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Lindsay Davenport: The Media's New Working Mom Darling?

The tennis superstar (and new mother) is in the spotlight

by Sara  |  6246 views  |  4 comments  |        Rate this now! 

The media loves its working mothers. Last year it was actress Jennifer Garner. This year, it seems that all media eyes are focused on tennis star Lindsay Davenport and her amazing run up to the Australian Open last week.

True, her career “comeback” has been quite remarkable since the birth of her son, Jagger, last June. She was a stellar 19-1 until her recent loss to Maria Sharapova at the Australian Open. As a result, she’s now the highest-paid female athlete – in any sport – of all time, and she’s shown that for some mothers out there it’s not that hard to lose the baby weight and put on the muscle. (Full disclosure: I didn’t have a hard time losing the weight, but I definitely am lacking in the muscle category.)

And Lindsay seems calm and cool in the spotlight. She’s figured out a way to manage her global business travel schedule by only taking flights that are direct from Los Angeles, her home base. She does admit to having a nanny travel with her around the world, but in articles and interviews, she appears to be a hands-on mom with the same concerns any normal working mother would have. I love a story she told the New York Times recently, about an instance where she “looked over in the middle of a match and noticed that Jagger… had sun on his forehead.”

She said, “I was like freaking on the court… But then I was like, Lindsay, you have to let it go.”

I want to hate Lindsay Davenport for having it so easy in her post-baby return to work. But, as all working moms know, the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence. I remember coming back to work four months after my son was born. I idolized a woman who worked down the hall from me -- she was leading a huge part of the business, had two kids, a great nanny, and seemed happy all the time. Me? I was fretting every day about whether going back to work was the right decision for me, and I suffered through nanny drama after nanny drama.

So, while it looks like it must be fabulous to be Davenport, with her money and her ability to go back to work on her own terms, bring her baby to work with her, and cart around a nanny 24/7, the truth is that it might not be all that great. Take the recent media coverage of successful working mothers with a grain or two of salt; they're meant to inspire, but comparing yourself to these superstars -- and their above-average lifestyle -- may make the average mom feel like she’s on the losing end of a wicked Davenport forehand.

About the Author

I'm a former corporate hack trying the full-time mom thing. But I still like to write about how working moms are portrayed in the media. You can read more of me at my blog:

Read more by Sara

4 comments so far...

  • I like your outlook -- the grass is always greener. I envy moms who can work part time or job share. I always wonder if I could get my son's many appointments scheduled better if I had that half day off.

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Daisy on 26th January 2008

  • Every situation is different and depends on each variable. Lindsay and your colleague may have great childcare, love their jobs and have supportive husbands. That makes working alot easier to manage. I have great childcare, a supportive husband but a job I'm not quite digging right now, so its do-able, but not enjoyable. If I had not had complete confidence in my childcare, I would have quit my job a long time ago.

    But you're right, behind the scenes, no matter how much support you have, being a working mom is never as easy as it looks. I have a colleague who doesn't have children ask me often "how I do it." I always tell her, "It's all a facade...behind the scenes, I'm really a mess..."

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Amy@UWM on 24th January 2008

  • I love her too- it was more about the media and it's standards for how working moms should be!

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Sara on 23rd January 2008

  • I think your point about not comparing ourselves to the celeb working moms is a great one. But funny, when I saw that Lindsey came back after having a baby, I was kind of excited. I am a fan of hers and think it's great that while she does not have to keep playing -- she has won enough, made enough money, etc -- she still has it in her.

    (Maybe I just like seeing other type A working moms out there:)

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Nataly on 22nd January 2008