I saw this Associated Press article in my travels yesterday and it pissed me off.
It’s about the new CEO of Yahoo, Marissa Mayer, who gave birth to her first child over the weekend. Some reports just stated the facts, like the kid doesn’t even have a name yet. But this particular article (likely one of many) wondered how Mayer will be able to take on the challenge of new motherhood while doing the very large job of saving Yahoo.
What’s interesting to me is that this would never come up if she was a man. I’m not even sure the CEO of a major company becoming a father would even make news, much less cause a stir. I don’t think anyone would be questioning how a male CEO would balance his job and parenting.
Why is that?
Do we assume that said CEO has a wife who would take care of a newborn, leaving him to master the universe? Or is it that we can’t imagine a woman could handle the modern high standards of new moms while running a giant corporation?
The article says : “The attention surrounding Mayer’s pregnancy and the birth of her child intensifies the pressure as she tries to engineer a long-awaited turnaround at one of the Internet’s best-known companies. ”
Whether your work is at home or in the office, all moms know that every day is a struggle for the illusive life balance. Some days the stars align, all your carpool plans gel, the test goes well, you made a great point in a meeting, and you can reheat leftovers for dinner.
And some days just suck.
Here’s another quote from the article: “No matter how much Mayer may have prepared for her baby’s arrival, she is likely to be surprised by some of the difficulties that torment working moms, predicted Kim Smith, a partner with Witt/Kieffer, an executive recruitment firm that has worked with other mothers who have time-consuming jobs.”
Thanks for the sister support Kim!
Of course she’s going to be surprised, and exhausted, and an emotional wreck in the first few months. And even if she has a baby nurse and 2 nannies, it’s still on her to bond with that little boy and learn how to take care of him, no matter how many times her iPhone rings.
But let’s let her do it in peace. She’ll figure it out. We women are extremely capable creatures. She’ll be changing a diaper with one hand and reading deals with the other in no time. Or maybe her husband will stay home with the kids while she focuses on taking over the internet.
Congratulations Marissa! Enjoy this special time with your son whichever way you choose, without people judging you. I know I won’t.