Serena Williams Posts A Realistic Glimpse of Life As A Working Mom
Tennis icon Serena Williams recently won her first WTA tournament title in nearly three years. The win is also her first since becoming a mom to her first child, Olympia, with husband Alexis Ohanian in 2017.
On Friday, the champion athlete shared a photo on Instagram to show a revealing look at what being a working mother entails.
The balancing act
Williams spoke openly early on after becoming a mom about the self-doubt she often battled. “Sometimes I get really down and feel like, Man, I can’t do this,” she told Vogue in January 2018. “It’s that same negative attitude I have on the court sometimes… No one talks about the low moments—the pressure you feel, the incredible letdown every time you hear the baby cry. I’ve broken down I don’t know how many times. Or I’ll get angry about the crying, then sad about being angry, and then guilty, like, Why do I feel so sad when I have a beautiful baby? The emotions are insane.”
Williams has always been transparent on the challenges of balancing work and family, trying to shine a spotlight on the obstacles women face when it comes to giving quality time at home and on the job. “It’s totally normal to feel like I’m not doing enough for my baby. We have all been there. I work a lot, I train, and I’m trying to be the best athlete that I can be,” she told The Guardian in August 2018. “However, that means although I have been with her every day of her life, I’m not around as much as I would like to be.”
The tennis star often commends moms who are juggling responsibilities of home and career, noting that it takes significant strength. “Most of you moms deal with the same thing. Whether stay-at-home or working, finding that balance with kids is a true art,” Williams said. “You are the true heroes. I’m here to say: if you are having a rough day or week – it’s ok–I am, too!!!
Posting a photo of herself holding baby Olympia while sitting in a car, Williams reflected on the many demands of motherhood, while also appreciating the joy the role brings.
“I am not sure who took this picture but Working and being a mom is not easy,” Williams captioned the photo. “I am often exhausted, stressed, and then I go play a professional tennis match. We keep going. I am so proud and inspired by the women who do it day in and day out. I’m proud to be this baby’s mama. #nofilter #nomakeup#nohairbursh lol #justme“
Hoping to empower parents
The tennis pro is not all talk when it comes to helping moms. Recently joining the Mom Project, a platform that connects mothers with employment opportunities, Williams is now the organization’s strategic advisor.
“It doesn’t matter whether you’re a team of one or 100,000; if you’re hiring, are you considering hiring moms?” Williams said in a press release, according to Business Insider. “Together, we can influence how work gets done and build a better workplace for the future.”
Apparently being proactive in parenting runs in the family. Williams’ husband is also taking steps to help fathers get extended paternity leave, while trying to do away with the stigma attached to taking time away from work. Launching an initiative for fathers in partnership with Dove Men + Care, Ohanian is hoping to enforce paid leave time for new dads with Pledge for Paternity Leave, according to CNBC.
“Why aren’t they taking the leave they’re entitled to? The short answer is stigma,” Ohanian wrote in an article for New York Times Parenting in August regarding new fathers. “Men are conditioned to be breadwinners, exclusively — and another mouth to feed calls for more bread on the table (to say nothing of college tuition) — so off to work we go. Our sense of duty is often fear-based: Men assume their bosses will frown on paternity leave, so we don’t dare to go there.”
Ohanian believes that his crusade for parental leave is well worth the effort for all parties involved. “Getting dads (and in turn, families) off on the right foot begins at birth, and it can’t just be up to individual businesses to ensure that happens,” he wrote. “We need a federal bill that mandates quality paid family leave for everyone.”
Williams and Ohanian have proven that they are a power couple in their professions and in parenting!