I was sick this weekend, so while I was lying on the couch, receiving gentle hugs from all three Ringlets, I considered my life.
It is simply absurd. I am absurdly lucky.
I think I’ve had an atypical amount of opportunity in my life. It’s been so much fun (to date, and I expect it will continue to be). I’m not sure why I get to be this lucky. The circumstances I was born into certainly play a major role. I got the easy setting and tons of support from day one.
The thing I was thinking about specifically this weekend, however, was how lucky I am to be the default parent and also a successful person who works. Having kids — and spending a lot of time with them — hasn’t been a blocker for me professionally. I get to build these bonds with the kids that are an absolute luxury, and I get to do wildly cool things at work. So many parents have to choose: work enough or parent enough. You don’t get to have both.
Well, I do.
A big part of this is because Automattic is super generous about AFK and sick time (and 85+% of any parent’s AFK and sick time is kid-related, at best) – it’s unlimited. I was able to take 5 months off when Grant was born. And Automattic is also how I’ve been able to grow what I do while also growing my babies. I am pretty good at what I do, and what I do is provide value to the area I work in — right now that’s Tumblr. I’m finding my feet a little still, but I expect I’ll be able to contribute to the success of Tumblr in significant ways. I’m not sure any other company would put me in that role. I’ve never been a COO before. [Sidenote, we’re rewatching Silicon Valley and we just saw the
world class coo episode, and it was funny and terrifying.] I’m not sure why I get to work on such exciting stuff, but I do!
When I was younger, my sister would get annoyed with me because my parents gave me things I asked for. The thing was, all I did was ask. The worst they could say was no, which is fair enough. I continue this practice today, though now my asking is rooted far less in laziness and far more in pursuing interest. And the people I work with are pretty receptive to listening to me, so it’s all worked out well. I’m able to do work that has positive impact, and I enjoy it, and it’s not my whole life. I get to learn from a bunch of genius-level people, people who work incredibly hard, and people who are really passionate about open source projects. It’s really very humbling!
Today I’m leaving a little early to take my five-year-old to soccer and sit and watch him. He gets really shy sometimes, and needs me there to root him on. That’s my right and responsibility as a parent, but it is an option denied to so many working parents. I intend to take full advantage.