Great Expecations For A New Mom & Athlete

Candace Parker, star of WNBA's L.A. Sparks, is currently on maternity leave, but promised her bosses that she'll continue to promote the team. Like many moms, she's tugged by her duties to her newborn and her commitment to her job.

According to the New York Times:

Parker, 23, is determined to buck the conventional wisdom that women can fulfill their potential as professional athletes and as parents as long as they tackle their lives like a to-do list, crossing one item off before starting on the next.

"I'm always the type of person that wants to prove people wrong," she said. "I just want to come back and show that you can be even stronger than before."

Parker's steely resolve and determination are admirable, and she has a husband, a nanny and family members to help her out. Additionally, her coworkers can relate: Five other team members on the Sparks are mothers — including Lisa Leslie — and Carla Christofferson, the Sparks' 41-year-old co-owner, is pregnant.

It's frustrating that Parker has to say she wants to come back "even stronger than before." She's a talented athlete, but clearly feels like she has something to prove. While it's true that Parker hasn't played a competitive game in 10 months, it's not like she suffered a debilitating injury. But her words are an answer to widely-held notions of how motherhood changes a woman — how people expect different, or possibly less of you, especially when it comes to your job. And, even more important: It speaks to the expectations this new mother has placed on herself.

Diapers and Jump Shots: Player Has Her Hands Full [NY Times]

Earlier: Juggling Pregnancy & Career Without Dropping The Ball
Are Women Having Babies Earlier Because They Take Their Careers For Granted?