Kass. She is a mom first and foremost, a businesswoman, a wife, and a friend. She mentioned it’s not easy to be all those things at once. Kass would give her perspective as a mom and working at the same time.
She had her first child a couple years into golf.com. She had her second when they were in their five years into golf.com, while their last child a month before starting Buddy Media. They started golf.com in 1998 and had his eldest, Myles, in 2001. Her second son Cole in 2004. They sold golf.com in 2006 and then a month after had their third child Vivian.
Having it all. For Kass, having it all means not going crazy while having kids and trying to work outside the home. Her opinion is that
It’s not just you can’t, it’s that we have to think about the different question to ask. Instead of saying can you have it all? I would say “at what cost?”; “Are you going to continue with that question or a different question?” A question I like to ask usually is “Do you realize how tired you are going to be while you try to get and have everything perfect at one time?”
There is a secret someone told her after she had her first child. If someone asks if they can help you after you have your first baby, the answer should be “YES”. Changing every diaper and holding the baby just yourself all the time - it’s just not possible. First of all, it doesn’t matter, because love is love. As long as you are getting the help you need and your child is getting the love they need, everything is great. She says, she doesn’t even know what “Having it all” means. She thinks it’s a mom who is inevitably going to go crazy.
Her ritual is definitely exercise- absolutely 100%. The worst moments of her mental state, being a mom, working and running a company, is when she doesn’t move as much. It’s not because she wanted to lose weight or look better in pictures and all that, it just made her less anxious. Feeling less of a failure on all the bucket was exercise. Calming her mind, not having to think all about that.
Women. After running the last two companies at least and being in the workforce on her own and trying to climb up the ladder, she says you don’t find women that are the most supportive. They really do want to push each other down.
When you get to be a mom, the thing you are so grateful for is there are other moms - that there is somebody else that has gone through the exact same thing.
The sacrifice of your body, loss of their mind, the exhaustion and the immediate transformation into this protector. Then you have to do all those while also making money, taking care of your family and it’s just unbelievable.
She was actually watching animal planet with one of her kids, and they were watching what bears do after they have their cubs - they really have no other jobs, but protecting them and providing food and shelter. Doing this and having to work as well, it’s crazy. You are told to be a mom - and you are told to also be someone who can produce income and you can’t really lose any of the other roles. Which is a friend, a wife, a sister and the list keeps on going.
Raising a family. Going back to the golf.com days, she was dating her husband at that time and didn’t have any children - which was a lot easier to do when she was not a mom. What ended up happening is that they got married and decided to have children. When they have kids, she constantly struggles with the idea of providing for them and being there for them always. It’s that constant pain and guilt of deciding; “if I just sacrifice my time right now, I could provide for them more in the future and be able to get back to them”. At that time of her life, she really did not have a choice as they needed her income -they had little income being entrepreneurs but it’s what they’ve chosen to do. At that same time, they also had two individual stores.
They then decided to have kids and for her to work full time as an entrepreneur. She was running these companies with her husband. People think it is very glamorous and that you have a lot more time. The truth is,
the very start of the company you do have a lot more time independence. The minute you are on to success or even just an inkling of success, you don’t have any of your time left. It is not glamorous at all, since you are literally chasing the money.
At that moment in time, Kass mentions “whatever you had or the balance you thought you’d have to have a company and being a mom is completely gone when you are doing something well.
I always believe that there is no balance - balance is the feeling of being present as in many things that you are doing at once which inevitably leads to you not paying attention to all the things you could be as if you did it just one at a time.
Her philosophy has always been that she was never balanced. If she had balance or was doing it all, it meant she would be doing a lot of things not very well or one thing really well. She claims to be a really good entrepreneur. She did make a lot of sacrifices with choices hoping that she could come back to her kids. People would say she was a great entrepreneur but doubts that many people would look at her now when she’s not signally focused on her company and say she’s a really great mom.
Typical Day. A big advantage is that you can live close to your work, which she was lucky to do in the early days of each company. It greatly helped but is not always the case. Her day would probably be what any other mom working outside the home in an addition to being a mom is. A stable morning consists of getting up at six, get everything ready for the kids, race to get ready herself and do whatever it takes. Then, she eats, feeds her children and race to work. She then gets multiple phone calls, and get updates. Put out a ton of fires at home, from simple things like, your child having temper tantrums, school and maybe see something that they are doing. She does this while thinking of the company. She is doing this so she never misses anything - “You’re working 24/7”.
After the kids get home, especially the first years; she was definitely home for dinner time. When kids are very young they like being outside, get out and do that. She sees to them, bathes them, be with them, put them to sleep and get back online from 8 pm till 1 or 2 in the morning.
You are actually an entrepreneur when you are responsible for everything, every category of your life. You are responsible for other things. So, that is what she thinks a mompreneur is – “It feels like you are in slow motion”. It is sometimes aggravating when you have more time, but it also is much more swell; which is nice.
Myself comes last. Kass mentioned that she comes last. She explains that when you become a mother, something transforms; you are not first. She wishes she could say that she’s ahead of the kids or thought of herself first and the times that she does take care of herself more she is a better mother. But no – she always comes dead last. But the way she prioritizes work is like a Ferris wheel. How many different fires will she put out? Which fire is up the top? Which are at the end of the ride getting off? She’s been really sacrificing; No one likes to hear it, but she really does know she was sacrificing the time with her kids.
I’m not glamorizing the “Oh, I wish I could do this” “Gosh, did I have to work and all that stuff”. I literally was saying “I have to work, this sucks, but I want it all because I am very selfish about it. I want to have my kids and start these companies, and I am not pretending I can do it all. So, I have to sacrifice from somewhere and I’m going to sacrifice being with them in the early days so I can get back at them when they are 8 and above.” It was a very big gamble though.
First and foremost, there is no balance. It is really important that all of us moms to get together and never pretend that there is some balance that none of us can reach. I just don’t believe there is a balance. I think you can focus on a couple things at a time, but when you really want to be at the top doing something really well it’s different. It’s not possible to get what people say as “having it all”.
When asked how she built a company and also be a mom she answers, “I sacrifice my mental state; I sacrifice my health at times; I sacrifice my kids, not their safety but being with their own parents - So, there is no balance.
you have to take all the help you can get, always.
Being a mom and a working mom, there are a lot of things we think we would get a medal or an award for. Like being the most tired or being the one that changes every diaper or being the one that did the laundry. No! You don’t actually get a reward for any of that. Picking out a present for your kid’s friend's birthday party that would be the kind of stuff you should outsource to your babysitter or your nanny. That helped her survive the last 17 years.
She really thinks that the key to survival in being an entrepreneur or a working mom is to think of it as kind of a war. You are in a war. It sounds kind of dramatic, but you are trained to do the best you can in every situation. You got to stick up for things that really don’t matter and outsource those that you can. You have to take the help, it’s a really big deal. That’s how I feel about the mom thing and the working mom thing.
As an entrepreneur and starting up a company you have to remember, especially if you have kids right away when starting a company; is that you are not crazy. You are going to feel trapped, trying to do everything perfectly and trying to give a 110% of everything.
It is going to exhaust you to the point you want sleep forever. If you can, take one step in front of the other. She thinks those moms are probably the most confident people to hire and qualified to run companies in the world. Which takes her to the next thing –
“I like Hilary to be president not because she is female, but because she is a mom. I want to see a mom in the white house, it is a very different thing to have a female as president.
She thinks we have to give ourselves a little bit of a break and remember that a 110% of what we do is usually unbelievable perfection. Our 80% would be better than 99% of the workforce out there. Remember to dial it back a little bit.
To survive as Guy Kawasaki said, “Shipping a perfect product and improving them along the way”.
It was a pretty big gamble, but it’s fine that somebody else helped her when the kids were still babies. It’s okay that somebody else walked them to school while she was working really hard at the same time. It was also okay that she didn’t make it to every single meeting and it wasn’t her face that investors saw every time. She was still able to be successful.
She admits to doing a lot of these interviews where people don’t like the fact that she sacrificed being with the kids and raising them, but she did. That is the truth because there is no “having it all”. When you’re doing one thing; you are not doing the other. And you are putting all your energy and craft it into being a leader or an entrepreneur or being good a gymnast or a tennis player or a casting or whatever it is. You are not doing as much practice at anything else and that is okay. It is also okay to want everything. How to have it all? - No, it’s How did I survive wanting it all? Wanting not to miss out on a lot of different categories.
Moving forward. Her tips to move everything forward is to surround yourself with people who make you laugh. She thinks she could not have survived the last seventeen years without really laughing, like a belly laugh once a day and having her babysitters who have been amazing. And of course her husband who she started the company with.
There is just no balance, it is okay to want to have everything and not miss out on anything. But you have to realize and be okay with or at least have some awareness that you are focusing on one thing at a time.
It's an identity. People are like “How do you identify yourself?” Right now, Kass identifies herself first and foremost as a mom and a friend because she was a great wife and great entrepreneur for those 17 years. Now, her new identity is a mom, a friend, and still a great wife; but if her husband Mike would be asked, he would say how a better mom and friend she is than a wife because that is what her focus is right now and she’s actually okay with that. You can’t be all you want. You will be good in a lot of things, that she thinks moms are; because we have to be. To be able to sacrifice physically and mentally to raise other human beings.
She actually thinks technology has helped moms become more organized. She uses this app called “Do It” that has always helped her and the babysitters. Having a place where you can just touch the app and write the idea down is really helpful, especially when you start to not even have the time to talk or write something even via email while you are trying to run a company.
It’s really important that moms who work or are starting companies realize that they are not in this alone and they need to get help.
They are going to feel crazy a lot, but that is because they are trying to do everything perfectly all at once and are just beating themselves up.