Serena Williams may be on the verge of a big comeback, but her retirement before the comeback tells us a great deal about what being a mom really means.
by Ivy Locke | Ivy Locke is a freelance writer and journalist with over a decade of varied experience. A true intellectual and comedian at heart, she enjoys writing on entertainment-related topics as well as profound think pieces. In the future, she hopes to join the ranks of other best-selling authors and film/TV writers. Follow her on Twitter @THEEIVYLOCKE.
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In case you haven’t heard about the premature retirement that rocked the pro sports realm, Serena Williams recently announced that she would be retiring from tennis. Although she has since backtracked a tad and asserts her optimism about returning to the game, the reason she stepped away, to begin with, tells us all we need to know about the most challenging job in the world: being a mom.
Motherhood is More Demanding than Pro Sports
Serena is a professional athlete who has been training to be an athlete since early childhood. And it certainly was not in vain. Serena presently holds the most combined significant titles in singles, doubles, and mixed doubles among players still playing the game. With a track record of 39: 23 in singles, 14 in women’s doubles, and two in mixed doubles, and also the holder of a joint-third on the all-time list and second in the Open Era for total major titles, Serena has long since proven that she is a serious force to be reckoned with.
Nevertheless, in the true spirit of motherhood, she was forced to take a step back from her remarkable career to focus more on motherhood. She announced her retirement in August, in the interest of raising her now five-year-old daughter, Olympia, and potentially having more bundles of joy in the near future, she would be retiring.
I’m elated that she has recently stated her optimism regarding returning to tennis. However, the fact that one of the most talented women athletes in history felt the need to choose between her family and her career tells us everything we need to know about the burden that parenthood places on women as opposed to their male counterparts. Studies have shown that women spend significantly more time on tasks such as housework and childrearing, while fathers have much more time to focus on their careers and relax during their downtime.
Serena Williams is a Super Mom
So in the case of Serena Williams, a woman who can clearly afford the best nannies, caretakers, toys, etc., and a woman who is definitely the more financially successful person in her marriage, the fact that she feels pressure to quit is very telling. This shows us that no matter how rich or successful we become, whether we marry rich, or how great we are in general, the onus in terms of parenting falls on women.
To her credit, it’s apparent that, like most moms, Serena would rather be a hands-on mother than simply outsourcing these duties to others. What’s more disturbing is that this may be due to the dreaded mom guilt placed on us by society, rather than a function of a mom simply wanting to be more present in her child’s life. Either way, I’d like to go on record to say that Serena is a super mom! Whether she goes back to tennis, chooses to be a stay-at-home mom or a mixture of both, she is an amazing example to moms worldwide who want to be excellent mothers without settling for less.