Can we really have it all?
When I read on CNN that 37 year- old Marissa Mayer had been named CEO of Yahoo, and that this decision had been made amid true speculation that she is expecting a baby boy this October, I could not help but let out a positively loud gasp of excitement. So I thought, yes she was Google’s first female engineer when she joined the company back in 1999, yes she is very much a celebrity by many standards and has been for quite some time; yet despite her uncommon business and career path (which may not be easy to relate to for the more common mortals amongst us), she is still a woman like the rest of us, with a life, a marriage and in the demanding and oh so rewarding process of growing a human life. She is me, she is my cute brunette neighbor who is almost due, she is every other woman who at the end of the day is called to do things that women do, that actually only women can do. She gives me hope that we can still have it all, that there is not always this dark secret bargaining table between us and the lives that we sometimes don’t even dare dreaming of. How amazing is it that besides being a tech celebrity and one of the most renowned businesswomen around, she is also self-described as a girlie girl who loves cupcakes and spreadsheets, has a passion for fashion, and can make a cashier’s position sound glamorous! I can just picture her walking into a Walmart board meeting rocking some seriously sharp Louboutins and vintage Oscar de la Renta…I mean, how much better does it get?
I believe this is the kind of woman that we need to see more of, the kind that not only empowers us to be all we can be, but also allows us to unapologetically relish in the very fact that we are women, with all it encompasses, including marriage, children, but also deliciously vain luxuries and self allowed indulgences that make us, well, us…
And what if she decides to work during her maternity leave? Who is to say that she would not be the best parent that she can be by remaining true to the woman that she is! And if that means that working during this time reflects who she is as an individual, then who are to judge? Had it been a man, the question would have never been raised (bigger can of worms that I won’t be opening today for the sake of time and collective sanity).
I have two little ones under the age of 4, and I will say without blinking that being a professional woman helped me be a better mother, and vice versa, because choosing the real you will always be the best decision. Yes I love my children and my family, yes I miss them terribly throughout my working day, but I want them to know that at the end of the day I lived an authentic life and gave them none other than the real me.
So to all the Marissa Mayers of the world, from the corporate office to the remote fields in my native Fouta in Senegal, yes we can do it all, at least we can try, and that’s already half the battle won!