Moms: Let’s Celebrate Marissa Mayer Instead of Picking Her Apart

I’m in awe of Marissa Mayer. In case you haven’t heard, she’s the new CEO of Yahoo, one of the most powerful technology companies in the world. There are few high-powered women in technology, aside from Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg, and Mayer has scored the coveted role at only 37 years old. Her achievement is epic, and so is the responsibility that comes with the job: She’s not only going to run Yahoo, she’s tasked with saving it.

Turns out the new CEO and former Google executive also happens to be pregnant with her first child–and shortly after Yahoo announced her appointment, she revealed that she’s essentially going to skip maternity leave. “My maternity leave will be a few weeks long and I’ll work throughout it.”

Queue the judgey moms. According to a Today Show poll, 89 percent of respondents think that she’s making a mistake.

But how can we possibly say that before she even has a chance to do her thing?  Now is the time to rally around her and celebrate her bravery. She’s taking on a monumental challenge, and indeed the opportunity of a lifetime, at a time that even she would admit isn’t ideal for her personally. Swollen ankles aren’t exactly a confidence builder.

True, she’s never gone through the hell miracle of childbirth. Or recovered from it. She’s never had to breastfeed. She’s never stayed up all night with a screaming baby. But, c’mon people, she’s not stupid. Obviously she will surround herself with lots of help. In fact, I’m betting she’ll do pretty much whatever she needs to do to set herself up for success–both as a mother and as a CEO.

It will be incredibly hard, and while I can’t imagine making the same choice myself, I’m not her. Nobody has ever approached me to run a tech giant, nor would I be equipped to do the job at this point in my life. So how can I possibly judge her for her decisions? How can you?

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.

Photo: Google Plus

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  1. by Jill Cordes

    On July 19, 2012 at 12:40 pm

    I wrote a judgey post! But I will say you make some really valid points. I’m very intrigued by all this and will be curious to see how she fares. I hope she’s a success both in new motherhood and her job.

  2. by Kayla

    On July 19, 2012 at 9:32 pm

    I am sorry, but I am still going to disagree with you and her decision. Like you mentioned, she is one of a select few women to reach such a high position in the tech field. Which is exactly why this was an opportunity to set an example. Instead her example is that in order to succeed, women have to sacrifice their own health and wellbeing, just to get back to work. I am in an entry level position, and in considering having children I worry about the effects of maternity leave, and how I can “stay in the game”. Given this announcement, I feel even worse. Truly, if she is able to do it successfully, I will be happy for her. I just strongly believe, she could have made a strong statement in support of women everywhere, that this was beyond just a decision for her and her family. The really unfortunate part, is that no matter what her decision, it would have been met with criticism.

  3. by Allison

    On July 20, 2012 at 1:30 am

    Thank you.

    She is an inspiration and while I don’t think I’d be able to do it I am not her , I don’t have her skills, her experience or her resources. I think her success really intimidates others and the same way we pick apart people when we feel small people are choosing to look at her pregnancy as her weak point and pick her apart starting there.

    I wish women would see how picking her apart about this brings us all one step back. Child bearing and raising is used against women in the work place all the time.

    If people are so concerned about women needing time to bond with their babies they need to lobby for better maternity leave laws. That way every mom without Marissa’s resources for help can have the time she needs , or at least more than the pathetic amount that most do now.

    She will be fine – her baby will be fine and we should celebrate her achievement in business for sure. Just leave her baby out of it.

  4. by Jeremy

    On July 20, 2012 at 5:20 pm

    Sorry, but being Larry Page’s ex-girlfriend and being in the right place at the right time doesn’t necessarily make her an epic achiever, just lucky. I do think she’ll make the no-maternity-thing work though–she’ll hire people to do the work for her and she’ll manage them all.

  5. by Lori

    On July 23, 2012 at 12:32 pm

    It’s her baby, her job, her body, her life. However she chooses to manage her maternity leave is between her, her partner, her boss, her conscience, etc. Her decision is her decision, it’s NOT for every other mom who would have perhaps chosen differently to weigh in on. Why do we attack women for every single life decision they make? Why can’t we have the confidence to make OUR decisions without needing everyone else to make the same ones so that we can feel good about what we’ve selected?