Marissa Mayer said that she knew it would be hard to run a Fortune 500 company and have a baby. She knew that she’d only take two weeks of maternity leave. Reports say that she was back to work within hours of her son’s birth, and that she was back to full days at the office after two weeks.
But when Marissa Mayer said that “the job is really fun,” and that “the baby’s been way easier than everyone made it out to be,” I wonder if she knows that every mother in America — and possibly the world — wants to punch her in the face.
Two weeks after my kids were born, I wasn’t even out of sweats, much less back to the office. And I still struggle with the working mom ideal: Is it really possible to excel both at a career and in the home? I like the think that I’m not the only one that struggles with this idea, that there are other moms out there that have a hard time focusing on working when someone needs a snack or a diaper change or a hug or an answer.
As I sat down to write this article, my 3-year-old informed me that he had “an accident.” Again. My 1-year-old is currently emptying all the contents of the drawers in the kitchen. And these are normal occurrences. I’m not even stressed out. I love my boys, and the love and insight they add to my life, despite the mess that they bring. Isn’t that what being a mom is about?
I wonder if Marissa Mayer has ever cleaned poop off her floor. In fact, part of me wonders if Marissa Mayer has ever cleaned up her baby’s poop at all.
When the 37-year-old took the reigns at Yahoo!, I really wanted to have her back. In a move of female solidarity, I wanted to applaud her efforts to have her cake (or baby) and eat it, too. Not one to be naive, I knew she wouldn’t be waking in the pre-dawn hours to crank in a bit of work before the baby woke up to nurse. She wouldn’t be trying to finish up at the office and wonder what she was going to make for dinner, and if the daycare would stay open a few extra minutes so she wouldn’t get charged $5 for every minute she was late. I knew she’d have help, that somewhere in her San Francisco pent house were a nanny and a cook and a maid waiting to help her enter into the glorious world that we call motherhood.
And I know deep down that the way Marissa Mayer parents isn’t really any of my business. But I have to admit that reading about a 37-year-old woman who runs a multimillion dollar company and calls work “fun” and her baby “easy” makes me throw up a little in my mouth. Once the gross taste subsides, I’m left with this feeling of “what’s wrong with me?”
I know that Marissa Mayer has said little about her role as a mom. Let’s be honest, we know she’s got a lot of help trying to “have it all.” While she’s banned all Yahoo! employees from working from home, it’s been reported that the office next to hers belongs to little Macallister. But having a mother like Marissa Mayer in the spotlight does little to highlight the joys of real, actual, messy motherhood.
I think we all thought that Marissa Mayer would shed some insight, would be our hero, and show the world how a working mom can have it all. But really, I think all she’s done is show us that she’s in a class all her own. Most of us can’t have it all, if by “it all” we’re expecting a cubicle for little Johnny and his au pair in the office, or someone to cook us dinner and clean our houses and do our laundry. The husband of one Yahoo! employee asked, “I wonder what would happen if my wife brought our kids and nanny to work and set ‘em up in the cube next door?” Bring you baby to work day apparently only flies if you’re the boss.
Marissa Mayer really is in a class all her own.
What do you think about Marissa Mayer and her ban of employees working from home?
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