Author: Lily Herman
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“Mama…remember that beautiful lady on the blue book you were reading while we were in Palm Springs?” Eli asked me the other day in a Lyft on the way home from therapy.
(Let’s pause for a moment to let it sink in just how California my life has become…)
“Michelle Obama?” I said.
“I guess,” Eli said. “Did Donald Trump ever bully her?”
“Yes, Donald Trump and a whole lot of other people bullied her.”
“What’d they do?”
“Well, she writes about it in her book. They questioned whether she was a woman, whether her husband was born in our country, they said a lot of things that were really just code for being racist. Men in our government even made fun of her butt.”
Hey guys. Happy Friday! We’ve almost made it to December!
What a year so far. I can’t believe Chairman Mom only launched in April. This time last year we had just a newsletter and Paul and I were the only two full-time employees at the company. I have fallen in love with so many hilarious and brilliant and compassionate women I’ve met through Chairman Mom. It feels like we’ve been part of this thing together for way longer than six or seven months.
There is also a lot that has happened to me personally this year. It’s been rough in a few ways, not the least of which was changes in custody. On the other hand, I am ever so so so slowly making progress on getting back in shape. In January, I couldn’t run for more than a minute straight. Now running for an hour is no big thing.
Yesterday, I had two conversations that had a big impact on me. The first was an exchange from a member who was writing to cancel because she was undergoing some major life transitions and couldn’t afford the membership anymore. It sounded like she was entering a time when she needs an army of women who have her back more than ever. So we comped her membership instead of canceling her.
Later, I saw this Tweet by my friend Andrea, who answered a few questions on the site yesterday:
I started to well up. First off, if white, cisgender women like me have a hard time finding safe places online, I can’t imagine what trans moms go through. If we can do anything to make that better, we have done something I’ll always be proud of.
I keep getting asked why I haven’t written anything about the recent Facebook scandals, especially as it relates to tech’s most influential and until-recently admired female leader, Sheryl Sandberg.
Well, one reason is the rest of the world is busy with their own hot take and I’m not sure we need one more. Another reason is that, frankly, Pando wrote about a lot of these issues years ago. Nearly two years ago, I wrote about the growing concern among women in Silicon Valley that she had abandoned her “let’s link arms!” feminist rallying cry in the wake of the Trump win.
Enough with the clever names of days to get you to spend money the week after Thanksgiving. I live in San Francisco with two kids, no child support, and a startup salary. You are harassing an empty cup right now.
But for those of you playing along, today is Giving Tuesday. Rather than asking you for anything, I wanted to thank those of you who donated to the fundraiser I set up to help rebuild Pulga and provide relief to the surrounding area victimized by the Camp Fire. While the fire miraculously jumped over parts of Pulga, Betsy Ann lost more than a dozen structures and had some damage done to the town’s infrastructure.
Hello, Mama Bears!
If you are like me, you were THROWN back into work already hurtling at about 180 miles an hour this morning after the crazy/idyllic Thanksgiving family fest. I woke up at 4am, packed some groggy kids in pajamas into a rental car, flew back from Palm Springs (WOO HOO! ALASKA FOR AN ON TIME DEPARTURE!), grabbed them McDonald’s breakfast on the way home from the airport, brushed Evie’s hair (which hadn’t happened in about a week…) and then Paul got them into uniforms and to school (very late) while I raced to a 10am meeting.
On Monday, there was a question on Chairman Mom asking—begging!—for tips on transporting three kids cross country and getting them to behave during a Thanksgiving meal.
That says it all about Thanksgiving, right?
There isn’t the immediate Santa threat nor kid gratification of presents the way there is with Christmas. But there’s all the other holiday headache. Weird small talk with family members who may have voted for Trump. Forcing your kids to hug people they can’t remember meeting before. The flights. The travel delays. The exhaustion, especially post-turkey.
I get asked a lot about competition when it comes to building Chairman Mom. Which is crazy if you think about it. Because there isn’t that much. I don’t say that like “Ooooh ho! No one can compete with us!” I say it in the most literal sense of the word. Because so few women are funded, new communities aimed at celebrating badass working women and badass moms aren’t even a rounding error when it comes to new company formation.
You guys know by now, I’m a massive fan of a lot of them: Ellevest, Bumble, Winnie, Maverick, to name a few. Sophia Amoruso’s Girlboss platform is entering the fray too, with a community for entrepreneurial Millennial women slated to launch sometime next year.
The Wall Street Journal has a story today on one of my favorite topics: Disney princesses. It centers around a scene in Ralph Breaks the Internet where a group of Disney princess are in pajamas and glasses and essentially mock all their marketing.
MORE SHOCKING, the scene breaks the cardinal Disney princess rule: They can’t coexist in the same universe. (According to the Journal, this is why on merchandise showing multiple princesses, they’re always looking into different points in the distance, not at one another.)
Silicon Valley libertarianism isn’t that different than the kind found in corners and pockets of, say, the rural South. (Take it from someone who has only lived in those two places)
Both frequently have sexist and xenophobic undertones. Neither want to pay taxes. Both may want drugs to be legal. Both may be into “prepping” even if the plans by Silicon Valley billionaires take on elaborate proportions. Because of the frequent insane net worth attached to Silicon Valley libertarianism, it frequently comes down to this: “As long as I’m fine, screw you.”