Hey Moms! Where's your Oxygen Mask?

There have been some relevant stories lately about celebrity Moms making waves for saying things like… I have to put me first in order for us all to be happy. Supermodel Gisele Bundchen was one of them and she was criticized after telling The Sunday Times that she puts herself first. She said, "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. You can feel a bit guilty… 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."

oxygen-mask-apartment-therapy
oxygen-mask-apartment-therapy

Image credit: Anonymous via Apartment Therapy

CNN posted a great question in a similar article asking...

When did it become a crime to admit that you -- as a parent -- put yourself first?

And another celeb whom I adore, Jennifer Garner, recently made the news rounds for delivering an authentic speech about gender equality at the Elle Women in Hollywood event. She pleaded with Elle and the attendees to "think progressively on behalf of womankind". If you haven't read the article you can do so here and you'll probably love her even more for saying what we've all wanted to say -- out loud.

So, I'd like to ask you all too. Why doesn't anyone ever ask men about work-life balance? Why are women criticized for putting themselves first? Why do we try to be Supermom even if it means we are losing a part of ourselves in the process? When did we start carrying all of this weight (and guilt) for wanting some freedom to be ourselves -- as individuals?!

I say, it's time to put a stop to the madness!

Here are my suggestions...

  • Let's end this vicious cycle of racing for the Supermom cape when all they want is our presence.
  • Let's make it our mission to divide up the household (adult) chores. (We deserve it and quite frankly, they can handle it.)
  • Let's stop trying to live up to the "Pinterest Mafia's" idea of being a perfect Mom and embrace our lop-sided cakes and #PinterestFails for what they truly are… real life.
  • Let's stop trying to do it all and be everything to everyone (except ourselves).
  • Let's delegate more to our kids, even if they pour a few helpings of Cheerios onto the floor and not necessarily into their bowls. They are capable!
  • Let's stop feeling guilty for taking some much needed "me time" even if it is simply reading a book while hiding in your car in the garage. (Because we all know they would have found you in the bathroom, right?!).
  • Let's stop holding ourselves to unattainable standards (beauty, body, parenting or otherwise) that no one can live up to.
  • Let's stop judging the women who put the oxygen mask on first. (After all, it is for her own survival!)

Most importantly, let's try to live our most authentic life possible and just worry about being true to ourselves. And in the meantime, I'll keep grabbing my coffee mug as it's the oxygen mask I put on daily before helping anyone in this house. ;-)

Sarah Lehberger

Easton, CT

Sarah Lehberger is a photographer based on the shoreline of Connecticut, just 90 mins from New York City, in the small town of Easton. She specializes in photography that celebrates working Moms and their families. She is also a Co-Founder of She Will Thrive, providing business coaching, retreats and workshops to women entrepreneurs, creatives and small business owners.

Sarah's career started in the news and entertainment industry. A storyteller at heart, she began photographing weddings in 2003 while also working full time at Getty Images, NY in their editorial department. Sarah enjoyed the fast-paced and glamorous events she would collaborate on, yet deep down she was craving more purpose driven work. In 2005 she decided to leave the corporate world to launch her full time wedding business, which received numerous awards and features throughout the industry.

In 2013 Sarah rebranded her business so she could continue her mission to celebrate women, with a new focus on mothers. She feels strongly about empowering women and creatives to succeed, and has been a speaker at conferences such as ShootDotEdit's Unlimited Happiness Tour, Inspire Photo Retreats, as well as a past coach and mentor for Team X Academy.