The biggest news this week? Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer’s plans for maternity leave…in December. Seriously? (First – congrats to Mayer. She and her husband are expecting twins later this year.) But the news that she once again plans to take a short maternity leave and work during that leave has unleashed a storm of commentary, think pieces and outright criticism.
We all know that parental leave is a hot button issue. What a company offers and what employees take are two different things. Executives can send strong messages to employees by modeling the behavior they want to see. If my boss doesn’t take vacations, I’m less likely to take vacations. If my boss powers through a parental leave, am I considered less committed to my job because I stayed at home? Does it hurt my chances for advancement?
Everyone is different. A short maternity leave isn’t for everyone and everyone needs to do what is right for them. As IW member Rochelle Nemrow, CEO of FamilyID told us, “And some people free climb on 1000 foot cliffs…”

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