Monday, December 8, 2014

I Would Also Like a Nanny for Each Child and a Personal Chef

A columnist at Mommyish alerted me to this garbage: an interview with YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki, who is also a mom. Maria Guido's commentary is great, but I want to be more specific about why the information provided in this interview is garbage.

Wojcicki, 46, is pregnant with her fifth child. Women over the age of 45 have less than a 1% chance of getting pregnant naturally. I think if you're going to publicly talk about how ordinary your experience and challenges are in balancing--ha!--career and motherhood, then you should also talk about your IVF and possible donor eggs. Just so the ordinary among us don't think you're just like them. That was really my most pressing question about this interview, but in the "7 things to know" I never needed to know about Susan Wojcicki," whose name I never heard before, we also learn the following.

She's home at 6:00 for dinner every night. Notice there is no mention of what the family is having for dinner and who is preparing it. It's probably really challenging to have a private chef cook your food and wash your dishes every night. I'm not really criticizing this, and it's exactly what I would do if I had a high-powered job and oodles of disposable income. I would do this even if I had no job and oodles of disposable income. So no judgment, just try not to make your night sound so ordinary, when those ordinary among us are sticking a frozen pizza in the oven and calling it a win if the pizza includes a frozen vegetable that ends up in a toddler's mouth and not on the floor before the end of the meal.

You Tube's maternity leave policy is 18 weeks, but she doesn't know how much time she will take off. I thought she was going to say she would have to return earlier because of her job demands, but no, she said this, and I must quote: “Lots of people are asking me how long I'm going take off, and I don't want to give a specific date because I think well, what happens if I get to that date and then I feel like I need an extra week or I need an extra two weeks?” How nice. My firm's policy is 10 weeks, but you are entitled to an additional two weeks under the Family Medical Leave Act. I'm fully aware that this is extremely generous compared to most American women. And I am in fact going to take two more unpaid weeks off, to avoid returning during the holidays. Before I can fully commit to this, however, I need to ensure I will have enough money for the mortgage and car payments that are auto-drafted from our bank account. I'll just charge all gas, groceries, and Christmas gifts to our halfway-maxed credit cards with 17% interest rates for this privilege.

She recommends not to over plan your life. Which makes me more curious about this fifth pregnancy, and her previous pregnancies as well. What did she over plan? What did she under plan, or not plan at all? She is quoted as saying that it was a "leap" to join Google when she was four months pregnant, and I would like to know why she said that. This part could have been not-garbage, but the interview was too superficial.

The "really hectic period" of having kids is fairly brief. Please define fairly and please define brief, because as a mother to a two-year-old and a two-month-old, I would really like to know.

About career and motherhood, she said, and this part is not garbage: “I won't say it was easy, but I decided I'd make it work because I really believed in Google's potential. When you're a junior-level woman and get pregnant, people always ask if you'll quit. But no one asks me that now.” Here we need to acknowledge that she had an interesting job, and that junior-level moms are expected to opt out of the work force. Which precludes their ascendance to senior level and the C-suite, and as we know, very few women regardless of parenting status do not make it this far. Opting out is expected by anyone who asks you IF you will return to work after having a baby. And it surely goes without saying that not everyone's job is interesting. I wish I could not return to my current job. But then I have no aspirations of becoming a partner there either.

I wish the interview had come across as more sincere, but I want to be careful not to roll my eyes at this particular woman. Maybe she did open up about all these things and the crap interview is the result of limited space, the interviewer's angle, and/or our unwillingness as a society to deal with the realities are career and parenting. It's not always a balancing act, and not every moment deserves to be cherished.

1 comment:

  1. I'm glad you're blogging again! Congrats on the new little one. As I brace myself to return to work next month (after twelve weeks of unpaid leave, plus extra time because my direct boss got fired and my coworkers are awesome), all these issues feel so pertinent. And I'm kind of fired up about it!