- Serena Williams‘ husband, Alexis Ohanian, makes pancakes for their family every Sunday morning.
- It’s one way for him to “show up” in the relationship, he writes for Glamour magazine.
- Ohanian says this simple tradition is even more meaningful than any of his more extravagant gestures, like taking out billboards for his wife.
Alexis Ohanian, cofounder of Reddit and husband of tennis pro Serena Williams, says the most important way he supports his wife “would never go viral.”
It’s a simple Sunday tradition, Ohanian writes in an article for Glamour magazine: He makes a pancake breakfast for Williams and their daughter, Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr. It’s a ritual Ohanian borrowed from his dad, and the modified recipe includes raspberries (Olympia’s favorite), plus a “secret ingredient.”
Ohanian has been known to express his affection for his wife in a pretty public way: He put up billboards celebrating Williams after her first tournament post-baby and called her the “greatest momma of all time” on Instagram. But in the Glamour article, Ohanian says the most meaningful thing in a relationship is “showing up.”
With his Sunday-pancake tradition, Ohanian is doing something right; research suggests there are important benefits to sharing meals as a family. As Harvard Medical School professor Anne Fishel wrote for the Conversation, dinnertime conversation boost kids’ vocabulary, and kids who regularly eat with their families are less likely to engage in risky behaviors as teens.
To be sure, Ohanian doesn’t say he eats with Williams and Olympia every night – in fact, that seems like it would be difficult, given their busy schedules.
Perhaps the more important point is that Ohanian seemingly takes pride in being a hands-on dad (and husband). He writes that, when Serena is training or at a photo shoot, he spends the day with Olympia. And because he’s his own boss, there’s no one to tell him not to bring Olympia to work at Initialized Capital, the early-state venture firm he cofounded.
At Business Insider’s 2018 Ignition conference, Ohanian also said he plans to teach Olympia to code, though he really wants her to do something she’s passionate about.
After pancakes, Ohanian writes, he and his family spend the day “lounging around the house,” swimming, or playing hide-and-seek. He adds, “Just being a family on those days means so much to both of us – more than a billboard, a video montage, or a whirlwind trip to Italy.”