‘We are doing everything we can to make sure this birth goes smoothly’

Alexis Ohanian talks daddy-daughter dates with Olympia, plans for a new baby and passes on her business acumen. (Photo: Getty; designed by Quinn Lemmers)

As challenging as it can be to go from one to two children, Alexis Ohanian couldn’t be more over the moon to be expecting a second child with his wife, tennis legend Serena Williams. The entrepreneur and Reddit co-founder says he’s enjoying watching the couple’s 5-year-old daughter, Olympia, prepare to be a big sister to baby No. 2, affectionately referred to as “Jelly Bean.”

“There is something very special about how excited Olympia gets,” he says. “Olympia gives Jelly Bean little pep talks every day. She talks to her mom’s belly. It’s good. It really got me going because I know she’s going to be a great big sister.”

Ohanian has been coaching her daughter on how she will need to step up in the coming months. “One of the things I’ve told her is, ‘You’re going to have to help teach this little boy or girl a lot of things and help her or him find out about all the things you love: reading and math and all the things you ‘learn now,'” he says. He also empowers her by saying, “You’re ready to be the big sister.”

And when Ohanian gives his 5-year-old special feedback on her homework, he explains that he’s modeling something she’ll eventually be able to do to help her younger sibling. “We do math homework together and if she starts getting a little sloppy on some of the numbers, I want her to know that I’m giving her this feedback about tightening up on the 8 because it’s going to be important to her and then do the same to help his little sister or brother,” he explains.

Creative pastimes are also a must for the dynamic father-daughter duo. Ohanian, who recently partnered with Sharpies to show how Sharpie S•Gel Pen supports their personal and professional endeavors, sharing that he and Olympia have done drawing classes and watch instructional videos on YouTube for kids on how to draw. “It was an extension of these custom pancakes that I started creating during COVID for her,” Ohanian explains. “As it gained more and more momentum, I thought, ‘You know what, we don’t just have to draw with pancakes.’ I can draw with markers.’”

But the family still gets artistic in the kitchen. “Mom made her bake,” Ohanian says. And they will “be inspired” by the beloved Australian cartoon Bluey. “We dress up the house with these home-made signs so that it looks like a subway station [like in] an episode with trains,” he shares. “We will use wheelchairs to be ‘trains’ and I will push them.”

Preparing for another child also means Ohanian is doing everything he can to support Williams through her pregnancy, labor and delivery — especially because the first time, as Williams wrote in an essay for Elle, “being heard and treated appropriately was the difference between life and death” for the four-time Olympic medalist. Williams suffered a pulmonary embolism after giving birth to Olympia via C-section and was bedridden for weeks.

“We’re doing everything we can to make sure this birth goes smoothly,” he notes. “Serena knows her body better than anyone on the planet. So we’re both doing everything we can to prepare, just getting all our ducks in a row, getting the room ready… [We’re] going to be super-intentional and super-thoughtful when we get to the hospital, do everything we can do, and then the rest is out of our control.”

Meanwhile, the founder of 776 Foundation makes sure Williams “gets time to himself, time to recharge.” “Serena has never been too far away from Olympia for too long, never more than a few nights,” he notes. “She is an ever-present, ever-available, ever-loving mother. But [Olympia and I] Go on adventures, father-daughter dates, I’ll take her mini-golf, and Serena gets all her time to do, honestly, whatever she wants. It is usually still some form of work or maybe a little self-care.”

Just as it’s important to Ohanian to have space for his wife to take time for herself, he’s equally passionate about creating an environment as a business owner that he “wants as a parent.”

“It’s someone who values ​​autonomy,” he notes. “In 99% of the cases, it actually lets people make their own schedule – one of the benefits of virtually remote work. As long as you get it done, that’s what matters. We’re people who are able to doing great things for our family and the work that pays the bills. It’s a symbiotic relationship. I truly believe that being able to recharge myself with that time makes me appreciate why I do the work that I do and [be] the role model I want to be.”

This philosophy goes hand in hand with modeling a love of business ownership for Olympia and one day “Jelly Bean.” “[Olympia] know that dad’s favorite princess is Tiana,” Ohanian says. “Now she knows that the reason is that Tiana is the only one who is an entrepreneur. I have subtly and not so subtly tried to strengthen the entrepreneurial spirit in her.”

At the same time, Ohanian is happy to follow in his little girl’s footsteps. “Olympia running around in an Alex Morgan shirt helped inspire me to start a women’s football club,” says Angel City Soccer Club co-owner. “And then she really started playing golf – first miniature golf and then like golf golf, and here I am now a team owner in LA for a golf club.”

But whether he’s showing her the ropes of running a business or drawing with pancake batter, Ohanian will be fully there for his daughter. “I want to be the best at everything I do,” he says. “[That means] when I’m on the clock and when i’m in father mode. I’m really proud of that because I know it means Olympia is getting a dad who’s super engaged. And hopefully she appreciates it and hopefully I do a good job. We will see.”

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