Serena Williams highlights challenge of balancing career, family for many women

Balancing a career with having a family is a constant challenge for so many women.

“For those really demanding careers, law, senior leadership roles, women are often asked to make choices that men are not asked to make,” said Elaine Varelas, Managing Partner at Keystone Partners.

Varelas is a career management expert, and she hears from women all the time who are trying to balance that family life with work.

Serena Williams just brought that issue into the spotlight when she announced she’s stepping away from tennis to grow her family.

“I was thrilled to see that she was working with a therapist on this, this is a significant transition for her, and she recognizes that and was willing to go public, that’s outstanding,” said Varelas.

Williams opened up about her decision in Vogue.

“Believe me, I never wanted to have to choose between tennis and a family. I don’t think it’s fair. If I were a guy, I wouldn’t be writing this because I’d be out there playing and winning while my wife was doing the physical labor of expanding our family,” said Williams in the Vogue article. “Maybe I’d be more of a Tom Brady if I had that opportunity.”

“She’s very young when you think about a career in a lifetime. She’s got a lot more to give the world, and I think that’s part of what she’s looking for,” said Varelas.

Williams says she doesn’t like to call it ‘retirement’ but rather an ‘evolution’ as she focuses on other things that are important to her - like trying for a second baby with her husband and working more with her investment company Serena Ventures.

“I definitely don’t want to be pregnant again as an athlete,” said Williams. “I need to be two feet into tennis or two feet out.”

As for all the moms trying to balance it all – Varelas has this advice:

“Surround yourself with support, ask for help, and ensure that you’re at an organization where there are enlightened men and women who will support you in that balance of both,” said Varelas.

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