Yes, I’m a mom. Yes, I’m a feminist. But excuse me if I roll my eyes at yet another story about a millionaire CEO mom and “how she does it.” I don’t really need to know how she does it. She has a ton of cash. That’s how she does it.
The latest one comes from Today Moms, about Susan Wojcicki, 46-year-old CEO of YouTube, who is currently pregnant with her fifth child. Maria Shriver talked to her a little about what it takes to be a working mother. Wojcicki’s company offers 18 weeks paid maternity leave, which is basically a pipe dream for American mothers. A recent study showed that only 40% of working American mothers get any paid leave at all, and their average paid leave was three weeks with 31% wage replacement. Wojcicki is a unicorn.
She advises women not to “over plan” their lives and tells mothers “it gets easier.” She told Shriver, “Women who worry about balancing family and career should remember that ‘the really hectic period’ of having a child is fairly brief.” As a working mother of two young children, I will argue that the “really hectic period” is not fairly brief. And yes, most of that boils down to money. If I could afford full-time childcare so I wouldn’t have to constantly be rushing to shuttle my toddler to and from part-time daycare, while a family member helped care for my infant — I may feel a little differently about it. If I could afford to take sick days off when my children were sick to care for them, rather than balancing work and children, maybe I’d feel like life was a little less hectic, too.
I’m not saying rich mothers should’t tell their stories, but don’t expect regular moms to take your advice seriously. Why are we not content to see a powerful CEO as simply a powerful CEO? Yes, she’s a mom — but who cares? Her privilege affords her the luxury of managing a very high-demand job and several children. Talking about work/life balance with her is like taking about it with Mark Cuban. But no one would ask him how he manages his children and his career — because he’s a man.
Basically, if you’re a mom who’s rolling in cash – I’ll gladly take your advice about things like potty training, getting a fussy child to eat, or dealing with tantrums. But don’t give the general public advice about work/life balance and tell us “how much easier it gets.” We are basically living on different planets.
(photo: PathDoc/ Shutterstock)