Nurturing a Baby AND a Startup Business

A recent New York Times article talks about women who are both mothers and founders of start-ups. The premise of the piece is that venture capital firms discriminate against women because start-ups require so much time and attention that a mother simply can’t do the job.

“If investors meet a male founder of a company, they don’t care whether he has two or three children because they assume that his wife will take care of them, Mr. Craig says. “But with a female founder,” he adds, “it’s a whole different story.”… Women make up 10 percent of the founders at high-growth tech companies, “and they raise 70 percent less money than men do because of their lack of access to capital,” says Lesa Mitchell of the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, where she is vice president for initiatives on advancing innovation.

“All of the women I know who went to raise money did it when they didn’t have kids,” she says. “There is total discrimination in the start-up world against women who are pregnant.”

I don’t know much at all about Silicon Valley or VC firms and whether it’s actual discrimination or perceived discrimination.

All I see, from my perspective as a dating coach, is how anyone involved in a start-up (or related to someone involved) has to sacrifice personal time.

“Ms. Fleiss’s husband took care of Daniella for three days while she was in Los Angeles for work. They alternate doing the morning feeding. At night, he often puts the baby to sleep while his wife reads and replies to e-mail.” Or, from later in the article, “Outside help is essential. Ms. Roney says: “I barely have time to put on lip gloss. Luckily my assistant fills my work closet with makeup and dresses so I can attempt to look presentable for the potential meetings and TV segments I may have that day.”

This only goes to further my thoughts that

a) A highly driven, ambitious woman needs a man who can take on some traditionally feminine duties OR she needs a lot of paid help to mother her children.
b) Anyone dating a highly driven, ambitious person may come in second to that person’s career. Caveat emptor.

Read the article here and let me know if you’d like to be partnered up with someone insanely wealthy…but insanely busy.

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  1. 31

    Much as I dislike Lori Gottlieb’s strident tone (there was no need to compare Ms Slaughter to a bratty kindergartner), I agree with her completely again. No one can have it all. It isn’t a feminist thing. Men can’t have it all either.

    The difference is – forgive me if it’s politically incorrect to say – I believe that today, women expect more than men do. We expect more of ourselves, and we expect more from the world. Partly it’s because we think we need to fulfill others’ expectations. There’s a huge amount of pressure on us to be “good mothers,” whatever that means to us; but especially if we received a lot of education and training, we also expect a high-powered career and believe that others expect it of us too. 

    The truth of the matter is, we probably need to lower our expectations on BOTH fronts – parenthood and career. Or, we can make a conscious choice to focus on one or the other, but not both. NYTimes ran an article near Father’s Day about how both fathers and mothers are spending more one-on-one time with their children than back in the 1960s-80s, but somehow we’re harder on ourselves (women, at least) about not devoting enough time to them. At the same time, more women are moving into increasingly powerful careers. What do we expect? Something has to give. We can’t do MORE parenting than others did in the past AND devote more time to career simultaneously. 

    So I think it’s time for women to stop being so hard on ourselves (and others) and face the fact that life is about choices, and we can’t have it all. We should decide, based on our life circumstances, how much we want to devote to each activity given time and energy constraints – and BE AT PEACE with that decision, whatever voices may say from outside.  

  2. 32

    SS31: I would assume that the person who minimized child rearing was expressing her own values.

  3. 33

    @ Ruby #27
    “Really, this notion of “having it all”, is laughable when “it all” is thrust upon so many people who don’t really have a choice.”
    Well said, Ruby.  As a single parent by circumstance and not by choice, I couldn’t agree more.

  4. 34

    @Evan: You appear to give the same advice to men considering dating Alpha women that you have given to women considering dating Alpha men. Be careful because they’re always first.
    Do you believe that hyper-successful women are basically the same as hyper-successful men in terms of relationships ?

  5. 35

    #25. I wasn’t sure if this referred to something I mentioned, if it was, it was not read correctly.  In the world I live in, the children of today are going to grow up and run institutions, governments, businesses, schools, etc., etc. in the future. 

    #34 The original post is about a woman who CHOOSES to start a start-up, in this case, it wasn’t thrust upon her.  

    #22,  As I understand it, ultimately, the main purpose of men and women on this Earth is to procreate, that’s why we are here.  If someone doesn’t procreate, then how does the species survive?  We’re also biologically built to do that.  It’s NOT the only thing we do throughout life, but the main one.  HOWEVER, we are  lucky enough to have a choice if we want to do that or not.  


  6. 36

    Michelle 36: “ultimately, the main purpose of men and women on this Earth is to procreate, that’s why we are here.”
    I guess this is the difference between those who believe that “The unexamined life is not worth living,” and those who don’t believe that. Personally, I believe human life is more precious than simply following the dictates of biology. But I am not casting any judgments on who believes what. Even philosophers don’t agree on this: Rousseau would cast sides with you. But I cast sides with Socrates.
    Basically, I agree with everything Mia said in 22, except two things: First, Mia, if you decide later that you do not want children, you shouldn’t feel obligated to adopt just because some people believe that every woman should have children. Only do it if you think this is what you really want. Second, it’s only been recently that women have been outranking men in education up to the undergraduate level (but not beyond), so this may be why you haven’t seen more professional women at high ranks. We’re decades older than this newest group of women. Give it some time, for the impacts of improved women’s education to percolate to the top.

  7. 37

    Michelle36: Two questions. How does loading the planet down with more people than it can sustain support survival of the species? If the species doesn’t survive, who will care?

    Mindless adherence to biological impulses is not a strong moral argument, in my view. It’s the same argument that men use when they say they just “can’t help themselves.” Third question. Do you want to be on the receiving end of that argument?

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