I have a dirty little secret.
I’ve spent years–well, not hiding it exactly. Just choosing not to showcase it.
But, now it’s time to air my dirty laundry. So to speak.
I’m a mother.
Yup. That’s it. My big secret. And you’re probably wondering why it’s even such a big deal.
Even though I’m proud of my 3 boys, I put a lot of thought into whether or not to incorporate them into my professional life. There are several reasons any woman would consider the same choice I made.
You’re Just Starting Out
There are lots of women who successfully make a name for themselves as a mom. They build blogs or businesses around having a family.
For these women, being loud and proud about motherhood is essential to their personal branding.
But, for women building businesses apart from their families, it can be distracting to talk about motherhood. One friend who is a partner at a venture capital firm told me that she loses Twitter followers every time she tweets about parenting.
In the era of social media and personal branding, you have to think long and hard about what you share. If talking about your family dilutes your brand, it might be best to keep quiet.
That Pesky Glass Ceiling
Like it or not, there is still a glass ceiling for most women.
Draw attention to your uterus and watch that ceiling drop even lower.
In our Serious Startups episode on parenting, Kane expressed surprise that this is true in startups as well as corporate culture.
“There are no rules in startups,” he said incredulously.
But the harsh reality is that there are rules in everything. Startups are a tough environment for mothers because the very nature of entrepreneurship is all-consuming. There is no time for “distractions,” even if they’re cute.
A quick survey of the startup tech scene reveals 2 main demographics for both founders and investors: “men” and “women without children.”
There are exceptions, of course. But, in general, moms starting a non-family-focused business face a huge uphill battle both practically and reputation-wise.
Keep Your Privates Private
The first 2 reasons I’ve talked about can be overcome with time and success. After a certain level of accomplishment or proving yourself, it’s rarely a big deal to reveal your secret.
This last one, though, can apply to moms at any level.
Sometimes, it’s just nobody’s business.
Imagine how awful it would be if everyone had access to all the cute/horrible pictures and stories from your childhood. A simple Google search would show employers pictures of 2-year-old you being potty trained or your mom’s tweets about the time you ate dog poop. That’s reality for the next generation.
Many moms choose to keep their motherhood quiet in order to give their kids a clean digital record.
(FYI: Even though I’m now out of the closet, I still won’t ever publish my kids pictures or names.)
There Comes a Time In Every Mom’s Life…
There are several great reasons for moms to stay quiet about their kids. But sometimes, it’s time to come clean.
As we talked before filming the parenting show, I realized how many women share my dilemma. We’re entrepreneurs, we have kids, and sometimes both of those things work together. Sometimes they don’t.
Either way, it can be isolating–even more than typical entrepreneurship. Admitting my “fatal flaw” to the world is just one more way to battle that isolation and the status quo.
After all, it’s great to know we’re not alone in our rocketship.