Posts Tagged ‘ CEO ’

Marissa Mayer–Your Comments on Working Through Maternity Leave

Thursday, July 26th, 2012

There were so many insightful, great comments based on my Marissa Mayer blog post, I figured I would share some of them. In most cases, these are just part of the comment, so if you feel compelled, go and read them in their entirety.

I think the general consensus is: we aren’t sure what to make of Mayer’s decision, but we wish her the best. I think there is also a consensus that she is perhaps a tad naive in her broad strokes line of “I’ll take a few weeks of maternity leave and just work through.” And lastly, I think everyone agrees that maternity leave in this country is terribly lacking.

So here are some snippets from you guys about the controversy. I really appreciate you taking the time to weigh in. Hopefully you didn’t do it while on maternity leave (instead of being with your baby. Ha).

This woman is a lawyer and said the following: I can’t speak for Ms. Mayer directly, but if she is anything like me and other women who APPEAR to be supermoms, in reality, she is in for a tough road. I so desperately wanted (and still want) to prove that a baby doesn’t make me inferior or weaker that I overwork myself into oblivion (whether working on business stuff or mommy stuff). All I’ve proven is that you can “have it all” but you won’t be truly happy on the inside, and in the end, that is what matters most.

Elisabeth: Some of us single Mom’s are driving & shopping with our babies 4 or 5 days after major surgery…a c-section. One does what one has to…and when that means needing to go to the pharmacy and tote your newborn with you, you do it!

Lisa Spence: I’m hopeful that she sets a new standard. Board meetings with a mommy’s helper and a bunch of rug rats in the next room. nursing through P&L discussions. Business meetings at the park over PB&Js, delivering TED talks with an Ergo strapped to her chest, bouncing from side to side – exactly the kind of CEO I really want to be, but there is no precedent. I do think we can have it all, but we have to completely blow the “good old boys club” out of the water.

(Amen, sister!)

Amber: What money is able to buy her is nannies etc but it can’t buy off your hormones,memory, focus and body. I think she will have many tears and regret.

B Drake: I really don’t believe that going back to work will be such a big deal for her. People in her economic group can afford help, so she’ll be able to make all of her time with her baby quality time, and not worry about most of the logistics that lower income moms must handle.

Holly: I was working from the hospital less than 24 hours after my c-section. On the way home the next day, I stopped in to work to pick up and drop of paperwork. I actually spoke to 3 of my freight reps several hours after my son my son was born. And I regret none of it. He was sleeping. I had my husband there to do everything I couldn’t. And I don’t feel that I missed “bonding time” with my son. What I do regret is trying so hard to run a company with my son at work with me. I ran a small manufacturing company, so there was no corporate daycare and the warehouse was to loud for me to just put my son in a carrier and walk around with him. I worked until he was 10 months old, and he spent a lot of time in his playpen. He fell behind developmentally, my work suffered, and I was stressed all the time because I was failing at both of my jobs (work and being a mother). Working through maternity leave is not that difficult. Working while carrying for a 6+ month old child is stupid. 

I want to end with this one, as the last line of her comment is oh-so-true. And regret is a bitch. Thanks again ladies for the insight!

Laura: When I had my second son, we were short staffed and even though I had a six week maternity leave, I ended up going in a few hours here and there. I ended up shorting myself an entire precious week with my newborn. While I believe every mother has the option to decide what works best for her, I wish I could go back and take even more time with both of my boys. Those first few precious are indescribable and so short. We’ve all heard the saying that when you die you will probably not look back on life and wish you had spent just a few more hours at work… instead you look back and think of all the times you wish you could have spent with those important to you.

 

Picture of signs via Shutterstock

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Can You Work Through Maternity Leave? Marissa Mayer Is. Or So She Thinks.

Wednesday, July 18th, 2012

I crack up sometimes thinking about my take on motherhood before and during pregnancy. I’d tell people, “I’m not going to change. I’m going to strap the baby on my back and go, just like I always have.” I was a world traveler before I became a mom. I climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro. Went to Fiji on a whim. Spent New Years in Timbuktu (sadly, overtaken this spring by Islamic Extremists). Now the most I do is look at a globe and thank my lucky stars I’m not globetrotting. For me, motherhood did what wanderlust couldn’t. It made me content. I would have never predicted the impact it would have on my whole way of life.

So I had to laugh — and cringe a little — when I read this week that Marissa Mayer, who was just named Yahoo’s chief executive, is pregnant, and — ya ready? — says, “My maternity leave will be a few weeks long and I’ll work throughout it.”  HAAAAAAAAAAAAA.

Clearly she has never had a baby before.

Now don’t get me wrong. I’m all for working moms. And before I had kids, that quote would have made her my hero. But now? I think she’s being a tad naive. I can still be her biggest cheerleader, but first I think she needs to realize that today’s woman simply: Can’t.Have.It.All. Or at least not the first few weeks with a new baby. And why should she? You never get the birth of your baby back. And physically, a birth through the chute knocks you for a few days. A C-section? 2-3 weeks. Not to mention the emotional toll it takes on your entire being. I felt–and looked–like I had been hit by a bus. To run a $2-dollar company, much less a $20 billion dollar one? Impossible. Unless you want to fail. And right now, Yahoo isn’t the dreamboat. It’s a mess. This is no walk in the park.

Simply put, people who don’t have kids: Don’t.Get.It.

Even if she has a baby who comes out sleeping 12 hours a night and refuses the boob (so he can be exclusively bottle fed, which is fine, really. I don’t judge how women choose to feed their babies), I still think she will be so utterly turned upside down that she may have to eat her words.

There are a few things in her favor. Let’s face it: babies are blobs those first few months. I’m sure she’ll have lots of help. The baby will be cared for and loved, both by her, her husband, and her help. It will eat, sleep, and poop. And that’s about it.

But what’s not in her favor is Mother Nature — because unless you’re a zombie or a drug addict, she does kick in, swiftly and (hopefully) beautifully. No amount of money can keep her force at bay. She brings even the strongest women to their knees. The maternal instinct and motherly love is earth shattering. (If it’s not, then the postpartum depression is. These are the things you can’t predict.) I don’t think running a Fortune 500 company can compare to what a baby does. At least not initially.

So my question is, will Mayer battle the demons of guilt? Will she be too exhausted to care? Will she miss out on bonding with her baby while bonding with Yahoo? Or will she be the first woman to “have it all” and thus, will I be eating my words?

No doubt Yahoo is to be commended for hiring a pregnant CEO. But as blogger Julie Ryan Evans points out in her piece:

“I so wish she and Yahoo would set an example — that they would give her a full maternity leave, and that she would take it and still keep her position. Even just the minimum — 6-8 weeks, and show the world that it’s okay for women to have babies and then to care for them and themselves for more than just a few days. That they and their skills are important enough to the company that they’ll figure out something in a woman’s absence and welcome her and her expertise back with open arms.”

Maybe Yahoo did offer her the full maternity leave and Mayer is choosing to work through it. Regardless, it’s unrealistic and naive. I just don’t see how it’s humanly possible without letting something — or someone — suffer. Namely, her.

But I get it. Because you don’t get it until it happens to you.

Of course, I could be wrong. Perhaps I’m being one of the “judgey” moms that my fellow blogger Heather Morgan Shott refers to in her very well-put piece on this issue. I’ll admit, she did make me pause when she wrote the following: “Instead of judging Marissa Mayer, and using her achievement as an excuse to rekindle the debate about whether women can have it all, why don’t we sit back and watch her work? I’m betting she’ll show us some magic–and probably teach us all a thing or two.”

I worry though, that Mayer could also send a message to the rest of the world that women can push through their maternity leave if they want; that all it takes is “a few weeks.” She could ultimately be hurting the case for the majority of us who actually want to enjoy our babies–and take care of them–before returning to the workforce.

Devon Corneal wrote a piece in the Huffington Post in which she says, “I don’t judge her for embracing her job — I hope she’s a success. I just want to make sure that her blithe decision to take a truncated, working “maternity leave” won’t be held up as the paradigm or used to pressure other women to follow suit. We all deserve better than that.”  

Evans echoes that sentiment:

“Maybe she’s superwoman, but a few weeks is barely long enough for the epidural to wear off. To think that she’s going to be mentally and emotionally ready to go back and lead a company two or three weeks later and leave her baby is ambitious at the least; thinking that’s what a woman has to do to keep such a position of power is depressing.”

It’s even more depressing if this is all Mayer’s choice. I’m hoping she just doesn’t know any better. Then again, maybe I should know better and hold back the judgement. We’ll see.

 

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