Alexis Ohanian found a role model in his wife Serena Williams.
While speaking about his advocacy for paid family leave on CBS This Morning Monday, the entrepreneur, 38, praised his tennis star wife, 39, for her ability to multi-task as a pro athlete and a mom.
The Reddit co-founder, who shares daughter Alexis Olympia, 3, with Williams, said that he previously had a “warped view of the path to excellence and the path to greatness being a direct result of just pure work,” which Williams helped him to dispel.
“That is obviously core to it, but one thing that I’m still working on is balancing that with time off, time away, time to reset and recharge,” he continued. “Something [Williams] is really good at is shutting it off and focusing on family time and personal time.”
The U.S. is one of the world's only developed countries that does not guarantee paid family leave. Nearly 1 in 4 mothers in America returns to work within 2 weeks of giving birth.@AlexisOhanian is a longtime advocate for paid family leave and joins us to discuss more. pic.twitter.com/qeTZs0OEmv
— CBS This Morning (@CBSThisMorning) May 24, 2021
“I’m always a smartphone away from dipping back into a term sheet or dipping back into work,” he continued.
“I certainly still get checked from time to time on that one,” Ohanian added. “We need more men talking about this stuff.
The father of one, who wed Williams in 2017, has previously spoken out about the importance of paid family leave and why fathers should be eligible for the benefit.
In August 2019, Ohanian published an essay for The New York Times in which he opened up about why paternity leave is so important, despite men feeling a “stigma” around it.
While Ohanian understands that “not every father has the flexibility to leave without the fear that doing so could negatively impact his career,” he stressed the importance of paid family leave for everyone.
“Serena and I were lucky enough to have help at home and many other advantages working in our favor. But even with all of that privilege, including my ability to focus solely on my family and not worry about keeping my job, it was still incredibly difficult,” Ohanian wrote. “Nothing could have dragged me away from my wife and daughter in those hours, days and weeks — and I’m grateful that I was never forced to choose between my family and my job.”
Ohanian blamed the lack of paternity leave on our culture’s “stigma” and that “men are conditioned to be breadwinners,” adding that men’s “sense of duty is often fear-based” as well.
Staying at home to care for his baby girl also helped Ohanian “figure this whole parenting thing out.”
“The understanding of my responsibility to care for my family that I gained during those first months after Olympia’s birth has never left me, and it gives purpose to my fatherhood today,” he added. “It’s not always easy — my wife’s job takes her all over the world, as does mine — but I will do whatever I can, even if it means taking a dreaded red-eye or making a 24-hour international trip, to optimize time with Olympia and Serena.”
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