Serena Williams is no stranger to the limelight. Over her inspiring career as a professional tennis player spanning nearly a quarter of a century, she has served one phenomenal feat after another. This includes her 23 Grand Slam singles titles, four Olympic gold medals, 14 women’s doubles slams, career earnings of nearly $100 million and a whopping 850 match wins. Perhaps her biggest achievement, however, was winning her record-breaking 23rd Grand Slam singles title at the Australian Open while eight weeks pregnant, at the age of 35.
After scaling these tremendous heights, she recently announced her retirement from the game. Though she is undoubtedly a stellar role model for her professional achievements, Serena also has plenty of lessons to impart as a mother to her 5-year-old daughter Olympia. Here are the lessons all parents can learn from Serena Williams:
You Can Have It All If You Love What You Do
Everyone has heard this adage, but Serena’s phenomenal journey really proves it. Having broken all stereotypes, she has made a name for herself as one of the all-time greatest athletes in the history of any sport, whether male or female. And she never let the physical and mental demands of motherhood come in the way of her professional success, as evident through her last Grand Slam win, which happened while she was pregnant.
Never Succumb To Mom Guilt
Absolutely unapologetic about her choices in life, Serena never felt the need to succumb to mom guilt or alter her approach to life because of motherhood. The rest of us must also take a cue from her and stop succumbing to societal pressures and mom guilt. According to her, where there is a will, there is a way. She recently narrated an incident to the press where she had stayed up all night with her daughter after she fell out of her high chair and broke her wrist, yet the next morning, she went on to play and win a match at the French Open in 2018.
It's all about prioritizing
41-year-old Serena is a beacon for women, especially women of colour, around the world, by paving the way for women in sport and through her investment firm Serena Ventures. Despite her tremendously busy and gruelling schedule, however, she knows how to prioritise her needs and those of her family - a lesson everyone can emulate.
Push your children to pursue whatever they desire
In a recent media interview, Serena explained, “I do want to push Olympia—not in tennis, but in whatever captures her interest. But I don’t want to push too hard. I’m still trying to figure out that balance.” As parents, many of us feel we know what is best for our children, but Serena wisely tells us, it’s best to let our children take the lead and decide for themselves. Once they have done that, we can provide the necessary push so they can grow optimally.
Channel your negative emotions into making you stronger
Life was not easy for the Williams sisters as they battled both racial slurs and sexism in a male-dominated world. Serena learnt to channel all the rage sparked off by these negative emotions, into perfecting her game. Every time someone would try to push her down, she would only come out stronger. Channelling our negative emotions into achieving positive results, is something we all must strive to do.
Serena Williams is a legendary tennis player, extraordinary woman and dedicated mother. Her retirement has given us plenty of food for thought and an opportunity to be schooled in important life lessons that are sure to help us on our parenting journey.