Nichole Mustard b
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 oppor
tunity 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 frst steps or
missing the frst 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 benefts 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.
—As told to Maria Aspan
Nichole Mustard (in
checked shirt) and her
wife, Dawn, a corporate-attorney-turned-stay-at-home-parent, with their
kids Mason, 14, Sawyer, 9
(with Dawn), and 7-year-
old twins, Maggie (in
pink) and Anne, at their