There are endless joys to having children: the love, the fun, the cuddling. But Mila Kunis has pointed to one specific benefit of motherhood that has in turn helped her career.
During Variety’s inaugural Path to Parity women’s summit on Wednesday, the actress and mother of two shared that becoming a mom has made her more confident in her own decisions. When asked whether she ever worries about burning bridges when turning down projects because of unfair wages, for instance, she said she used to, but no longer.
In response, interviewer and journalist Jenelle Riley said this confidence was a skill people have to learn, to which Kunis responded by crediting motherhood. “You know what? I became a mom,” she said. “I had better things to concern myself with than some stranger’s opinion of whether or not I was a bitch.”
“When I became a mom, so many things that I used to be insecure about and concern myself with no longer mattered,” she continued. She also found more power in turning things down. “The ability to say ‘no’ had a purpose,” she said.
This is not the first time that Kunis has spoken about rising above other people’s opinions. In 2016, she told Vanity Fair she didn’t care what other people thought of her breastfeeding in public. “It didn’t matter to me what other people thought,” she said. “That’s what I chose to do, but I think it’s unfortunate that people are so hard on women who choose to do it and do it in public.”
She has also spoken of the importance of removing herself from the constant mom competition. “It’s the competitive energy that is so destructive,” she told PopSugar in 2016. “We’re all in it together. You only are a mommy in this way for such a brief amount of time anyway that you don’t want to look back and be like, ‘Why did I care about that stupid nonsense?’”
Emma Bennett, a licensed psychotherapist who specializes in maternal mental health, is thrilled with Kunis’s outlook. “The hope and the goal in a lot of my treatment with moms is to shed the outside noise that is pulling them down and to rebuild their confidence,” she tells Yahoo Lifestyle. “We want to get to a place where moms are feeling OK with being good enough and feel confident in the way that they are taking care of their family.”
Bennett sees Kunis as embracing her new role. “With the birth of any child, there’s a birth of a new person: your identity as a mother. I think that she really has embraced her identity since becoming a mom,” she says. “Things can really shift. Her priorities really changed, and what really matters to her is her children and her family. And the excess nonsense that she was kind of bogged down by seems obsolete.”
Bennett is particularly impressed by Kunis’s ability to say “no.” “She understands her time has so much more weight and value now, because anytime a mom is away from her child … that means a lot more once you become a mom,” she says.
“Everyone has the potential to get to this place,” Bennett promises. “Kunis definitely has a lot of resources that other moms don’t have, but that being said, I don’t think this level of self-confidence is unattainable.”
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