Marissa Mayer’s Maternity Leave Decision

Marissa Mayer, CEO of Yahoo, recently announced that she is not only pregnant with twins but that just as she did after her last baby was born, she will take a limited maternity leave after the birth this time around again.

Of course the internet world has to object. Apparently the rest of us seem to know what is best for Ms. Mayer and her life. A mother of twins is quoted that Mayer has no idea what she’s in for. People are questioning her ability to be a mother because she is electing to return to work instead of spending more time at home with her babies.

The question I ask myself is what is the necessary amount of time one must stay home with their children to be deemed a “good mother”? Is it 6 weeks, 16 weeks, a year or maybe forever?

I was under the impression that the great thing about living in 2015 is that as a woman, I have options. I can choose to be a stay at home mum, a work at home mum or a work out of the home mum. As a family, my husband and I would be allowed to analyze our options and make decisions based on what works best for our family. I was under the impression that I would be able to make these decisions without fear of repercussions; without fear of being judged.

If that’s the case, then I wonder why Marissa Mayer is being judged and criticized so harshly.

I wonder how many CEO Dads are judged based on how much time they spend at home after their babies are born. I wonder how many CEO Dads are asked how they balance work and fatherhood.

Judging Marissa’s decision is just another way we like to shame other mothers for making decisions that we may not make ourselves.

To be perfectly honest, I can’t imagine going back to work two weeks after my babies were born. My first baby wasn’t even home from the hospital at the two week mark. That’s me. Not anyone else. Me.

I am so happy to live in Canada where we have the option to take a year of maternity leave. The key word in that sentence is option. We also have the option to share the maternity leave with our partner. Or we have the option to return to work whenever we choose to.

During my first maternity leave my husband took the last 3 months of the leave. We faced a surprising amount of judgement. My friends wondering why I was giving up “my time” with the baby. His friends questioning if he would be able to handle being home alone with his own child.

At the time, it was the best decision for us. It made returning to work a little easier for me. It gave my husband quality time with our son outside of the NICU walls. I don’t regret it for a second.

Women before me fought really hard and put up with a lot of harsh judgment and criticism so that I could be a mother and have a career if that’s the path I choose.

I will not look down on another woman for a decision she makes for her family.

Marissa Mayer, I won’t for a second assume I can tell you how to run your company and I won’t for a second assume I can tell you how to be a mother. It is not your responsibility to be the spokeswoman for mothers everywhere. It is your responsibility to run your family however you see fit.

As a mother I support you in whatever decision you make. I wish the rest of the world could follow along.

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