Career Focused or Super MOM: Let Marissa Decide

Deviating from my normal thoughts on tech innovation, today I’m thinking about women, work and motherhood

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Regardless of who it is, I get excited when I hear about women being appointed to powerful roles and busting stereotypes. I was over the moon when Hilary Clinton was appointed to Secretary of State. Giddy with excitement that Meg Whitman joined HP to turn that ship around, and now Marissa Mayer has been appointed as Yahoo’s new CEO. Good for them!

But, it’s a never ending debate. Some say, “Women Can Have it All” while others say “Women Still Can’t Have it All,” so it’s no wonder why many women are feeling frustrated, confused and isolated when making decisions about how they support their families–outside of the home or inside the home. I personally live it every day. While I get excited about doing creative, interesting work outside of my home, when I’m doing it, I feel guilty about not being home with my boys and even more guilty about the laundry piling up while I’m working. In the end, I get breakfast on the table and get out the door to meet with my clients. But I do it on my own terms, designing my own hours and carving out my day in a way that works best for my family.

While the debate rages on about choosing a career or motherhood, pundits are also commenting on the challenges Marissa Mayer faces in managing Yahoo! out of the red, and part of this discussion is centered on her ability to be a good mom, too. Just as the 37-year-old exec took the helm at Yahoo! last week, she also announced that she is six months pregnant with a baby boy. Stanford-educated, a high-profile former female engineer at Google, a high-demand dynamic speaker, wife, mom-to-be, and now, CEO of a Fortune 500 company, the news sent press into a tizzy, again fueling the debate about “having it all.” Is it really a valid discussion?

While the pundits parse the news and the debate, there is one single factor that we all need to keep top of mind: every woman is different. Economics, work style, stamina, interests, expectations, social factors all play a part in any woman’s ability to be successful at balancing high-profile jobs with motherhood. Some mothers can do it with ease (and perhaps with help!), while other women with different circumstances wouldn’t think about taking that path. Just like some people choose to be teachers over rocket scientists, moms get to choose whether they work in the home or outside of the home. Let us choose.

From my point of view—as a 40+-year old wife and mom of two small boys juggling work and clients, a blog, and managing our home—it’s a woman’s choice! Let Marissa decide how she wants to manage her work-life balance. Does she take maternity leave? That’s for her to decide. Does she bring the baby to board meetings or telecommute? That’s between her and the board. Will she opt to meet partners and customers in person or video conference? She has options. Should she skip a keynote to be with her son on his first birthday? She gets to decide. Not me, not you, and not the pundits.

If there is one thing I’ve learned in my own career, sometimes highlighted in this very blog, we have more choices than ever before as a result of technology innovation. Technology allows us to get a little closer to having it all, if that’s what we want—it makes life a little easier to be connected when we want or need to be. Will Marissa take every tech advantage she has to have it all? Totally up to her. So, let’s stop generalizing and let Marissa decide.

Let us know how you came to your own decision. What did you choose? Connecting moms to the tech that makes life a little easier


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