Gisele Bundchen believes that ‘taking care of herself’ makes her a better mother


This Gisele Bundchen interview is a week old, so I’m sorry I haven’t seen it before now, when I read the quotes at LaineyGossip. Gisele did an interview with The Sunday Times (a UK paper) where she discussed motherhood and how she feels like she’s a better mom when she spends a time focusing on herself and her priorities and well-being. These quotes are being taken as “Gisele issues more asinine mommy-dictates!” But I don’t know… I can sort of see where she’s coming from:

When did it become a crime to admit that you — as a parent — put yourself first? Sure, supermodel Gisele Bundchen’s haters are ready to pounce no matter what the gorgeous, successful, wealthy wife of New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady has to say.

But the backlash surrounding her most recent comments about parenting — how important it is as a mother to take care of yourself — really got our attention because the issue is a powerful one in today’s parenting.

“You know how they say on the plane you have to put the oxygen mask on first and then put it on your child?” Bundchen told “The Sunday Times” in an interview about why she believes motherhood is her most important job. “So I think it is the same, as a mum, to take care of myself.”

“You can feel a bit guilty,” she said. “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.”

[From CNN]

See, I don’t think this is as absurd as some of her more offensive comments about pregnancy and breastfeeding. Now, will Gisele be wildly misconstrued? Sure. Of course. To me, it sounds like she’s saying that she’s a better mom when she’s healthy mentally and physically, so she prioritizes her own health and well-being alongside the health of her children. To Gisele’s critics, I’m sure it sounds like “I am my first priority, my kids can be raised by wolves for all I care.” Should we give Gisele some credit for not waxing philosophical about how she’s the first mother in the world to feel selflessness, etc?


Photos courtesy of Instagram, WENN.

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62 Responses to “Gisele Bundchen believes that ‘taking care of herself’ makes her a better mother”

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  1. Lee says:

    She’s one of the few supermodels left, but personality wise she always comes off as totally insufferable, full of herself and with an annoying “holier than thou” attitude.

    • judyudyjudy says:

      maybe. but she is complete;y right on this point.

    • Someonestolemyname says:

      She has a point.
      Shes a great model, but somehow just seems so unlikable,
      never liked her much at all, not sure why.

      I loved the 90’s Supermodels though.

    • pantanlones en fuego says:

      She does come off as insufferable 99% of the time but as a mother, I agree with her sentiment on this issue. It’s just common sense; people are not able to be in healthy and fulfilling relationships unless they take care of themselves.

    • Sofia says:

      I understand what you say, but if someone asks her a question, what is she supposed to say? She is sharing her view and that’s what works for her and in her perspective that’s an issue she probably sees around. I totally get it, I’ve met many mothers who focus solely on their kids and end bitter with low self esteem and that’s not good when you need feel strong to take care of their kids and also be a good role model. It’s about balance I guess. She never said she doesn’t “sacrifice” for her kids ever.

      • Miss D says:

        I agree, Sofia. People should remember she is talking about herself. The interviews are about her. It’s just her opinion. The problem is that some people don’t agree with her opinions. Sometimes she uses the word “you” and some people think it sounds strange, but I think she is always talking about herself. That’s what she said in that last part: “That’s how I feel.”

  2. Lilacflowers says:

    You cannot take care of others well unless you have taken care of your own basic needs.

    • Mia V. says:

      That’s a fact, but the way she said sounds completely weird.

      • Sofia says:

        Maybe we should remember that she is Brazilian and Portuguese is her first language, not English and even with many years living in USA there are always moments where the words don’t really express exactly what we mean.

    • Just Me (and my Bobby McGee) says:

      Exactly right. I fail to see what the problem is with what she said. You don’t take care of yourself, you can’t take care of anyone else. End of story.

      • Betty says:

        I don’t see what the problem is either, but I guess it challenges the notion that mothers are all-giving, all-loving vessels of support for their children 24/7. How dare a mother mention her own needs. Mothers aren’t supposed to have needs or identities of their own but be defined by their spouse/children.

    • JB says:

      Agreed. I think people just don’t like hearing it from someone who has the potential to take it too far. Basic needs (sleep, nutrition, exercise, fresh air and some amount of time to yourself) are 100% necessary and should absolutely be prioritized. But there are mothers out there who use this line as permission to go to excess and kind of forget that there are other people that they are even supposed to be taking care of. I’m sure the Kimyes of the world tell themselves that their constant vacations and shopping trips and daily massages and glam sessions are simply “taking care of themselves.” I don’t think that excess is Gisele’s style but I can see why people bristle when she says such things.

  3. JessSaysNo says:

    Hmm, well I actually agree with her. I rarely do things “for me” but when I do, I am happier and more patient with my hubby/kid. Granted, we dont all have nannies and endless money for such things but I like her metaphor: “Fill your glass so everyone can drink from it”

    • Josephine says:

      Yup, I agree, too, but I do think she has no sense at all of how hard finding that time is for people with fewer resources and jobs that are not as flexible as theirs are. Her comments just come off as too out of touch with reality, which I am sure she is.

      I was raised in a culture where kids and adults were almost always simultaneously present in leisure activities, although kids understood when the parents gathered that they (the kids) were to entertain themselves. Sometimes I think we do both too much parenting and not enough, and of course it is harder on those so separated from their extended family.

  4. soapboxpudding says:

    I totally agree with what she’s saying here. My naturopath always says that you should only give from a place of excess.

    • Sofia says:

      I agree in principle but that’s an idillic vision of it. That”s most of the times not possible at all.

  5. TTMuch says:

    I totally agree with that, if you don’t take care of yourself, you can’t take care of anyone else. That’s why I go to the gym. Try to sleep. Etc. There seems to be a LOT of how-to mothering posts the last few days, is there a convention?

    • Betty says:

      I don’t have children but hope to soon, and I can’t see myself giving up my exercise sessions when I have them. That’s the one thing I do consistently for myself. I don’t spend a lot of time getitng manis/pedis, hair done, etc. I shop mostly online. My exercise time is the one thing I do on a regular basis for myself.

      • TTMuch says:

        It’s difficult, not all (most) of my family members on both sides don’t get it, and occasionally, I get the side-eye for doing something selfish, like listen to music and sweat for an hour, but as a SAHM, I spend pretty much every other second with them, let me sweat alone! We do a lot of bike riding to parks and such, but at least 4 times a week Mommy needs to get stinky for an hour so she doesn’t lose her mind in Mommy N Me yoga. It’s for the best.

  6. Gina says:

    Bite me Gisele. Talking about the anti-Frances McDormand here.

  7. HappyMom says:

    Stay at home mom of 4 here-and much as it pains me to defend Gisele-she’s absolutely right.

    • AntiSocialButterfly says:

      I wholeheartedly agree. And sometimes it’s even a little more complicated than doing the basics for yourself… when you don’t, then you can reach a point where you begin to struggle to even give yourself *permission* to do things for yourself.

      Best is to not forget about yourself & needs in the first place, which is not always easy with a passel of children, lol.

      Good on you, Gisele!

      Mom of multiples

      • Miffy says:

        Mom of two here and she’s right. Some of the stuff she says is pretentious, detached nonsense (she can be the GOOP of parenting at times) but give credit where credit is due, she has a point here.

  8. Jaderu says:

    This makes perfect sense to me. My kids knew that unless they needed a limb reattached, they shouldn’t need or want attention from me until I had had at least 1.5 cups of coffee in the morning.
    I’m joking of course, but you do have to take care of yourself. It’s not just with motherhood either. Any type of relationship. Husband, wife, friend, co-worker. If you’re not healthy, happy, and taking care of yourself it’s going to show in your relationships.

    • MrsB says:

      Absolutely. It took me awhile to learn this. As for the coffee, I completely relate. My son has always been an early bird and a TALKER. I am the opposite of an early bird, so my son finally learned at about age 4 to ask me “have you had enough coffee for me to talk yet?” It’s a very serious rule in our house 😉

      • LAK says:

        You sound like my poor mother who is solitary self contained silent person blessed with super energetic talkers!!!

        To this day, she’s always asking us to be quiet. And to sit still. LOL

      • Jaderu says:

        @MrsB LOL that is me. My daughter knew! She even brought me coffee in bed if she had urgent issues and had to get the coffee in me quick lmao.

      • Lempicka says:

        Awww cute. I think if you make children understand certain things like you seem to do the whole family can benefit from it.

    • lucy2 says:

      I agree that it extends beyond a mother/child relationship. Everyone needs something for themselves, and if you don’t have that, you’re going to be miserable and make everyone else feel miserable too.
      I usually find her advice kind of annoying, but I think she’s right here.

    • Jaded says:

      Agree – my BFF used to say to her daughter who was a total chatterbox when she was a little kid and would constantly butt in to adult conversations… “unless you’re on fire or about to puke do not interrupt me in the middle of a conversation.” Made me laugh….

  9. almondey says:

    makes perfect, total and complete sense to me.

  10. girlnbayou says:

    I agree with this. I think our society still subscribes to the puritanical belief that a mother must sacrifice all sense of prior self in order to be a devoted mother. That she must be matronly and lowly and all energies dedicated to child rearing. If you look at aboriginal people the mothers still carry on social and daily activities and child rearing duties are shared among the community. It isn’t all about the child. Now we are made to feel guilty if we are doing anything for ourselves. Other mothers engage in a “who does more for their child war” and then persecute those who don’t conform to their standards. The working mothers are made to feel guilty that they go outside the home. The ones who enjoy time for themselves are labeled “self centered”. Those who go out on a Saturday night are called “partyiers” Those who date are not “putting their children first”
    It is essential for every care takers well being to have time to reset, recharge and renew. For different people that means different things. For some it means working. For others, it is time with friends. For some it’s working out. For myself it is my photography. Yes, it takes time away from my children. Yes, some child functions we don’t go to because I have a session or need time to edit or because I need to unwind my brain. No, I will not be a room mother three days a week at my kids school just because I don’t have an office job and don’t you try to make me feel bad about it either (looks at other moms in school who make snide comments) motherhood does not define me. It is a part of who I am. Not all of me. I need to retain a bit of who I was prior to children so that way when I give all of me to them it is genuine and not because I have to or because I am programmed to.

    I love my kids, I would die for them, but that doesn’t mean who I am has to die for them too. I want them to love me for me, in spite of my faults, and they do.

    My single mother worked every day, and on Saturdays and Sundays she was dog tired. She loved to read and paint to relax. We didn’t go on vacations and she missed lots of school events and we didn’t do fun things on the weekends. But guess what? My mother was perfect. My childhood was perfect. She was happy and so were we.

    • AntiSocialButterfly says:

      “I love my kids, I would die for them, but that doesn’t mean who I am has to die for them too. I want them to love me for me, in spite of my faults, and they do.”

      This is a very moving statement. Thank you for your eloquence. It really is a beautifully succinct summation to the tumult of feelings motherhood inspires. I will be certain to share it with my teen daughter one day.

      • girlnbayou says:

        Thank you,

        I struggled with it for a very long time before I finally made peace with it. Where I am waaaaaay down south, so many women wrap up their self worth in how much they sacrifices for their kids. (I know it’s not just a southern thing but they have an unhealthy pride in it and use it to cast judgement on other mothers) These are stay at home “pintrest” moms whose every waking moment is spent trying to out mom other moms. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard people say passive aggressively “oh I could never leave my child/baby if I didn’t have to” I mean really? Who says that to another mother?

    • Lauren says:

      Wow girlnbayou- that is an incredible statement! I love it!

    • Original Lola says:

      I was going to write a comment, but you have articulated exactly what I wanted to say, and done so beautifully.

  11. Lauren says:

    I feel like this is the same thing Amy Poehler said but we like Amy and don’t like Gisele.

  12. Adrien says:

    But what about meee? *pouts* hmmp! – Tom

  13. Ann says:

    She’s totally right. Women always should put their own needs first. NEVER put your husbands/boyfriends’ needs first – it’s a recipe for misery and a wasted life.

  14. captain hero says:

    Just addressing the photo where Tom and Dr Gisele are bragging about the win, has anyone noticed these guys are bad winners and bad losers? Talk about poor sportsmanship.

    • Lynn says:

      Since when can you not celebrate a win?

    • Fiona says:

      It was 51 points … Brady is definitely competitive but he’s always been classy, never taunting, etc. but when you have a win that big, especially this late in his career, why not celebrate?

  15. Aye Gee says:

    I know she’s not well liked around here, but occasionally she makes some great points.

    And what’s up with you guys hating Gisele but loving the 90’s models? Have you heard the stories about them? They seem a little unpleasant. Naomi has assaulted people before and Kate was a drug abusers for years, totally neglecting her daughter. At least Gisele has her life together.

    • AG-UK says:

      Yeah but not Christy or Linda.. I think that era was a time of excess I use to go out a lot in NY and would see them in bars/restaurants and they were glamorous even the male models back then were hotter. Giselle you would know anywhere but half of the “supermodels” I wouldn’t recognize even if they held their look books up in my face.

  16. The Original Mia says:

    I agree with her and I’m not a mom. I’ve seen it far too many times with my friends. Their entire existence is making their families happy, to their detriment. And when things break, and they usually do, no one is happy.

  17. themummy says:

    I can’t really stand her, but she’s right here. It seems common sense to me. How can you take care of others you’re responsible if you take no care of yourself? I kind of thought this was just of mainstream common sense. Why is this even a story? Ugh.

  18. Happy21 says:

    I am usually a critic but I agree with this. As a mother if she takes care of herself, she is happy in her skin and in her life, that reflects in the way she raises her children and takes care of them too.

    I’m not a mother but I can tell you that I am surrounded by children and families and mothers and I have a handful of parents who do not take care of themselves and I find that those who do not have more of a temper and less patience with their kids. Is it because they aren’t happy with themselves so they are pissy all the time? Maybe. I honestly don’t know but I see a pattern and I have since my friends all started having kids. Those that do take care of themselves have more patience and are more easy going with their kids.

  19. Fiona says:

    It’s always interesting, the defense mechanisms mothers have, especially against mothers with unlimited resources. Gisele has said some things that were out of touch (breastfeeding laws, etc.) but they were all well intentioned. I’d rather listen to Gisele, who says it like it is, politically correct or not, than listen to the boring Katie Holmes or the tacky Jessica Simpson who wants to pretend she’s just an everyday gal. At least Gisele isn’t pretending.

    On this she’s right. You have to make yourself happy, and when you do, you’re a healthier person to be in a relationship with, to parent, to be a friend.

  20. MillieRoc says:

    She’s just so annoying. Uggghh

  21. Margot says:

    I agree with Gisele, child worshiping screws up mothers, fathers and their children. It’s a psychological epidemic here in the states. Kids need to feel security from their parents, not exhaustion and resentment. Your kids aren’t going to hate you when they realize you weren’t ale to be their “best friend”. And you know what? Kids who are raised knowing that the world doesn’t revolve around them make for more stable adults. Stability in adulthood equals less emotional work for the child, which to me sounds like pretty darn responsible parenting.

    Way to go Gisele!

  22. Fab says:

    She certainly can’t express her opinions well, I thought that Gisele would have taken lessons at public speech after the last “scandals”.

    I don’t know how Gisele’s mother was able to raise apparently well six daughters in a very small town and working as a bank teller. The woman should become a celebrity.

  23. Miss D says:

    I read the interview and the interview was very good. But some people hate her and they will always write negative articles about her. I read an article about this interview and that article was very negative. (But at least the comments were positive.)
    I love her, but she doesn’t look in that first picture. 🙁

  24. Lis says:

    She is a model, taking care of herself is all she knows. It isn’t like she would say, “advanced calculus makes me a better Mom.” Jeez …

  25. jasmine says:

    I don’t follow Gisele gossip very closely so I can say without bias, I agree with her TOTALLY! I am a stay at home wife and mom of 4 children. My husband, my mom, my close friends could allll tell you, when Ive been going hard as “mom” and haven’t taken time to myself for myself….Im not the me they know I choose to be when Im feeling at my best. I become compromised, its noticeable to the people that love me. The part where Gisele talks about filling her cup…..that’s one of the best quotes Ive ever read about putting down the guilt and knowing that you can only give your best you when you are at your best! 🙂

  26. Lola says:

    As a Latina woman, she makes sense to me. I mean, breastfeading is important, the milk is filled with nutrients that no powder can give you. Yeah, it hurts like hell and some women can’t produce enough milk, but it’s a case by case thing. Yes, women preggers eat crap!!!! The whole thing about eating 4 2, is bs!Eat like that and you could get diabetes during your pregnancy. If you are too tired, stressed out, etc. chances are you will take it out on your kids. I don’t get the hate this woman gets either.