An open letter to new Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer
Dear Marissa Mayer,
Yahoo! You're pregnant. My Facebook news feed exploded Monday night when you announced you're expecting in October, right after Yahoo announced you'll be its new CEO.
My head exploded when you told Fortune you're planning to work through your maternity leave of "a few weeks."
We need to talk. First, congratulations! You may be the first woman to be hired as a CEO of a Fortune 500 company while pregnant. And for that we raise a (non-alcoholic) beverage in your direction. You're an inspiration to us all.
At 37, you're a little older and a lot more accomplished than I. Far be it for me to give YOU advice. But I've done something you haven't (yet): I've had a baby.
Trust me when I say, you won't know what hit you. And I'm not just talking about projectile spit-up.
Three weeks in, I don't think I could walk yet. That might be a slight exaggeration, but at 10 days I definitely couldn't make it up or down stairs. Just sitting on the toilet was painful. I'll spare you the details of my marathon labor, but suffice to say -- with a shout-out to the Summer Olympics on NBC -- I should win a gold medal in pushing. If you haven't taken a moment to appreciate your functioning bladder today, you should.
I hope your delivery will be a breeze. But there's more to consider. I read you once paid $60,000 to have lunch with Oscar de la Renta. So let me appeal, then, to your fashion sense. Those giant mesh underpants they make you wear post-partum? They should NEVER come into contact with Oscar de la Renta. Nor should leaking breast milk ever have the opportunity to stain your favorite cashmere cardigan. Anna Wintour would not approve.
Would it be so bad to spend a couple more months in the comfort of your home, un-showered and wearing sweats like the rest of us? I know you're used to working long hours. But "all-nighter" takes on a whole new meaning when you become a mother.
Give yourself a break. At least see how you feel when you're a mom before deciding -- very publicly -- that you want to go right back to work. There are plenty of working moms in this country who struggle with maddeningly short maternity leaves -- out of financial necessity, not by choice. And I know you didn't anoint yourself the new poster-mom for "having it all," but you're not exactly helping their cause.
The cheers or jeers of other moms may not sway you, but don't discount the persuasive powers of your baby boy. You're a powerful woman, but I have a feeling you're going to be putty in your son's little hands from Day One. I can't fully explain the extent to which your priorities will shift when you have a baby. I predict you'll soon consider him the greatest accomplishment of your very accomplished life.
Marissa, you're about to join the mommy sisterhood. We welcome you and we're so proud to have a trailblazer like you in our ranks. I'm sure you will rock motherhood just like you've rocked the corporate world.
But I'm also really glad I don't work for you. Because if I decided to have another baby (purely hypothetical, in case my husband is reading this), I would feel like a total slacker.
Yours in sleep deprivation,
Pamela Sitt is a working mom in Seattle who has recently appointed herself CEO of her blog at www.clarasmom.com.
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