Don’t Judge a Mom by the Size of Her Job

Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer/AP

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.

5 responses to “Don’t Judge a Mom by the Size of Her Job

  1. Molly Ann Williams

    Congratulations Brooke on calling a “spade a spade”. You’re right, if Marissa was a man, this baby wouldn’t be news. Let’s all send her our blessing with the baby & the job, she’ll figure it out.

  2. ugh this pissed me off too. of course there’s the whole pregnant woman ceo thing, but i got really upset too when they chastised her for the photo she chose, that she chose one where she wasn’t pregnant, it was a photo from last year. Why must everyone judge?! It just gets me I can’t stand it.The poor girl can’t win anywhere.

  3. Thanks for your response. I see your point. Im not exactly saying she will have the same experience as a male CEO, I’m just saying we should let her have the room to figure it out without judging her. The articles are ready to set her up for a difficult experience and make it sound like everyone’s watching what will happen with Yahoo with a critical eye. Then there will be the moms who will judge her for only taking 2 weeks maternity leave and working through it. I say just leave her alone and let her figure it out!

  4. Michael Lefferts

    As I think you know, after my wife, there is no woman I love more than you. However, for the first time, EVER, I must respectfully disagree with you in your most recent Carpool Candy column. I think you are being overly sensitive to the comments about Mrs. Mayer’s difficult transition from giving birth to resuming her dynamo role in the board room. As a famous person once said “this is life it’s ownself”. I’m sorry, but if the Yahoo CEO were a man there wouldn’t even be a comment about his wife giving birth and it would have absolutely no effect on his duties as CEO. Mrs. Mayer’s giving birth will certainly have “some” effect on her perforformance for at least a little while. I know you would like men and women to be equal in every respect and get easily offended when you perceive that is not the case. I differ slightly in that I would like men and women to get equal opportunities in all things. Love you,


  5. i love this . you are right. and there is no PERSON that can do all perfectly- we just do all we can, figure it out, work hard, sleep less, fret more, and hope for the best. and that is for the dads as well as the moms. though moms do do more….;)