Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer: Please Don’t Minimize Being A Working Mom

Wed, November 28, 2012 2:05pm EST by 10 Comments
Marissa Mayer Baby
Courtesy Of Twitter, Getty

Yahoo!’s new female CEO Marissa Mayer spoke out for the first time about juggling the demands of tending to Yahoo! and a baby. But she made it all sound easy — should she have?

Marissa Mayer, I think it’s terrific that you took on the incredibly demanding job of CEO of Yahoo! especially when you were six months pregnant.

Appearing To Be Super Woman

At 37, you are an inspiring role model for all young and not-so-young, working women.

But when you gave your first interview since giving birth to your first child, son Macallister Bogue, on Sept. 30, you spoke out in a way that may have made made the hearts of many working moms drop.

It certainly wasn’t intentional, but I think Marissa, in trying to be totally positive about your job, company and motherhood in general, you minimized the parenting demands you’re under.

“I knew that the job would be hard, and I know that the baby would be fun,” you told an audience at FORTUNE magazine’s Most Powerful Women dinner in Palo Alto, California on Nov. 27.

“And the thing that surprised me, and really puzzlingly so, is that the job is really fun! Yahoo! is a really fun place to work,” you explained.

But then you said — and this is the kicker:

“The baby’s been way easier than everyone made it out to be. I think I’ve been really lucky that way but I had a very easy, healthy pregnancy, he’s been easy. So those have been the two really terrific surprises — the kid has been easier and the job has been fun!”

Is It Really That Easy?

Marissa — I think you’re an amazing trooper, but I’m sorry, I don’t believe you for one second when you say that “the baby’s been way easier than everyone made it out to be.”

It’s just that first-time motherhood for any woman is never “easy,” no matter how much help you have. Babies are demanding. They need to be fed, often so many times a day that you barely finish one feeding when they’re ready for another. Then there’s the sleeping issue at night. And even if you have a night nurse who cares for the baby all night, if you’re breastfeeding you still need to get up to feed. Sometimes babies are fussy and cry a lot. Sometimes they have colic. And no mom can help herself from wanting to comfort their baby.

Then there’s your body changes. It’s uncomfortable to even sit down for a while after giving birth; your milk comes in; your emotions go on a rollar coaster as your hormones change.

All of this is manageable — but it’s not “easy,” and especially when you’re also responsible for running a $20 billion business. Plus, it’s one that you only took over a few months ago.

You, yourself decided to only take two weeks of maternity leave after you gave birth because you clearly felt the weight of your responsibilities sitting on your shoulders.

That in itself must have been a tough decision. I’m a mom of four, who also returned to work quickly after giving birth to each of my babies, but physically, it’s a tough gig and emotionally, it’s just as hard I completely sympathize.

Nevertheless with 12,000 employees at Yahoo! and a board of directors looking for you to lead, plus your own enthusiasm to get in and get the job done, you felt it was important to make the sacrifice of returning to work quickly.

All of this is understandable and hugely commendable, but I think it’s ok to let a little of your super woman image slip. Working women, and working moms especially, would appreciate you letting us know that you are “just like us,” too.

The Reality Of Being A Working Mom

When you just say that it’s been easier than you expected, most working moms simply respond “of course it is for her — she’s worth a fortune, she can afford 24 hours, 7 days a week babysitters, a cook, a housekeeper, a chauffeur, personal shoppers, assistants at the office, etc. etc.” — you get my drift.

That’s what most women are immediately thinking because they’ve been there, up with a sick, crying baby in the middle of the night, with bosses needing reports done, and trying to figure out who’s going to care for their little one the next day, because they can’t take them to daycare.

Most working moms may love their careers and babies but mostly they just feel EXHAUSTED and overwhelmed.

Now, I actually bet you do, too! How could you not? You have a BIG job and a newborn. No matter how much help you have — you still have an overly full plate.

So Marissa, we won’t think you’re being whiny or unprofessional if you fess up just a little. It’s not really “easy,” is it?

Work with us — show us some spit up you forgot to wipe off your blouse. Confess that you’re so tired some days you can barely get your heels on or that you wish you could wear sweats to work. Pull a diaper wipe out of your purse and swear you’ve learned how they can double as makeup wipes in a pinch.

You get it. Just let us in on the fact that you may be the CEO of a super exciting, fun company, but you’re also just one of us — a working mom juggling the super tough task of work and being a mom! We’d be cheering you on it if you did!

What do you think, HollywoodLifers? Tell me now.

– Bonnie Fuller


More Marissa Mayer news:

  1. Marissa Mayer Returns To Yahoo Two Weeks After Baby — Too Soon?
  2. Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer Not Pregnant On ‘Fortune,’ Moms Outraged
  3. Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer Gives Birth To Baby Boy

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Posted at 6:13 PM on February 25, 2013  

Sounds like she doesn’t think of being a mother as the biggest honor and hardest job because she’s not committed to it. She’s more committed to her work. What a shame for the baby. She probably has many people or at least a full-time Nanny raising her son. She sounds completely disconnected to her child and doesn’t understand the important role of a mother. I feel very sorry for her son and extremely sorry for anyone who tries to work for her. This is not a family friendly environment. She doesn’t get it. People like her should not be parents and should not have the power to make decisions like this for so many other families and women. She’s bad news and not mother material.

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Posted at 6:30 PM on February 25, 2013  

What do you know about her parenting skills? Are you acquainted?

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Posted at 4:34 PM on February 26, 2013  

Smart, intelligent women like Marissa should be parents. Women in the workforce help ensure that we don’t go back to a time when women could not own property, have bank accounts, or work outside of the house. Why is almost every article on this site Anti-Marissa?

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Posted at 10:06 PM on December 1, 2012  

Every experience is different for every mother, so you cant tell others its hard when thats your own opinion Bonnie.

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Posted at 5:03 PM on November 29, 2012  

I am on the end of a working mom who believes it’s hard. But this article is terrible – how do YOU know it’s not easy for her? Some woman find it easier to let others help them take care of the baby, etc. They get their fullfillment from their job more than their kids. She make not speak to you or me, but she is allowed to speak her truth. If she lied and it is hard, than it’s a disservice to working moms. But I can respect her opinion….but I’ll share mine that I find beinga business owner and mother hard.

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Kristen strong

Posted at 10:19 AM on November 29, 2012  

Bonnie fuller must be one jealous woman,why do women like judging it other?..can you appreciate ths CEO

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Working mother

Posted at 10:46 PM on November 28, 2012  

How sad that it’s always the women that are beating up other women? Mayer’s achievements are to be commended, but instead I am constantly coming across articles and blog posts (always written by women) that pull apart every single thing she says. As a CEO of a corporation in trouble what choice does she have rather than demonstrate strength and no sign of weakness? She’s not running a women’s magazine here, but a high tech company.

Yes, she certainly has nannies and other household staff. But no one gave it to her – she busted her butt for years before having a first child. To all those that are jealous – take ownership of your own destiny and success.

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Posted at 8:38 PM on November 28, 2012  

Excellent rebuke of some rather insensitive comments!

Perhaps though, Mayer does have 24 hour care and isn’t breastfeeding. 2 weeks is still a short time to heal up but in those conditions it could possible…

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Posted at 5:31 PM on November 28, 2012  

This is one of the most honest, yet non- judgmental article I read about Marissa’s comment: “baby is easy”. Kudos for telling it as it is, from the perspective of a working mother.

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Posted at 2:24 PM on November 28, 2012  

Here we go again: all moms are working. Don’t ever minimize it!

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