Around the tech world recently there’s been a number of articles and debates around expectations from mom CEOs, more specifically the habit of asking them how they manage to balance the demands of being both a mom and a CEO. Seems men never get asked that question. I certainly wont debate that, it’s clear that women have it harder in business settings, for many aspects of work life. However, I think there’s another aspect to those sex specific CEO questions; people assume men can’t balance the two, but seem to think women just might be able to. There is after all the expression “super mom” but how often do you hear “super dad” used for the same kind of parent + job superness? Not very. Obviously most journalist in those cases are thinking more about failings and are underestimating the women they are interviewing—treating the two genders unequally, but I think there’s a part of low expectations from men CEOs. I think we should expect more.
One male CEO just stepped down because he couldn’t make it work and wanted to spend more times with his kids. Kudos.
Earlier this summer, Matt Lauer asked Mary Barra, the CEO of GM, whether she could balance the demands of being a mom and being a CEO. The Atlantic asked similar questions of PepsiCo’s female CEO Indra Nooyi. As a male CEO, I have been asked what kind of car I drive and what type of music I like, but never how I balance the demands of being both a dad and a CEO…
I recognize that by writing this I may be disqualifying myself from some future CEO role. Will that cost me tens of millions of dollars someday? Maybe. Life is about choices. Right now, I choose to spend more time with my family and am confident that I can continue to have an meaningful and rewarding work life while doing so. At first, it seemed like a hard choice, but the more I have sat with the choice the more certain I am that it is the right choice.
—Why I am leaving the best job I ever had
And finally, why is failing at your business hailed as a great lesson (in startup world anyway) but recognizing you failed at balance and stepping back to prioritize family not seen as as great a lesson?