Jessica Grose is an opinion writer and journalist for The New York Times and a three-time author. Her first nonfiction book “Screaming on the Inside: The Unsustainability of American Motherhood” is out December 6, 2022. In it, Jessica dives into the historical background of the unattainable pressures placed on mothers today.
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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.
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.
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.
Creative dynamo Amber Anderson is the founder of Tote & Pears, a branding and marketing agency with a female focus. For her, becoming an entrepreneur was about more than the business. It was about creating possibilities for her family, establishing a set of core values for her family, and aligning her business values and family needs holistically. We first interviewed Amber on Episode #029 all about the birth of her son and her business. We invite her back to talk about what marketing to women looks like, how brands and agencies can better understand their target audience, and how to build a business that works for you and your family. Tune in to this episode to hear returning guest Amber describe how she aligns family values with work values, the rebranding of her marketing to become female-focused, and why she is committed to keeping work and home life intertwined (while keeping her work weeks around 40-50 hours).
If you haven’t heard the story of how the Wise Women’s Council started, listen in as we talk about what it took to create a program while five months pregnant and a young toddler at home. Business as usual wouldn’t work, so Sarah asked how to design a business and a high-touch mastermind community differently. The early version of the Wise Women’s Council was forged with a network of teachers and coaches, and has focused on resilience and flexibility since the beginning.
What we went through last year, and what we are still going through, is beyond comprehension and imagination. Many pandemic parents are still trying to survive, out of work, and picking up the pieces from last year. Many more are grieving deeply, and some of us don’t have a clear roadmap for grief or recovery. Pandemic parents feel anything from grief to resilience, anger to exhaustion. We are not the same as before.
Startup Pregnant will be renamed Startup Parent. One of the biggest problems of the modern cultural dialogue around work and parenting is that it’s centered exclusively on women and mothers. There are different challenges facing mothers and fathers, and women face larger workplace penalties and cultural challenges than men, but the harm of patriarchal systems and capitalist obsessions with ‘Ideal Workers’ hurts both men and women, and the solutions for problems women are facing won’t come without an integrated understanding from all genders.
We are two weeks away from kicking off our fourth class of The Wise Women’s Council, and we have an extraordinary group of people joining us for the year ahead. The Wise Women’s Council (WWC) is our year-long leadership incubator for women business leaders, entrepreneurs, and innovators who are also navigating pregnancy, parenthood, and motherhood. We go deep together for the better part of a year and support women at their growth edge who want to continue to level up in their life and career.
Navigating business challenges while navigating pregnancy is tough—navigating pregnancy, business, private practice, and doing it all in a pandemic is extraordinarily difficult. Dr. Shani Cooper, the founder of Root and Soul, runs a holistic health, wellness, and birth support practice based in San Diego. She was also pregnant in 2020, and a member of The Wise Women’s Council last year. We found a few moments to catch up about the year we had, and what it was like to be pregnant, give birth, and run a business in a global pandemic.
What’s it like to run a team of 40 people, in a pandemic, with a 1-year-old, and get pregnant with your second kid? Jess Kamada, VP of Client Services at Bamboo, a top growth marketing firm based in Seattle, joined me for a special episode to talk about how she managed the pandemic and the last year. Jess joined us in the 2020 Wise Women’s Council, and I asked her if she would be open to sharing her story and experience on the podcast, and share some insights into what it’s like to be in the Wise Women’s Council, and why she chose the Group Coaching level.
Last year my family and I didn’t have childcare coverage for seven months. It was a long, tiring year, and we are starting 2021 in a similar place—we’re home for ten days, without childcare, waiting for the days when we can go back to daycare. I wish that 2021 could magically, instantly be different and that I could snap my fingers for all of us to remove so much of the chaos and uncertainty in our lives. Frustratingly, it looks like the upcoming year will certainly be bringing its challenges our way. In this podcast, I’m doing a highlights reel of the last year, and I want to share some of the key moments from 2020 and the lessons gleaned from the year we had.
Dr. Kyl Myers holds a PhD in sociology and gender studies, and is an award-winning educator and a globally recognized advocate for gender creative parenting. Since 2016, Kyl has been speaking and writing about gender creative parenting and using their own parenting story to help the world learn about and embrace a new type of childhood. Dr. Myers is the author of Raising Them: Our Adventure In Gender Creative Parenting. Join us for a fascinating conversation about parenting, gender, and what we can do as parents to help reduce gender violence, oppression against women and men, and create a more playful world.
In America, the word “mother” is nearly always describing white motherhood. That’s what Nefertiti, a single African American woman and the author of “Motherhood So White,” discovered when she decided she wanted to adopt a Black baby boy out of the foster care system. Nefertiti was shocked by the assumptions people had about what adoption, motherhood, and Black motherhood should look like. She realized that American society saw motherhood through a white lens, and that there would be no easy understanding or acceptance of the kind of family she hoped to build.
In a year with a pandemic, wildfires, the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and more, it can be easy to fall into despair, sadness, or anger. Even if you’re reading this years from now, things can go wrong—and they often do. People pass on, projects go under, businesses are forced to change. Part of the work of being human is reconciling with all that is beyond our control. Here’s a practical exercise to understand what’s within your control, and how to use it.
School is back in session, and parents everywhere are fatigued, overwhelmed, and still in the lurch. Workplaces are less and less forgiving, and yet the problems created by the pandemic are still here. What’s a working parent to do? Last week, Lions + Tigers gathered a panel to talk about specific steps parents can take to strategically plan ahead for the coming year. I hosted a conversation with Brea Starmer, founder of Lions+Tigers, Shauna Causey of Weekdays, and Blessing Adesiyan of Mother Honestly.
If you’re overwhelmed by everything, you’re not alone. There’s a lot happening right now. All of the things happening right now—a pandemic, job stress, health worries, lack of childcare, natural disasters, uncertainty about the future, an election year—can conspire to take a toll on our mental health. The environments we are in and the way the stress affects us is real. If you’re feeling stressed and close to burnout, you’re not alone. This is a struggle, and I’ve got a few tips for you to stay compassionate to yourself and help make all this stress just a little bit lighter.
Are you curious about starting a podcast, or in the process of starting one? I get dozens of questions about starting a podcast, so grab your headphones and listen to this episode. I’ll cover the tools I use, the way I structure the audio, content guidelines, and vocal tips.
A few years ago, when we first had children, my husband talked to his workplace about parental leave. He knew that while he’d like to be home during the first few weeks during and after the birth, he was also interested in being able to be around with his kids while they grew up. So, the summer after our first kid was born, he shifted his schedule to work from 8am to 4pm. From there, he advocated for taking a four-week leave every summer to spend time with his kids. We’re not taking a full sabbatical this year because of the pandemic, but we will still push pause on a few things where we can.
Sometimes it takes a while for motherhood to grow on you—it’s not always instant or immediate. For Shama Hyder, she didn’t love the baby stage right away, and wondered if there was a “motherhood gene” she might be missing. Here’s her story of loving her business and adjusting to a new baby, and how long it really took for her to find her rhythm.
When coronavirus first happened, many of us were adjusting to figuring out the shut down. How long would it last? Would this just be a week or two? What were the next steps? For many of you reading this blog and listening to the podcast, you have also been trying to figure out your birth plans. How do you give birth in a pandemic? What do you plan for, when everything keeps changing? Here’s what Megan Hale did when she found out her husband and mother both tested positive for the flu the week before she was due to give birth.
A few weeks ago, Tara McMullin invited me onto her podcast to talk at length about mastermind programs—how we run them, what we charge, how they’re organized, how many people are in them, and more. I asked her if I could share the episode with all of you, too, so I’m airing this conversation again on the Startup Pregnant podcast. This episode is a very detailed, behind-the-scenes look at both of our online programs and how we’ve designed our mastermind communities.
Kelsey Kerslake runs a design agency as well as a coaching business, and has a young kiddo at home who just turned one. Her husband is an essential worker, so she hasn’t had a minute of childcare or backup help throughout all of this. Here’s how she is rescheduling her days and dealing with the coronavirus pandemic. Her question—can she keep working on a reduced schedule and still have the same impact?
Think of a difficult conversation that you are in the middle of, or one that you’ve recently had. Maybe it’s onboarding a new team member, or working with a client. Maybe it’s with your partner or your spouse, and you’re trying to negotiate all those logistics of parenting. Maybe it’s with the grandparents, your kids, your boss, a colleague—whoever it is, I am sure that you have had the experience of how challenging it can be to go through a hard conversation. Today on the podcast, we get to have Sharon Stolt join us to teach us what to do and how to start the art of having challenging and uncomfortable conversations.
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