Despite her role in the much buzzed-about summer movie Bad Moms, in real life, Mila Kunis is definitely anything but a bad mom.
In a recent interview with ET, Kunis opened up about how motherhood has changed her from a typically totally selfish 20-something to a newer and improved “selfless” version.
“I reprioritized my life, in all honesty. I traveled through all my 20s and I was very selfish … in a good way, not in a way I regret. And I think having a kid made me realize how incredibly selfless I want to be.” Kunis said in a recent interview.
And although our life paths look a bit different, considering I had four kids by the age of 28, I understand what Kunis means. I love that before I became a mom, I lived in France and spent a summer completely living alone, and worked a job that I loved, because on the hard days, I can think back and realize that I am more than “just” a mother too.
But still, Kunis has a few things to learn about motherhood because in no way, shape, or form is it just about being “selfless.” And more importantly, in a lot of ways, actually, being a good mom sometimes means being more selfish in ways that will help you be a better caretaker for your kids. What Kunis is missing from her perspective perhaps, of a first-time mother, is that being “selfish” isn’t always a bad thing and that eventually, portraying the idea that motherhood = total giving of self is a recipe for disaster.
Honestly, I think most of us have that same idea about motherhood and it’s one that is hard to stray from. It’s hard to break the stereotypes and the molds about what it means to be a good mother, when over and over we are told or shown that good moms give everything — their bodies, their sleep, their nights out. I mean, look at all the flack Chrissy Teigen got for just going out to dinner after her baby was born. The world seems to want mothers to live and breathe for their children and their children only.
And of course, that’s part of motherhood. There is absolutely nothing I won’t do for my children and they are my reason for living. Performing the nitty-gritty tasks of parenting is very much a selfless act, although it can also at times be self-serving. There’s nothing exactly selfish about changing your entire life to put someone else’s needs and time and sleep schedules and dietary preferences before your own. Parenting absolutely requires many acts of selflessness. But I also believe that in order to be a good mother to my children, I shouldn’t be “selfless” all of the time, and that I actually need to be more selfish sometimes.
It’s a lesson that I am only learning recently, after eight years into this mothering gig, but I can already see that it’s making a difference.
I am selfish when I carve out time each and every day to exercise. I’ll be honest with you, that hour I take every day is a genuine battle and it kind of pisses my husband off too, but I know it makes me a more patient mother and works better than any antidepressant could for me, so for that, I don’t compromise. It’s most definitely a selfish time of day for me, but I refuse to let myself feel guilty about it.
I am selfish when I insist that my children value my time as worthwhile, too. Have you ever noticed how the minute your kid starts talking, you feel like you have to drop everything to listen or laugh at their joke or watch their sweet new trick? While those things are absolutely important and let’s face it — they are kids and that’s what kids do, I am selfish when sometimes, I remind them that it is OK to wait for Mom to finish what she’s doing first.
I am selfish when I’m growing a human being. Listen, some women handle pregnancy more gracefully than others, and some women lumber through like elephants for what feels like 20 months. It is what it is. But I am selfish when I’m growing a human being and feel like I need more rest or to say “no” to playing so I can put my feet up or maybe even do something as shocking as eat something before I feed the herd of kids, so I don’t toss my cookies everywhere.
I am selfish with my time. Time is our most precious resource and you had bet your boots I am selfish with it. Family always, always comes first and I center our lives to make that a priority. No ifs, ands, or buts about it.
I am selfish with my work. I’ve worked jobs that I’ve hated and now have a job that I love, so yup, hands down, doing something you enjoy for money takes that cake, and I am selfish in going above and beyond to not let go of doing work that makes me happy and pays the bills.
I am selfish because I want to be a good mother, not just a selfless one. In fact, I kinda sorta want to learn to like myself more through the process of motherhood. Motherhood is hard enough without us beating ourselves up for not giving enough to our children. At the end of this journey, I want a self that grows with motherhood, not disappears because of it.