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I am back at work technically, but still traveling with my kids this week. This was the first year we didn’t go to see their grandparents and my family the week before Christmas because they got out of school so late this year. So instead, we flipped things around: Their dad had them for the first week of break, while I had an amazing and productive week of working, tiling floors, and making gifts right up until and through Christmas.
It was the first time in some 20 years that I didn’t travel that pre-Christmas week, and it was amazing. I never realized what a ghost town San Francisco becomes. So many tech companies and venture firms completely close their doors between Christmas and New Year’s, and it’s a city of transplants and an awful lot of rich folks…why stay?
Newsletter editor Lily here.
January 1st launched the start of my Winging It 2020 year, where I’m tackling a different challenge per month in order to enrich my life in different ways I think are important. In January, I’m visiting 10 museums in New York for a variety of reasons, including enjoying some more intellectual pursuits, seeing more of what this city has to offer, and just expanding my knowledge.
My mom came to the city for New Year’s, and in true mom fashion, after she heard about this month’s challenge, she proceeded to buy tickets to three museums. Last night we went to the Jewish Museum located on the Upper East Side, and whew, one exhibit in particular made every part of that visit 100% worth it.
Newsletter editor Lily here.
Welcome to 2020! We’re so excited for what’s to come this year and hope all of you had a wonderful and—fingers crossed—not-too-chaotic holiday season.
We’re back to our regularly scheduled programming, and as a reminder, if you have any questions or find any articles, recommendations, or other tidbits you think would be a good fit for our newsletter, feel free to email me at lily(at)chairmanmom(dot)com.
Onward to 2020!
To kick off the new year, here are a few of our favorite threads on self-improvement:
I had so many responses and conversations from my intro and this thread about my home improvement plan! A lot of you are so far ahead of me on this journey and I’m in awe. And others are not quite ready to take the plunge.
The conversations have made me think a little more about why this is so empowering and why I’m so excited for this challenge. It occurred to me that it may be one of the last of the traditional gender dynamics that I haven’t bucked. I’ve been the dominant bread winner. I’ve battled the 98% odds against me to raise venture capital as a female CEO several times over. I’ve been the one who has the final say on things in the home. I’ve “worn the pants” in various relationships.
One of my favorite things to do with Paul when we travel for work is indulge in a movie. Something about meetings being done, no kids or cats to tie us down…it feels indulgent in a way that seeing a movie in San Francisco doesn’t.
In New York this past week, we saw Knives Out. TMI, I know, but I had to pee for most of the movie but dared not get up because I didn’t want to miss a single moment of it. It was not just one of those “Why don’t they make mysteries like this anymore?” sort of movies. It wasn’t simply a call back to the classic Agatha Christie-like genre, which Paul and I love; it was that genre perfected.
I have hesitated to weigh in on the trickle of takedowns of female founders/CEOs over the last month. For one thing, I am no longer a journalist and so I’m enjoying the fact that I don’t have to have a take on something for the first time in 20 years. For another, it makes me uneasy.
There are plenty of female leaders I have taken issue with and criticized. But I set a high bar for doing it. And that’s not because women should blindly support women, but because the pile-on when a woman f*cks up is overdone and gendered and I don’t like being a part of it. Put another way: The entire Internet is piling on, do I really need to weigh in too? (Or in the case of Elisabeth Holmes: All of Hollywood. How many movies and TV shows were commissioned about her?)
Newsletter editor Lily here.
A little update on how my June marathon training is going: Well, for the first two weeks of running, I was wheezing after about eight minutes of jogging. My shins and ankles and quads and hamstrings would cramp up. I had an “oh my God, what have I DONE?” moment; I couldn’t believe I’d signed up for a marathon and convinced a bunch of other people to sign up for the marathon with me when I couldn’t even run a mile. I was panicked. Truly panicked.
The other day, Paul and I were walking down Market Street amid a flurry of tech-branded employees and he turned to me and said, “You know, even if you study the Cadburys or the Pullmans or those companies that built actual towns their employees had to live in, they didn’t actually make them wear branded swag all the time.”
It was an interesting point.
One of the reasons that startup folks constantly wear their company’s logo all over their bodies is because this is a place where guzzling the Kool-Aid is pretty crucial to dealing with all the shit that comes with building or working at a startup.
There is no other way to say this: The last few months it’s become clear in conversations on the site and some private conversations I’ve had, a lot of women in our community are at various stages of going through a divorce right now.
I don’t know why it’s swelling. Maybe some of you got so emboldened by the surging women’s movement of the last few years to demand more. Maybe your careers are accelerating at the same time, maybe life and needs are changing at the same time. Our site is pretty intergenerational, so it’s one of the first times I’ve seen so many women going through something like this at once.
I wrote last week about how I’m trying to fall back in love with my house and San Francisco. My epiphany was around how much we love our Palm Springs house. Part of it is that it’s in Palm Springs but a big part is it’s 95% an Airbnb, so it’s CLEAN, not cluttered and well-maintained.
I don’t have a lot of money to put into my house, but I started to think of what are small things that could make it better. I replaced an old shower curtain and a broken toilet seat. That felt pretty good. I started to dramatically de-clutter room-by-room. That felt better. And so now, I’m thinking bigger…