Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Easier than it looks

The new Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer recently had a baby and got some widespread criticism over her comment: "The thing that surprised me is that the job is really fun…and the baby's been easy. The baby's been way easier than everyone made it out to be. I've been really lucky that way."

This comment pissed people off. Why? Because you are not allowed to say that your baby is easy. There's a little vein in my temple that starts pulsing whenever a woman says that.

I was in a conversation with two other women a little while ago about our kids. One of the other women was exchanging stories with me about mischievous things our kids had done. When we turned to the other woman and asked her about her son, she just shook her head and said, "Oh, no, David is just an angel."

And I was like, really? You can't think of one act of mischief that your three year old child has ever gotten into? Seriously, you've got to have one story in your pocket.

The thing is, I think my kids are pretty good. But there are always going to be times they drive me totally nuts because that's what kids do. That's what they specialize in.

I've noticed that the definition of "an easy baby" varies widely from person to person. My cousin informed me that his eight month old son was a "really easy baby." I later discovered that this really easy baby was still waking up like four times a night. I guess if you have a stay at home wife who does all the work, that counts for you as a really easy baby.

I wonder what Marissa Mayer considers "an easy baby." This is a woman who went back to Yahoo with the umbilical cord still hanging out of her. Her definition of "easy" is probably way, way different from mine. Also, depending on whether you have someone watching your baby all day and helping at night, it seems like most babies would be pretty easy under those circumstances.

In any case, I don't think we should vilify Mayer for saying what she said. After all, she's a brand new mother. She's not privy yet to all the ways we jump on each other.


  1. I agree her definition of easy is probably way different than most after climbing her way to an executive position. I havent had kids but based on my friends negative stories I imagine Id be awake from their birth till college- so a baby that sleeps three hours straight is going to be easy for me!

  2. This post had my falling out of my chair laughing my ass off. Thanks a lot Fizzy. I got coffee all over my sweatpants.

    In any case -- 100% correct on all points.

  3. This is insightful. I am from another country. So I am still learning communication styles. Once again I am reassured, never say anything positive about yourself. David's mom may have been uncomfortable to be part of the conversation and refused to give out details about her child that can be used against her later. People are too judgemental. I had someone snicker at me re: my child. That person knew a few things here and there about my kid, and when heard about my kid's accomplishment (that was greater than both his kids' accomplishments) snickered: it could not be THAT child who is known for THIS and THAT. Yeah, kids grow and develop and mischevious acts do not predict future success/failures. And yeah, there is no limit to people's jelousy and bitterness. The CEO woman however is clearly not giving you the full story. Nor should she. If she confessed to the stress people would question her qualification to run the complany. She did the right thing. P.S Your analysis on people with "easy babies" is hilarios and true.

  4. I just roll my eyes-each stage is a challenge in it's own way. Ever tell a 12 year old not to spit on their bedroom floor or wipe themselves with the bath mat because they didn't want to get up and get toilet paper-well then....

    I will pat myself on the back if the spawn make it out of the house at 18 and not pregnant (I have two girls) until then, my head is barely above water and yes, they were both "easy" babies. This teenaged crap is way worse.

  5. Never a truer statement than, "She's not privy yet to all the ways we jump on each other." Becoming a mother brings female snarkiness to an all-new level. Good grief.

  6. People get very senistive about someone having it "easy" because there is lack of "village" in taking care of kids anymore. Grandparents' help is something you hear rarely about and it strikes you as a miracle, not as a norm. And when you hear advice to "get more help" it is annoying because you cannot get it most of the time, or risk a stranger being alone with your kids and you worry sick about it.

  7. Compared to many, my kids were "easy." The girl is wonderful and the boy is too. But he has Aspergers. (I guess I have to say autism-spectrum disorder or something like that now.)

    Anonymous 7:45 is right. Getting help is a mountain to climb. The paternal grandparents were dead, and my parents lived 1500 miles away. Pediatrician could not offer help, school could not and try to find a child psychologist w/o referral!

  8. I just think she's surprised at how well she thinks she's handling it. Plus, she's in the public- very doubtful that she;ll come out and say "I haven't slept in days, my baby has reflux, and I don't have any clean underwear". Women go get so much crap from others- especially other women, and especially if the reason is a positive one (like, "hey, I seem to be handling all this new mom stuff pretty well" ::insert eye daggers::). It's getting Georgia said "Becoming a mother brings female snarkiness to an all-new level".

  9. Fizzy, you crack me up! @ C- that's too funny, I couldn't agree more. I have a 12 year old daughter and although she was "easy" as a baby (not fussy or overly clingy, slept through the night by 3 months, no health issues) she's always been somewhat mischevious. She's especially getting more so as she approaches the teenage years.

    Maybe David's mom is just has a blind eye to his behavior- she might have the "how cute" syndrome: "Oh look honey he used your shoe polish to draw us a picture on the living room wall- how cute!!". Umm, no.

    I also agree with anon 7:45. I'm sure I'll be an unreliable souce of childcare as a grandparent since most likely I'll be working into my 70's to pay of my student loan debt and generate enough retirement savings to live comfortably. *Sigh*