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No matter how many trophies adorn her mantle or how many likes she gets for her adorable videos on social media, Serena Williams still struggles with self-doubt when it comes to parenting her 4-year-old daughter Olympia.
“Mom guilt is real,” the 40-year-old tennis ace, who shares Olympia husband Alexis Ohanian, recently told Insider. “I always feel so guilty when I’m doing something on my own.”
Despite her status as a role model for working mothers, Williams shared, “I don’t know if I’m a good mom, and I don’t know if my method works, but I’m very hands-on with my daughter , and it was the same with our parents.”
She added, “I’ve set really good boundaries, but then after work, I’m going right to my daughter.”
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Williams recognizes that embracing that involved approach does come with its costs: “I’m really bad at self-care,” she said. “I was just telling my chief of staff that I need to get a pedicure because it’s been two years since I sat in a chair and had one. Maybe I could do that while I’m multitasking and taking calls.”
One thing she never multitasks on, however, is quality time with Olympia. And one of their favorite shared hobbies is reading.
“Storytime is such an important pillar of our bedtime routine, like so many others around the world,” Williams told PEOPLE in a statement accompanying exclusive art from her forthcoming children’s book The Adventures of Qai Qai.
Already a best-selling author, Williams took inspiration from Olympia’s favorite doll for the story, which hits shelves in September.
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Still, for all the joys of motherhood, Williams has been candid about the challenges she faces as a parent who’s also still pushing forward in her career.
RELATED: Serena Williams Gets Candid About Being an ‘Exhausted, Stressed’ Working Mom: It’s ‘Not Easy’
“Working and being a mom is not easy,” she wrote on Instagram in February 2020.
“I am often exhausted, stressed,” she acknowledged, “and then I go play a professional tennis match.”