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RECENT ARTICLES + PODCASTS
I remember exactly where I was the first time it happened. We were in someone’s backyard. A bunch of kids were playing together on the swing sets and sliding raucously down a slide. We were engaged in banal small talk when she said it. I honestly think I froze in disbelief because it was 2021 and the last question I anticipated hearing was: “So… do you work?” My face looked like that emoji where your eyes are busting out of your head. The person asking me this was *my age*. She was *my age!* Once I got over the initial shock of impropriety, I became curious: What was she actually asking?
Community Question 🗣 The Invisible Load — What Are All the Things You Do That Don’t Count As “Work”?
Women do all sorts of work. Parents work incredibly hard, and they contribute an estimated 75% of the national output of work in any given economy—it’s just not accounted for or paid. In a brilliant essay about mothers and work, Margo Aaron talks about all the things women do that are real labor—domestic, caretaking, mental, emotional, psychological, and more—but that people aren’t paid for. Share some of the things that you do that aren’t recognized or that aren’t paid and read what others have to say all about the invisible load that mothers carry.
“There Is No Right or Wrong Way to Do This” — Alicia Jabbar on Becoming a Parent and Building a Business
Alicia Jabbar is a co-founder of Inside Out Incubator, an organization that designs and delivers leadership programs for women working in male dominated industries. She is also an executive leadership coach who partners with individuals to increase their leadership capacity without sacrificing themselves. She also facilitates the Interpersonal Dynamics course (“Touchy Feely”) at the Stanford Graduate School of Business. She joined us to share candidly what becoming a parent has been like, and how becoming a parent in the pandemic has affected her.
When people came to me for a massage, I heard people ask me how long recovery would take a LOT. I attracted driven, high-achieving, busy people — I called them my “everyday athletes” because they managed demanding careers and families, and also did intense activities like running marathons. But when they got hurt, they didn’t want to stop to take care of it. They hoped the injury would go away on its own, and kept pushing through. After months living in denial, they finally found themselves in my office. After our intake and assessment, I always asked: “Do you have any questions for me?” Without fail, they’d ask, “How long until I’m better?”
How did we get to a place where women are expected to do it all? “Social conditioning,” says Tiffany Dufu. “It’s our culture.” Before each of us takes our first breath in the world, the construct of gender is thrust upon us, deciding how we’ll play the roles we’re assigned based on our sex –– long before we can choose for ourselves. Leadership expert and author Tiffany Dufu shares out to drop the ball, let go of the guilt, and remove the pre-set expectations that hold women hostage with outdated definitions of what it means to succeed.
One of the biggest wreckages of the pandemic has been the decimation of childcare infrastructure and the resulting huge blows to mothers’ careers. Helen Mayer, a mother of young twins, was in the midst of building her first company when the pandemic hit. The pandemic shut down Helen’s company and took away her childcare, leaving her the stay-at-home parent by default. She started applying for jobs, and was lucky enough to be offered her dream job, but she had to turn it down because she didn’t have access to quality, affordable childcare. So she started organizing parents together to create childcare swaps by matching parents who needed care with local stay-at-home parents able to provide extra childcare in the pandemic.
Context Switching Between “Parent” and “Professional” Modes Can Be Exhausting — Vanessa Van Edwards Can Help
One of the things I’ve struggled with most as I learn how to manage parenting + running a business during a pandemic is context switching. One of the hardest things to do as a parent is switch to professional mode. Toggling back and forth adds to the exhaustion....
Trying to “do it all” will get in the way of you accomplishing what you really want to with your limited (and very precious) time. In WWC, we teach you skills around doing less, finding focus, and figuring out what to say no to.
The Wise Women’s Council is back and accepting enrollments for our Class of 2022. We only open once per year for enrollment, so whether you’ve been a longtime listener or a brand-new listener, check out our leadership incubator and community for executive, entrepreneurial moms navigating both life and business at the same time.
Black History Month: 55 Books By Black Authors On Business, Entrepreneurship, Parenting, and Culture
Every few weeks I see new lists of the best business books, the top business books, and other essential readings lists for entrepreneurs. Quite often, the lists are heavily populated with the same authors, and are often made up of a majority of one specific demographic and background. If you only read books authored by rich, white, married men with ample support systems and buoyed by inter-generational wealth, you’ll get yourself into an echo chamber. Here are 44 amazing books by Black authors and Black entrepreneurs to add to your to-be-read pile.
The Wise Women’s Council is our annual leadership incubator for high-impact women navigating the big (and little) moves that come with building a career, life, and family. We are now accepting applications for our 2022 class.
Vanessa Van Edwards learned right away that being an expert in behavioral science did not translate into innate parenting know-how. Vanessa joined us earlier to talk about those first few blurry weeks of infancy and babies in Episode #104. Now, she’s opening up about the first year, explaining that while some phases do indeed “go by so fast,” others can feel like a slog, but telling parents that it goes by so fast is not, well, helpful. We dig into the nitty-gritty of the first year of parenting, what surprised us, what we wish we’d known, and the milestones most parenting books miss.
Struggle finding what you want on Google? Here are some delightful search hacks to seriously speed up your search game. I came across a Twitter thread by Chris Hladczuk with 8 Googling tips that I didn’t even know. They’re really simple but they could really speed up your searching.
You’re not insane, you’re not wrong, you’re not broken, and you’re not a terrible parent or a terrible worker if you’re having a hard time getting work done while also sustaining the full-time job of caring for a baby. Taking care of a baby is a huge job, one that requires the work of multiple adults. But instead, we ask women to do it all, without help or support, and then to work additional jobs on top of the round-the-clock work of childcare. It’s impossible.
Growing up, James Breakwell never had to think about what jobs he wasn’t allowed to pursue. That changed when he had kids. As the father of four girls — one of whom recently said she wants to be a construction worker, and another who asked if she could be the Pope — he’s had to put himself in the shoes of the females surrounding him at home. As an author and internet personality behind the popular Twitter account @XplodingUnicorn, James is best known for his viral tweets depicting hilarious snippets of conversations with his daughters. In this interview with our first startup dad, he gets real about how he navigates building a public persona based on his family life — including how much to share and what to withhold.