This past week, I read that Marissa Mayer, Yahoo CEO and reigning Silicon Valley fashionista, gave birth to twin girls. She plans to return to her high-powered job after a two-week maternity leave, according to news reports. She also took a two-week maternity leave following the birth of her first child in 2012.
Two-week maternity leave. Well, lots of people have lots to say about this. The opinions (and headlines) range from skeptical and NSFW (“Marissa Mayer’s Two-Week Maternity Leave Is Bullsh*t,” compliments of The Daily Beast) to supportive (TIME’s “Marissa Mayer Is Setting a Good Example With Two-Week Maternity Leave”).
Every woman is different, and every mom mothers differently. The decision to go back to work or take more time at home after having a baby usually comes with a measure of uncertainty, compromise and hope. Because all moms hope for the best for their children.
My older daughter was born in 2011. I took a three-month maternity leave and went back to my job. I loved my job, loved my colleagues, and also wished I could be with my new baby at the same time.
An impossible wish.
So I walked away from a wonderful job to become a stay-at-home mom/freelance writer.
Some friends of mine have made similar decisions, while others have continued building their careers while raising their children. I respect all of these women tremendously because I know, from personal experience, that all of these paths—working out of the home full-time, staying at home full-time, and blending both professional goals and caregiving—they’re all hard.
Being a mom is hard, however you do it.
So when I read about Marissa Mayer and her two-week maternity leave…initially, I raised my eyebrows. Wow, two weeks, I thought. That seemed short, to me.
I’m me, though. She’s her. And you’re you.
We need to take care of our own lives, and our own families, instead of speculating on those of others.
We don’t know the variables (and sleepless nights) that go into others’ decisions.
Sometimes we’re quick to judge others because we question our own, different decisions. And we seek reassurance that the sacrifices we’ve made, in terms of time and/or money, have been worth it.
For me, I’m glad I was there when my daughters were little. Glad, and grateful.
I also wonder if I’ve done enough to stay in the game professionally while primarily staying at home with my daughters these past four years. Because I’d love to work more and write more someday.
So I wonder. Have I taken on enough writing projects? Have I tried as hard as I could? Should I have said yes more, instead of passing on opportunities that could have made a difference to me personally, and to my family financially?
Have I made mistakes?
The answer, of course, is yes. Yes, I’ve made mistakes. Maybe you have too. Because being a mom is hard, however you do it. And we’re all doing the best we can.
Like what you just read? Then check out Melissa Leddy’s e-books, available on Amazon.com. Writing at its most heartfelt.