Olivia Wilde: Motherhood Has Taught Me Selflessness

10/29/2014 at 11:00 AM ET

Olivia Wilde International Women's Media Awards
JB Lacroix/Getty

It’s obvious that Olivia Wilde is, well, wild about being a mom.

“The amazing thing about becoming a parent is that you will never again be your own first priority,” the actress told reporters Tuesday at the International Women’s Media Foundation‘s 25th Anniversary Courage in Journalism Awards.

“The gift of motherhood is the selflessness that it introduces you to, and I think that’s really freeing.”

Wilde — who co-hosted the event in Beverly Hills, California — and fiancé Jason Sudeikis welcomed son Otis Alexander in April.

The busy 30-year-old actress says everything about life with her baby boy has been “amazing” since his arrival.

“He’s a very sweet person,” shares Wilde, who jokes that she and Sudeikis are “getting there” in terms of Otis sleeping through the night. “The empathy that it floods you with — being a mother — I think makes you a better storyteller.”

Continues Wilde: “I take my place in the world a little bit more seriously being a mother … I hope I can tell stories that somehow benefit the world that Otis will grow up in.”

The event was especially meaningful for the HER star: Wilde’s mother, Leslie Cockburn, is an investigative journalist and her personal hero.

“She taught me the importance of speaking truth to power, to being unintimidated by people telling you to give up,” explains Wilde. “So in terms of my own career, her example of perseverance has been very helpful.”

Adds Wilde: “My mom was the first person to really introduce me to what it means to really dedicate yourself to your profession, and about self sacrifice. And I think being a mother in a very dangerous profession is even harder, and she knew that she was risking her life, and yet we grew up just admiring that type of passion and bravery.”

— Wade Rouse with reporting by Reagan Alexander

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FILED UNDER: News , Olivia Wilde , Parenting

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Showing 23 comments

DaisyMoon on


(enough said)

Guest on

While I do believe there are many good celebrity mothers out there, I get annoyed when some celebrity moms offer advice as though their parenting situation is as normal as the general population’s. Likewise, I also hold the (perhaps controversial) opinion that being a good mother does not mean putting yourself second all the time. Yes, motherhood means sacrifice, but why does that have to translate to a mother never making herself a priority? Sometimes a bit of exercise or a hot bath at the end of the day can do wonders for your spirit. I learned very quickly after the birth of my first son that a happy mom makes for a happy household!


Obviously feeding herself isn’t a priority for Olivia.


And I chuckle when mother’s of newborns give their parenting philosophies.

joules on

Spoken like a true first time mother. Have a few more, that will change again.

PacificGirl on

The fact that you have to be selfless to raise a baby is a no brainer. You have a tiny human that you brought into the world who can’t take care of themselves. DUH! I love it when people speak about this like it’s some new thing they discovered. It’s been this way since the beginning of time.

cynic on

okay, we know it all. she loves her kid and would do anything for it– just like the millions and millions of moms before her– and oh yeah, go see my new movie or tv show or buy my new book or kitchen supplies or makeup line or whatever I want to sell to you. sincerely, Olivia wilde

jordyvix on

Hatred here. I get the annoyance of new mothers acting like they’re god but come on with the other stuff. Otis isn’t that weird. She is healthy, stop acting like people who are naturally skinny have problems. Skinny-shaming is just as bad as fat-shaming. And really? Someone is mad that she has a stage name? More than half of Hollywood has stage names. Get a grip people.

Emily on

WOW! What a bitter bunch of commentors. She is growing as a person and sharing her experience as a new mom and all the comments are snarky and negative. You people have miserable outlooks.

Good for Olivia for attempting to spread her joy!

Jessica on

I have yet to ever read an article where this woman is not ridiculously sanctimonious. Also I love whoever pointed out that she is talking about “putting the truth to power” and has a fake name. Hah!

smile on

I’m not a mother but I think she sounds sincere and is enjoying the new point of view that motherhood is giving her. But you know what hey say… Haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate… haha, couldn’t resist.

Tess on

She is in the new mommy phase when every time the baby passes gas it is adorable.

Margarita on

Wow, what party poopers in this comment section. Its not bad to want to share with others the joy that this little person brings to your life. When I had my first little one, I talked endlessly to my friends and family about how this new little life changes you. Even though they already had many kids of their own, my friends never said “duh, we know we too have kids” (like many on here), they just let me experience and enjoy all these new feelings and emotions I was developing as a new mom. We women should support each other and not trash one another because “we’ve been there done that” first. SMH.

mer on

@Emily, thank you for your comment. My thoughts exactly. She’s growing and just expressing her ideas, Don’t read it if you don’t care. Why bother commenting if you don’t have something nice to say.

rollo on

this is “amazing,” that a parent puts a child first? This isn’t amazing at all, you twit. It’s true of every single living thing since life began, DUH!!!!! Name one creature that doesn’t put its progeny first!!! DUH!!!! And no, parenting doesn’t teach you selflessness. It is “selfish” to care for one’s offspring because it is the essential mandate! Unless you are dysfunctional, you can’t NOT care for your offspring, and the pain it causes you if you don’t is excruciating. Therefore, it’s still about you, even if it feels as though you are “sacrificing” for the child. Yes, we “do” a lot for our children, but it’s because they are our children. It is NOT selflessness.

WHEN will people stop using the word “amazing” to refer to really unamazing things???

bkable on

Totally agree guest but I also think moms feel guilty when they put themselves first. That needs to change. It’s okay to leave the kids with Dad and go out with your girlfriends! We also need to stop judging other women when they do (unless its excessive of course)
Life is about balance and one of the many reasons we have evolved to have fathers involved in their children’s lives – unlike many other species.

caitlin on

@jordyvix– there’s a difference between cynicism and hate. If you perceive the comments as being representative of “hate”, you need a serious reality check.

lmack69 on

you had 9 months to come up with a decent name and all you got was “Otis.” I just cant take you seriously.

Nancy on

Selflessness???? So Olivia does that mean that you have been selfish with your siblings, your parents, your friends, your husband until now? Believe me, you will be selfish again and you will leave your child with his nanny and do what you want to. Please!! Stop with the all or nothing crap!

Valarie on

Love the name Otis!

Hea on

Why are so many people picking on the name Otis?

lucy on

I don’t understand how being selfless is freeing. Does she mean that in some weird sort of philosophical or spiritual way, because honestly, having to care for a baby 24/7 is hardly freeing. Besides which having to worry about the health and happiness of this person you brought into the world is the opposite of freeing (and I say this while at the same time acknowledging all the wonderful things that being a parent brings) – I was far more carefree before I became a mother. Still Olivia is such a positive individual, that I don’t find it too hard to overlook some of the silly things she says (first about love and sex, and now about motherhood).

Paige on

Her dress is gorgeous, it so fits her!