Should moms put themselves first before their kids?

Psychologist agrees with Gisele Bundchen & reveals why parents should take care of themselves first

Supermodel mom Gisele Bundchen, who caught flack when she pontificated about breast-feeding, pregnancy weight gain and mommy multitasking, is under the gun again after opinioning that mothers should put themselves first in order to be effective parents. “It’s very important to nourish yourself, take care of yourself. You know how they say on the plane 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,” Gisele told The Sunday Times of London in an interview earlier this week.“You can feel a bit guilty,” she continued. “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.”

So has Model Gisele Bundchen put her foot in her mouth again? Dr. Shaelyn Pham a licensed psychologist, speaker, consultant and author of the new book entitled The Joy of Me, says absolutely not! According to Dr. Pham, “when you take care of yourself first, your needs are met and when you give, you can truly give unconditionally without any strings attached.”

In The Joy of Me, Pham explains different parenting styles. Parents who think they are completely selfless and put their kids first may not realize they are unconsciously expecting their kids to fulfill their dreams. Because they made the sacrifice, the kids are obligated to reciprocate.Or worse, they may even be emotionally dependent on their children. Whereas when you take care of yourself first, your needs are met and when you give, you can truly give unconditionally without any strings attached. You’d still want to encourage your kids, but teach them to follow their own dreams instead of yours. Selfish and selfless both fall on a spectrum and it can be very healthy and nurturing when used correctly or it can also be destructive. So neither is good or bad. That’s a very black and white way of thinking when there is a whole lot of gray in between. It depends on how you use it. For example, a knife can be used as a murder weapon or a cooking tool to nurture the body. You absolutely have to put on your oxygen mask in life first so you don’t faint. Then you won’t be good for anyone, yourself included.

Dr. Shaelyn Pham is available for interviews, comment or quotes about this topic. More information available at Joy of Me.