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Nanette Fondas's picture

How fitting that Marissa Mayer birthed her baby on the eve of National Work and Family month.

Yet she disappoints other moms, bloggers and work-family advocates by stating she'll work throughout her maternity leave, appearing on Fortune Magazine's cover in a decidedly not-pregnant glam shot and remaining silent about the feminist status her new power-mom-CEO role confers.

Leave the woman alone, right? She just had a baby! And if she's like most of us, right about now she's sleep-deprived, sore-nippled and shocked at the new world she just entered of human infant needs.

But here's why what Marissa Mayer does next matters.

After a whole summer of debate about the difficulty of "having it all" (meaning: career plus family) following Anne-Marie Slaughter's bombshell article in The Atlantic, women WANT to see HOW a woman role model does it. Though Marissa Mayer exemplifies Slaughter's thesis that most executive women who find a good work-family-fit are super-human, super-rich and in charge, moms still will look to her for leadership and inspiration.

Marissa Mayer is now a celebrity power-glamour-mom. Will she throw the sisterhood of working mothers under the bus? Or will she realize that the wicked-witch feminism she eschews had a house land on it and that Glinda -- the good, beautiful witch in pretty dresses -- has bestowed the ruby slippers on her feet? As a super-smart business person, will Mayer notice the last 45 years of work-family scholarship and then lead Yahoo to lead corporate America to the bottom line results of work-family flexibility and benefits?

A self-described computer geek, Mayer may be just the super-mom to write the code that helps thousands of other families optimize work and family responsibilities.

Will Marissa Mayer become a powerful corporate feminist leader who leaves a lasting legacy in a U.S. that needs a family-friendly work visionary?

Marissa Mayer just gave birth to a baby. And that baby may -- just may -- give birth to a leader.


 *Nanette Fondas writes, blogs, and tweets about work-life-mom matters. Follow her @NanetteFondas



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