A Letter to Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer

Amanda with kids


At 37, you’ve opted to become CEO of struggling tech giant Yahoo. And you’re seven months pregnant.

With a Master’s degree in computer science from Stanford, you don’t need anyone’s advice on efficiency planning or systems engineering. But you’re going to get a lot of input on nannies, sleep training, and—the buzzword/cliché du jour—”having it all.”

I’ve had it all and then some. I launched DailyWorth the same week I gave birth to my second child and since then have raised $3 million in venture capital and built a team and an audience of 300,000-plus women—all with two preschoolers in tow.

While I can’t compare my load to yours, I’d like to share my insights into the roller coaster that powermom-hood can be.

On maternity leave. The media is all aflutter that you’re taking two weeks of maternity leave. Hello, not every woman on earth, especially the CEOs of public companies, needs a traditional maternity leave. There are 168 hours in a week, and it’s possible to make time for snuggling and conference calls.

On being judged. One of the hardest parts will be holding a smile when the world is viewing you as a test case: “Prove to us that a CEO can be a mom AND turn around a mammoth company!” The media seems to have this “corporate moms neglect their kids” story going, and (sadly) you’ll have a lot of people gunning for you. Please ignore.

On being there—and not. Your sleep deprivation in the first year will be enormous. He will get sick and your heart will ache. He’ll take first steps and eat his first peas, and you might not be there to see it. And it’s going to HURT.

Yet sometimes, when people ask, “Isn’t it awful that you weren’t there to see him eat his first peas?” you might feel indifferently. Actually, I was pounding through a $700 million deal, and I’m not really all that torn up about missing his peas. But you won’t want to LOOK like the mom that doesn’t care, so you’ll smile and feign remorse and it will be weird.

One thing is for sure, as mothers adapt to C-suite positions, corporations have to adjust as well. We are cheering for you as you lay down new track. It’s kind of a big deal.