"I think women need to be recognized," Serena Williams says of the balance of work and motherhood

By Jen Juneau
February 13, 2020 04:35 PM
Serena Williams and daughter Olympia
MICHAEL BRADLEY/AFP via Getty Images

Serena Williams has a whole different appreciation for moms since becoming one herself.

The tennis great, 38, spoke with Vogue‘s editor-in-chief Anna Wintour Tuesday during a showing of her S by Serena fashion line at New York Fashion Week, admitting her “heroes have changed” since she and husband Alexis Ohanian welcomed daughter Alexis Olympia in September 2017.

“After having a child, my heroes are moms because women are superheroes,” Williams told Wintour, 70, in their conversation, according to Time. “To have a baby and then have to go to work two or three weeks later or work a nine to five … I’m fortunate to not have to do that.”

“I’m at a loss for words when I think of women who work day in and day out, providing for their families, when I know how hard it is for me to leave my daughter,” the athlete continued. “I never felt that way until I became a mom. I think women need to be recognized.”

Never miss a story — sign up for PEOPLE’s free daily newsletter to stay up-to-date on the best of what PEOPLE has to offer, from juicy celebrity news to compelling human interest stories.

Serena Williams
Dia Dipasupil/Getty

RELATED: Serena Williams Says Motherhood Has Been “Really Tough” on Her: ‘I’ve Had Meltdowns’

For Williams, “Being a mom is super important, but also being a leader,” she told Wintour, “so my daughter can look at me and say, ‘This is what my mom did.’ “

“I aspire to do that and I want to be better,” she added. “It’s really important to me to inspire the next generation because that’s what the future is.”

As for the present, little Olympia is currently into more royal-appropriate styles. As her mama told E! News ahead of the S by Serena show, “Listen, I can’t force her out of a princess dress. She gets so upset.”

“She loves fashion,” Williams continued. “She loves wearing dresses, and that’s what she wants to do.”

RELATED VIDEO: Serena Williams Is a Force of Inspiration

Olympia’s fashion-focused attitude at such a young age has even inspired her mom to think about taking a new avenue when it comes to clothing.

“I want to design a line of baby-wear inspired by my daughter,” Williams told PEOPLE in October on the set of her S by Serena shoot in Miami, where Olympia got in on the fun by creating some on-set crayon drawings. “I take her everywhere, and I hope to have more children.”

And like any working mom, the sports superstar said she’s just taking everything day by day.

“I basically don’t balance,” Williams said, laughing. “When I do something one day, it is 100 percent. Then when I am done, I am done and on to the next thing! I live and breathe fashion in the tennis off-season, but no matter what else I do, I am always a mom and I love every minute of it.”

Advertisement