Much judgement is being chucked at Marissa Mayer, whose combination of glamorous beauty, technical mind and astonishing wealth clearly irk just about everyone. She is now expecting twins and planning to work throughout and take only two weeks maternity leave, to the horror of many.

We can't and shouldn't blame her for taking her responsibilities seriously. The pressure must be immense. Americans are famously brutal about their expectations of working "moms" even when they are not running global conglomerates. Anyway, I'm not sure we should worry too much what everyone else takes from her example. No one expects a CEO reportedly paid somewhere in the region of $14m (£9m) to behave like the rest of us.

Marissa Mayer, Yahoo
Yahoo boss Marissa Mayer is expecting twins Getty

The dispiriting truth is that she will be pilloried whatever she does. If she takes no time, people will say she is a terrible mother setting a crappy example. If she does take the time she will be slated for taking a big job and not seeing it through. There is much talk of women in boardrooms and more female CEOs but more of us than admit to it are squeamish about confronting what more senior women looks like for families.

I come at from a slightly different angle. Not one that will help Marissa much. We professionals spend years and years in highly sterile working environments. Birth is a moment when you can step out of that. Take a fresh world view. Withdraw, for a short time, from the external world. From business, fashion, world events and public display.

It's a time to give in to the astonishing frustration, exhaustion and euphoria of birth. To surrender to the indignity of bodily realities: yours and theirs. To be more selfless than you knew you could be. To operate more tired than is sensible. To have no idea what you are doing nearly all of the time. To lurk in dimmed rooms, gazing at your babies and holding them very close and weeping at their beauty and vulnerability and the strangeness of it all. To bond for life with others in exactly the same position and talk about nothing but poo, feeding and sleep deprivation. To watch the cycle of your neighbourhood in daylight hours – the strange comings and goings of postmen and deliveries and neighbours that you are oblivious to when so busy at your office.

Like the difference between battling to climb a great mountain and getting a helicopter ride: the view is the same but the harder way is truly more rewarding and eye-opening
- Christine Armstrong

A doctor will of course manage the birth of Marissa's twins. In America, no one would expect anything else. Formula must seem like a strong option if you're working full time from two weeks in with twins. Night nannies and day nannies can feed, change and sooth and burp. She can return to her office absolutely confident that her children are in the very best hands.

Which is all good. Except...I wonder if it's a bit of a shame.

Five days after my second baby I took her and her two-year-old sister to a local playgroup under a church. I remember it clearly. Entering a pool of kindness beneath a London street. Women I'd never met, bringing me tea and biscuits. Helping my toddler with crafts. Holding the baby while I went to the loo, telling me she was perfect, I was amazing and sending me home renewed.

The team at Yahoo are, I am sure, very nice; but the office will never offer a sanctuary like that. And Marissa's experience will, in some significant ways, be easier than for many others. But also less visceral. Like the difference between battling to climb a great mountain and getting a helicopter ride: the view is the same but the harder way is truly more rewarding and eye-opening. Which could be a very useful thing for someone seeking to change her business model to engage a world that lives very differently to her.

Not that her shareholders will ever see it that way.

Christine Armstrong is a contributing editor of Management Today, author of Power Mums (interviews with high-profile mothers) and founder of She can be found on Twitter at @hannisarmstrong.