She’s Pregnant and They STILL Hired Her?

I was super, DUPER excited when Yahoo announced Marissa Mayer, the darling of Google, as its next CEO.

She is 37 years old and expecting her first baby in October.

Yahoo was fully aware of the state of Mayer’s uterus when it made the hiring decision, which Mayer said demonstrated “evolved thinking,” and I agreed. Whole-heartedly.

Very soon after the announcement, CNBC had remarkably non-stupid commentary and discussion, shifting the talk from the ridiculously outdated topic of “SHOULD mothers take on high-level jobs?” and instead focused on working mothers as important assets to businesses and GDP. CNBC contributors discussed ways to entice mothers to stick around or, at the very least, for corporations to stop thinking of them as brainless, unreliable, distracted, or shirking their maternal duties.

I was just over the moon. For some reason, all of this hullabaloo struck me as refreshingly progressive.

Until the masses of idiots started talking among themselves, that is. They said such things as:

“She’s setting a bad example by only taking 3 weeks of maternity leave.”
My rebuttal: Maternity leave is harder than working, and hey, at three weeks you can almost sit down without wincing. She’ll be fine.

“How will she save Yahoo while also breastfeeding????”
My rebuttal: Lord have mercy, breastfeeding is not THAT important, and her choice is really none of our business. Enfamil makes a mighty fine formula that does not list POISON as one of its active ingredients.

“She’ll have no relationship with her baby, having a nanny raise him.”
My rebuttal: Yes! All non-mother child care is EVIL! Terrible! It’s far better to be that mom in Target yelling at her kids because she’s so effing sick of them, or plopping them in front of the TV all day. Face it, some moms are far better moms if they work. Why is that so controversial?

“How will she bring cupcakes to school for every birthday and cheer at every soccer game, especially if she has more than one child?”
My rebuttal: I can barely stand the fact I have to rebut this stupid statement. Cupcakes can be sent to school the same way the kid is sent to school (if the school even allows cupcakes to be sent), and not every game needs Mom in the stands. The kid has a dad, you know.

“She has no idea what she’s in for, postpartum.”
My rebuttal: That’s actually probably true, but it doesn’t mean she’ll fail. And frankly, if she chooses to give breastfeeding the finger and formula feed instead, her chances of going completely crazy postpartum significantly decrease.

“She’s working all the way through her pregnancy!"
My rebuttal: Holy moly! You mean, like pretty much every other pregnant woman out there? Unless you’re on bed rest or have a physically demanding job, pregnancy is not a disability, regardless of how the State of California classifies it.

“You can’t have it all.”
My rebuttal: Then why do so many women have it all? If you want to stay home, do stay home, and do that job very well, don’t you have it all? Aren’t you having ALL that you want? If you’re wildly successful and have kids, don’t you have it ALL? If you balance family and work in a way that works for your family situation and sanity, perhaps sacrificing a promotion (by choice) to spend more time at home, don’t you have it ALL? Please. Since when is “having it all” the same for everyone?

(Snidely) “Must be nice to be worth a billion dollars and able to outsource everything.
My rebuttal: Wow, jealous much? If I could afford it, I’d hire a laundress, cook, dishwasher, lunch-preparer, handyman, gardener, chauffer, and pilot, in addition to the child care and housecleaning I already fund. Mayer is doing nothing wrong by employing people. Dishes are just a task that needs to get done. Who cares who does it?

I think we can agree that, as a gazillionaire, Mayer is working purely by choice—and those are the working mommies we like to vilify the most, right? It’s one thing to pity and thus tolerate working moms who work purely for the paycheck, especially if they long to stay home. And those women break my heart, because I so wish every mom could live her life the way she WANTS to. But we don’t really know what to do with those women who CHOOSE to work, especially those really high-level CEO-types, like Mayer. The easiest thing, I guess, is to judgmentally cross our arms, narrow our eyes, and wail something along the lines of, “But what about Junior’s BAKE SALE?! Oh, that mom is so SELFISH.”

One thing is for sure: Nobody would give a hoot about any of this “work–life balance” stuff if Mayer was a dude.

Like men don’t also have to make difficult decisions or sacrifices when having children and pursuing careers.

Anyway. I was so excited by the Marissa Mayer announcement, then I sort of deflated as the same old small-minded thinking and snarky yet utterly uncreative one-liners about nannies commenced.

Hopefully, Mayer will succeed. Hopefully, she’ll create or back up policies at Yahoo that support working parents (for both moms and dads). Hopefully, with the Yahoo hire, other corporations, organizations, and bosses will realize that if you really, really, really want a really, really, really good hire, writing someone off because she happens to be female and used her reproductive capabilities is just plain bad business.

And please, can we all take note that Yahoo is currently going down in flames? Should Mayer “fail” to save it, please, let’s not blame it on her baby.


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