Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer is getting a lot of flack this week– mostly from the very network of moms that are supposed to be supportive. You know, that great big nurturing web of womanhood where we all help each other out. First, they came at her all, “I can’t WAIT to say ‘I told you so’” when she announced she would only take a two-week maternity leave. And guess what? After her son was born, that’s exactly what she did. Now she’s back, and she’s getting more crap than ever. Why? Because the very moms who are pissed they can’t say “I told you so” are now practically outside her office with pitchforks and torches because of these words, spoken at Fortune‘s Most Powerful Women dinner:
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!
How dare she?! Who does she think she is!? She’s demeaning our mom work! She’s minimizing the spinning plates act every working mom is one second away from dropping! She is ruining everything, for everyone, forever!
Marissa, what can I say? Haters gonna hate.
When Posey was born, she spent three weeks in the NICU. This, admittedly, was not easy and would have used up 1/4 of my maternity leave, had I stayed at my job. My heart broke for the moms I watched rush in and rip their shirts off like Clark Kent around 5 p.m. every day, when I had the luxury of all the time in the world. They wanted to save their leave for when their babies came home, and that made sense. Now THAT I can’t imagine. Going back to work like four days after birthing. I walked to J. Crew with my now-sister-in-law to help her try on a wedding dress four days after Po was born, and I seriously wanted a medal. An engraved, platinum, on-a-red-white-and-blue-ribbon medal. I wanted to scream from the top of the 900 North Michigan building, “I HAD A BABY FOUR DAYS AGO! AND NOW I’M SHOPPING! I’M AMAZING!” But I didn’t.
Maybe that’s how you feel in your office. I hope you do. Know what? I had an easy baby, too. She slept a lot. So I took her out. Everywhere, basically. She napped in her car seat in the corner of the pilates studio. We went out to lunch. To the doctor. Target. And then Target again. Yes, I know I wasn’t running Yahoo! But before I was a mom– in fact, for my entire life– people told me that having a baby was the hardest, worst, most exhausting, most head-beating-against-the-wall thing ever. To the point that I wondered why people did it. And it turned out IT WASN’T THAT BAD. But only in the way that The Artist couldn’t be as good as everyone told me. In the way that Liz & Dick didn’t make we want to gouge my eyeballs out of my face. Most things aren’t as good or as bad as people tell you. So Marissa, if you were talking to the same people I was, then no– having a baby IS easier than people told you.
Then again, let’s think of what “easy” means to you. You are running a Fortune 500 company. Face it, most people– moms or not– can’t do that. You are also 37 years old. So you are most likely a lot more driven than most people. Your version of “easy” is not the same as most peoples’. It’s a semantics thing. I couldn’t do what you did, so I didn’t. To each their own.
So back off, Judgy Moms. You’re being hypocritical. Stop casting Mayer as the Chris Brown opposite your Jenny Johnson in your parenting play. She’s entitled to say it’s easy if, in fact, it is for her.
But let’s all check in with her again when Macallister hits six months– ’cause once those little buggers start staying awake longer, all bets are off.