Gisele Bundchen Is a Selfish Mom & She's Not Apologizing

Gisele BundchenGisele Bundchen tends to make a lot of enemies every time she opens her mouth about motherhood. But the model whose photo of herself breastfeeding while being pampered made her the mockery of the mom blogs late last year is nevertheless talking parenthood again, and -- color me crazy -- I think I agree with her this time. 

Bundchen, who has two children with New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, compared a mother's need to put herself before her children to the mandate on airplanes to put your own oxygen mask on before helping other passengers. As she told The Sunday Times:

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You know how they say on the plane that you have to put the oxygen mask on first and then put it on your child? So, I think it is the same, as a mum, to take care of myself.

You can feel a bit guilty -- you feel guilty if you do and if you don't. But if I put my oxygen mask on first, if I'm feeling fulfilled and present and good about myself, then I'm going to be a much more patient, loving, understanding mother and wife. You have to fill your glass so that everyone can drink from it. That's how I feel.

Being a lightning rod for criticism, Bundchen has already been called selfish for her comments. Technically, it's true. She's selfish.

But being selfish isn't always a bad thing. It sounds like Bundchen has figured out something it takes most moms years to really get a handle on: you can't be a good mom if you're always worn out and overwhelmed.

Because despite the superhuman demands of raising human beings, mothers aren't superhuman. We get tired. We get stressed. We get the flu.

We are fallible.

And realizing that is an important step in being a better mother.

It doesn't come easily. I say this now, but just this past weekend, I was at my wits' end because I'd been working round-the-clock at my three jobs, trying to keep our house clean, dinners made, her homework checked, and fighting a sinus infection. Being a normal 9-year-old, my daughter came into the room where I was working to ask me a silly question, and I snapped at her.

I immediately felt bad for doing it and apologized right away, but the damage was done. I'd been a bad mom -- even just for a moment -- because I'd been trying too hard to juggle it all, because I hadn't taken some me time, I hadn't been selfish.

The truth is, when you're trying to do it all, you're rarely doing it all well, and that includes parenting.

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Bundchen's comments may sound bad if you take her to mean ignoring your kids and going out to party it up every night, but considering this is a mom who once incited a mommy war over her call for a law requiring every mother to breastfeed for at least six months, I'm going to wager that's not what she means at all.

And even if she does, I don't.

I know you can be a mom who puts her own oxygen mask on first and is a better mother for it. Because "putting yourself first" doesn't mean treating your children badly. It means treating yourself with kindness and respect in addition to doing the same to your kids.

Sometimes "putting yourself first" is as simple as sitting in the bathroom for one extra minute to actually FINISH peeing before you tell the toddler banging on the door that they can come in the room.

Sometimes "putting yourself first" means using a sick day when you're throwing up instead of banking it on the off-chance that little Sally might catch a cold at daycare next month.

Sometimes "putting yourself first" means telling your kids "mommy has a headache, let's all sit and read quietly instead of setting off every battery-operated noisy toy in the house."

Today's parents are often accused of raising the most spoiled, entitled generation yet. One study out of San Diego State University claims Gen Y (or Gen Me) kids have a high desire for "material rewards," but lack a "willingness to do the work usually required to earn them." No surprise these are kids being raised by helicopter parents who are so busy doing for their kids that they forget to do for themselves.

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Our kids wouldn't just have kinder, gentler, less stressed moms if we took some time to put ourselves first, they'd actually be more responsible, self-directed, and ready for the world too.

Isn't that what we're trying to achieve as mothers? Raising good kids who can succeed outside our nests? Is that really selfish?

What do you think of Gisele's comments? Agree or disagree?

 

Image via Pacific Coast News

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