18/09/2009 09:48 BST | Updated 22/05/2015 10:12 BST

Kim Clijsters Is The New Supermum - But How Easy Is It To Have A Career And A Baby?

When tennis player Kim Clijsters won the US Open last weekend the radio commentator declared it "victory for mums everywhere".

Jolly good, I thought to myself, as I tried to get my baby back to sleep in the middle of the night for the umpteenth time. I'll take whatever victories I can get these days.

But Clijsters is now being held up as some kind of role model for mothers - which makes it hard for the rest of us.

Her comeback after having her daughter Jada 18 months ago was remarkable because it's so rare.

Yes, there are a handful of sportswomen who have had babies and gone on to be successful again - Paula Radcliffe, who barely stopped running to give birth, the Kenyan runner Catherine Ndereba and golfer Catriona Matthew.

But for most women the birth of their children makes it hard for them even to reach the same level in their careers again, let alone go on to bigger and better things.

For women who have previously prioritised their careers, this is difficult to deal with. Especially with "supermums" being trotted out in all the newspapers.

It's not enough to be "just" a mother. You have to win a major tennis tournament or set up your own multi-national company.

But watch out. If you're too successful you stand accused of being a hard-nosed cow and neglecting your children.

Getting the balance right is virtually impossible. Even Kim Clijsters admitted she didn't mean to get back into tennis in such a big way - and is now looking forward to getting back to domestic reality.

She said: "It's the greatest feeling in the world being a mother and I just can't wait to spend the next few weeks with her back in routine schedule with her at home again."

However, if she wants to carry on being successful on the tennis courts, that's bound to mean she will have to spend less time with her daughter.

That's the trade-off. You can have a bit of both. But you can't have it all.

Source: AOL News

Source: The Guardian