Re Marissa Mayer: Let it go, girls, she speaks "guy"



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Katie Hellmuth's picture
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The online outrage directed at Marissa Mayer "easy baby" statement is hurting working moms. The continuance of that outrage towards the termination of Yahoo's telecommuting policy is making working moms look bad. Come on ladies, pull it together and "keep your eyes on your plate," as my own mom says. Don't be contributors to the Martha Stewart Syndrome, where Martha went to jail for something that men do every day, but because she's a woman, got vilified and harshly criticized. Why are women wanting her to fail, especially as a newbie mom who hasn't been through anything yet? This is hugely frustrating to me.

Marissa Mayer is speaking to business men, not the working mom community. Not yet, anyway. She's the CEO of a Fortune 500 Company, that's a pressure and responsibility that most of us will never experience because of the nature of that label - it's the top of the top. Most importantly, Marissa speaks "guy". She works deeply in a guys world. Whether or not that's her tactic, she just does.

In a man's world, you don't want to emit signs of weakness, or you'll get snagged. Look at the criticism being written about her already. She's making major, life altering decisions for a company and its employees. I don't think you want her having spit-up in her hair when she is slamming down the ax on the telecommuting lifestyle, which makes many angry, some quit, and shareholders hold their breath that a huge move could be just what they want to see in a CEO. After a little seasoning, maybe shareholders will tolerate spit-up on her blouse, as Bonnie Fuller wants to see when she demands: "Show us some spit up you forgot to wipe off your blouse. Confess that you're so tired some days that you barely get your heels on or that you wish you could wear sweats to work." (personally, I really missed my high heeled boots when I was in my baby honeymoon period). But you've seen the movies. You've seen what happens to Diane Keaton in Baby Boom. She gets pushed out right away by the wolves that have been vying for her position! Ladies: PLEASE, let's not add to this! (note: Diane Keaton is also in denial of how much time the baby takes in the beginning of the movie)

Consider this:

She speaks Geek Guy:

She speaks Football Jock Guy:

  • In her Forbes interview, she quoted the football coach for the Greenbay Packers. Come on girls, really? Is this not a clue for you that she's not speaking to working moms right now?
  • Her voice sounds like someone who is cheering at a football game. That interview was the first time I'd heard her voice, and it immediately surprised me. As technical and design oriented as she is, her voice sounded like that of a college girl from a Big 10 school who has a cozi-collection for tailgaiting parties. And is probably an expert tailgater.
  • She advocates to "ruthlessly prioritize". In the Forbes interview, when asked how she gets it all done, Marissa pauses for a bit longer than normal, and she answers that she ruthlessly prioritizes. Small business owners knows what this means. I can't imagine what it means for her at her level, but the term "ruthless" should indicate to us that she's in an intense place. 

The working mom community is known for being supportive, yet extremely judgmental (probably just the nature of being a woman). Let's show the supportive side, because right now, she's changing history and expectations of working moms for us. Let's please not give her a hard time, and show her a lot more respect for being a (new) mom who's getting it done. 

And slightly off topic, as to the telecommuting decision that I blogged about earlier: Working from home can be productive for some, but not all, and it's certainly not helpful to have family around when you are working. Family sees you, and they want something from you. Love, food, attention. Sometimes just going to the office for a mom can be pure bliss (assuming you love your job, or own your business, because usually small business owners and hopefully CEOs love what they do).