She’s an actress, a supermodel and a new mom, but Rosie Huntington-Whiteley says it doesn’t matter if you’re working on the Victoria’s Secret runway or in accounts payable: Balancing motherhood and work is never going to be perfect.
“For every woman, it’s a juggle. You start a family and it’s like, ‘Wow!’ Becoming a mother has been the most humbling experience of my life,” she told Harper's Bazaar Arabia. “When you have a baby, your whole life changes. Your priorities and what’s important is different to before.”
Huntington-Whiteley and actor Jason Statham welcomed their son Jack 10 months ago, and while the new mama did take a maternity leave, she’s now back at it. “I tried to take the time at home to enjoy those first special months with my family,” Huntington-Whiteley explains, adding that coming back to work was a bit of a reality check and has involved some tough decisions.
As an actress and model, she considers herself (like many entrepreneurial moms) to be ‘self-employed,’ and says, “You never know when your last job is going to be. You always feel like the phone could stop ringing, and that is where a lot of my drive comes from.”
That’s why her first instinct is to say yes to opportunities, but when she became a mom another instinct took over. “The first thing in your mind before accepting a job is, what’s right for my family? Whereas before, I’d get on a plane anywhere,” she says. “The new thing is getting used to having a lot of responsibilities in my personal life and career.”
Becoming a mom sometimes feels like you’re being pulled in multiple directions. You want to get on that plane, or take on a big project at work, but you miss your little one and want to be with them too.
For Huntington-Whiteley, part of motherhood is understanding that “you can’t just wear one hat in life,” but also not obsessing over the idea of perfect balance at all times. “Work, for me, is my passion,” she says, “I don’t think there’s any such thing as balance. Something is always compromised.”
Huntington-Whiteley’s comments are part of a growing trend of moms rejecting the idea of work-life balance and embracing the chaos instead of chasing perfection.
Recognizing that she can’t be everything to everyone all the time while still pursuing the career she’s proud of and has worked hard to establish is what works for this new mama, who says she wants Jack to grow up knowing that she is more than just his mom—she’s got her own identity and goals, too.
Research indicates that what she’s doing will be good for Jack. Boys raised by working mothers are more likely to grow up to be men who spend time taking care of family members and doing chores around the house, according to Harvard researchers.
By continuing to “keep on the grind, keep working hard,” Huntington-Whiteley is modeling a passion that will serve Jack in the future and is serving her whole family in the present—even if that means making some tough decisions and missing her baby some days.
“You can’t have it all,” she says. “You can’t be 100% all the time to everybody. Maybe when you accept that, that’s the best.”
Well said, Rosie. ?