July 21st, 2012
09:36 AM GMT
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(CNN) –The newly appointed CEO of Yahoo is finding out something expectant moms quickly learn – you get a lot of unsolicited advice. All manner of well-meaning people have jumped on twitter and blogs to tell Marissa Mayer how she is going to feel after birth and how much maternity leave she should take. It makes me feel vaguely queasy.

For the record I have two small children. I took three months maternity leave for each and it wasn’t even close to enough. I struggle every day to balance work and children and many days feel I am failing. But that is my experience. It is personal to my life, my kids and my work ethic. I wouldn’t imagine telling anyone else how it is going to be for them or how they should conduct themselves.

Discussing the potential pitfalls of CEO moms and challenges facing every working mom is a very good thing. What I take issue with is the personal and judgmental tone of some of these open letters.

“Those giant mesh underpants they make you wear post-partum? They should NEVER come into contact with Oscar de la Renta. Nor should leaking breast milk ever have the opportunity to stain your favorite cashmere cardigan. Anna Wintour would not approve,” writes one Seattle mom in her open letter. (Does it sound like she is sneering….or is it just me?)

“You can’t outsource motherhood….listen to your colostrum,” penned my colleague Kristi Lu Stout. And on it goes. You have no idea what you are in for, they say over and over again.

C’mon. It is true Mayer is a first time Mom, but she isn’t from Mars. At 37 I am sure she has friends and family who have shared their newborn war stories. As a manager, she has heard first hand from her employees the pressing need to balance work and family. She spoke at length at a conference about trying to help a team member Katie make it to her son’s soccer games on time.

I am sure Mayer thought long and hard about taking on the dual role of mom and CEO. Does that mean she will succeed? No. She is not just going to be running a company; she has to turn it around. But if she thinks she has a vision on how to bring Yahoo back to life, should she really NOT try because she is pregnant? Life is messy. It is hard to time things perfectly.

You want to sound off about working moms, great. But let’s broaden it out away from Mayer’s personal decision. Let’s talk about the fact that 61% of women with a child under three are in the labor force and yet many feel their companies don’t support them when it comes to family balance.

I got assigned this story, ended up having to put in a long day, missed tucking my kids in bed and no one but me noticed or cared. Maybe, just maybe, if there are more women with young kids or babies at the top things will start to change. A girl is allowed to dream.

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soundoff (17 Responses)
  1. Chalchi

    Wait, wait, wait,
    I am a baby...okay?
    I am hungry or I am just in bad mood and I want my mom to baby me...okay?
    Is she with me or somewhere else?
    I see, she is busy making 70 million dollars and she is happy.
    So, 70 million dollars are more important for her than me?
    Again...70 million dollars are more important than a baby?
    This is the most important step in human evolution...where babies have a price...and in this case...less than 70 million dollars.
    For me, my kids' value is more than the whole universe...I know I am not a greed guy but I am happy to see my kids enjoying life.

    July 21, 2012 at 9:54 am |
  2. Chalchi

    Yeapy...too much struggle when you have lovely kids.
    May I ask if Yahoo is changing direction and moving to be in the fashion arena?
    All these girls are beautiful...oh yeah!!!
    Is Yahoo replacing Play Boy?
    Just wondering.

    July 21, 2012 at 10:05 am |
  3. beancube

    Modern moms are on-line with other modern moms now-a-day. Their on-line communication and exchanging experience will help them stably overcome many things. Mom's tense to see all kids are their kids strangely. Motherly love is a mystery but humanity and civilizations learned a lot from it. It is also our soft spot in life.

    July 21, 2012 at 10:31 am |
  4. Lynn Cee

    Totally. It's not like Marissa Mayer is the only woman in tech, or the only one to try to lead a high-tech company. But Ms. Mayer has much more visibility than most women in high-tech, owing to her unusual spokesperson role at Google and her busy, designer-clad social calendar. Some of the comments about Mayer are downright sycophantic. But the pressure is on Mayer to deliver ... (It would be choice to know what one of Mayer's predecessor CEOs at Yahoo! — the highly accomplished Carol Bartz — thinks of all this hoopla, and Mayer's "lavish" package of pay and perks.) You can imagine the chatter all over Silicon Valley.

    July 21, 2012 at 10:37 am |
  5. Michael Wind

    she is just a nice lady and she is having a baby,and her right eye is bigger then left,and she has a job,otherwise she can not do much,thank you.

    July 21, 2012 at 11:27 am |
  6. Linda Fogg

    No one noticed or cared that you missed tucking in your kids? Your kids did. I did the 60 hour week high level corporate manager job at a Fortune 500 company that was very supportive. Many could have done my job, but no one could be my kid's mom except me.

    July 21, 2012 at 11:53 am |
  7. Jimmy Stewart

    I'm excited an engineer was selected rather than some "former" CEO or wall street type. This hopefully will put an emphasis on products and services and not share holder value, which is where this discussion should have gone but it didn't partly because of articles like this. As for all the negative, can't have it all, mother-to-be comments, I can't help but think people are jealous or just trying to justify the decisions they've made when it comes to work life balance.

    July 21, 2012 at 11:56 am |
  8. Mary

    Well, maybe–just maybe–someone strong, not self-indulgent, not self-centered, who does not have "kids" (the fulcrum of self-centeredness and self-indulgence from everyone's viewpoint but yours) would be able to do the work without corporate "support," whining, and the nauseating misapprehension that anyone but you needs more children in the world. That would allow you to stay home and give the income to someone who doesn't bore.

    July 21, 2012 at 1:20 pm |
  9. William

    "I got assigned this story, ended up having to put in a long day, missed tucking my kids in bed and no one but me noticed or cared. Maybe, just maybe, if there are more women with young kids or babies at the top things will start to change."

    This happens to men all the time too. Just because there's an income disparity between men and women does not mean that all men are OK with missing tucking their kids into bed.

    July 21, 2012 at 8:01 pm |
  10. William

    @Michael Wind:

    "and her right eye is bigger then left"

    I don't know why it matters to you that one eye is bigger than the other in the picture posted along with this story, but it's her left eye that appears to be larger, not her right. You're looking at a photograph, not a mirror.

    July 21, 2012 at 8:03 pm |
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    July 22, 2012 at 12:33 am |
  12. entertainment

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    July 22, 2012 at 5:59 pm |
  13. Airawat

    "got assigned this story, ended up having to put in a long day, missed tucking my kids in bed and no one but me noticed or cared"

    What would you feel about a FATHER who wrote the above?

    July 24, 2012 at 1:13 pm |
  14. oreo

    Typical female. Makes it sound like fathers do nothing in bringing up children. Do women really want to be treated the same as men? I bet you if a boat is sinking, women will be the first ones expecting to be getting on the lifeboat.

    July 25, 2012 at 10:17 am |
  15. Klaire

    Well, as long as she doesn't let her pregnancy and future child-rearing interfere with her work, no one should say anything. But, if she is anything like my coworkers (who routinely expect me to cover their shifts while they "take care of the kids"), she needs to get a babysitter.

    July 25, 2012 at 7:00 pm |
  16. medhat

    Fun to learn English for free

    July 26, 2012 at 1:35 am |
  17. arapikos

    Well, she cannot get the job done -all by herself. Let's see how her staff handles it. They are the ones who will be most affected by her position and raising a child. I had a demanding job, as a military logistics officer some years ago in direct support of National Security. Yes, it was demanding-skipped lunch to take or pick up my daughter from preschool-did most of the things that a woman would usually do -daily. You see, my wife did not drive and just could not learn how to. So, I got the duty to do double work. Loved it, even today I remember those tough demanding days.
    One thing, I stayed within my mandatory weight limit.

    July 26, 2012 at 10:14 am |

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