Listen, I get it. Marissa Mayer is kind of a big deal. She took on the role of CEO to a failing company, and as a woman who wants to have the ability to thrive professionally, and have the same opportunities as my male counterparts, I did see it as a great opportunity to set an example for all working women.
What I didn’t think was that she was supposed to hold all of the responsibility on her shoulders.
When Marissa decided to throw being a working mom into the mix, and began to make choices that threw the norm out the window by only taking two weeks, (if that), of maternity leave with her first child three years ago, that threw the internet into a tailspin.
More recently, she posted on her Tumblr that she is now pregnant with identical twin girls and will give birth in December. Well, what did she go and do that for? The nerve she has to have, wanting children while running a company!
She stated in her post that:
Since my pregnancy has been healthy and uncomplicated and since this is a unique time in Yahoo’s transformation, I plan to approach the pregnancy and delivery as I did with my son three years ago, taking limited time away and working throughout.
Based on her post, she’s about 7 months into her pregnancy and it’s going well. Sure, multiples pregnancies are no joke. I should know, because I endured one of the higher risk versions of identical twins pregnancies.
That being said, I don’t fault her for taking an optimistic approach. She has the means to care for her children while being a working mom. Additionally, considering she’s pretty adept at running a company, I’m pretty sure she has contingency plans for the remainder of her pregnancy and delivery should anything come up. She dodges many unforeseen circumstances on the regular and keeps her cool, so I’m betting she’ll have a back-up plan for a c-section, early delivery, or otherwise.
Let’s give her a smidge of credit, shall we?
It’s not our place to begrudge Marissa Mayer the career she has worked for and the company she has been supporting through a crisis. She worked hard to have the ability to provide for her family doing something that she loves while also enjoying the joy that is having children. Since when is that wrong? Since when is it our place to say you should not have children because you are a career woman?
She has a nursery next to her office, which means that she can, at any given time, pop over to nurse her children, change their diaper if she sees fit. Those who are snarky and negative would argue otherwise, but if she wanted to be completely disconnected from her children, she would have her nursery and her children at home. Those who are negative would argue, “It must be nice to have a nursery next to her office.”
It is nice, for her children. They get their mother near them all the time, who happens to run a company. A fortune 500 company.
How is this different than a kid who grows up on a farm running around while their mom and dad tend to cattle night and day? How is this different than a freelancer who has a little one crawling around as they typed away for a client? Many people don’t have the luxury of more time off, I get it. She’s choosing to not take time off. Regardless, we are all doing the best we can.
Let’s not assume the worst of this woman. A fellow mother. Let’s also not put the weight of women’s issues on her shoulders. She is doing the best that she feels that she can, working with the resources she has and the she was given to make the best of her own life.
I refuse to judge her choices, assume that her children will grow up messed up, and put the weight of women’s working rights all on her shoulders. She already does what she can as a CEO to allow her employees more leave than they had prior to her coming on at Yahoo. I have seen arguments that regardless of this move on her part, there is an unspoken precedence being set that they can’t take their full leave.
That’s an assumption.
I can concede that it’s possible there is a culture there to be a work horse like her, but the fact remains that until it’s proven otherwise, she supports her staff in taking their full leave based on the policies she sets.
As a CEO of a company going through so much transition like Yahoo or a “renaissance” as Marissa mentioned in her statement:
Leading Yahoo in our renaissance, alongside a terrific and dedicated team, has given me tremendous professional pride in our accomplishments. I’ve never been more excited about our progress and the growth opportunities for our amazing company. At the same time, I’m blessed to have experienced some of my most extraordinary and proudest personal moments while being Yahoo’s CEO. Moving forward, there will be a lot to do for both my family and for Yahoo; both will require hard work and thoughtful prioritization. However, I’m extremely energized by and dedicated to both my family and Yahoo and will do all that is necessary and more to help both thrive.
I can empathize with her hope to keep momentum.
I don’t have all the answers for you. I can’t argue that she’s making the right choice 100%. But, what I do know is that all of us, each and every one of us make the best choices for our families when we become parents. We each assess what is best for our vision of family (each is different), what our financial picture can support (each is different), and what we hope the future will bring (each will look different). It is most certainly not our place to assume that one choice is better than the other unless it, with certainty, means the harm of children. And, Marissa’s choices do not.
*drops mic, steps off of soapbox*