Will Yahoo's new CEO Marissa Mayer work through her maternity leave? We won't know until she becomes a mom.
This Monday Yahoo announced that 37-year-old Marissa Mayer would be its new president and CEO. The very same day, Mayer revealed she was pregnant—she's due to have a baby boy in October— and she told Fortune magazine this about her maternity leave: "I like to stay in the rhythm of things. My maternity leave will be a few weeks long and I'll work throughout it."
Mayer was the 20th employee hired by Google and has been named to Fortune magazine's annual list of America's 50 Most Powerful Women In Business four times. She's obviously brilliant, a hard worker and knows how to get things done. I can't speak from experience, but I bet that running a Fortune 500 company is hard work and takes up a lot of your time. What I do know is that caring for a newborn is also hard work and takes up, seemingly, all of your time.
At one of my post-delivery appointments with my OB-GYN, she asked me how I was doing and I honestly answered that being a new mom was much harder than I had expected. She then said, "Being pregnant and having a baby are two very different things." She's right. The same goes for how you tackle life as a new mom: What you know when you are pregnant and what you do when you are a mom are often at odds. As an editor at Fit Pregnancy, I've talked to lots of first time moms-to-be who "know" how much they will work while on maternity leave, or have already "decided" that they will not be one of those parents who sleep trains their infant, or who have "announced" they will always kiss their husband first before they kiss their kids, when they get home from work. But you never know how you're going to feel or act until you're officially a new mom.
If Mayer wants to answer emails in between diaper changes and feedings, then I say go for it. (She certainly has the means to get the support and help she'll need to keep working full time while caring for a newborn.) But if her son arrives and she decides to take a week (or even two, gasp!) off from email, that's OK, too. Before we judge Mayer on what she knows as an almost-working-mom, let's allow her tackle her new gig in the three months she has left before her baby is born—and then support her when she decides what she's going to do as a new working mama.