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Dear Marissa Mayer: Please Stop Saying Your Baby Is 'Easy'

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Twitter Marissa Mayer

Dear Marissa Mayer,

So, your "baby's been easy"? That's what you said last night while being honored as one of Fortune's Most Powerful Women, right? "The baby's been way easier than everyone made it out to be."

Please stop saying things like that.

We are happy for you. Really, we are. Two-month-old Macallister is adorable, and your fellow members of the new-mom club wish you nothing but the best.

And we are rooting for you. Truly. Working mothers everywhere understand that you're breaking ceilings as the first to give birth while heading a Fortune 500 company. We want you to prove that pregnancy and childbirth are not incompatible with, ya know, thought.

But we admit to mixed feelings.

Putting "baby" and "easy" in the same sentence turns you into one of those mothers we don't like very much. When you do, it makes us feel (more) inadequate; starts us wondering (again) what we are doing wrong.

We believe you when you say your baby is easy. Some babies are easy. (Or so we are told.) Sometimes easy babies even stay that way even after their mothers dare to tempt fate and talk about their easiness aloud. But sometimes these easy babies go to bed like angels and wake up like demons who can't be soothed unless you sing Barry Manilow nonstop while bouncing on one foot while your hip is pressed against the dryer. (Hypothetically.)

That sometimes happens at about two months. How old is Macallister again?

We are not saying this will happen to you. We don't wish you any problems, just as we don't really wish bad things for the woman in Mommy and Me whose jeans are a size smaller than before she gave birth. Or the one whose infant slept through the night at three weeks. It would be petty of us to hold that against anyone.

It's not your fault that you are one of the lucky ones. You already knew that about yourself -- that's why you were so sure you could work through a maternity leave so short that many other new mothers wouldn't have enough time to take a shower. After all, being extraordinary is what got you where you are.

That worries those of us who are just ordinary, because it's not just the women for whom work and motherhood is "easy" who should have a shot at the top. It's the women for whom it is messy, and daunting, and hard. Women who need more than two weeks of maternity leave. Who don't fit into their designer duds two months out. Who are dynamite at what they do, but who don't necessarily take the rocket-powered route toward doing it, because they work for companies who understand that careers don't have to be linear.

Yes, we understand that this is partly our fault. You didn't ask us to watch your every move. You never declared yourself the standard in working mommydom.

It's just that we don't have a lot of other pregnant Fortune 500 superstars to look to, so we held you up as a role model and now we worry that you're modeling the wrong thing. When there are dozens more of you, we will probably stop paying attention. (After all, I bet few of us can name all 20 women in the Senate. And I'll double down and bet that fewer of us know how many of those women have children.)

Until then, you said last night that you've decided to stop telling us quite so much. "I haven't been talking," you said, of how you juggle life and work, "and I'm going to go back to not talking."

That will probably be best.

But should that boy get colicky, we would be more than happy to give you some advice.

This story appeared in Issue 26 of our weekly iPad magazine Huffington, in the iTunes App store.

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