Frankly, I had never heard of Marissa Mayer until yesterday when — on the news that she’d been tapped to take over Yahoo — her hashtag took more than 30 percent of my somewhat eclectic Twitter feed.
Yahoo is one of those early Internet search companies that has endured a long decline yet retains in its dwindling membership untapped potential for whoever can reinvent it in time.
Mayer was among the smarty-pants upstarts who took the search engine Google so many leagues ahead of poor Yahoo back in the Internet’s teenage years.
Now that Gawker and Techcrunch have caught me up on the 37-year-old Silicon Valley superstar, I cannot imagine how the attractive over-achiever, self-described geek and It Girl escaped my attention for so long. In any case, Marissa — whose name is the same as my mother's — emerged in my consciousness as a very three-dimensional young woman when she felicitously timed a tweet announcing Tuesday that she and her husband, Zachary Bogue, are also expecting their first child.
They say (and I say it, too) that you can’t have it all. As an early adapter to unprepared parenting, I have long believed that women who pursue great big careers will always struggle, with mixed results, to be full-on mommies when their children need them to be.
But here comes this high-profile and well-placed young woman, and I am bursting with pride for her and the young generation of Amazon women she comes from. Even more, I am proud of the generation of feminists who imperfectly nurtured but nevertheless inspired them to give it a shot.
I’m betting the new parents will harness all the resources the Internet can provide to cover their bases through every phase of their child's development. Marissa will be a well-supported mother who, if anyone can, finds equipoise in her work/life balance.
As she takes on this challenge, I’ll be rooting for her. Although I’m not yet running out to buy stock in Yahoo, I was glad to see she will also have a secret weapon. Her mother.
In addition to excellent nannies, having a Nana on call can be the single most valuable tool in the new mother’s toolbox.
I learned from a 2009 Vogue piece that Marissa Mayer and her hockey-playing brother grew up in Wausau, Wis., where their mom is a “a homemaker and museum lover, [who spent] years ferrying her daughter to ice skating, ballet, piano, embroidery/cross-stitch, cake decorating, Brownies, swimming, skiing, and golf. “
In other words, an expert at providing the attention and support that cultivates a child’s judgment, self-control, composure and self-assurance. “You give them every experience you can, and then they gradually eliminate things,” Mrs. Mayer told Vogue.
By junior high, young Marissa was dancing 35 hours a week. “Ballet taught her criticism and discipline, poise and confidence.”
The baby, a boy, his mother told Fortune, is due in October. Congratulations to the whole family. I suspect Mrs. Mayer will be a very appreciated grandmother.
Bonnie Goldstein is on Twitter @KickedByAnAngel.