10 Questions: Tennis Superstar Lindsay Davenport
by Alison Singh Gee
When one woman boldly celebrates motherhood and stands firm about her priorities, all of us mothers benefit. That’s why Modern Mom applauds tennis superstar Lindsay Davenport, 31, who took home the 1996 Olympic gold medal for singles, and has held the title of the number one player in the world four times. One of the tennis realm’s most highly visible champs, Lindsay totes her son, Jagger, 10 months, everywhere she goes – a travel itinerary that includes all parts of the U.S., as well as such international locales as Wimbledon, Paris, and Bali, Indonesia.
After a huge win, Lindsay is known to face the cameras by holding Jagger up along with the enormous trophies she routinely snags. In doing so, she communicates to the world that being a mother is as monumental an accomplishment as being a sports hero. According to other athletic stars, Lindsay is setting a new standard for what women can achieve.
“I mean, I’m speechless, because she looks better than me, and she’s seven months out of having a baby,” Serena Williams told the New York Times in January. “I’m convinced if I had a baby, seven months later, I’d probably still be in the hospital trying to get over the pain. I mean, she is my ultimate role model.”
When she’s not trotting the globe, Palos Verdes-born Lindsay and her investment banker husband, Jonathan Leach, make a peaceful nest for Jagger in California. Here, she speaks to Modern Mom’s Alison Singh Gee about the difficulties of making baby formula in international airports, admiring other working moms, and her greatest achievement. (Hint: it’s not winning the Grand Slam three times!)
What’s your definition of a Modern Mom?
A modern mom to me is a mother who feels no limitations. She has the ability to have her life, her career, and be a terrific mom at the same time. She wants to accomplish everything she can in life and be able to handle it all.
What’s your secret to balancing career and family?
My secret is to be VERY organized and have great people around helping you. I could never have gotten back into my career without the undying support of my husband, who works full time at stressful job! We decided that we were going to do this as total partners and it is a 50/50 deal with us. We take our son everywhere with us—to parties, to dinners, overseas. We just want to spend every minute that we are not working with him. It’s not always so easy. You obviously have to bring someone to watch the baby at times, and there’s all the stuff that goes along with traveling all over the world. Going through an airport, trying to get water to make his formula. One time I was in the middle of a match in Bali and I looked over and saw my son with his nanny. He had sun on his forehead. I was like freaking out on the court. But then I was like, Lindsay, you have to let it go.
What did your parents teach you about parenting?
The best thing my parents did for me was to teach me to be independent and to make my own decisions. Of course that was tough especially when I was in my teens playing pro tennis, but I learned so much from having to grow up faster than other teenagers. I hope that Jon and I can teach Jagger that we are always there for him and support him no matter what, but he has to guide his own life.
What do you want to teach your children?
I hope to teach all my children the importance of respecting others, to always believe in themselves (something I struggled with for a long time), and to try their best to achieve their dreams and goals.
Who do you admire the most?
After having my son, I admire all working women everywhere. No matter what you do, all working women have a common bond. It is not easy and takes a lot of hard work, but the rewards are amazing.
What’s your favorite family activity?
Because I travel so much, my favorite family activity is just having the three of us wake up together on a weekend and go to breakfast and just walk around town. We try and enjoy all the moments we have when both of us are not working.
What is your greatest achievement?
Obviously my son is my greatest achievement! I cannot believe he is our creation. He is always so happy and easy going that my husband and I are not sure where he came from! He is even more amazing than I could have ever hoped!
What products can’t you live without?
With my career, I have to be in the sun all day long, everyday. And every year that goes by, I can see the damage accumulating. I put on sunscreen everyday before I leave the house, but unfortunately I think some of the damage was done before I became really diligent about wearing it. So definitely my Neutrogena sunscreen! My Crème de la Mer face cream is also a must. I also love my Kiehls lip balm and Kerastase shampoo and conditioner. My family also never goes anywhere without Aveeno lotions.
I started using JUVÉDERM (an injectible cosmetic filler) last fall so I am also a believer in that. I now do some promotion for the company. It’s kind of funny story how I started doing that – a lot of moms could probably relate to this! We had a lot of pictures of us from the hospital and the first few months of his life and while looking at the pictures, I realized that my skin had lost a lot of its bounce, and there were so many more wrinkles! I tried JUVÉDERM. Afterwards, I felt like I looked a lot more refreshed, and my skin looked so much smoother.
What do you do when you’re feeling selfish?
When I get some time to myself (which is a rarity!) I usually go online and shop or play some word games. I also try and sneak in some Sudoku puzzles.