A Not-So-Grand Slam.

by Vicki Larson



There’s been a lot of hoopla in the world of mothers and athletes ever since tennis player Kim Clijsters — her husband and 18-month-old daughter watching — nabbed the U.S. Open, the first mom to win the grand slam title in 29 years.


It’s an amazing comeback story for the 26-year-old who retired a few years ago to become a wife and mom, and who credits her husband, Antwerp Giants basketball player Brian Lynch, for giving her support.


While Clijsters was swinging her way to the top, another tennis mom has been making her comeback, too — Sybille Bammer, a 29-year-old Austrian who lives with her boyfriend, Christophe Gschwendtner, father of their 8-year-old daughter, Tina.


Bammer, who lost her record-breaking run at the U.S. Open in the quarterfinals, also credits her partner for supporting her. And, boy, did he; It was Gschwendtner’s idea that Bammer, then 21, get back to playing tennis after giving birth, and to make it easier for her, he gave up his career as a manufacturing engineer for five years to be Mr. Mom.


Now that Bammer’s back on the tennis and sponsorship track again and Tina’s in school full time, Gschwendtner has returned to work — he started his own electrician’s business — and the jokes from his friends about his decision to stay home have stopped. “Now my life is more interesting. It’s like I have two lives,” he told the New York Times.


His life is more interesting? As a mom who’s been a SAHM and is now a full-time employed divorced mom, I find his statement interesting. Is Gschwendtner saying that staying at home and caring for a child is uninteresting, or that the parent staying at home becomes uninteresting? Or both?


Is Gschwendtner slamming the stay-at-home parenting world?


Let’s face it: We all know moms who drone on and on about their kids and all things mommy, the Dummy Mummy that Observer columnist Rachel Cooke says “fetishise childbirth, and obsess about all that follows it, in a way that is almost, if not quite, beyond satire, and which makes me feel a bit sick.”


Still, I know plenty of employed moms who can hold their own with any SAHM in the droning department, so I’m not totally convinced it has anything to do with whether a mom stays home or not.


But if you read some of the chat and community boards on various parenting Web sites, there are a lot of stay-at-home mothers who feel isolated, pissed off and bored. There are just so many trips to the local park, Mommy & Me classes, sparkly arts-and-crafts projects, supermarket tantrums and “But why, Mommy?” questions a woman can take before she hits her, uh, break point.



It is all down to finding the right balance. Some of us enjoy being at home with the kids, some of us enjoy working - many of us would like both, (males and females) - The work/home balance is a fundamental part of life.

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i think it depends on the person. for me, working and being a mom and writing is more interesting than being a stay at home mom. for my husband, a stay at home dad, being home with kids is more interesting. i don't think its a commentary or dismissal made by tennis husband. just different what is interesting for different people.


Interesting because I didn't right away think he meant his life was more interesting because he worked outside the home again. I thought he meant because now he had those 2 lives - kids and work - that his life was more interesting than someone with just one of those. Just my take on it. I was a SAHM until 3 weeks ago when I had to go back to work FT because my husband has been out of work for a while. Both he and I would have preferred to have had him work FT and me keep my PT work schedule, able to still be with my 2 boys a lot. But things don't always work out the way we'd like, for a while anyway. Still, I think I was just as interesting, or I guess I should say just as boring, as a SAHM as I am now working FT in New York. We're all the same people, different situations, different topics, same people. The job in or out of the home is just part of the story, not the story itself. That's my 2 cents!
You can read about our hilarious and frustrating switch to being a reluctant SAHD and FT working mom on my blog diaperdad.wordpress.com. Great site here, thanks!!