parent opinion

'Like Gisele, I wanted my turn.'

Listen to this story being read by Laura Jackel, here.

Five months after announcing her divorce from footballer Tom Brady, Gisele Bündchen has opened up in an interview with Vanity Fair, saying the separation was "the death of my dream"

It's rare I find the multi-millionaire supermodel Gisele Bündchen relatable, but after digesting various interviews on their 13 year marriage, it got me thinking about the sacrifices we make for love.

In September 2022, before announcing their split, Gisele gave an interview to Elle Magazine. During the interview, the supermodel shared that after 10 years of being very fulfilled by life as a wife and mother, she had things she wants to do and achieve in the future now that it's 'her turn'.

She spoke passionately about her interest in the environment, particularly in her native Brazil, and her intentions to work more on the issues close to her heart. But Gisele's 'turn' may have only lasted weeks after her 45-year-old husband ended his short period of retirement, and returned to play another season.

Watch: Superwoman is dead. Post continues below.

Video via Mamamia.

In the recent Vanity Fair interview, Gisele confirmed that Brady's decision to return to his career, was not the 'final straw' the media made it out to be. Instead, the couple realised they "just wanted different things".

But the many sacrifices that individuals make in long-term relationships with caring for kids while balancing the demands of a career, do present challenges to even the most equitable relationships.

I related heartily to Gisele's sense that after a decade as the primary carer, it was her husband's turn to take over the core parenting responsibilities so she could pursue her long awaited 'turn'.

"I’ve done my part, which is [to] be there for [Tom]," she said in the Elle interview last year. 

"I moved to Boston, and I focused on creating a cocoon and a loving environment for my children to grow up in and to be there supporting him and his dreams. At this point in my life, I feel like I’ve done a good job on that."

While I am still happily married to my husband Jules, I wonder what would have happened to us if he had not compromised 12 months ago when I decided it was time for me to take my turn?

Just before our oldest son Toby was born in 2010, Jules had not long qualified as a GP and it made all kinds of sense for me to stay home with our baby while Jules built on his career experience and earning potential. 

Like Gisele, I moved my life away from family in the UK to be near Jules' family in Australia when Toby was a baby. It wasn't (and still isn't) an easy decision, but it was the right one for our family.


There were highs and lows with new mum life so when the time was right, I began doing some freelance and contract work that fitted into our family structure. I worked during preschool hours and was always available for pick-ups, drop-offs, holidays and sick days. Not to mention assemblies or special events, swimming lessons, activities, and medical appointments.

While I loved and adored my beautiful baby and then toddler son; sometimes I felt resentful that parenting and all of its responsibilities had consumed my life in a way it didn't for Jules. We hadn't really discussed these terms, and I didn't know how to make it work better. 

The longer I stayed home and worked in a freelance capacity, the lower my income potential became. As for so many families with mortgages and bills to pay, Jules continuing to work long hours made financial and practical sense. He could simply earn more than me, despite how I felt about it all from a feminist or idealogical perspective. 

With few good part time jobs available, coupled with increasingly low self confidence, I also wasn't exactly sure what I wanted career wise at that point in my life. I was majorly sleep deprived and anything more than freelance or contract work seemed too hard.

By 2021, when my two sons were then aged 11 and four, over a decade had passed since I held my last permanent job. 

Just like Gisele in that September issue of Elle Magazine, I was 42 years old, and it increasingly felt like it was 'my turn'. 


The early years of the parenting fog had lifted, and I knew it was a 'now or never' situation where I desperately wanted a chance to try reviving my career ambitions.

Jules has always been supportive of my dreams and we often spoke at lengths about the things I wanted to achieve. But as the years passed, we gradually realised that in order for me to have 'my turn', he would need to step back from having his.

Without the luxury of Gisele and Tom's multimillion income, we couldn't simply employ nannies or even enlist the help of overstretched or overseas grandparents to ease the transition, so it came down to Jules amending his work life to help me to re-engage with mine.

Jules was lucky enough as a GP to have flexible options, which I realise is not the case for everyone. 

We started slowly. As I began working three days a week in a role at Mamamia, Jules cut his hours short on my working days to allow for school pick ups. This year he dropped a day, and I picked up an extra day - something I couldn't have done easily without his support. 

Now, if our boys are sick or if it is school holiday time, I know I don't always have to be the one to make the sacrifice, and this has changed everything. 

Unlike Gisele, my income is not in the hundreds of millions (surprise!) and our family's combined income has decreased marginally since we amended our family work/life arrangements. I hope this is only a temporary decrease, because there have been so many other benefits to the change. 


For the first time in over a decade, I have the chance to pursue my career, learn new skills, and see a future for myself that hasn't come at a cost to my boys and I feel very grateful to have these opportunities in my forties. Possibly more grateful than if I hadn't had the time out to be a parent and freelancer in my thirties.

Jules now has more time at home and away from work which he loves too. 

The kids benefit from time with both of us and the fact that Jules now does most of the cooking (which we are all grateful for as cooking is not my skill). He gets to do the swimming lessons and most after-school activities and neither of us have as much time for assemblies but we do what we can and prioritise the important things. 


The kids see us both working in jobs we enjoy and we can all discuss our very different days over dinner. The house is constantly a bit of a mess and the washing pile never seems to end but something has to give.

It is still a delicate balancing act and not having someone at home most of the time means our weeks are busier than ever. I can see why so many families and relationships get stuck trying to work out who gets to sacrifice what and when. I know I am lucky to get another 'turn' to find out what I can do in this next stage of my life.

For Gisele and Tom, I am sorry their marriage didn't work out. They are certainly not alone and their situation will be highly relatable for so many.

I hope that after all the sacrifices she made for love, Gisele gets the opportunity to pursue her 'turn' as a divorced woman, because I'm excited to see what she does with the next stage of her life too.

Laura Jackel is Mamamia's Family Writer. For links to her articles and to see photos of her outfits and kids, follow her on Instagram and TikTok.

Feature Image: Supplied.

Do you have kids with allergies or hayfever? Complete this survey now to go in the running to win a $50 gift voucher.