Ni­c­hole Mus­tard

Co-founder and chief rev­enue of­fi­cer of Credit Karma, a per­sonal fi­nance site with a $4 bil­lion val­u­a­tion and $682 mil­lion in an­nual rev­enue.

Inc. (USA) - - 100 FF - —As told to Mari­aAs­pan

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.

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