Serena Williams' Career Vs. Motherhood Conundrum Is Something All Working Moms Can Relate To
Regardless of what profession they're in, career-driven moms have all struggled to strike the optimum balance between making time for their children and investing themselves at work at one point or another.
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For pro tennis player Serena Williams, the challenge became all too real this weekend when she was away training, and her 10-month-old daughter Alexis made her first steps. Missing the major milestone that most parents witness and remember for the rest of their lives was so emotional for the first-time mom that she felt the need to tweet about it.
She took her first steps... I was training and missed it. I cried.— Serena Williams (@serenawilliams) July 7, 2018
Comforted by her followers—many of whom are also mothers themselves—the 36-year-old was assured that many more firsts will come, and that she and Alexis definitely still have the rest of their lives to make great memories together.
All in all, Serena's journey of motherhood has received tons of attention—even before she had given birth. It all started when it became known that the 23-time singles Grand Slam champ competed at the 2017 Australian Open while in her first trimester (she eventually emerged as the tournament's winner, for the seventh time).
READ: Serena Williams' Life-Threatening Postnatal Experience Sheds Light On Unequal Health Care Opportunities For Black Mothers
A few months after the competition, she admitted to being seven or eight weeks pregnant while training and playing. After her doctor gave her permission to compete, she decided that she would push through with the competition. Today, Serena is able to joke about her baby witnessing a major event in her mom's life way before even getting to meet her.
But now that Alexis and Serena have officially met and are absolutely crazy for each other, Serena realizes the major changes she must make in her life if she wishes to be around to nurture and care for her daughter every step of the way. Remembering the difficulties of returning to the court after a months-long maternity leave (and the struggle of having to sneak in one or two pumping sessions at mid-match or during timeouts), Serena has considered closing the door on her illustrious athletic career to prioritize Alexis.
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The thought rings even truer given that Serena has hinted at plans of wanting a second child.
With a life that's been defined by sports, competition, and victories on the court, how will Serena transition from tennis superstar to supermom—or, better yet, simultaneously manage these two very different responsibilities that are both important to her?
All successful women who have had to learn to make room for motherhood have been in Serena's shoes; while the desire and intention to be great moms are there, it truly is easier said than done, and all moms address the major change in different ways. Like most things in life, there really is no formula to getting things done right, but there are a few ingredients that moms should keep in handy to make this process a little less stressful.
Take it from Serena:
Let haters hate, but learn not to listen
She hasn't let her critics get her down. Although she might be navigating the unpredictable waters of motherhood for the very first time, she has confidence in her instincts and decisions. She's been criticized for taking time off the competition circuit to bond with Alexis, but she's stood her ground and has said that she knows her family best and can bounce back to being a competitive athlete when she's found more stable ground with her domestic life.
A good partner is one of the best things a working mom could ask for
Serena's husband, Alexis, deserves credit, too! As the co-founder and executive chairman of Reddit, this dad also has a lot on his plate, yet still finds time to spend with his wife and his daughter. More than once, Serena has talked about how his sensitivity to her needs and willingness to take over their daughter's care have eased some of the pressure on her.
Just like Serena does, trust yourself to know what's right for you!
At the end of the day, a mom's relationship with her child and family as a whole is hers to define. What works for some moms might not be ideal for others, and vice versa. Motherhood is a learning process after all which pretty much means that moms are allowed some leeway to find their footing along the way. What's important is that the mother and her baby are happy and fulfilled.
Multi-faceted moms, including Serena, might make a few hiccups in this lifelong journey, but just as losses on the court can still teach valuable lessons, a few bumps along the way pale in comparison to all the good things yet to come between mother and child.
Photos from @serenawilliams