Still CEO of the Wilson household

Images About four years ago I took a step back and started to think about what life was going to look like as my kids started their exit strategy from our house.  Also they were at the age where I wasn't picking them up from school and I didn't need to move them from location to location because we live in the city.  I figured about 70% of my time was being spent on them and family stuff.  I began to plan my strategy for filling up that 70% with other things and figured it would take me some time get there. 

Like most everything else I do, nothing happens in long stretches.  Once I pivot or come up with a plan it usually is like jumping on a rocket ship as I like to get things done.  My first move since I had been blogging for 3 1/2 years at that point was to invest in Curbed Media.  I had been watching Lockhart from afar and loved what he was doing.  I knew he was starting to look for funding and so I reached out to him.  That move was the first pivot in the direction of regaining my own identity and life back.  It wasn't that I didn't love running the WIlson household which consisted of anything from baking cookies, having dinner parties, doing construction projects to buying a car, doing a project with one of the kids, helping them clean out their closet or researching our next dog but it was time to make it a little bit more about me. 

It has been four years since I made that investment and a lot has happened since then.  One investment turned into about eighteen different projects that I am involved with at different levels.  Shocking right?  I have to admit that I am a little blown away by that myself when I started counting.  I do manage to think about all these projects and give them my time, energy and anything I can to help each and every one of them and still meet new people.  Some are investments, some are non-profits and some are in the works so each take up different commitments at different times.  On top of that I am blogging daily. 

But the point of this post isn't to pat myself on the back or to show what I can do but to write about the issues of being a Mom.  I made a conscious decision to work again at a level that I enjoy because I am just happier when I am busy using my brain.  For most people this would be an insane amount of projects. Even though I have put a lot of effort into reposistioning myself I have not left my old job which is CEO of the Wilson house. 

I still make sure the refrigerator is filled, I still have dinner parties (I do adore them), I still bake, I still make dinner most nights, I still make sure the kids are getting what they need and I do have 2 still at home, I am still planning our travel vacations, I am working on two huge construction projects as well as a few smaller ones, I am still making sure that the windows are getting cleaned when they need to be, I am still making sure the trains run on time in our house.

Although the 70% of my time spent on family is no longer 70% it is much less but it is far from zero.  I have just figured out how to do it all within the 24 hours of the day and of course taking time out to sleep.  Bottom line, as more and more women leave the workplace or re-enter the workplace, the reality is that whatever they choose to do for themselves or even if they never left work, their day job as CEO of the household will always continue to exist.  So when VC's or investors are concerned that pregnant entrepreneurs or women with families make them take pause to invest the reality is most women are doing a helluva lot more than anyone realizes and they thrive on it. 

No offense guys, I'd love to see any of you do this. 

Comments (Archived):

  1. Mo Koyfman

    well said, as’re honorary CEO of my household too…so i really have no idea how you do it all!

  2. Bala

    I throw in the towel, there is absolutely no way I get to do what I do without my better half… so hats off to you and your energy, you inspire me. Now I need to get my wife to start reading your blog so she can participate or invest in projects that she is passionate about.

    1. Gotham Gal

      if there were only 30 hours in the day…

      1. Bala

        I know that is what she would say, in addition to taking our daughter to the doctor, dog to the vet, overseeing the construction of the summer house… if I point her to your blog, I know I will be in the dog house for days to come πŸ™‚ I am quite impressed how women multi-task so well, a necessary skill in the startup world. I am always looking for Women entrepreneurs to invest. Thanks for clarifying why I have atleast one good strategy for investing.

        1. Gotham Gal

          it is probably the best strategy. the more you have to do the more shit youget done.

  3. Howard L Morgan

    This is going to all of my CEO daughters, great post.

  4. IanWilson

    The last line was awesome.I have done it (for 6 months), it was the most exhausting thing I have ever done. Running a house and family makes running a business seem like a vacation. Seriously, guys, unless you have done it you have no idea. Try it and you will have a new found sense of awe and respect for your wife.

    1. Gotham Gal

      running a family is like running a start-up. different decisions to makedaily and some of those decisions affect the outcome of your children whichmakes being a parent one of the hardest jobs in the world.

      1. Tereza

        It’s *totally* a startup! I can’t imagine better training.I yearn for the day when a mom gets *credit* in startup land for the skills she’s honed as a mom.Who has to think on her feet more? Who makes more decisions that matter, daily?And just like a startup, we can’t control the inflow of demands. But we can — and do — put our own structure on it, and apply our creativity to solve hairy problems every single day.

        1. Donna Brewington White

          “I yearn for the day when a mom gets *credit* in startup land for the skills she’s honed as a mom.”This will happen as more women are involved in shaping the values that influence “startup land” and more men are sensitized to (cognizant of) this. More investors becoming aware is a good start — more women investors would be even better.

          1. Gotham Gal

            it certainly would

          2. Tereza

            Happy Mother’s Day, Donna!Xoxo

          3. Donna Brewington White

            Happy Mother’s Day to you too, T. You are one of my sources of inspiration!xoxo

          4. Tereza

            Awww shucks.You know, Donna, you always send positive vibes my way and it really makes a difference. :-)Happy Mothers Day to all!

  5. Cindy Gallop

    Great post Joanne – and one for the many VCs/angel investors who don’t fund women because they believe we ‘don’t have what it takes’ to ‘tough it out’ ‘in the trenches’ with a startup. Women get shit done because they have to on many more fronts than many men, and women are capable of absorbing, operating under, dealing with and succeeding at, a far more colossal amount of workload, stress and aggravation than the ‘tech bubble’ that is completely passing female entrepreneurs by, realizes.

  6. BB

    Bravo – the only thing I think missing from this narrative is the idea that your decision to stay home full time with your kids for years is the crown jewel of the Wilson investment portfolio. There are risks in the decision to stay home and risks if you continue to work and in either path there are corresponding rewards. There are tons of intangibles to account for, (goodwill in each new addition?) a significant cost of capital, and oh lord the opportunity costs. Making the initial call on how to invest and managing that investment over years in varying market environments is an incredible challenge. Maybe it is weird to think of it this way. (is it weird? I am weird.) While you don’t put a price on raising your kids, there are a bunch of different ways to get there and you have to figure out what works for your family. Congrats, you and Fred made a great decision on how best to invest in your family and you’ve managed it beautifully.

    1. Gotham Gal

      bravo back at you bridget. i like the crown jewel of the wilson investmentportfolio analogy. very very nice.

    2. rachel

      love your comment. there is no right or wrong answer to staying home with your children but it is undeniable that at different points in life there are tremendous sacrifices and unknowns involved in the decision to stay home with your kids. totally the crown jewel if you can make it work for all involved.

      1. Gotham Gal


  7. kirklove

    Boom. Great post, Joanne. Very happy to read you are happy with all the new challenges in your life. You’re definitely not just Fred Wilsons’ wife (still would advise kicking people in the shin when they say that). It’s more like he’s Joanne Wilson’s husband. ;)All the best, CEO.

    1. Gotham Gal

      Thanks Kirk. There is always jessica emily and joshs mom

      1. paramendra

        I like “Gothal Gal” best of all.

        1. Gotham Gal

          I need a tshirt that says “I am the gotham gal”. LOL

          1. paramendra

            That moniker is stamped on your forehead. To those who “know.”

    2. fredwilson


  8. Atlanticgull

    (applaud, applaud)Just wanted to give credit and attention to the time you dedicate to books, movies and the arts. While considered recreational, they all fuel the mind that juggles your life. Making them a priority, along with the 50,000 other things you’ve got going on, is no small feat.

  9. Aaron Klein

    I work 12 hours a day and call it a hard day’s work.My wife works 12 hours a day and calls it half the day off.Thanks for a great post, Joanne!

  10. leigh

    the CHO – Chief Household Officer πŸ™‚

  11. Lock

    Hahahaha. Love it!

  12. Kristin Maverick

    I absolutely love this post. I’m 27. Love my job and my career. I’m not married or have kids yet but I definitely want to someday. This conversation has come up a lot lately amongst friends discussing what we will do when the time comes to put focus on family and children. . Will I have to drop everything I’ve worked so hard for? I hope not. How can I balance it? This goes to show that over time you can be flexible and make it work for your individual life. I’m going to bookmark this for the future.

    1. Gotham Gal

      Those questions are definitely worth having at all points of your life. Ido believe the Internet is going to make it even more possible for women to”do it all” per se. But what Bridget said about focusing on the mostimportant investment, your children, is spot on.

  13. rachel

    you have so much in common with Julia Child πŸ™‚

    1. Gotham Gal

      wow. that says alot. she is my idol.

  14. atryon

    Great post Joanne! And a good reminder that balance is possible.

    1. Gotham Gal

      i try to make it possible but it is exhausting!

  15. Jennifer McFadden

    …and, in fabulous heels. Love this post.

  16. michaelgalpert

    Where’s the heart button on this post?!Keep up the awesome!

    1. Gotham Gal

      build it for me!

      1. paramendra


  17. daryn

    Can’t add anything that hasn’t already been said in the comments, but just wanted to add my praise for an excellent post!I feel like I’m constantly pushing myself with work and family, both of which I love, and am in awe of how much you, my wife, and so many other women just do. For me, household duties are basically limited to family fun time and weekend errands, while Brooke is working full time AND constantly taking care of all of the household tasks, picking up Ruby after school, spending evenings with her, etc.As far as your closing line, I’d love to see me do it too πŸ™‚

  18. Innocenti Paola

    very funny…I was thinking the same things few days ago….there are tuns of articols and dissertation about luck of women on companies boards….I told myself have you ever seen a man being a CEO of two different companies??? Few…..All women/moms are CEO of their families…no wonder why when they become even CEO of companies they are so great….they know very well what is needed to make a team work.Women are multitasking by nature.Men do things right too but approching things one by one I belive…Just a different way our brain is constructed a different panel mode

  19. gail

    loved your comments today…Illan realizes that running the household ( and lots of other things) is just not so easy…he tells me everyday ..he wouldn’t want to trade places with me for anything….still have to find that next adventure….

  20. Mgav

    Sounds like a testament to productivity: accomplishing far more in a 24 hour day (and often enjoying it) than most people do in 2 or 3 days.

  21. Debbie Stier

    You are so inspiring!

    1. Gotham Gal

      Ha. So are u

  22. Kellee

    I love the title “CEO of The Wilson household” as I know from watching my mother raise 5 children and help my father build his business- being a mother is sometimes harder than running a company! The multi-tasking is insane and to be able to have balance in your work/personal life is an even bigger challenge. It is inspiring to see you be a mom, an entrepreneur, and still have time to give back to the community.XX

  23. kenberger

    What methods and tools do you use to keep track of it all?Sounds like you’ve nailed uber-multi-tasking at rocket ship speeds. That’s magic to me, and so valuable.I know I, and likely the world, could really benefit from learning your best practices, including any software you use on the go.

    1. Gotham Gal

      Nothing but an android, google calendar and contacts, a mac and my brain

      1. kenberger

        you must have *some* sort of system? spill, GG, spill!!

        1. Gotham Gal

          Nope. Just what I mentioned. Sorry to disappoint

          1. kenberger

            astonished, I just now consulted my fiancee about what she uses and she gave THE EXACT SAME ANSWER. The closing line of your post is very apropos.

  24. Tereza

    Can’t tell you how much I heart this post. :-). LOVE!

  25. Tereza

    And I just want to say — what a foursome of guys accomplish in 18 holes of golf, a group of four women cover off in a joint trip to the restaurant bathroom.;-)

    1. Gotham Gal

      that’s hilarious

    2. RichardF

      lol…I’m sure that’s true Tereza but given the choice I’m pretty sure I’d rather play a four ball with JLM, Fred and Bijan followed by a few jars in the nineteenth.

      1. Tereza

        ….than go to the ladies lounge with me?!It is well-kept secret that, universally, men enjoy watching women put on lipstick.

        1. RichardF

          well now you put it that way…..

      2. Donna Brewington White

        The ladies room with T or the foursome that you described would be a very difficult choice. Except, now realizing that I wouldn’t be in the foursome — hmm….could drive the cart and listen in!

        1. RichardF

          I’m sure you’d contribute much more than just listening in Donna

  26. Mary Foden

    Amazing Post. Funny enough, I had a meeting this morning with the Director of my son’s school (he just turned 4, and I have another 2 yr old at home), and she asked me to spearhead a new fundraising campaign and take a VP position on the PTO next year. Being a startup founder, lawyer, and mom of 2 young kiddos, I asked her why she would look to me. She said “if you want something done, look to someone who’s really busy. We want to look to the professionals because they’ll get us where we want to go.” When I read your blog, it’s clear that you thrive on being super busy, as do I. When you have tons on your plate, there’s no time to dawdle. And the more you do, the more organized, happier, and energetic you are. That in turn makes you a better mom, wife, leader, sister, friend – everything.The icing on the cake is to make it all look and feel seamless. That’s a supremely feminine desire, but to achieve that, you must be an organized, hyper-efficient multi-tasker. I wonder if this goal or desire, to make it all look so easy, is what ultimately gives women an edge over our other halves.

    1. Gotham Gal

      i believe it does. women tend to take a lot on and are happy to take onmore only if they know they can actually get it done. multi-tasking is partof our dna, imho.

    2. ShanaC

      At what point does busy become too busy in all of this

      1. Gotham Gal

        that is a very good question. believe me, i say no plenty and i know thattoo busy isn’t good for me or anyone else around me.

        1. Mary Foden

          Too busy for me, as a mom, is when something will take away my time with the kids. I keep a strict schedule and keep to it. If I’m going to take on a new project, it has to fit into my work schedule. If I can’t add it to my work day, it’s a no from me. That’s just where I have to draw the line.

  27. CCjudy

    Write a book

    1. Gotham Gal


  28. J P Elliot

    Incredibly inspiring post, thanks for giving me a kick in the rear that I needed today!

  29. ShanaC

    Yes…I’m with that 27 year old about discussing how to manage “it” all with my friends (no we haven’t figured it out)Happy Mother’s day, and thank you for letting the younger women hanging around take a sneak peek in how to do “it all”

  30. Nicole

    Inspiring!I’m a single Mom that works full time as a Luxury Realtor as well as I’m working on a startup. I’m asked all the time, how do you do it. My answer, I don’t think about it I just do.

    1. Gotham Gal

      exactly. just do it. head down and plow through.

  31. JLM

    Great post and a thoroughly enjoyable read. A couple of thoughts.First, bad news — the kids and “exit strategy” — not going to happen and that is one of the best things in life. If you do it right, they will always be in touch. They never really leave and I don’t want them to. My long term aspiration is to develop a family compound and have all of them and their families and their kids on the same piece of ground.Don’t get me wrong, the empty nest is great. It’s like dating all over again.I “retired” when I was 45 and did much of what you did. I liked to cook and I liked to take care of the kids. I ran the most orderly school car pools complete w/ primary, secondary and athletic events sports schedules. I coached every sport at the local youth league for girls and boys — won a string of championships. I was great on getting them clothed but got deficient marks on the actual art of “shopping” for females. Very, very low marks.Here’s what I learned — it was great fun.It lasted for 4 years and then I got fired. But it was 4 of the best years of my life. You women get all the fun sometimes but I won’t tell you.Keep rocking.

    1. Gotham Gal

      i am working on that family compound right now!

  32. Donna Brewington White

    Appreciate this post, GG.While I never actually left the workforce, I realize that the way I interact with it is much different as a mom. I am a much better businesswoman and executor as a mom. And the motivation to excel/succeed comes from a much deeper place.

    1. Gotham Gal

      I have heard that from many women. After becoming a Mom, a new set ofeyeballs changed the world for them at many different levels.

  33. abolish

    “the reality is that whatever [women] choose to do for themselves or even if they never left work, their day job as CEO of the household will always continue to exist”Why do you assume men should not take on the “CEO of the household” role?

    1. Gotham Gal

      Bingo. You hit the nail directly on the head. True, true

  34. toofan

    Great post! Will love to see your weekly schedule, and how you manage all this, how much time you spent on each of the ‘jobs’ :)I recently had my first child 7 months ago, and even though my husband is very supportive of my work/home balance, I just can’t seem to be able to find the time and energy to do everything.

  35. Laura Yecies

    Women are natural multitaskers (yes some men are too) your history is a good example of this -…I see this with most of my mom employees and friends in the workforce

    1. Gotham Gal

      thanks laura. i will read that.

  36. William Mougayar

    Sorry about this delayed comment here, and I’ve been meaning to come back to try to ask you a meaningful question, after this great post that you have written.You make it sound so easy and fun- i.e. all this juggling of priorities, work and personal commitments. But I’m sure it wasn’t as easy at the beginning perhaps. Question is- at which point did it start to become easier and more fun, rather than difficult and somewhat dreadful. Were there turning moments or events that were part of the evolution of your journey?

    1. Gotham Gal

      there were many turning moments. having kids was huge, leaving theworkplace, returning to the workplace, moving to the suburbs, leaving thesuburbs, making enough money to not live hand to mouth. although i thinkfor anyone is it just part of the journey and when you look back it justseems like an evolution.