This article. Gosh I just don’t’ even know where to start. This sparked so many reactions when I read it.
First, I recognize that everyone needs to do what is best for them and their families. I get it. I really do. I’m a huge supporter of women (and men) figuring out life obligations with work obligations and making it work for them. However, for women it’s a bit more challenging than that. There are societal expectations, norms, and perceptions. And there are also work expectations, perceptions, and obligations. And often times, these two don’t line up nicely – it takes work. A constant effort and conviction.
So, when I read that Marissa Meyer, Yahoo CEO was planning on delivering twins, and then stepping back into the office 2 weeks later, I was pissed. Then I was sad. Then I was bitter.
A women CEO of a leading internet sensation and a fortune-500 company could pave the way to break some of these societal and professional “norms” or expectations. But no. Instead, she has decided it is best for her, her family, and her yet-to-be-born daughters, to bebop back into the office two weeks postpartum with diaper-like maxi pads on and still looking 4 months pregnant. And you know what, so be it. Seriously, it’s her choice to make.
But, I will say that I believe she is doing a HUGE disservice to other working women. As a CEO she could challenge norms and set a precedent for other mothers to take at least 6 weeks of maternity leave, but if I’m being really honest, I’d love to see her take 12 weeks, or her company’s guaranteed PAID leave of up to 16 weeks – that SHE instated as a new Yahoo company policy when she became CEO! But she’s not. She’s facilitating the perception that women aren’t valuable to a company unless they return to work as quickly as possible post-delivery. And she’s saying this to all the other women that work for Yahoo. And that’s bullshit. She’s supporting a working world and playing into the stereotypes, the rhetoric, and the perceived normal expectations, and this just irritates me.
I’m also sad because two weeks post-partum is a critical time for mother and baby. Mothers typically are still bleeding, wearing maxi pad ice packs and sexy mesh undies, while taking sitz baths to ease the discomfort of their hoo-has. Not to mention sore, cracked, bleeding nipples, engorged breasts, sleeplessness, piled-high laundry, sink full of dishes, and greasy hair. Two weeks postpartum is a critical time to focus on a mother’s health physically, emotionally, and mentally. Statistically speaking, most twins are delivered via C-section. Doctors don’t clear women to return to normal activities such as going to work until 8 weeks post-partum. Marissa is ignoring this advice. She’s putting herself at risk, and in turn, is putting her daughters at risk – IMHO.
Now let’s talk about the babies – that’s right babieS. Marissa will be having two for the price of one. With a 3 year old son, and two newborns, I don’t think Marissa has a freaking clue. I don’t have twins either, but I do recall how challenging the newborn months were with just one baby and two weeks post-partum was not my finest. Couple that with TWO newborns and a toddler. I really believe that Marissa is doing a disservice to her daughters (again IMHO). Those babies need their mother, need to be cuddled, loved, fed, and catered to. I know Marissa will still do all of this even when she goes back to work, but what I think about is when her daughters are 5 or maybe 6 years old and ask mommy: “when did you go back to work after we were born?” She can either lie (which I doubt she’ll do), or she can tell the truth and tell them that she popped them out and 2 weeks later stepped into the office. Really?! I would be embarrassed to tell any of my children this. What message does this convey to her daughters?! One message can be, “I value my work and it’s more important than being home with you girls and resting and getting into a new mothering role”. Or it can convey, “as a woman I had to be back in the office quickly. So take notes from me girls, and do as I did”.
And here in lies my bitterness. Marissa is choosing to perpetuate the unrealistic “norms” placed onto mothers with her very own daughters whether she knows it or not! WTF?! Seriously?! Women can still do a damn fine job at work even with taking 6, 8, 10, 12, or more weeks off after having a baby. And it’s about time companies, CEOs, women, men, and society recognize this and support this. Marissa is not supporting this and neither is her company since all the other executives are supporting her decision. Ugh. I just…I can’t…there are no words here. This is just despicable.
So now that I got this rant off of my chest, I wish Marissa and her family all the best because at the end of the day she’s doing what is best for her and her family and only she knows what she can handle.
I’d love to know – what are your thoughts on this?