The Working Mom’s Drinking Game: Take A Shot Every Time Someone Says ‘Juggle’ Or ‘Role Model’ To Marissa Mayer

marissa mayer yahoo

“Working mom” interviews tend to follow a particular script. And unfortunately new mother Marissa Mayer is no exception.

Since welcoming 4-month-old Macallister Bogue and taking her notoriously short two-week maternity leave, Marissa is back promoting all that hard work she’s been doing at Yahoo. The CEO has revamped the company’s main website in addition to making the cafeteria free for all employees and handing out smartphones to everyone. Sounds like a nice place to work frankly.

But in Marissa Mayer dropping by TODAY to get us all up to speed on Yahoo’s changes, you better believe there was a mini baby update in there. To be fair, it was short — which is me tipping my hat to you, TODAY. Marissa spent the majority of the segment talking about Yahoo and her professional accomplishments. Shockingly,  they didn’t invite the youngest CEO of a Fortune 500 company to gab on a beige couch about her baby weight for 20 minutes — because that’s what I initially expected.

However, in the short time that was spent on the obligatory “how’s mom life” portion, TODAY did hit on all the quintessentially canned “working mom” questions. You know them as well as I do. You and I could practically write the interview together, using all the equally canned and buzzy words like “juggle” and “role model.”

To properly illustrate the complete eye role of these terms, they’ve been placed along aside all those tired images of working mothers you know so well. Have those shot glasses ready now.

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    • chickadee

      I may be mistaken, but didnt you write an article months ago that scolded her for not making a bigger thing out of her pregnancy? Your point seemed to be that her pregnancy was a prime opportunity to put pregnancy issues in the corporate spotlight.

      • Koa Beck

        That was me. Although I’m not really into the notion of making a “bigger thing” out of being pregnant. I wish these working motherhood conversations could happen as they pertain to childcare, maternity leave being expanded, flexible scheduling, etc. Not more of the tired “super woman who juggles and does it all” script. I find those narratives to be super patronizing to mothers.

    • K.

      I think it’s naive for people to believe that the CEO of a Fortune 500 company prioritizes motherhood, but if that’s the story that people need to be told to feel good about Yahoo! and Marissa Mayer, then fine. I wish we didn’t, though. I wish we accepted the fact that if women want those high-powered, usually traditionally male, leadership positions, then the bulk of their attention will be spent on their job, not on their kids. That’s the way it works, folks–you cannot run Yahoo! and be mom-of-the-year.

      And as a feminist, I say…what’s wrong with that?

      I don’t want Mayer’s legacy is to be set up as the “working mother” superwoman; her importance is much, much better to me, which is that she can better represent the fact that women, like men, SHOULDN’T have to ‘do it all.’ Male CEOs don’t assume the responsibility of primary caretaking or worry about “juggling”–they typically delegate childcare to someone else, like a partner or professionals; why can’t female CEOs do the same?

      • lea

        That is only if you equate being “mom-of-the-year” with being the primary child care giver, and the person who does the bulk of the housework and all of the other traditionally “mommy” roles etc etc.

        Which I think, as a idea in itself, is flawed. There are plenty of ways to be a good parent.

        I wholeheartedly agree with you about the “have it all” narrative. We don’t ask or expect it of men, so why should we of women?

      • K.

        Exactly! I was sort of being flip with ‘mom of the year’, but yes, I did mean that it’s unlikely that Mayer is going to be a fixture at the PTA or attend all the soccer games or do the laundry (luckily, I’m pretty sure she has the means to delegate a lot of homekeeping!) And I get annoyed with the sort of comments that are “work-life balance” stuff directed at women which end up sounding like it’s in some way to make sure that a woman’s career is reassuringly secondary to her “traditional role,” as if having a career is some sort of side-hobby or bonus to taking care of one’s family.

        To that end, I thought it was interesting that Marissa Mayer felt like she had to make a public statement that her priorities are “God, family, and Yahoo!–in that order.” For one, I don’t recall anyone asking Steve Jobs or Mark Zuckerberg or Craig Jelinek that sort of thing–and honestly, as a stockholder, it’d give me pause if a prominent CEO that gets paid billions said their priority WASN’T their company. And two, because full-time motherhood is not a requirement for raising happy, healthy kids and caretaking is not, and shouldn’t be, exclusive to women.

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