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Marissa Mayer: Your thoughts on the 'having it all' debate

By Mairi Mackay and Eoghan Macguire, CNN
July 20, 2012 -- Updated 0922 GMT (1722 HKT)
Veronica Lon Pantaleon Mendoza, 37, says hearing about Marissa Mayer's new role as Yahoo CEO (and mother to be) inspired her to send in some advice to other working mothers. Mother to a 14-year-old son and five-year-old daughter while working as an online English teacher, she advises other mothers to: "adapt, compromise and communicate."
Veronica Lon Pantaleon Mendoza, 37, says hearing about Marissa Mayer's new role as Yahoo CEO (and mother to be) inspired her to send in some advice to other working mothers. Mother to a 14-year-old son and five-year-old daughter while working as an online English teacher, she advises other mothers to: "adapt, compromise and communicate."
Veronica Mendoza, Philippines
Shadra Smith, Indiana
Niena Sevilla, Saudi Arabia
Cynthia Falar, Florida
Sarah Jane, Utah
Jennifer Compton, Michigan
Lori Kretchmer, California
  • News that Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer is pregnant re-ignited work and motherhood debate
  • You have shared your experiences in CNN stories, on Facebook, Twitter and iReport
  • Here's a snapshot of your thoughts on "having it all"

(CNN) -- Veronica Lon Pantaleon Mendoza said it was her son's pleas that finally led her to quit work.

The 37-year-old from San Juan City in the Philippines went back to work three months after her son, now 14, was born and worked as a marketing executive for more than five years.

"My office was in another city," she writes on iReport. "I'd need to beat the traffic; leave home very early while my son was still sleeping; travel home during rush hour and arrive home late at night when he (was still asleep)."

"A nanny took care of him. We had a maid. I would describe myself then as more of a career woman than a mom."

But, eventually, she remembers, her son started asking why he didn't see his mom very often.

E-Block: Yahoo's surprising CEO pick

See also: If Marissa Mayer can 'have it all,' can you?

Marissa Mayer's on the job at Yahoo

"That's all it took," she said. "I resigned from work and started to spend more time with him."

Mendoza has now started a second career. When she became pregnant again, she decided to work from home as an online English teacher. "I planned, acted on it and learned how to make it work," she said. Adapt, compromise and communicate is her advice to other mothers.

Mendoza is one of many who responded with their own experiences to the news that new Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer is expecting a baby in October. In a Fortune article announcing the news Tuesday, the 37-year-old said: "My maternity leave will be a few weeks long and I'll work throughout it."

I resigned from work and started to spend more time with him
Veronica Lon Pantaleon Mendoza

Mayer's comments have re-ignited the perennial debate around how working mothers can balance motherhood with their careers -- can women really have it all?

A CNN story published Wednesday, asked just that question: "If Marissa Mayer can 'have it all,' can you?" It prompted comments showing a variety of standpoints on the subject.

As the piece mentions, Mayer is not your typical working mother and some of you echoed that, saying that because of her success, Mayer isn't a useful role model for the average person.

See also: Want more female execs? Sort out the household chores

"Using Marissa Mayer is not a good comparison to regular working moms," wrote Hamsamich. "With her millions, she can have a nursery built next to her office, and (have it) staffed with a full-time nanny."

But many of you chimed in, saying that no matter what a woman's wealth or success "having it all" is a myth.

"It is impossible to have it all," writes James330i. "The ideal parent is at home watching the baby grow up. The ideal CEO spends the majority of time watching the company grow.

"To have it all would mean finding a job requiring 4hrs a day of work and the rest being a parent."

Rmercat agrees: "You cannot be something for everyone, and be there all the time. Something at some point will have to give.

"This isn't necessarily a bad thing -- but people need to stop fooling themselves when they believe you can be in a board meeting and at the preschool play at the same time."

Pghgirl thinks that high-achieving women put pressure on others: "(It's) a shame that women and men who want to stay home with their children have to feel pressured by society to be superwoman like this chick."

Spoddney thinks that the solution to the issue lies in legislation: "When will the U.S. get with the program (I'm Professor of Medicine in Australia but worked ... in Boston for 3 years) ... Australia is much more working mum friendly and flexible than the U.S."

On Twitter, a debate sprang up on Twitter around the hashtag #havingitall.

Krista Laursen noted that the "Debate about #havingitall needs to recognize each woman has a different definition of all. Trick is to want and appreciate what you have."


While Jess Pelaez came back with a challenge: There's no such thing as #havingitall, regardless of gender. Remember, anything worth doing is difficult. What's stopping you?"

U.S. academic and former State Department director of policy planning -- the first woman in the job -- who recently wrote a piece for The Atlantic on the subject described women who make it into top jobs as "genuine superwomen" and points out that many of them don't have families.

She tweeted this Tuesday: "Bottom line: We shd cheer 4 all women who make it to the top. But that's not enough 4 real equality. Need better choices. #havingitall"

This debate isn't going away. Share your experiences in the comments below or upload in iReport.

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