Did you hear that Serena Williams had a baby? Well, just watch the US Open and you’ll hear it mentioned at least once an hour. Or else you’ll see the commercials. They’ve done their job: I’m now convinced she’s a mother. And a mother can do multiple things? Amazing. Can we now talk about her tennis skills?
I am a mother and a feminist and a supporter of women doing what they want to do. And I am having such a reaction to the announcers and media jumping all over this concept that a MOTHER could actually do these amazing things! Have they never had a mother before? Have some of them not BEEN mothers?
Mothers are amazing. Period. There is not a harder working person on earth than a mother – whether she is employed outside the home or not.
And here is the other thing: children generally have two parents.
My issue is this: While it is fabulous to finally get the recognition that yes, this being a mother is not an easy job, women who are mothers can easily fall into the belief that because I am a mother I MUST do it all. Here is the truth: It takes a village.
I watched Serena in her US Open quarterfinal game. Her dedication to the game, her athleticism and her training on all levels brought her there and moved her forward to the next level. Yes, she is a mother, but when on the court, she is a competitor. And I saw her husband in the stands, cheering her on. And he is a father. He is a successful businessman and I bet not ONCE after the birth of his child did someone comment “Wow, he is a father and still successful!” There is an unconscious assumption that a man’s life will continue pretty much as it was prior to the birth. Yes, it is changing, but we have a long way to go.
What can help society as a whole and women in particular is when women – mothers – stop taking on responsibility for everything and ALLOW others to help. Allow the fathers to really share in the responsibility. Allow family and friends to help out. Allow ourselves time to continue being a fully functioning human being – without guilt!
Serena Williams is a mother. And a woman. And an amazing athlete. And much more because she has others who are helping her to be what she wants to be. Let THAT be your example today!