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Marissa Mayer: Being a CEO mum ‘easier’ than others made out it’d be

/ Nov 30, 2012 14:05PM / Print / ()


Marissa Mayer CEO Yahoo! at White House meeting with President Obama

Since becoming Yahoo! CEO in July this year, Marissa Mayer has unwittingly led the troupe on the work/life debate. And now she's done it again, this time after declaring that actually, it's been"way easier than everyone made it out to be".

There was the first announcement: Google star Marissa Mayer to take the reigns of Yahoo! Then the next announcement: The youngest ever female CEO of a Fortune 500 company was six months pregnant.

Fire up the chorus. Everyone has an opinion. Can she do it? How will she do it? Who will help her?

Somehow and without her acknowledgement, Marissa Mayer became the spokeswomen for working mothers everywhere.

Her decision, and public declaration to take only two weeks maternity leave following the birth of her son Macallister, sparked further debate and called into question her priorities .

Now, after staying mum on the topic, Mayer has finally spoken about about her experience as a new mother in her first interview since giving birth two months ago. And it seems like speculation is more fun than the reality, because what Mayer has to say is apparently not what everyone wanted to hear.

"The baby's been way easier than everyone made it out to be" Mayer said at Fortune Magazines Most Powerful Women dinner in Palo Alto last night.

"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!"

She added that the secret to her success is ruthlessly prioritising, and said her priorities are, "God, family, and Yahoo!, in that order."

As is often with Mayer announcements, there was immediate (and mixed) response:

Like this from HuffPost senior columnist Lisa Belkin: "Please stop saying things like that...Putting "baby" and "easy" in the same sentence turns you into one of those mothers we don't like very much. When you do, it makes us feel (more) inadequate; starts us wondering (again) what we are doing wrong."

And this: "Perhaps Marissa's big secret to success has been to pretend she's a dad" from staff writer Adriana Velez at The Stir

And this: "It is a fair assumption that [Mayer and her partner] can easily afford the best childcare money can buy."

There are lots of extraordinary things about Mayer, like the fact that she was Google's first female engineer, or that the struggling Yahoo! stock is now up 18% since she took over as CEO. But is it too much to ask of her that her platform be used to appease the opinions and speak for the experiences of every working mother, everywhere?

Should she have been brutally honest instead, or should she have said that motherhood so far has been hard and exhausting?

Do you think it's fair that Mayer has been elected spokesperson for working mothers? Or do you think her comment hurts working mothers who don't find it "easy"?



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