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Serena Williams Says Leaving Her Daughter For Work Has Been 'Painful'

by Casey Suglia

Serena Williams' daughter, Alexis Olympia Ohanian, just turned two years old this weekend. Since giving birth to her, the tennis champ has since returned back to work, but it hasn't gotten any easier for her. During a recent interview with Forbes over the weekend, Serena Williams said leaving her daughter for work has been painful and her reasoning behind this makes total sense.

Williams is currently competing at the U.S. Open, one of the biggest tennis tournaments in the United States. She has had a pretty impressive performance thus far, and has currently advanced to the quarter finals. But, this tournament also happens to coincide with Olympia's second birthday. Although Williams returned to tennis in May 2018, after taking an eight month maternity leave, according to Fast Company, leaving her daughter hasn't gotten any easier. Williams told Forbes this weekend that leaving her daughter has been a painful experience for her, in spite of her getting older and understanding more of the situation.

"You know, it's hard," she said. "Sometimes my heart literally aches when I'm not around her. But, you know, it's good for me, I guess, to keep working and just — to all moms out there that it's not easy. It's really kind of painful sometimes. Sometimes you just have to do what you have to do."

So well said.

Williams brings up such a good point. Working is something that some moms have to do, and some moms choose to do, but isn't easy. Finding the perfect work life balance is hard and begs the question that women can't have it all.

And for the moms who are able to find the perfect balance, it's still hard to not be around their kids all of the time. Especially when their kids are feeling hurt from their absence, too. Williams told Forbes that her daughter hasn't liked spending time apart, either. "In the beginning she would be really upset when I left," she said. "And now she's a little bit better. I think I'm a little more upset. But at the same time, she definitely still takes it a little hard. She's still super young."

It's normal for toddlers to have separation anxiety because they're too young to understand the concept of time and don't know when their parents will return, according to Parents. What Williams is currently going through with Olympia is completely normal and so understandable.

This is far from the first time that Williams has spoken about this balance. In March 2019, she penned an essay for Forbes where she admitted that she feels guilty for leaving her daughter for work. "Forget the cliché of 'having it all', the reality is, women are trying to do it all," she wrote.

"I'm honest about my struggles as a working mom because I want other women out there to know they are not alone," she added. "We have to show ourselves and our female counterparts compassion and reality."

As long as Williams is winning tennis matches, she's going to be talking about her experiences as a working mom, which is so helpful to other working moms who can relate to her struggles. When Olympia gets older, she will appreciate her mom so much for this.