CAN WORKING MOMS REALLY HAVE IT ALL?

You might have heard of Melissa Mayer, the CEO of Yahoo, who had a baby and returned to work a short time afterward.  Natural childbirth, I presume.  Of course it does help when you make the big, big bucks, run the company and can build a nursery for the baby right next to your office.  Now, did you put the pay for the full-time Nannies on your Yahoo expense account, Ms. Mayer?  Yes, things are always better when you spend your life in La-La Land.

There was an interesting portion of an interview with Indra K. Nooyi, the Chairman and CEO of PepsiCo.  Mrs. Nooyi seems to be living in the Real World.  I believe that her conversation with her Mother, the night she was told that she would be the next President of PepsiCo and join the Board is hilarious.  The two of them should be on a Sit-Com.

Mrs. Nooyi is more honest about her situation. Her Mother lives with them and she also admits that they have full-time help.  Now, she seems to realizes that she is missing-out on being away from her Daughters, especially when she travels.  The Nooyi Girls are much older than Ms. Myers Baby.  And Mrs. Nooyi admits that she cannot do it without her support staff.  The link, from The Atlantic, is as follows: http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2014/07/why-pepsico-ceo-indra-k-nooyi-cant-have-it-all/373750/#disqus_thread.

Getting back to Ms. Mayer, what happens when her Baby starts walking, talking and reaches the Terrible Twos?  Is her Son still going to be content with staying in the Executive Nursery and, then, what happens when he goes to Pre-K?  Will she attend PTO Meetings and, as he gets older: class and school events; athletic events; science fairs; etc?  The split lifestyle never ends.

To paraphrase the words of Mrs. Nooyi’s Mother, this would be good advice to both Indra and Melissa:  They might be the Queen in their respective Boardrooms; but, when they get home, they are just plain “Mom”.  So, leave that damned Crown in the car!

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  1. #1 by Marissa Huber on July 1, 2014 - 9:39 PM

    As a working mother myself, I wonder if the problem is that our culture is obsessed with “having it all”. Whether you’re a man, woman, stay-at-home mom, working mom, etc. However, there are so many articles on Women Having it All (working and working at home). What does that even mean? Everyone pretends that their life is easy and put up a facade so that their life looks like a magazine? I much prefer our friends who are honest and real – though I did enjoy the article about Mrs. Nooyi.

    When I think about “having it all”, I think of freedom to make choices that are best for your family, and your personal priorities at a point in time. Mine would be – healthy family (access to health insurance, good doctors), flexibility in my work schedule (allowing us to get to appointments, stay home if he’s sick / while working), working on financial priorities (paying off debt, living within our means), and having fun as well (seeing friends, visiting with family and pursuing a few of our hobbies).

    Although I may disagree with the decisions that Melissa Mayer has made as a Yahoo! CEO, especially with my professional interest in workplace strategy, it’s her choice as the CEO to do what is best for the company. Why is she necessarily living in La-la land if she decides to go back to work after 2 weeks, albeit with the luxury of money and flexibility and resources than many other parents (men AND women) do not have? Isn’t that her decision to do so as a working mom? My view changed after I read Sheryl Sandberg’s book “Lean In”, and Ms. Sandberg supported Ms. Mayer’s choice. Perhaps Ms. Mayer’s priorities are very different than mine. We wouldn’t blink twice if a male CEO went back to work after 2 days, so why is the pressure on the mother to be a “bad mom” for making whatever decision she has to in order to meet her family’s personal priorities. (I may be playing devil’s advocate a bit here, but I feel that as a feminist, I have to support other women and their decisions, even if I may have not made the same choice).

    As a woman, I would love other women to stop judging each other women on the decisions that we make to support our families.

    In conclusion, I think that in order to “have it all”, we need to fight for better parental leave rights, lower healthcare costs, lower tuition costs and live within our means so that we can then find our own personal freedom.

  2. #2 by cheekos on July 2, 2014 - 2:03 PM

    Ms. Huber, thank you for your dissertation.

    By “La-La Land”, in my recent Blog Post, I was referring to the people who can afford the luxuries, but act as if they are martyrs, for the hum-drum, everyday lives of the many. Most working Moms, and Dads, do have to juggle two roles; because, without the Work-role, the Parental Duties would be lacking the necessary Income and Benefits. And, of course, many hard-working Parents, working at minimum-wage jobs, have neither the necessary Income nor the Benefits.

    I merely cited the point that Mrs. Nooyi seemed to be reminded, in this case by her Mother, that those two jobs are separate–and equally demanding. The La-La Land type are what you might see in People Magazine or certain TV Cable Channels, which focus on the people who act as if they are actually real people, and living the same life as everyone else.

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