Relationships

A Working Mum’s Love Letter To Serena Williams

We have a new heroine and she just happens to be The Greatest Of All Time.

By Jamila Rizvi

Relationships

We have a new heroine and she just happens to be The Greatest Of All Time.

By Jamila Rizvi

One can be truly triumphant even in the face of defeat. Just ask tennis superstar Serena Williams, 36, who claimed the runners-up trophy at Wimbledon last month, less than a year after giving birth and simultaneously making herself a hero to working mums everywhere.

“It was such an amazing tournament for me,” Williams told an enthralled crowd following the match. “I was really happy to get this far. It’s obviously disappointing, but I can’t be disappointed because there’s so much to look forward to. To all the mums out there I was playing for you today, and I tried.”

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In a world quick to judge women – especially mothers – for every decision they make, Williams’ honesty is both refreshing and rare. She may have an army of helpers, but Williams still struggles with guilt, vacillation and inadequacy. She unashamedly talks about the exquisite hypocrisy of being a working mother. That every minute you’re together you want a break from your baby – to stretch your muscles or your brain – and yet when you’re apart you fear letting them down, spending hours in the loo staring lovingly at photos of them on your iPhone.

Inspiration is a term that gets overused in the era of Instagram but it justly applies here. Serena Williams inspires not just fellow tennis players – many rising stars, particularly women of colour, say Williams is the reason they fell in love with the sport – but working women everywhere. It feels trite, yet Williams’ combination of feminism, dedication and hard-won achievement deserves no lesser descriptor.

You’ve hit the glass ceiling. And our paywall.

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5 SEPTEMBER 2018, MELBOURNE

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