Motherhood has made Serena Williams appreciate her mom in a new year

Serena Williams Gets Candid About Why It's "Difficult Being A Mother To A Daughter"

Life changes in surprising, enlightening ways when you have a baby. For Serena Williams, she felt a new "appreciation" for her own mother after giving birth to her daughter, Olympia. For Bustle's "Without This Woman" series in honor of Women's History Month, Williams opened up about how she was better able to understand the complexities of her own mother's experience once she became a mother herself.

"From the second I gave birth to my own daughter, I felt a new understanding and love and appreciation for my mom," Williams told Bustle of the close relationship she shares with her mom, Oracene Price. "This may sound silly, but I remember always sleeping in bed with my mom when I was around 2 years old. All I wanted to do was to be with her — I remember even going to school and crying so much because I didn't want to leave her."

The tennis pro went on to share her struggle to balance motherhood and friendship with Olympia, whom she welcomed in September 2017 with her husband Alexis Ohanian. "Now, I'm trying to enjoy the moments with my own 2-year-old daughter because it goes by so quickly," Williams told Bustle. "It's difficult being a mother to a daughter, because you want to be their best friend — but you also have to be their mom."

"And you want to be with them forever," she continued, "but you know one day they have to grow up."

Williams has previously spoken openly about her struggle to balance motherhood with a demanding career in professional tennis. Just last month, for instance, she posted a photo on Instagram of herself and Olympia that highlighted how difficult being a working mom can be. "I am not sure who took this picture but working and being a mom is not easy," she wrote. "I am often exhausted, stressed, and then I go play a professional tennis match. We keep going. I am so proud and inspired by the women who do it day in and day out. I’m proud to be this baby’s mama."

Navigating the trials and tribulations of motherhood can be hard, but having another strong woman to lean on who has traveled the same road can make a real difference. And when that woman is your own mother, it something uniquely special.