Gamechangers: Why multimillionaire ‘mom’ Marissa Mayer is damned if she does and damned if she doesn’t

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Originally published in International Business Times

Much judgement is being chucked at Marissa Mayer, whose combination of glamorous beauty, technical mind and astonishing wealth clearly irk just about everyone.

She is now expecting twins and planning to work throughout and take only two weeks maternity leave, to the horror of many.

We can’t and shouldn’t blame her for taking her responsibilities seriously. The pressure must be immense. Americans are famously brutal about their expectations of working “moms” even when they are not running global conglomerates. Anyway, I’m not sure we should worry too much what everyone else takes from her example. No one expects a CEO reportedly paid somewhere in the region of $14m (£9m) to behave like the rest of us.

The dispiriting truth is that she will be pilloried whatever she does. If she takes no time, people will say she is a terrible mother setting a crappy example. If she does take the time she will be slated for taking a big job and not seeing it through. There is much talk of women in boardrooms and more female CEOs but more of us than admit to it are squeamish about confronting what more senior women looks like for families.

I come at from a slightly different angle. Not one that will help Marissa much. We professionals spend years and years in highly sterile working environments. Birth is a moment when you can step out of that. Take a fresh world view. Withdraw, for a short time, from the external world. From business, fashion, world events and public display.

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