“She took her first steps,” Serena tweeted Friday after advancing to the fourth round. “I was training and missed it. I cried.”
Serena Williams’ just celebrated her first time playing at Wimbledon as a mother. She was training at the All England Club on Friday, when she missed her daughter– 10-month-old Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr. taking her first steps. Setting the bar for working moms across the nation, this accomplishment came at a high price.
This brought back memories of when I first gave birth to my daughter. I imagined I would drop her off at a daycare and continue to follow my same pre-baby dreams. It was a very personal decision for me to stay home for two years nursing and teaching her first-hand developmental skills. My husband and I tried a nanny and I’m sure I ended up doing more work in fear she just wouldn’t get things right which resulted in her turning into our chef/maid. The idea of leaving my precious bundle that I cared for and nourished was too much to bear. I wasn’t ready to detach and nothing seemed important enough to leave my greatest joy—not even being requested for a Kanye West interview. I didn’t want to receive phone calls or photos of her throughout the day while I rubbed elbows with celebrities, I wanted to relish every moment. Many moms shared that they just couldn’t live that lifestyle or they needed their own time and valued their time away. My decision caused stares and unwarranted opinions but every mom does what’s best for them.
Serena Williams and husband Alexis Ohanian welcomed their daughter in September 2017 and she has openly shared her ups and downs through her pregnancy and motherhood. During a January 2018 interview with Rob Haskell for Vogue Magazine. She expressed her thoughts on success and motherhood:
“To be honest, there’s something really attractive about the idea of moving to San Francisco and just being a mom,” she says. Reddit, the news aggregator of which Alexis is a cofounder, is based there, and they’ve just found a house in Silicon Valley. “But not yet. Maybe this goes without saying, but it needs to be said in a powerful way: I absolutely want more Grand Slams. I’m well aware of the record books, unfortunately. It’s not a secret that I have my sights on 25.” She means 25 Grand Slam victories, which would surpass the record of 24 held by the Australian tennis legend Margaret Court and make her the undisputed greatest of all time. (Serena, already widely regarded as the best there ever was, currently owns 23.) “And actually, I think having a baby might help. When I’m too anxious I lose matches, and I feel like a lot of that anxiety disappeared when Olympia was born. Knowing I’ve got this beautiful baby to go home to makes me feel like I don’t have to play another match. I don’t need the money or the titles or the prestige. I want them, but I don’t need them. That’s a different feeling for me.”
ESPN reporter Allison Bender told Serena she missed her daughter’s first steps as well because she’s in Russia covering the World Cup. “I watched her first steps on a video,” Allison wrote. “She’ll be proud of you when she grows up.”
While this sentiment is a popular one, I can’t say that I would be satisfied with that advice.
If you had a choice, would you stay home during the baby years or would you use childcare and continue on with your career?