A video of newish Yahoo CEO (and newish mom) Marissa Mayer made the rounds earlier this week. Looking chic and rested at Fortune’s Most Powerful Women event, Mayer—who famously took a truncated, hotly debated maternity leave—had the following to say about her current role as America’s most talked about working mom:
The thing that surprised me is that the job is really fun…and the baby's been easy. The baby's been way easier than everyone made it out to be. I've been really lucky that way.
This statement inspired not one, but two opinion pieces in the Huffington Post, telling Mayer that she should not be allowed to say that babies are “easy.” Because apparently to say so is minimizing being a working mom, or making other working moms feel “inadequate.” Pardon my baby-inappropriate French, but these stances are total and complete bullshit.
What else is Mayer supposed to say? She's the CEO of a failing multibillion-dollar company. She’s also part of a Silicon Valley business culture that doesn’t have a lot of patience for negativity. She's not going to go out in public saying "having a newborn is really hard for me right now," nor should she be expected to.
Furthermore, it is dumb beyond belief that anyone would a) compare their situation to hers or b) continue to pretend like what happens in or out of Marissa Mayer's uterus has any bearing on what happens in or out of regular ladies' uteri. Maybe her baby is totally easy! Bully for her! She should be allowed to say so, just as women who have a tough time with their babies should be allowed to say that, too.
Does her money make her life as a working mom run more smoothly? Probably, but again: This has no bearing on the circumstances of non-1-percent parents. (It’s worth noting, though, that fellow rich lady Ann Romney was deeply criticized for saying that motherhood was “hard work.” Also worth noting: Ann Romney’s motherhood has no bearing on the circumstances of non-1-percent parents.)
To the commentators whining that Mayer calling her baby easy makes you feel bad about yourself: Get a backbone and stop comparing yourself to her. If you want to make a difference, fight for non-CEO ladies to get real leave and benefits so that their babies might also be easy, or in any event, easier.
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