Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian and his GOAT tennis-star wife Serena Williams welcomed their first child together — Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr. — in September 2017. Writing for Glamour, Ohanian reveals that he was able to take 16 weeks of parental leave when Olympia (best friend of Instagram influencer Qai Qai) was born — and explains why parental leave is so important.
Of course, Ohanian is the co-founder of an extremely successful tech company, and he starts out by recognizing the privilege that comes along with that. Unlike other people across the U.S., he didn’t have to worry what his bosses might think about him taking leave to help his child and wife (who was recovering from an extremely dangerous childbirth with serious complications) because of the position he was in.
“I was able to take 16 weeks of paid leave from Reddit, and it was one of the most important decisions I’ve made,” he wrote in Glamour. “It helped that I was a founder and didn’t have to worry about what people might say about my ‘commitment’ to the company, but it was incredible to be able to spend quality time with Olympia.”
Ohanian notes that being able to take parental leave helped the new parents adjust to their new life together. He also stated that there is a ton of research showing how beneficial parental leave is for both the children, and the parents. He continues:
However, many fathers in this country are not afforded the privilege of parental leave. And even when they are, there is often a stigma that prevents them from doing so. I see taking leave as one of the most fundamental ways to “show up” for your partner and your family, and I cherished all 16 weeks I was able to take.
In the Glamour essay, Ohanian also reveals his secret to building a happy and successful marriage with Williams, as they both have extremely hectic and demanding professional schedules. One of the keys, he states, is making time for each other; the pair do so by always trying to spend their Sundays together making pancakes and lounging around the house or playing with Olympia. “Just being a family on those days means so much to both of us” he adds. Read the full essay here.