Co-founder and chief revenue officer of Credit Karma, a personal finance site with a $4 billion valuation and $682 million in annual revenue.
Luckily, I’m in a relationship structure that has some optionality. We were living in Boston when Dawn got pregnant, and we had Mason in February 2004. It became legal in Massachusetts that May to get married, and by June, we were married. For the second child, I raised my hand and said, “I’ll do this.” Dawn said, “No, you’re not going to do this, because then I’m gonna have to rub your feet and give backrubs, so I’m gonna have the baby. Then if you want more kids, you do it.”
We were trying for over 18 months and on that roller coaster of ups and downs every month. When the opportunity with Credit Karma came along, we decided to stop until we got resettled in the San Francisco area. I don’t know if we were just more relaxed or just lucky, but Dawn got pregnant.
The timing was not good for me to carry the third child because when you’re in a startup, there are all kinds of chaos and having babies is just one more thing. We didn’t want to slow down the family and we didn’t want to slow down with the work. Dawn was more than willing to go for number three, and I think we were all surprised that it was three and four.
I often say, if you’re going to write a book about my life, you should just get my cell phone and see what’s been texted to me: missing the first steps or missing the first lost tooth. Missing all of these moments means working really hard to create different moments for me with each of the kids so that we, too, have something special.
Two years ago, we changed our maternity and paternity benefits to give our team members, male and female, three months paid time off, with four additional weeks for moms.
I always joke that I get a year and a half off at some point in time to make up for those bonding moments that I missed with my kids when they were babies. But I think the tradeoffs that you make as a founder are tradeoffs that you chose.
Full House Nichole Mustard (in checked shirt) and her wife, Dawn, a corporateattorney-turned-stay-athome-parent, with their kids Mason, 14, Sawyer, 9 (with Dawn), and 7-yearold twins, Maggie (in pink) and Anne, at their Orinda, California, home.