How Serena Williams rewrote the playbook for female athletes juggling motherhood and sport.
By the age of 43, I was married to a boy-crazy, baseball-cap-wearing athlete. We had been together for two years when I realized she was about to leave me for another man. “What are you?” I screamed. “He’s not a man. He’s a man. What are you?” We divorced soon after. For the next eight years I found myself married to two men who were both athletic enough to have never been more than friends, but could not hold it down as husband and wife. I didn’t know what to tell my children because I had not met my own. I had married another woman, just days after we had been married.
And yet, when I looked back at everything I had done in the past to try to make my life work, I was glad I did it. At least I was in love with someone.
We were both women who had never really let go of men and could not. I was a social worker who loved my career. He was an investment banker who loved his job. His work was not the problem, the real problem was me. I had been too needy and too scared to say no to him when he demanded sex, and to him I felt I had to be a good wife. We wanted to stay married so I could take care of the kids and stay home. He was a good father and was so loving and so patient with my daughters when they played on the playground and wanted to play with him. He was kind and generous to my son and he loved spending time with my girls, because they reminded him of his own daughters. And, in fact, I was jealous of his daughters. When they were with him, my love for men was gone. I was in love with my children, not my husband. I felt I was not good enough to be a wife.
As I reflected again on where I was when I decided to divorce him, I thought about