whose kids are in private school, I pay that tuition throughout the year. So essentially in the summer, I’m double paying. I’m paying for next year’s school and right now camps. 

We’ve all had conversations about how summer vacation is a relic of an agrarian calendar and hostile to dual-income families and should change. I was totally nodding along with the people saying that…until…My kids got old enough for us to have insanely fun summers together.  Read more...

By miracle or geography

This past weekend, we finally went to Pulga— the town we entirely take over for the annual Chairman Mom Flee—for the first time since the devastating Camp fire. In the wake of the fire—which started just outside Pulga’s borders—we decided to bet on the town rather than abandon it and deliver another economic blow to the area. But there was a lot of risk of landslides and further damage. 

To everyone’s shock, the fire mostly jumped over the town, only damaging 12 structures and some of the infrastructure. That’s not nothing. But they’ve been able to entirely rebuild in time for our event.  Read more...

It doesn’t have to be this way

I just started watching the second season of Big Little Lies last night. I enjoy the show and like supporting the female talent associated with it. But I want to be clear to anyone who isn’t a mom yet, or is a mom to kids younger than school age: It doesn’t have to be that way. 

I always get a little creeped out by the stereotypes of motherhood on the show. The agro, money-obsessed working mom. The meddling, busybody, stay-at-home mom. The trainwreck damaged mom. The mom who is a closeted abuse victim who still adores her abuser. The—check the box!—mom of color who doesn’t quite fit in. And, this season, the mom who makes endless excuses for her abusive POS son because, well, to moms, sons are little gods on earth. And mostly the culture of a snooty private school where moms constantly destroy other moms as part of their responsibility, along with pickup and drop off and bake sales.  Read more...

Is writing this post morally wrong?

I read this article this morning and just winced. It’s advice for kids on how to confront their parents about social media sharing stories about them. We’ve had a few conversations on Chairman Mom about the privacy implications of sharing pictures of your kids online. And I’ve mostly been OK with the measured approach I’ve taken. 

  1. I never post naked photos—not even babies in the bath. 
  2. I don’t post my kids at their worst. I don’t post them having a meltdown or anything like that. I post the things that make me the proudest about them.
  3. I don’t post about my kids on Twitter, which is the most toxic of social networks in my experience and the one where I have the largest following. I mostly post about my kids on Instagram where I have a pretty small following, mostly of friends. 

Here’s the problem I have: Kids change. Eli, in particular, is a kid who wants to perform but not be seen. He literally practices performances at our house, setting up a stage and a spotlight, but then tells everyone not to watch. There’s literally no other reason for a spotlight than to be better seen.  Read more...

It started with a Tumblr DM

Newsletter editor Lily here.

As y’all know by now, I’m the baby of the Chairman Mom team at age 25. And this weekend hits a life milestone for me: The first of my close friends is getting married.

For the entirety of my college experience, I ran a successful college access organization that helped underserved students get into and thrive in college. It was a lot of hard work. But the success of that endeavor wouldn’t have been possible without a little bit of luck—and that was finding Jillian, our first hire. Jillian, who’d long decided she wanted to be a college counselor, was blogging about college admissions on Tumblr to build a reputation and an audience. I sent her a message asking if she wanted to write for our site since we had more resources and reach, and she said yes. I was 18; she’d just turned 19. Read more...